Debian Weekly News - April 1, 2003
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Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - April 1st, 2003
Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Gentoo made an interesting move to adopt
RPM as its package format and abandon its source archive. This leaves
RockLinux as the only distribution that provides make world.
Additionally, a security flag was added to the IPv4 header in
order to distinguish between packets that have malicious intent and
those that are merely unusual.
Martin Michlmayr is the new DPL. Manoj Srivastava announced that
the winner of this year's Debian project leader (DPL) election is
Martin Michlmayr. He won over Bdale Garbee by only four votes.
Congratulations! The new DPL quickly thanked everyone who voted in
this election and noted that the first three candidates were very
close. He will therefore look at the other candidates' platforms again
in detail and incorporate some of their ideas into his program.
Setting up Sid on a Laptop. Jay Docherty has written an article
for Linux Journal in which he describes how to get a laptop up and
running with a base installation of the unstable (sid) version of
Debian GNU/Linux. The article covers how to compile and install a
2.4.20 Linux kernel using apt-get and make-kpkg. The laptop used was
an IBM ThinkPad R32 and users may also find Thomas Hood's Debian
GNU/Linux on IBM ThinkPad 600 and 600X page useful.
Independent Count of Votes. In response to Moshe Zadka's request
for an independent count of votes in the Debian Project Leader
Elections, Bdale Garbee announced the appointment of Ryan Murray
to produce an independent count. Ryan is well-known and trusted
within the project and has agreed to audit the scripts used to process
raw votes. He will then run them himself shortly after voting closes
on a copy of the mailbox containing the raw votes to independently
determine the results of the election. If the two counts result in
different winners, Bdale will refer the matter to the Technical
Committee Chairman for resolution.
Bug Helping System. Mark Howard proposed an advanced bug helping
system to coordinate bug fixing efforts. He thought that the help tag
in the current bug tracking system (BTS) is under-utilized and that a
more advanced system could encourage developers who have the time and
skills to help fix bugs in other packages. Adam Heath thought this
could be achieved through the current BTS and Hwei Sheng Teoh
believed it wouldn't be too different from having dedicated
mailing lists and posting requests when you need help.
Debian Desktop User's Guide. John Pisini is actively working on a
Debian Desktop User's Guide, which is based upon the Progeny
Debian User's Guide. John's goal is to bring the manual up to date
for the next release of Debian. This will include bringing all Gnome
related info in line with the 2.2 version and eventually incorporating
KDE 3.1 to broaden its use. John would like volunteers to help with
writing material, fixing errors and generating screenshots.
New-Maintainer Process improved. In the past the Debian project
received many complaints about the tedious procedure for
adopting new Debian developers. After some months of work on the
reorganisation Martin Michlmayr and Andreas Schuldei proudly
announced an improved new maintainers' corner. From now on the
registration, the philosophy & procedures and tasks & skills tests can
be passed online. Every day a new combination of questions is
generated from a spool of hundreds of questions. According to Martin
it should now be possible to join the project within three days.
GNU/Linux illegal for Adolescents in Germany? Today a new law to
save young people from suffering from violent computer games takes
effect in Germany. From now on no games may be sold to underaged,
if the games are not explicitly marked harmless for certain age
levels. Boxed GNU/Linux distributions, however, often if not always
contain games like gcompris or tuxracer that were not explicitly
marked. Depending on the interpretation of this law, GNU/Linux boxes
may not be sold to young people anymore.
Alioth provides SourceForge for Debian. RaphaÃ«l Herzog, Wichert
Akkerman, and Roland Mas announced the availability of a Debian
server running SourceForge software. Hosted as alioth.debian.org/,
it allows collaboration on Debian-related free-software projects.
Debian developers can use their existing Debian accounts to access the
alioth system. All developers of Free Software may use the system,
though new projects must have a Debian developer on their core team.
(Projects without a Debian affiliation should consider the Free
Software Foundation's Savannah service.)
New Archive Sections. James Troup announced a change in the Debian
archive. Six new sections have been added. The section embedded was
added in response to the recently added Opie packages. The other
new sections were added to help reduce the size of some of the biggest
sections in the archive. The sections gnome and kde are designed to
help split up the x11 section. The other new section libdevel is for
library development packages and almost halves the size of devel. And
finally, the sections perl and python are designed to help split up
the interpreters section.
HTML summary for local Repositories. Jarno Elonen announced a
PHP script to create an HTML summary page for Packages.gz files
that were created for private archives of Debian packages. This script
produces a nice web-based frontend to a local repository.
Scanning orphaned Packages against local System. Steve Robbins
remembered a nifty script from Arthur Korn that sends mail
when it sees an installed package marked as orphaned or up for
adoption on the WNPP list. Since the script had stopped
working he wondered if somebody had fixed it already. Jack Moffitt,
however, has released a rewrite in Python.
