Debian Weekly News - July 1, 2003
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Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - July 1st, 2003
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter
for the Debian community. The South Australian government
discusses a bill that requires government departments to use
Free Software where practicable. British scientists found out that
debugging in open source projects is always faster than in
closed source projects. Eben Moglen, legal advisor of the Free
Software Foundation released a paper in which he tries to
correct confusing use of the term "Linux".
Abuse of Changelog Entries. Gerfried Fuchs explained in
detail how changelog entries should not be abused by package
maintainers and how bugs should be closed instead. The general rule
is that if there has been no change made to close a bug, don't
close it with a changelog entry. If a new upstream version fixes
some bugs, details should be written as well.
Improving the Debian Reference. Maximilian Attems sought
people to help improve the small section about perl in the
Debian Reference by Osamu Aoki and others, that covers many
aspects of system administration through the shell command
examples. He admitted that the Bash section is quite impressive.
Links to free documentation about Perl should be added at
Debian on a Dell Inspiron 8000. Nori Heikkinen announced a
howto document that describes in detail how to install Debian
on a Dell Inspiron 8000 notebook. This includes configuration for
the video card, an external mouse and hints on rescuing the system
from the boot CD. She would appreciate any comments, suggestions
and improvements people have about it.
Getting to know Debian. SitePoint has an article called
Getting to Know Debian. It begins with an explanation of Debian
GNU/Linux and how to obtain an installation CD. It then moves
on to describe booting and setting up the system, setting up
accounts, and upgrading the system with apt-get. The article is
suitable for beginners and includes a succinct description of
Debian's philosophy, advantages and installation.
Debian Powers 1st wireless DVD-quality Video. PRISMIQ
announced the release of 802.11a/g Wi-Fi support for its
MediaPlayer set-top box, which connects to a TV or stereo
system and communicates with a PC. PRISMIQ says the 54 Mbps 802.11g
bandwidth will carry high quality video from a PC to a TV, making
MediaPlayer "the first consumer set-top box to enable DVD-quality
video over 802.11g wireless." The MediaPlayer is powered by Debian
GNU/Linux, which was chosen for its "quality and features" and was
ported in-house by Brad LaRonde.
Debian on Ultra 10/Distribution Server. Guillaume Tamboise
wrote a document on configuring Debian 3.0 as a
distribution server on a Sun Ultra 10. The document was written for
a SANS Institute security certification (SANS GCUX). It is more
Sparc 64 specific than Sun Ultra 10 specific, but most of it
applies to Debian in general. It includes chapters on risk
assessment, a step by step setup guide, and ongoing
Verifying Packages with APT. Isaac Jones announced APT
Secure, which is the working name of a project to add to APT the
ability to verify the authenticity of Debian packages. It
accomplishes this via a chain of trust which is initiated by the
package maintainers and ends on the installing machine. Isaac asked
people to help test and audit the patch to APT, and eventually to
participate in the policy discussion about the patch.
Libtool requires Updating. Scott James Remnant announced
that many Debian packages need to be updated to use the latest
version of libtool (1.4.3-10). This is because older versions use
the file utility and a regular expression to determine if something
is a shared library, but the format of the file output line for
MIPS shared libraries has changed. Newer versions of libtool use a
better checking method, however many source packages have not
updated and Scott may need to file his first mass bug report.
Debian and the Rise of Linux. Slashdot hosted a discussion
about an article contributed by Jonathan Oxer in this month's
LinMagAu that asks a question about how the rise of Linux will
impact Debian and what that could mean. It says that by mid 2004 at
the latest Linux will be a serious contender on the average desktop
and that Linux will begin to take a serious chunk of the
Perl Packages in Sarge uninstallable. Mark Hedges indirectly
reported that several Perl packages in sarge are not
installable anymore, since they indirectly depend on perlapi-5.6.1
which is not available anymore. Adam Heath pointed out that
those packages need to be updated for the recent version of Perl
and there was enough time for this already.
