Debian Weekly News - October 29th, 2002
Nov 04, 2002, 01:00 (0 Talkback[s])
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - October 29th, 2002
Welcome to this year's 42nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. This week we are pleased to include items by
Matt Black and Andre Lehovich. As if we didn't know this already,
IndustryWeek reports that more and more companies are adopting
Linux. After reading many of the posts regarding the recent Debian
review Clinton De Young took the opportunity and wrote a very verbose
installation walkthrough. The Danish Board of Technology
suggested the use of an open exchange format for text documents
within the public administration, paving the way for Free Software.
Debian Desktop Subproject Initiated. Colin Walters started the
Debian desktop subproject that aims at bringing Debian, GNU, and
Linux to the mainstream world. The goal is to create the best possible
operating system for home and corporate workstation use. In short,
this subproject wants to ensure that installing, configuring, and
using Debian is as easy and foolproof as possible. Slashdot notes
that the Debian Project is now officially addressing its usability on
New Progeny Graphical Installer Images. John Daily writes that, in
light of recent negative reviews of the current Debian distribution in
which the installer was roundly criticized, it may be interesting for
users to know about PGI. Progeny has made available an image
based on PGI, the Progeny Graphical Installer for the i386
architecture, targetting Debian 3.0 (woody).
Geek Activism forces Congress to reconsider Open Source. Robin Miller
writes on Newsforge about how Open Source advocates are lobbying
the U.S. congress as members decide which software licenses are and
are not allowed for release of government-sponsored software. The
original letter had no anti-GPL language in it, but language was added
by a Representative from Washington State whose largest campaign
donation source is a well-known corporation.
Debian at UK Linux Expo 2002. Wookey wrote a report about the
Debian booth at this years' Debian at UK Linux Expo 2002. Phil Hands
gave a talk on Debian and Free Software. The trend of recent years
continued with a large contingent of Debian/ARM showing off
interesting devices and entertaining the visitors. Debian/NetBSD was
also demonstrated at the booth.
LWN Subscription for Debian Developers. Bdale Garbee announced
that he has arranged group access for Debian developers to Linux
Weekly News (LWN). They offered to treat Debian developers as a group,
and HP offered to fund Debian's subscription fee. His thanks go to
both parties for their continuing support of the Debian development
community. If you're a Debian developer and you want to have full
access to LWN, you should create an normal account first and contact
Removing Packages from Unstable. Anthony Towns reported that he
plans to remove a large set of packages from unstable which look like
they are not maintained anymore. These packages are listed on one
page denoted with the string [REMOVE]. This would remove packages
like Emacs20, kaffee, kpackage and RFC packages.
GNOME 2 Transition. Colin Walters finally announced that the GNOME
2 Desktop will be uploaded to unstable this Sunday (Oct 27th), and it
will replace the GNOME 1.4 Desktop. However due to weather delays the
upload did not occur on schedule; upload from incoming to unstable is
in progress and should complete over the next few days. Looks like the
plan to keep GNOME 1 while working on GNOME 2 was reverted. Third
party applications like Evolution and others should continue to work,
though. Colin and Christian Marillat even wrote transition scripts for
Auditing the Debian Distribution. It's been reported that Steve
Kemp started a project in which he tries to track down software
that is susceptible to buffer overflow attacks, etc. Drew Scott
Daniels started a related project which is a more general audit,
but only a rough automated audit which may make developers and code
auditor's jobs easier. Both projects could use more manpower.
Including the VESA Framebuffer? There is a dispute discussed on
the list for the Technical Committee concerning the VESA framebuffer.
Eduard Bloch would like to see this framebuffer included in the Debian
kernel image package, however, Herbert Xu argued against this, and
he's the maintainer. The upstream author noted that this
framebuffer is not used by default, though.
MPlayer to be added to Debian? The latest release of MPlayer
announced that the DivX4 code is finally released under the GNU
General Public License (GPL). Apparently, this was the only
source code that was not GPL'd, so this may ease earlier work at
getting MPlayer into the Debian main archive.