Closing Bugs for removed Packages. Martin Michlmayr noticed that
about 300 bugs are still open for packages that were removed by
the release manager prior to the woody release. He wondered what the
best action for them would be since you cannot reopen archived bugs.
Adam Heath mentioned that adding code for this would be very easy.
Martin also plans to close bugs that were reported particularly
Manual Pages and UTF-8. Vineet Kumar reported problems he
experienced with several manual pages and the UTF-8 locale he uses.
When using a UTF-8 locale, those pages use incorrect characters. Groff
converts many of these characters to reasonable characters in ASCII
locales, but some things break in UTF-8 locales.
Splitting the EKG Package. Marcin Owsiany reported about the need
to split the EKG package, an instant messaging program. The new
version can link against both readline and SSL libraries. However,
since they have conflicting licenses this must not be done in the same
package. Junichi Uekawa proposed using the GNU-TLS library
instead, however this doesn't seem to be possible. James Troup
suggested using editline instead of readline, there are even two
copies in the archive.
Debian Wallpaper Package. Steve Kemp announced two wallpaper
packages for Debian. They intend to be independent of the used window
manager or desktop environment. The base package contains a couple
of images and the script needed to do the real work. The second
package is a collection of Tolkien inspired artwork. There is also
a third package which is a collection of images inspired by, and
taken from the Star Wars films.
Debian Accessibility Manual. Boris Daix posted the first draft of
the Debian GNU/Linux Accessibility Manual, which contains only the
structure of the document. Currently it only has illustrations for
those with impaired sight, but other stuff will be included as it
comes. Boris seeks feedback about the structure.
Building a GNU/Linux Mainframe. Kenneth Geisshirt wondered if it
would be possible to build a mainframe-like computer based on Free
Software. One could use OpenSSI or OpenMosix, MPI for
process management and Plex86 or Bochs to create virtual
server. Useful information for a such project is already
Debian Installation for blind People. Mario Lang has been playing with
the debian-installer since November and recently managed to do a
complete installation with the brltty enabled debian-installer
disk. However the driver still has to be added to the command
Handling of multiple Library Versions. Stephen Frost contacted the
technical committee in order to find an answer to the following
problem and to document it in the policy. He seeks a decision on how
to properly handle multiple library versions which end up linked into
the same process. Versioned symbols would potentially break
compatibility with other distributions and the LSB, while conflicting
library packages would render several packages uninstallable.
Debian-Installer Port Status. Alastair McKinstry is working on a
status page to track the builds of debian-installer on various
architectures. He believes that we need to get builds happening on all
ports soon if debian-installer is to be released this year. Volunteers
on non-x86 platforms are wanted. Sebastian Ley has also done some good
work on the graphical installer.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* heimdal -- Cryptographic weakness.
* MIPS kernel -- Local root exploit.
* ecartis, listar -- Password change vulnerability.
* dietlibc -- Arbitrary code execution.
* krb4 -- Cryptographic weakness.
* Mutt -- Arbitrary code execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* ayttm -- All in one Instant Messaging client, forked from
* contest -- The linux kernel responsiveness benchmark.
* glunarclock -- GNOME Lunar Clock Applet.
* gnopernicus -- Screen reader for GNOME 2.
* gvlc -- Gtk+ frontend for VLC.
* ire -- Role-playing-game engine similar to Ultima 6.
* jffnms -- Web-based Network Management Sytem (NMS) for IP
* jsboard -- Web-based news/discussion system.
* kvlc -- KDE frontend for VLC.
* livehttpheaders -- Adds information about the HTTP headers to
* qvlc -- Qt frontend for VLC.
* rlwrap -- A Readline Wrapper.
* selflinux -- Selflinux is a collection of German documents
* tkrat -- Tk based MUA.
* wxvlc -- wxWindows frontend for VLC.
Orphaned Packages. 12 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 184 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.
* agsatellite -- Audiogalaxy Satellite (installer).
* catalog -- Tool to create,maintain and display Yahoo! like
* cproto -- generate C function prototypes and convert function
* fags -- AudioGalaxy client for Unices. (Bug#186976)
* fwanalog -- iptables log-file report generator (using
* kinkatta -- Fully configurable AOL Instant Messenger client
for KDE. (Bug#186071)
* kxmleditor -- XML Editor for KDE. (Bug#187049)
* libical -- Development environment for IETF's iCalendar.
* magpie -- Debian reference librarian. (Bug#185988)
* mifluz -- Full text inverted indexer. (Bug#187121)
* uri -- Library to simply manipulate uri. (Bug#187112)
* zile -- a very small emacs-like editor. (Bug#186597)
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