Debian Weekly News - March 18, 2003
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Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - March 18, 2003
Welcome to this year's 11th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter
for the Debian community. For some time a French group and the
French chapter of the Free Software Foundation Europe (ABUL)
have been working on the idea to have Free Software classified
as an intangible world cultural heritage term by the UNESCO.
Leader Election Debate. This year's election debate on IRC
took place on March 7th with about 100 people attending. After
the candidates clarified their position the debate ended with some
humorous items. Martin Michlmayr would probably win if only the
candidates could vote (and couldn't give their vote to themselves).
This seems to demonstrate that Branden Robinson hasn't yet got his
stated superpower of choice, perhaps Bdale Garbee's amateur
satellite counteracts the effects. Moshe Zadka stated that he would
like his term (if elected) to be remembered for establishing
world-peace, although he thinks that would be as unlikely as the
other candidates' goals. Meanwhile, Manoj sent the second call
Debian at the OpenOffice.org Conference. Chris Hall, Rene
Engelhard, and Jan-Hendrik Palic will be representing Debian at
the OpenOffice.org Conference at the University of Hamburg,
Germany on March 20/21. Chris will give a talk that introduces the
process of making OpenOffice.org Debian packages. It will give an
overview of the existing techniques used to build OpenOffice.org
and to integrate it into the operating system. Also, he will
introduce some of the important tips, tricks, tools and resources
Maintaining Fonts in Debian. Colin Walters talked about the
Debian Font Manager (defoma) which was used to install fonts.
However there is also fontconfig, which is a more generic way for
applications to find and use fonts, which is used by several
applications already. Emile van Bergen proposed a smooth
two-way transition that preserves defoma but still moves towards
Status report for Debian-Installer GTK-Frontend. Sebastian Ley
posted a status report about the GTK frontend of the
debian-installer. Work has been done to provide the necessary
libraries as udebs, although the frontend is still unusable. A lot
of debugging needs to be done and the concept of how the GTK
frontend will be integrated must be worked out and implemented.
This screenshot is not exactly eye-candy but it shows that
progress is being made. Help, comments and discussion would be
Making Mailing Lists available as Mailboxes. Josip Rodin
wondered if Debian should publish the mbox files of the list
archives on the website. This would reveal much more data for
spammers to crawl through, which could be good or bad: all the
message-IDs would make spam databases less useful, although it
might cause people in Sender fields to be spammed. Santiago Vila
thought it was a bad idea and suggested looking at the way the
Geocrawler or Sourceforge lists are handled. Osamu Aoki thought
it depended upon how publication was done and suggested that using
gzip compression would be best.
Standardizing PAM Policies. Sebastian Rittau spoke about the
lack of a PAM policy. In his opinion most packages use PAM for
authentication in the wrong way. They all install a configuration
file in the /etc/pam.d/ directory that look similar to each other.
Steve Langasek prepared a patch that adds support for an
LSB 1.3 Compliance? Gerhard Tonn ran the latest LSB test
suite on woody for S/390. He used a modified glibc and pax as
described by Anthony Towns. The results are very promising
except that there are about 50 failures in the internationalization
area which has been a part of the LSB since version 1.3. This is
caused by the fact that not all the relevant patches are
integrated into woody packages. The same is true for sid.
Potato Packages in Woody. Johann Glaser wondered why still
so many packages in woody (and sarge and sid) are linked from
potato. His concerns resulted from a broken mirror that does not
contain potato anymore. Not all packages have been updated since
the release of potato and hence are not using the pool structure
yet. This will change when potato gets removed from the main
Is PHPNuke Free Software? John Goerzen wondered if the
important notice that has been added to the license of PHPNuke
prohibits modifications and derived works. The author wants to have
his copyright notice visible in the footer of all pages that are
rendered by PHPNuke. Branden Robinson agreed and added that the
addition to the license is more restrictive than the BSD
Overview about IPv6 in Debian. Massimo Di Nitto announced a
comprehensive web page that contains information about IPv6
support in Debian packages. The idea emerged to classify packages
according to different criteria. The statistics are generated
New Accessibility Development. Mario Lang announced the
recently created debian-accessibility list. The list will help
coordinate finding, identifying, discussing and fixing
accessibility related issues in the Debian Operating System. It
might be related to the hearing impaired, to the sight impaired, or
to people with physical disabilities which for instance, limit
their typing capabilities and so on.
Is the LPPL a Free License? Martin Pitt is packaging latex-ucs
and wondered if the LaTex Project Public License (LPPL)
combined with additional permissions from the author satisfies the
Debian Free Software Guidlines. Branden Robinson explained
that no conclusion has been reached concerning this license.
However, negotiations are ongoing between Debian and LaTex Project
Developers and Branden is confident that a mutually amicable
arrangement will be reached.
Report about Debian at CeBIT exhibition. Alexander Schmehl wrote
a report about the Debian booth at this year's CeBIT exhibition
that was sponsored by LinuxLand. The booth was a big success
and many visitors stopped by. Both, Alexander and Michael 'grisu'
Bramer, who staffed the booth, seemed to enjoy the opportunity to
demonstrate the Debian system during CeBIT. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is
the last day of CeBIT, so interested people could still stop by in
hall 6 at booth A52 / 182.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you
update your systems if you have any of these packages
- tcpdump -- Denial of service.
- samba -- Remote exploit.
- netpbm -- Denial of service.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to
the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important
- asciijump -- Small and funny ASCII-art game about ski
- checkpw -- checks password which is stored in
- eclipse -- Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE.
- eukleides -- Euclidean geometry drawing language.
- gkrellmd -- Multiple stacked system monitors: 1 process
- gpsmanshp -- A Tcl interface to shapelib.
- idn -- Command line and emacs interface to GNU libidn.
- k3b -- A sophisticated KDE cd burning application.
- mb2md -- Converting Mbox mailboxes to Maildir format.
- mcvs -- Version control system built around CVS.
- ml-lex -- Lexical analyzer generator for Standard ML.
- ml-yacc -- Parser generator for Standard ML.
- mpb-mpi -- MIT Photonic-Bands, parallel (mpich)
- sleepenh -- Sleep until a given date with subsecond
- smlnj -- Standard ML of New Jersey interactive
- toppler -- Clone of the "Nebulous" game on old 8 and 16 bit
- trackballs -- An OpenGL-based game of marbles through a
- vifm -- Ncurses based file manager with vi like
- xmltoman -- Simple XML to man converter.
Orphaned Packages. 4 packages were orphaned this week and
require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 178 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.
- jade -- James Clark's DSSSL Engine. (Bug#184552)
- kannel -- WAP and SMS gateway. (Bug#185224)
- openh323proxy -- H.323 voice over IP gatekeeper with proxy
- postilion -- An X Mail User Agent which handles MIME, PGP
and Spelling. (Bug#184858)
- scanmail -- Mail scanner for Postfix. (Bug#184971)
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