Debian Weekly News - July 29, 2003
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Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - July 29th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter
for the Debian community. The Open Group has contracted Bruce
Perens to develop an Open Source Strategy for them to prevent
a name change. Our former editor, Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier,
reviewed the CheckInstall tool, which automatically creates
packages after compiling from source. Besides Debian packages it
can create packages in RPM and Slackware formats. The OpenGroup has
published a detailed list of the conflicts between the Linux
Standards Base and Posix.
LGPL affecting Client Java Code? In our last issue we reported
that an article said that Dave Turner of the FSF has allegedly
decreed that the steps required to use an LGPL'd Java library will
actually infect client code with substantial GNU-ness via Section 6
of the LGPL. David Turner clarified the issue and repeats
that your program, which links against the library, does not need
to be licensed under the GNU LGPL.
Debian as musical Instrument. James Patten and Ben Recht
developed a composition and performance instrument for
electronic music which tracks the positions of objects on a
tabletop surface and converts their motion into music. One can pull
sounds from a giant set of samples, cut between drum loops to
create new beats, and apply digital processing all at the same time
on the same table. Knoppix is used as operating system.
Debian Installer Bootcamp. Petter Reinholdtsen suggested to
hold a debian-installer work camp in two or three months time.
If there is sufficient interest a low-cost meeting will be held,
probably in Europe, to push installer development forward.
Currently two locations are being discussed, in Einschlingen
and in Oldenburg, both located in Germany.
Debian Birthday Parties in the UK and Germany. The Debian
project will celebrate its 10th birthday on August 16th at
several locations worldwide. Robert McQueen announced that the
British party will take place at Steve McIntyre's house in
Cambridge. Also announced is the German party which will
take place in a sports club in Wallenrod, Hessen. Interested
people should register for those parties so enough barbecue source
can be acquired.
Joe Barr discovers the Fink Project. For connecting an eMac
with a GNU/Linux box, additional software had to be installed. He
discovered that the members of the Fink Project are doing two
things to bring open source/Free Software to OS X. They port
existing Unix software to OS X and they use package management
tools from Debian to make those ports easy to get, optionally
compile, and install.
Knoppix for PowerPC Machines. Experimental support for PowerPC
machines was added to Knoppix during LinuxTag. Last week
Heise reported about a 500 MB large ISO image which is
publically available. Hardware detection needs to be improved and
the image does not yet contain all of the software from the
Report from DebConf in Oslo. Andreas Schuldei sent a report
stating that this year's Debian Conference was attended by 140
people, the preceding Debian Camp was attended by 90 people, mostly
developers. The event was sponsored by HP, NUUG Foundation,
Lindows, Trolltech, O'Reilly, Linpro (with Dell) and the University
of Oslo. During debcamp over 200 bugs in the future
debian-installer got fixed.
ReiserFS Support for the Debian-Installer. Martin Michlmayr
discussed integrating proper reiserfs support into
debian-installer with Hans Reiser. Hans is very interested in
seeing this happen, and offered technical assistance if any is
needed. Alastair McKinstry explained that this requires a
reiserfs kernel module in its own udeb and a reiserfsprogs udeb
that provides /sbin/mkfs.reiserfs. These steps should be the
same for adding support for other file systems, such as
Debian MPlayer Packages. Andrea Menucc explained why there
are still no mplayer packages in Debian. He missed some responses
from the FTP people. Ola Lundqvist added that he understood
that if debian-legal considers the current packages fine with the
Debian Free Software Guidelines they should be accepted by the
FTP people. Hence, another discussion was started on that
Per-user temporary Directories. Martin Pool is worried about
temporary file vulnerabilities that aren't fixed yet. He notes that
there is already the PAM module libpam-tmpdir which automatically
sets this up on login by creating a per-user directory under /tmp
and pointing TMPDIR at it. Despite the scary low version number of
0.04 it seems to work reliably and presumably any bugs could be
Backporting Security Patches. Luca De Vitis started a
discussion on why Debian rather back-ports security fixes
instead of releasing a new version. This is already answered in the
security FAQ and in the Developer's Reference. Matt
Zimmerman explained that security advisories and the associated
packages should fix security vulnerabilities and nothing else.
Removing orphaned Packages. Matthew Palmer compiled a list
of packages that should probably be removed from the distribution.
He is looking for some feedback from others with probably more
experience. He only investigated the oldest packages on the list of
improperly orphaned packages and only considered packages with
outstanding bugs and no history of interest from anyone in adopting
Coreutils with ACL Support. Michael Stone is contemplating
to upload a version of coreutils that will have support for file
ACLs. Doing this would promote libacl1 and libattr1 to base. Thus,
he is soliciting input about whether this is something people would
like to see. Another possibility would be an optional coreutils-acl
Debian and Unicode Support. Sergey Spiridonov wondered
whether Debian aims to produce a system that properly supports
unicode encoding. This is not an official release goal but it is a
worthwhile goal nevertheless. Adrian von Bidder explained that
submitting a patch will in most cases help more in getting support
fixed or added than a higher severity.
Custom Debian Distributions. Petter Reinholdtsen reported
about a discussion during debcamp in Oslo. All the groups and
projects that are creating Debian-based distributions should join
together to find common solutions to the common problems. He added
the problems and solutions they are using for SkoleLinux as a
basis for further discussions.
QA Group best Practice. Matthew Palmer started with a list
of best practice rules for quality assurance (QA) uploads since he
was unable to locate them in the Developer's Reference. These
include version numbering, the maintainer field and monitoring bugs
from the package in question.
OpenOffice.org at Debcamp and Debconf. Chris Halls reported
on the OpenOffice.org (OOo) team's experience at Debcamp and
debconf. A lot of work was done on OOo, including new packages to
replace 1.1 and 1.0.3, a new myspell dictionary layout and a new
crashreporter. Once the last tasks have been done, the 1.1rc
packages will be uploaded to unstable as openoffice.org to replace
the existing openoffice.org and openoffice.org1.1 packages. Help
with testing upgrading and downgrading in all possible combinations
of the packages would be appreciated.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you
update your systems if you have any of these packages
- fdclone -- Insecure temporary directory usage.
- sup -- Insecure temporary file creation.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to
the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important
- cl-grt -- Common Lisp GRT Raytrace.
- cl-ptester -- Test suite for Common Lisp programs.
- e2fslibs -- The EXT2 filesystem libraries.
- elfutils -- Tools to read from and write to ELF files.
- gbiff2 -- Mail notification program supporting GTK+ and
- gossip -- Friendly Jabber client for GNOME.
- gxine -- Xine video player, GTK user interface.
- hydrogen -- Simple drum machine/step sequencer.
- javacc -- Parser generator for use with Java.
- kwavecontrol -- Wireless device monitoring application for
- lvs-kiss -- Load-balancing made easy.
- netpipes -- Manipulate BSD TCP/IP stream sockets.
- testdisk -- Partition scanner and disk recovery tool.
- unifdef -- Remove ifdef sections from files.
Orphaned Packages. 6 packages were orphaned this week and
require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 185 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.
- libvorbis-perl -- Perl extension for Ogg Vorbis streams.
- qpage -- SNPP-to-TAP/IXO gateway and SNPP client.
- ripperx -- GTK-based ripper/encoder. (Bug#202541)
- xfonts-greek-ph -- Rich collection of X11 Greek fonts.
- xmountains -- Fractal landscape generator for X.
- xzoom -- Magnify part of X display, with fast updates.
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