Debian Weekly News - December 3rd, 2002
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Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - December 3rd, 2002
Welcome to this year's 47th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. During the second Bug Squashing Party for
sarge last weekend, several release critical bugs were fixed. If
you want to replace another piece of proprietary software in your
computer, have a look at LinuxBIOS. Thomas Bushnell pointed
out that Matt Pavlovich ruled in the case of Pavlovich vs.
Coordinated Translation of Debconf Templates. Michael Bramer
announced that the Debian Description Translation Project
(DDTP) now supports coordination and translation of debconf templates
as well. Here is a list of all packages for which DDTP contains
translated debconf templates that are not yet in the original package.
Another page contains links to debconf templates of a particular
package for all languages.
Debian as a Social Group. Andreas Schuldei set the structure of the
Debian project in relation to examples he gathered from reading
books about group development. He emphasises that Debian seems to have
elected mostly technical people as their leader and how work in Debian
is split among a large number of people and some groups for key tasks.
New Version of the GFDL released. The Free Software Foundation has
published a new revision of the GNU Free Documentation License
(GDFL). Branden Robinson reviewed the changes and pointed out that
the GDFL would not be DFSG compliant if Invariant Sections or Cover
Texts are claimed, just as before. Walter Landry added that the
History, Acknowledgement and Dedication Sections or "opaque" formats
could be problematic as well. In Walters opinion the clause that
forbids technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or
copying renders the license non-free.
Improving Access to Debian CD Images. Richard Atterer wrote that
too few of the mirror sites carry the Debian 3.0 CD images and that
many only offer jigdo files or images for 2.2r6. He proposed that
Debian offer rsync (and maybe HTTP) access to the CD images again,
starting with the first update of 3.0. However, since the release of
Debian 3.0, jigdo is the preferred way to access CD images. Joey Hess
wrote a script that produces a list of mirrors and a table that
displays which of them are down or broken, have jigdo files, and
current iso images. He wondered why cdimage.debian.org/ has not been
redirected to one of the mirrors that already have everything.
KDE3 and Debian. The Debian project is waiting for the transition to
GCC 3.2 to be complete before KDE3 packages enter the official Debian
archives. Michael Meskes wondered why this decision was made. He
also considers the explanation "we have no KDE3 since we are still
using GCC 2.95" bogus since there doesn't seem to be a technical
reason to bind one to another. Colin Watson pointed out that all
KDE library file sonames have to be changed when switching to GCC 3.2
and KDE developers wish to avoid that disruption. Eduard Bloch found
this unconvincing and believes the existing KDE3 packages could go
into the sid (unstable) archive now.
Fixing dependencies of lib*-java packages. Stephen Zander advised
that he will be filing bugs against Java packages that only depend on
java-common. These lib*-java packages should depend on either
java1-runtime or java2-runtime as the case may be. Stephen intends to
file 'important' severity bugs as these packages currently have
incomplete dependency information.
New Unofficial APT Repository List. DebianPlanet announced that
apt-get.org is up and running. It carries a list of unofficial APT
repositories and allows users to submit new repositories in addition
to the old and unmaintained list. The site indicates which
repositories have been tested and proved working. The list currently
includes sources.list lines for fetching the latest KDE packages for
sid, Joey Hess' bleeding edge packages, Glark packages and various
Changes to DebianHelp. In the first part of several planned
changes, DebianHelp has implemented a series of forums. This
replaces the old format where all questions were posted to a single
page. DebianHelp also plans to develop and include reviews of
Debian-specific mini-HOWTOs, FAQs and little README-type tidbits.
Non-EU archive for Debian? Nathanael Nerode suggested that it
might be useful for Debian to create and maintain a non-EU archive.
One reason for this is the European 'Database Directive' which
provides legal protection on things such as wordlists. Brian Nelson
wondered if this was a good idea. He pointed out that the non-US
archive contained packages that could not be exported from the US but
were legal to use everywhere, at least for private use. On the other
hand, the contents of a non-EU archive would not be legal to use in
many parts of Europe.
New Build System for Debian. Colin Walters didn't want to wait for the
dpkg maintainers to review the dpkg-source v2 code and decided to
address the excessive complexity and redundancy in debian/rules.
He was strongly influenced by Christoph Lameter's u-os package
manager source format and the basic idea is to make simple things
simple, and hard things possible. The code for the new format is
PostgreSQL 7.3 for Debian. Oliver Elphick announced new packages
for the PostgreSQL 7.3 database engine that were uploaded into
experimental. Numerous changes include support for the SQL 92 Schema
specification and enhanced dependency tracking for complex databases
as well as several performance enhancements.
Alioth for Debian. Roland Mas asked developers to pick a name for
a SourceForge site for Debian. It will consist of a slightly patched
version of the 2.6 branch of the Debian sourceforge package, with a
few scripts to help integration with existing infrastructure. The
final name seems to be alioth which is the capital system of the
Alliance of Independent Systems in the First Encounters video
SCSI versus IDE Drives. Scott St. John asked whether SCSI drives
are still superiour to IDE drives as fast as they are today. Emilio
Brambilla pointed out that IDE drives lack good command queuing
and Donovan Baarda noted that IDE operations ate more CPU cycles
than SCSI operations. However, some new IDE drives support command
queuing as well.
Translating POD files. Martin Quinson announced a new tool
po-pod, a new member of the po-for-everything (po4a) family. The
goal of po-pod is to allow translators to work only with well known po
files when translating pod documentation. The goal of po4a is to ease
translations (and more interestingly, the maintainance of
translations) by using gettext tools on areas where they were not yet
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* Free/SWan -- Denial of service.
* IM -- Insecure temporary files.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* chaksem -- LaTeX class for presentations.
* cwcdr -- Chez Wam CD Ripper.
* exiscan -- Email virus scanner for Exim.
* filmgimp -- A motion picture editing and retouching tool.
* gnarwl -- Email autoresponder based on LDAP.
* gnome-pkgview -- Display the version of your GNOME 2 desktop.
* jpegoptim -- Utility to optimize/compress JPEG/JFIF files.
* maria -- Reachability analyzer for Algebraic System Nets.
* mcrypt -- Replacement for old unix crypt(1).
* openoffice.org -- High-quality office productivity suite.
* pyslsk -- A client for the SoulSeek peer-to-peer sharing
* uif -- Advanced iptables-firewall script.
* zorp -- Advanced protocol analyzing firewall.
Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 125 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.
* fdflush -- A disk-flushing program. (Bug#170920)
* gmail -- GNOME mail client using SQL-based vfolders.
* varmon -- VA RAID monitor. (Bug#170921)
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