Debian Weekly News - April 29, 2003
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Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - April 29th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 17th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Robin Miller published an article on
Newsforge in which he discusses why programmers write Free Software. A
similar article on Cybernaut covers the same topic but comes to
different conclusions. Slashdot readers also digested and
discussed both articles.
Removal of Pike 0.6 and Roxen 1.3. Turbo Fredriksson reported that
he has discussed removing Pike version 0.6 with Marek Habersack, its
maintainer. Pike versions 0.6 and 7.0 include severe problems and are
already superseded by 7.2 and 7.4. However as Roxen 1.3 requires Pike
0.6, it alongside Pike 0.6 will be removed from unstable and testing.
Users of Roxen 1.3 are strongly encouraged to switch to Caudium, which
should work as a drop-in replacement.
Debian Free Software License? Jörg Wendland wondered if a license
exists that is modelled on the Debian Free Software Guidelines
(DFSG) and which reflects the DFSG and Debian's sense of Free Software
in general. Henning Makholm explained that people can usually
agree about whether a given license is free or not. But there is
nothing like consensus about which of the many ways to construct a
free license is the "best".
Proposed Statement about the GNU FDL. Anthony Towns proposed a
statement on the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL). In
November 2002, after a long period of consultation, version 1.2 of the
GNU FDL was released by the Free Software Foundation.
Unfortunately, some concerns raised by members of the Debian Project
were not addressed, and as such the GNU FDL can apply to works that do
not pass the DFSG.
Installing Debian over a remote GNU/Linux System. This document
explains the steps required to change the operating system running on
a remote system to Debian. The process uses ssh to connect and depends
upon the availability of the chroot environment whilst installing. The
writer details how he remotely converted a Red Hat system into a
Debian system, although it should be applicable under any GNU/Linux
variant and possibly other similar systems.
Debian-Ham 0.5 released. A new Debian-Ham was finally released
with the latest tlf (0.8.19) and cwdaemon as a keyer. Debian-Ham is a
two floppy distribution that targets HAM radio users and is
specifically designed for contesting and logging. The current scheme
uses a LILO boot floppy with a minix root floppy. Network support is
included to connect to a DX cluster.
Eliminating Extensions in Program Filenames. Following an earlier
discussion on the topic, Joey Hess proposed a change in the
Debian policy so that when scripts are installed into a directory
in the system PATH, the script name should not include an extension
such as .sh or .pl. Such language extensions create problems when a
program is reimplemented and make it harder to type command names.
They also look unprofessional and go against the Unix tradition.
PEAR packages in Debian? Piotr Roszatycki wondered which steps
need to be taken to get packages from the PHP Extension and
Application Repository (PEAR) included in Debian. PEAR is a framework
and distribution system for reusable PHP components. Steve Langasek
proposed to use a structure similar to Perl module packaging.
Translating Debian Hints. Joel Baker reported that the package
fortunes-debian-hints that contains hints for using Debian has now
entered testing. He was wondering whether there is a way to do
translations of the fortune data, without having to have localized
packages. Andreas Tille mentioned the way fortunes-de is packaged
which puts the German cookies in the right place.
Libpng Package Updates. Josselin Mouette reported about some
problems caused by recently uploaded libpng packages. The libpng12
packages are a rename of the libpng3 ones, while the libpng10 are the
former libpng2 ones. The reason why there are still 2 versions on the
system is that gdk-imlib1 and GNOME 1 are still linked to libpng2 on
other major distributions. In order to preserve binary compatibility
with them, our gdk-imlib1 is still linked with libpng2.
Debian to drop Support for i386? Jochen Friedrich noted that due
to GCC 3.2 the new libstdc++5 library requires an 80486 processor or
higher, the old 80386 on which Linux was started, is no longer
supported. Therefore Matthias Klose wondered whether Debian should
further support the i386 target.
