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Debian Weekly News - October 3rd, 2001

Oct 03, 2001, 20:40 (0 Talkback[s])
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 14:28:46 +0200
From: Martin Schulze 
Subject: Debian Weekly News - October 3rd, 2001

Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - October 3rd, 2001

Debian international. We noticed that another language has been added
to the list of [1]supported languages of [2] Catalan
was added a while ago, and now Indonesia has been added as well.
[3]Translation statistics show we have about one thousand Web pages
and no more than 100 per language are outdated. Our translators seem
to do a really good job. Including Indonesian and Catalan, the main
page on our web server is available in 25 languages.

Stripping down busybox. Busybox is the tool which is used on embedded
systems and the Debian boot-floppies. On our boot-floppies it provides
most of the programs (like ls, mount, umount etc.). Busybox, however,
has grown from Potato to Woody and has become [4]too large on SPARC
and PowerPC. Erik Andersen, its author, [5]explains more ways to save
space on our boot-floppies.

Boot-floppies 3.0.14 released. Adam Di Carlo has had a hectic week,
but managed to [6]release a new version of boot floppies. This
version contains all required fixes for S/390, MIPS, MIPSel, ARM,
M68k, HPPA and IA64 as well as patches required to get add support for
ReiserFS and ext3 on IA32. Packages for several architectures (hppa,
ia64, i386, m68k, mipsel, powerpc and s390) have already been
uploaded, others are scheduled for building. In the meantime Anthony
Towns has [7]decided that mips, mipsel and s390 will be part of the
woody release.

LaTeX too old? A couple of users stomped over this problem in the
past. After installation it simply wasn't possible to compile a LaTeX
file, since there was no latex.fmt file. This file normally gets
created during installation, which will fail if LaTeX is too old. An
internal check prohibits its compilation if the originating file is
older than one year and some months. There were some [8]concerns
about this which [9]revealed that the time span was increased to 30
months, however, this could still cause problems once woody is
released. Therefore the default LaTeX build on Debian will ignore this

Securing Debian HOWTO needs help! Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña
[10]asked for help with this document. He is currently suffering from
an overload of information to be added to the [11]Securing Debian
HOWTO which was formerly edited by Alexander Reelsen. If you can
afford some spare time dedicated to this task, please help Javi by
providing patches to the current CVS version of the document, see
[12]here for details.

Debian Mirror Infrastructure. There have been intermittent problems
with the mirror infrastructure over the last year or so, but we
haven't kept [13]debian-mirrors up to date with that, thinking nobody
would mind a few glitches. This may change in the future, Josip Rodin,
active member of, predicts in an [14]announcement
of hardware changes on our ftp-master system.

dput gone? People were [15]missing this package. Due to a newly added
dependency to GnuPG, which is only available in non-US, the dput
utility had to be removed from the main archive and re-uploaded to the
non-US archive as new package. It has been installed into the archive
now, but was unavailable for a couple of days before. Even though
checking of signatures could be made optional, more crypto support is
to be added, so it has to stay in non-US until we are allowed to add
crypto software to the main archive.

Checking a Debian mirror. Grahame Bowland has [16]announced that he
wrote a tool called [17]deblint which tests the integrety of a Debian
mirror. He was inspired to write this tool by the frustration caused
by missing files on some mirrors. The name will change though, because
there was a deblint once before.

Packaging NSA Security Enhanced Linux. Russell Coker sent an [18]ITP
for packaging a kernel patch for NSA Security Enhanced Linux. However,
when downloading the source files you're forced to agree to the NSA's
[19]disclaimer. It was unclear whether Debian may distribute the
software without that disclaimer, though the software has been
released using the GPL. This problem was was [20]clarified later, so
the only thing that holds an upload into the archive is the quality of
the packages, the maintainer told us. Preliminary packages are

Bad package descriptions. Daniel Burrows has [22]examined descriptions
of our packages. His results are distressing. A statistically
significant number of them weren't even properly formatted according
to our own definitions, and many were grammatically incorrect,
stylistically awkward, or just [23]plain unhelpful. In general, the
guidelines of good (technical) writing should apply. Be clear, be
concise, be unambigous, be informative, and be correct. The mailing
list [24]debian-l10n-english could be used for discussing detailed
problems with the English language.

Now for something completely different... While not specifically
Debian-related, we thought it might be of interest to our readers that
the W3C has [25]extended the public comment period for their Patent
Policy Framework. Essentially, there's a proposal afoot to adopt a
second licensing mode for W3C Recommendations, "Reasonable and
Non-Discriminatory (RAND) Licensing." Any licensing fee, however, is
bound to be unreasonable for Free Software developers and will have
the effect of locking out Free and Open Source developers from
implementing Standards and Recommendations under this licensing policy
and/or marginalizing the W3C role as a standards body. You can also
read Alan Cox's [26]take on the Patent Policy. If you make any
comments, be sure to address specific objections to the Policy, don't
just say "I don't like it."

Interview with Ben Collins. Debian Planet has an [27]interview with
the Debian Project Leader, Ben Collins. He admits that he was a
regular user for three months before becoming a developer. "It's kind
of hard to use Debian without becoming active in it's development", he

LSB Application Battery. George Kraft [28]announced on the
[29]lsb-spec list that there's a need for someone to create a list of
Linux Standards Base compliant applications to run on compliant LSB
systems. If you're interested in helping out, take a look at this
discussion and jump aboard.

New Packages. New and notable packages this week.
 * [30]erc -- An IRC client for Emacs.
 * [31]komba2 -- A Samba browser for KDE.
 * [32]kstars -- Displays an accurate representation of the night sky
 for any location on Earth.
 * [33]ratmenu -- Create X menus from the shell.
 * [34]vigor -- If you miss the Office Paperclip, you'll love Vigor.
 Don't cry, it won't help.
 * [35]hd5f-tools -- Hierachical Data Format tools.

No recent Security Announcements this week.

Stay in touch. If you have any suggestions, comments, tips or other
goodies, send 'em to [36]


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