Debian Weekly News - March 11, 2003
Mar 12, 2003, 05:00 (0 Talkback[s])
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - March 11th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. It seems to have been a big week in Linux
kernel development. Recent work promises to make exciting improvements
for desktop users. Meanwhile, Openstuff.net has recently released
a new range of low cost Debian fun stuff, including t-shirts, polo
shirts, sweat shirts and suitcases.
Call for Votes in the DPL Election. The Debian Project Secretary
posted the first call for votes this year's Election of the Debian
Project Leader (DPL). Last year's voting engine, which is relatively
well tested, will be used again. The order of candidates names on the
voting form was randomly selected and voters may indicate their
preference for each candidate. Votes must be GnuPG (or PGP) signed and
received by 23:59:59 UTC on March 29th, 2003. Up to the minute voting
statistics are available.
Using translated debconf Templates. Michael Bramer informed us
about a possibility to make use of translated debconf templates that
the Debian Description Translation Project maintains. Several
languages are supported and progress can be watched at the
progress graph. Michael summarized the discussion.
Testing GCC 3.3. Matthias Klose called for testing the upcoming
GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 3.3 with real-world applications. Before
this version is released, it has to meet several criteria.
Packages should be recompiled with gcc-snapshot from unstable.
Release Schedule for Sarge? Anthony Towns talks about issues that
Debian will be facing soon, now that glibc from unstable migrated into
testing. He wonders whether debian-installer is in an acceptable
state, and if not, what is necessary to get it (or something else)
suitable for release, and how long will that take? Anthony is also
looking for volunteers to help with Release Manager work.
Qmail on Debian. Vincent Hillier has written an article that
details the use of qmail on Debian systems. The document explains the
deployment of the Qmail mail server in numerous situations. No
previous knowledge of Qmail is necessary, as the paper describes every
step from installation to running POP and DNS on the same machine.
Compiling the Linux Kernel on Debian. Clinton De Young, author of
The Very Verbose Debian 3.0 Installation Walkthrough, has now
written The Very Verbose Guide to Updating and Compiling Your
Debian Kernel. This article guides even novice users through the steps
of downloading, configuring, compiling and installing the Linux
kernel. It includes a discussion of things such as sound support, ext3
journaling and CD burning.
Installing Debian on a Compaq Proliant. DebianHelp carries an
article that discusses the installation of Debian 3.0 (woody) on a
Compaq Proliant ML370 G3 with dual Intel Xeon 2.8 GHz processors and
2 GB of RAM. It explains which drivers are required and how to ensure
that all hardware is recognized and operated properly.
Accessibility Features in Debian. A user on DebianHelp explained
that he is paralyzed and uses the accessibility features of a
proprietary operating system, including sticky keys and mouse keys to
manage the modifying keystrokes and using the number-pad as a mouse
control. He wondered what accessibility features Debian provides.
Readers pointed out the Linux Accessibility Howto and the
accessibility features of GNOME and KDE3.
Debian on a Low Cost Lindows/Microtel Box. Paul M. Foster
explained how he converted a low cost Lindows computer from
Wal-Mart into a proper Debian system. Paul first wiped Lindows
from the hard drive and then installed Debian 3.0 (woody). However,
after experiencing several hardware incompatibility issues, he
upgraded to testing (sarge) to solve his problems.
Graphing Private Woody Archives. Brian May created a Perl script
that compares the sources files from a Debian archive and a private
archive. The script outputs a list of nodes for producing a vcg
graph that shows build dependencies for the private archive. The graph
shows which packages are out of date in a private archive and the
order in which they should be rebuilt. For example, the graph might
show that while acl is out of date, attr should probably be rebuilt
first because acl depends on attr.
Bringing LZW Code back into Debian. Drew Scott Daniels wondered
about the best way to approach the pending expiry of patent
protection of the LZW algorithm. He would like to find out which
packages had, have, or could benefit from using LZW code. He proposes
to do a mass bug filing to encourage the use of LZW code, particularly
against packages that have purposely removed LZW code.
Hardware Detection Packages in Debian. Rick Moen, Dave Bechtel and
Heather Stern of the Linux Gazette Answer Gang recently discussed
hardware detection packages in Debian. They answered questions about
kudzu and discussed Debian's numerous packages for hardware
recognition. Rick has integrated the hardware recognition information
into his Debian tips page.