Booting Debian from a USB Stick. Matthias Müller set up a document
in which he describes how to configure a pc and modify Knoppix to
allow booting off of the USB stick containing a stripped down
GNU/Linux system. You'll have to modify the boot image so all relevant
USB modules get loaded. Additionally the system needs to sleep for a
few seconds, while the modules attempt to recognize the memory stick.
Packing another Init System? Joachim Breitner wondered if the time
has come to package simpleinit. Miquel van Smoorenburg has split
off sysv-rc from sysvinit, so other mechanisms can be more easily
supported. Ted T'so added that one big problem with Richard
Gooch's simpleinit is that it is functionally very different from the
standard System V init scripts that Debian uses.
Rewrite of grep-dctrl. Antti-Juhani Kaijana reported that he is in
the process of rewriting grep-dctrl. The rewrite attempts to gain
speed over the old version whilst removing one of the greatest defects
in the old code. The new grep-dctrl will be able to combine searches
in a full boolean manner. He is seeking testers for the new code and
has supplied a CVS location.
Lock-In Software. In a guest article Brendan Scott discussed the
term "proprietary software" which is often used as the opposite of
Free Software. In his opinion, GPLed software is as "proprietary" as
software under an end user license agreement. Only the licensor owns
the software. However, Free Sofware grants the user much more rights.
He proposed an alternative, more appropriate, term "lock-in software".
Other terms, including hostageware, are identified, but not adopted.
Against Software Patents in Europe. The Eurolinux initiative has
said that the European Parliament is likely to ratify a Software
Patent Directive ("Directive on the Patentability of
Computer-Implemented Inventions"), possibly with helpful amendments in
May 2003. As a stakeholder in software development, you have the
opportunity to participate. As participation can have a decisive
influence, together with the FSF Europe they ask for your
Python Volunteers for AGNULA wanted. The FSF Europe is looking for
volunteers to replace a non-free component of A GNU/Linux Audio
Distribution (AGNULA). AGNULA is two entirely Free Software GNU/Linux
distributions for professional audio users based upon Debian GNU/Linux
and Red Hat Linux. The application in question is jMax, a visual
programming environment for building interactive musical and
multimedia applications. The most likely solution to this problem
seems to be the creation of a Python-based Free Software GUI for jMax.
Trusted Debian released. Version 1.0 of Trusted Debian has been
announced. The project was started in October 2002 with a beta
release in March 2003. Trusted Debian is based on Debian but is
not Debian and does not have any direct relation to the Debian
project. The aim of the project is to provide a highly secure but
usable GNU/Linux platform.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* kdelibs -- Arbitrary command execution.
* gkrellm-newsticker -- DoS and arbitrary command execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* cl-units -- Common Lisp package providing units conversions.
* enbd -- Enhanced Network Block Device support.
* fftw3 -- Library for computing Fast Fourier Transforms.
* fibusql -- Web based double-entry accounting.
* grande -- Vertical shoot'em-up.
* kftgt -- Ticket forwarder for Kerberos 4.
* moviemate -- web-based movie database and tracker.
* mudnames -- Multi-User Dungeon name generator daemon.
* perdition -- POP3 and IMAP4 Proxy server.
* predict-gsat -- Graphical Satellite Tracking Client Program.
* secvpn -- Secure Virtual Private Network.
* stardict -- English-Chinese/Chinese-English dictionary for
* sysv-rc -- Standard boot mechanism using symlinks in
Orphaned Packages. 9 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 193 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.
* bbdate -- Date tool for the blackbox window manager.
* bbppp -- PPP tool for the blackbox window manager.
* bbsload -- System load tool for the blackbox window manager.
* bbtime -- Time tool for the blackbox window manager.
* grdb -- GNOME applet for the grdb program. (Bug#190192)
* ipautofw -- Utility to automatically add masquerade entries.
* kernel-patch-2.4-speedtouch -- Speedtouch USB ADSL support for
* verilog-mode -- Emacs mode for verilog language.
* xttitle -- Changes X terminal emulator window titles.
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