Debian: The Past, The Present and the Future. Christoph Lameter gave a
talk Tuesday at the Free Software Symposium in Tokyo. In the talk
he gave an overview of Debian and discusses packaging and core
elements. Although Christoph calls it "very superficial stuff; not for
hardcore people", there are nice graphs on the statistics for
maintainers, packages and architectures over time and an attempt to
extrapolate the future development from those.
Cdrdao License Issue Resolved. Earlier this month there was debate
about the non-free library libedc_ecc which is used in the cdrdao
package. Andreas Metzler has now advised that the issue has been
resolved upstream and the libedc_ecc library is finally released under
the GNU GPL.
Desktop Linux Summit. Major technology companies and DesktopLinux.com
announced their sponsorship of the inaugural Desktop Linux
Summit. The Summit will be devoted to GNU/Linux on the Desktop and the
companies involved are trying to make 2003 the 'Year of Desktop
Linux'. The summit will be held in San Diego on Feb 20-21, 2003.
Debian and the LSB. Jason Lim started a discussion about the
Debian distribution not being certified by the Linux Standard Base
(LSB), while other distributions were certified. However, after a
hint about the lsb package people continued to exchange their
experience to use Debian as a commercial software platform.
Debian/OpenBSD ceased. Andreas Schuldei announced that he is
discontinuing the effort to combine OpenBSD and Debian. He found out
that there are several indications that security in OpenBSD is mostly
at the same level as it is in Debian. Since the reason to work on this
port was primary to provide a more secure environment for Debian users
this port doesn't seem to be worthwhile anymore.
License Clarification for Debian/NetBSD. Joel Baker sent a
clarification request to Richard Stallman. Files in the NetBSD
source tree use widely varying licenses. While source code owned by
the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) is unproblematic, the
NetBSD Foundation previously expressed a resistance to requests to
move from an old BSD license to a revised one without the advertising
clause. Such code is not compatible with the GNU GPL.
News from Debian/EDU. Raphaël Hertzog announced that debian-edu
metapackages were added to the Debian archive. He's looking for
volunteers for various tasks like wiki editors, web editors for
www.debian.org, documentation writers and people who maintain
packages with educational aspects.
Global Technology Policy Institute Created. Bruce Perens, former
Debian developer and project leader, sent out a call for donations
to set up the Global Technology Policy Institute (GTPI), a new
non-profit organization focusing on Free Software issues. GTPI will
operate under section 501(c)6 of the US tax code, allowing it to
engage in political activism. Other non-profits such as Software
in the Public Interest, Inc. use section 501(c)3 of the tax code which
limits their political activity, but allows them to receive
tax-deductible donations. Among other issues, GTPI will lobby to
protect publicly-funded researcher's right to release their code under
the GNU GPL.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* kghostview -- Buffer overflow.
* kerberos 5 -- Buffer overflow.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* cameleon -- Integrated development environment for OCaml.
* epydoc -- Edward Loper's API Documentation Generation Tool for
* fnord -- Yet another small httpd.
* ijsgimpprint -- Inkjet Server - Ghostscript driver for
* mlchat -- Small peer-to-peer chat application.
* runit -- UNIX init scheme with service supervision.
* xstroke -- X11 Pen-based Character input.
Orphaned Packages. 12 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 143 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.
* cbb -- The Check-Book Balancer, a Quicken clone.
* filemenu-applet -- A directory navigation GNOME applet.
* g5 -- gtk-based 5-in-a-row game. (Bug#165500)
* geas -- GNU Enterprise Application Server. (Bug#166331)
* gnome-objc -- Objective-c bindings for gtk/gnome
* gnue-common -- The shared library for many items of the GNU
Enterprise Framework. (Bug#166339)
* gnue-designer -- Rapid Application Development tool for GNU
* gnue-forms -- An XML-based forms painter. (Bug#166351)
* junit-freenet -- basic reimplementation of the JUnit unit
testing framework. (Bug#165504)
* kdestudio -- Development environment for KDE. (Bug#166847)
* konverse -- Jabber client for KDE. (Bug#166846)
* scannerdaemon -- Virus scanner written in Java.
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