Introduction to Debian. SitePoint has an article by Jono
Bacon that introduces Debian and contains guidelines on installing
it. This could be useful for managers, new users and other people
that may be interested in using Debian. It says that in addition to
the long term benefits, there are also a number of distinct
technical advantages to using Debian, the first of which is its
More on European Software Patents. An article at ZDNet UK says
that the EU bureaucrats aren't even considering the numerous
anti-software patenting opinions out there. According to a
well-connected lobbyist group, they have determined there will be
patents, and the only question is what kind.
Debian-Installer on PowerPC. Gaudenz Steinlin wrote a little
howto that contains tips and tricks for using debian-installer
on a PowerPC machine. He includes links to missing packages and
describes in how to boot a newworld PowerPC system over the network
and install Debian on it.
GNU Versions of Projects. Don Jacobson wanted to install
only the GNU versions of projects, such as gawk instead of mawk,
and asked if there is a single command to install them all. Sam
Hocevar proposed a command line that finds all GNU versions
available. Roland Mas suggested to maintain a new task
Identifying transitional Packages. Bernd Eckenfels noticed a
few transitional and dummy packages on his system, but no common
way to identify them. Aaron Ucko pointed to deborphan
--guess-dummy --guess-only that tries to find dummy packages.
Incorporating a temporary fork of Date::Manip? Kenneth Pronovici
wondered how he is supposed to handle a temporary fork of
Date::Manip by the upstream developer of one of his packages, since
the new version is somewhat required by the package. Options
include adding the fixes to the Debian package as well, creating a
new package that would include the fork and ignoring the fork.
Is PHPNuke free or not? Several new discussions wanted
to know whether license problems in PHPNuke are real and rendering
the package non-free. A notice tries to make users believe that
the package is still free, but Steve Langasek concluded that
the license addition indeed renders the package non-free. The
maintainer agreed that he would upload the package to non-free,
which didn't happen yet.
Debian Beowulf Resources. Adam Powell announced that he put
a couple of entries into the Debian Wiki related to
Beowulf. He has moved all of the content from his old "Debian
Beowulf Howtos" to this site for better visibility and long-term
New Skolelinux CD image. Petter Reinholdtsen announced that
he had created new Skolelinux CD image, prerelease 39. LVM is
now fully supported by autopartkit and is used on the system
partitions. Several other improvements are included, but there are
still a couple of problems included that require fixing.
Custom Compilation on a Laptop? Johannes Graumann wondered
if custom compiling of packages would be better suited for machines
with limited resources like a laptop. Russell Coker explained
that the resources to compile a package are vastly greater than
those required to just install a binary Debian package.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you
update your systems if you have any of these packages
- imagemagick -- Insecure temporary file creation.
- Linux 2.4.17 -- Several vulnerabilities.
- acm -- Integer overflow.
- xgalaga -- Buffer overflow.
- mantis -- Insecure file permissions.
- Linux 2.2.20 -- Several vulnerabilities.
- gtksee -- Buffer overflow.
- proftpd -- SQL injection.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to
the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important
- backuppc -- High-performance, enterprise-grade system for
backing up PCs.
- bristol -- Vintage Synthesiser emulator.
- fprobe -- Exports NetFlow V5 datagrams to a remote
- ghc6 -- Glasgow Haskell Compilation system.
- kanatest -- Beginner's drill game to learn Japanese kana
- klogic -- Digital circuit editor and simulator for
- lua50 -- Small embeddable language with simple procedural
- phpqladmin -- LDAP user administration interface.
- pkcipe -- Public key based configuration tool for the CIPE
- socketapi1 -- Socket API library for sctplib.
- starvoyager -- 2D space arcade game, themed around 'Star
- ttf-arhangai -- TrueType font with Mongolian Cyrillic
- ygraph -- Visualize one-dimensional scientific data.
Orphaned Packages. 4 packages were orphaned this week and
require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 190 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.
- awesfx -- Various utility programs for controlling AWE32/64
- gtkrecover -- GUI for recover. (Bug#199247)
- kbackup -- A console single host backup solution for
various media. (Bug#198554)
- recover -- Undelete files on ext2 partitions.
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