Debian Weekly News - November 12th, 2002
Nov 17, 2002, 23:00 (0 Talkback[s])
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - November 12th, 2002
Welcome to this year's 44th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Starting with this issue, the people who
thankfully contributed important items to DWN will be listed in the
issue footer of the web version, which is a more logical place than
the editorial. Some of our German readers may be interested in a
pan labelled with a special Tux logo containing the unique number
of the pan.
APT Development requires Help. Jason Gunthorpe, author of APT,
asked for help since he is no longer able to spend enough time to
effectively maintain and advance Debian's central package management
system. The current CVS version fixes some of the open bugs but has
some problems and needs testing and bugfixing.
Public Debian Machines for Software Authors. Hewlett-Packard
recently expanded their Test Drive Program to support Debian
GNU/Linux as well. This program is intended for users who want to
sample the 32- and 64-bit servers running a variety of HP and
third-party operating systems and applications. This looks like an
excellent resource Debian can point upstream package authors to when
they need access to a Debian system to resolve porting problems.
Debian is Distribution Number One. The Debian project was honored
recently with the Linux New Media Award (German only). Whereas two
years ago Debian was not even nominated, the jury of 35 well-known
people from the Free Software community chose Debian as the winner of
the category 'Linux distributions', and Debian-based Live CD Knoppix
in second place. Other winners are OpenOffice.org (office packages),
Mozilla (internet clients), GCC (development software), and Gentoo
Using Knoppix to install Debian. Joe Barr took a closer look at
Knoppix, which is a real Debian system. He tried to look at it as
a GUI installer for Debian. He wondered what if Knoppix made the
dreaded Debian install such a piece of cake that even a doddering old
journalist could put it on his laptop? Knoppix indeed contains a
script for installing the system on the hard-disk, which is under
development and unreleased.
Release Critical List of Bugs. Anthony Towns announced that the
list of release critical bugs is back online. This should help
people who don't know how to help with development of the next release
or speed up its development. However, working on the debian-installer
is currently more important, since this area still requires a large
amount of work.
GNU Hurd delayed. This article reports that the next release of
GNU Hurd has been delayed beyond the end of the year. The current
development version of the system does not yet support large disk
partitions and high speed serial I/O, according to Richard Stallman.
Bugs celebrating their Birthday. Anthony Towns noted a couple of
bugs who turned three, two or one on November 5th. He added that he
could fairly easily automate this if people are interested in getting
a daily list of old, old bugs to work on. The day on which the
most bugs celebrate their birthday is 14th July, thanks mainly to
LaMont Jones and PA-RISC, with a little over 100 bugs still open since
that day in 2001.
Merging PAM with RedHat Source. Fumitoshi Ukai asked whether
pam_console from RedHat's PAM source could be included in the Debian
PAM package or packaged up separately. Daniel Jacobowitz however
replied that it should never enter Debian, due to security
implications. One problem was described by Wichert Akkerman about
a year ago.
On releasing Sarge. Martin Krafft noted that January is coming up
and we are on a biannual schedule and asked if can we release in
January. This started another discussion on whether to resurrect
boot-floppies or finish the debian-installer. Bernd Eckenfels
complained about the number of lists that are difficult to follow
and that decisions are not made transparently.
Non-free Packages and Testing. Ian Maclaine-cross complained that
non-free packages don't migrate to non-free testing like free packages
and testing, since they're not auto-built. However, the discussion
quickly lead into an argument to dump non-free packages from the
Alpha Release of the Debian-Installer. Tollef Fog Heen announced
that as work continues on the debian-installer, he would like to
prepare an alpha release. However, before this several crucial aspects
of the installer need to be addressed, including better testing before
releasing to users. After that, a debian-installer alpha release could
appear in the "not-too-distant" future.
Eric Raymond reviews Halloween VII. Another Halloween document leaked
to the public and Eric Raymond took the chance to review a copy of
what purports to be an internal document that was presented at an
internal "Linux Strategic Review" in Berlin during September 2002.
Raymond comments on the memo and provides some tactical advice for
Open Source advocates based on what has been learned from the memo.
Coda packages arrive in experimental distribution. Luca De Vitis
announced that he has uploaded packages to support the Coda
distributed file system to the experimental distribution. Coda is an
advanced networked filesystem with its origin in the Andrew File
System. It has many features that are very desirable for network
Announcements for non-free Software? It happened that debianHELP
announced a non-free software package that the producer happily
distributes as packages for Debian 3.0 as well. Randy Edwards started
a discussion about this since some users felt that
debianHELP.org should not announce non-free software. So he
started a poll to find out what readers think about it. At last
glance, voting on the poll was split evenly.
Debian Advocacy in Vietnam. Robert Lemmen wants to start a bit of a
GNU/Linux advocacy campaign because open software is not really very
popular in Vietnam, where he works. He would like to publish one
series of GNU/Linux flyers targeted at anyone with a computer, and a
Debian-specific flyer for people in the IT business and people who
have already been exposed to Unix-like systems before. The event
material already contains some work that could be used.
General Resolution to remove non-free Software. Pursuant to Appendix A
of the Debian Constitution and the guidelines, John Goerzen
offered a draft proposal as the beginning of a General Resolution
process to decide this issue. According to the guidelines, all other
discussion is to occur on the debian-devel mailing-list. This
issue originally surfaced in June 2000, but because of a
then-absent project secretary, a binding vote was never held. The
proposal this time is not the same, though.
New Debian-Reference Packages. Osamu Aoki reported that he updated the
Debian Reference which is now contains more than 200 pages and
includes an entry for the Debian menu with its latest build. The
Debian Reference is intended to provide a broad overview of the Debian
system as a post-installation user's guide. It covers many aspects of
system administration through shell-command examples. It has
up-to-date French and Italian translations, and the
Spanish translation is almost up-to-date.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* luxman -- Local root exploit.
* WindowMaker -- Buffer overflow.
* Squirrelmail -- Cross site scripting.
* html2ps -- Arbitrary code execution.
* kdenetwork -- Buffer overflow.
* masqmail -- Buffer overflows.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* cvs-syncmail -- Notification program for CVS checkins.
* flydraw -- Inline drawing tool.
* metalog -- Modern logging daemon.
* oftc-hybrid -- Hybrid 7 IRC daemon - OFTC branch.
* rsjog -- A handler for Sony Vaio "Jog Dial".
* smake -- Schily make. Portable, extensible make.
* subversion-server -- Tools for creating and maintaining a
* swf-player -- SWF (Macromedia Flash) player.
* texgd -- Texgd allows to convert short TeX expressions in
* ulog-acctd -- Accounting daemon for Linux 2.4+ netfilter.
* widestudio -- Multi platform C++ IDE for x11.
* xppaut -- Phase Plane Plus Auto: Solves many kinds of
Orphaned Packages. 2 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 139 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.
* gimp1.3 -- The GNU Image Manipulation Program, unstable
version 1.3. (Bug#168365)
* qtella -- Gnutella client. (Bug#168329)
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