Dependencies in the Debian Archive. Osamu Aoki thought that one
measure of the importance of a Debian package is the number of other
packages that depend on it. His research showed that 88% of packages
had dependencies with less than 6 other packages. Fabio Massimo Di
Nitto pointed out that the statistics overlook Essential status
packages and Anthony Towns noted that some packages are less
depended upon, but equally important because they provide the same
function, such as a mail-transport-agent.
Using Udebs for More Than Installation. Branden Robinson asked
about using udebs for more than the installer, for example in resource
constrained environments. Glenn McGrath explained that from a file
format viewpoint udebs are the same as debs, except udebs can be
smaller because they don't have to include everything required by
Debian package policy. One should think of udebs as dynamically
loadable installer modules, not as true Debian packages.
Debian Based GNU/Linux for PlayStation 2. xRhino has released
BlackRhino for the Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2). BlackRhino is a
Debian based GNU/Linux operating system. It contains over 1,200
software packages to aid in using and creating programs for the PS2
and requires Sony's PS2 Linux Kit, which sells for $US199.
New Experimental PPP Package. Russell Coker announced that he has
made available a new experimental PPP package. among other things,
it includes Brian May's dialer script. Russell is currently not in a
position to test the package and would appreciate any testing
assistance. In the next day or two, Russell intends to put another
test release online with pppoa support and then by the end of the week
he may have an upload with pppoa and many of the other things people
are clamoring for.
New OpenLDAP 2.1 Preview. Torsten Landschoff announced that the
first trial package of a ready-to-install OpenLDAP 2.1 is now
available. A lot of work remains before the unstable upload, for
example upgrades do not work and reconfiguration depends on removing
the old directory first. However, installing seems to work and a new
directory can be created using a very simple configuration script.
Torsten would appreciate testing and feedback, including on wanted
features in the final maintainer scripts.
Licensing Clarification on GnuMICR Font. Eric Sandeen noticed that
there was some confusion over the licensing of his GnuMICR font
package. He has now clarified in the documentation that the package is
released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Branden
Robinson pointed out that there was some vagueness in the
documentation that seemed to suggest restrictions beyond the GPL. He
thought it best to simply indicate which files are the 'source' code
and which are the 'executable form' of the fonts.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* sendmail -- Buffer overflow.
* ethereal -- Arbitrary code execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* ant-phone -- Interactive ISDN telephone application.
* cantus -- GNOME tool to mass-rename/tag mp3 and ogg files.
* dar -- Disk ARchive: Backup directory tree and files.
* ddtc -- Perl script to deal with ddts mail.
* dosbox -- x86 emulator with CGA/EGA/VGA graphics, sound and
* gdeskcal -- Desktop calendar featuring transparency with
* grcm -- GNOME application to initiate connections to remote
* gsasl -- GNU SASL commandline utility.
* gtkeyboard -- Highly-configurable on-screen keyboard for mouse
* isakmpd -- The Internet Key Exchange protocol openbsd
* kommander -- Create dialogs that generate text through user
* ljupdate -- LiveJournal client for Emacs.
* mguesser -- Guesses the language of a text.
* monopd -- Monopoly game network server.
* mysource -- Content publishing and management system.
* op-fb -- Open Palm Integrated Environment (OPIE).
* pachi -- Platform game featuring Pachi el Marciano.
* plplot-gd -- Scientific plotting library (GD driver).
* pmccabe -- McCabe-style function complexity and line counting
for C and C++.
* rubrica -- Addressbook for the GNOME desktop.
* sgf2tex -- Creates TeX files from Go game records.
* sulu -- File Mananger for Samsung Uproar and YEPP.
* uligo -- tsumego (go problems) practice tool.
* unicode -- Display unicode character properties.
* unicorn -- Monitoring applications for the Bewan ADSL PCI st
and USB modems.
* xwelltris -- 3D Tetris like popular game similar to Welltris.
* zcip -- Autonomously obtain an IP address.
Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 176 orphaned packages. Many
thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free
Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list,
and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you
plan to take over a package.
* epic4-script-thirdeye -- Third Eye EPIC script.
* megahal -- Conversation simulator that can learn as you talk
to it. (Bug#183197)
* tcltutor -- Tutor for Tcl/TK. (Bug#183100)
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