Debian Weekly News - August 12, 2003
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Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - August 12th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter
for the Debian community. Following the 26th issue, Stephan
Wehrheim wrote a document about installing Debian 3.0 on a Dell
Inspiron 8200. Michael Singer looked at Open Source as a
social movement, in a similar way to what Bruce Perens discussed at
Linuxworld San Francisco.
Crontab no longer setuid. Steve Greenland reported that he
has changed crontab to be setgid 'cron' rather than setuid 'root'.
This introduces a new group 'cron' which will automatically be
created during installation.
Removal of Libraries from the Archive. Chris Cheney noticed
that a library was removed which he had just listed as a dependency
for an uploaded package. He proposed to make an addition to policy
stating that an old library can not be removed from the archive
until no other package depends on it. Richard Braakman explained
that the past had shown that as long as the old library was still
around, there was apparently no incentive for anyone to remove the
No Mutt Dependency on an MTA? Artur Czechowski wondered if
Mutt should only recommend a mail-transfer-agent (MTA) instead
of depending on it. Rene Engelhard explained that sending mail
is one of the key features of Mutt, but this requires an MTA, hence
the dependency should remain.
Python 2.3 Transition. Matthias Klose announced the next
Python transition after version 2.3 has been released. With the
next upload of python2.3, it will become the default version of
Python. Some packages become uninstallable until they are converted
to the new version, though.
Explanations for Reassigning Bugs. Joey Hess requested that
people include an explanation for the new package maintainer when
they reassign a bug to a different package. He said that it is very
annoying to get several bug reports that were reassigned to ones
own packages, with no explanation attached, forcing the maintainer
to grab the information on his own.
Zeroconf for Debian? Andrew Pollock wondered if somebody is
working on getting Zeroconf implemented within the Debian
system. Zero configuration IP networking means that two
computers hooked together build an ad-hoc IP network and can talk
to each other without human intervention. The package zcip is
supposed to implement this.
Debconf I18n improved. Collaboration between Joey Hess and
Tomohiro Kubota has lead to a major improvement in debconf's
internationalisation (i18n) in version 1.3.0. This version
solves line-folding problem for several languages and
encodings. Debconf template translators for Chinese and Japanese
will no more need to insert redundant whitespaces which were
previously needed to avoid the problem.
Advantages of using Debian. Markus Raab listed (only in
German) many advantages of using Debian. He highlighted the package
management system and the strong implementation of the
Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. He also emphasised the number of
available packages, the guaranteed freeness, leaving alternatives
and choice for the user, the documentation and more. Much of this
is also included in the Advantages HOWTO.
Hurd Kernel Change. Ciaran O'Riordan reported that the Hurd
will move from Gnumach to L4 in the long term. Hazelnut is
the name of the L4 implementation that Hurd is being ported to. In
the short term, though, there's a moderate change from gnumach1.3
to gnumach2.0 which is called oskit-mach.
Support for Ant. Arnaud Vandyck reported that a lot of java
packages are built with ant. It would probably be a good idea to
have common practices with ant including a default interface into
package building. Stefan Gybas would like to create an Ant
class for the Common Debian Build System (CDBS) so that
debian/rules will become really simple.
Policy for 32-bit UIDs and GIDs? Steve Langasek reported
that section 9.2 of policy currently describes uid and gid
classes covering the range of 0-65535. This appears to no longer be
comprehensive since on a current system running a 2.4.18 kernel and
libc6 2.3.1-17 one can assign 32-bit user ids to accounts and
reference these accounts in file ownerships, su to them, etc. He
wondered if the Debian Policy should be expanded to address this
greatly increased range of available ids.
Debian turns 10. On August 16th, the Debian Project will
celebrate its 10th birthday with several parties around the
globe. The largest parties will take place in Brno, Czech
Republic, Turku, Finland, Wallenrod and Berlin,
Germany, as well as in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. During
the last ten years, the project has developed an extensive set of
policies and procedures for packaging and delivering software.
These standards are backed up by tools, automation, and
documentation implementing all of Debian's key elements in an open
and visible way. As a present, Jörg Jaspert created a
rescue CD in the size of a business card which will be
handed out in Berlin and Wallenrod.
Debian Package Exams at LPI. The Linux Professional
Institute (LPI) introduced new exams which allow candidates to be
tested on RPM or Debian package management. Candidates pick the
package they wish to be tested on when beginning an exam, LPI said
on a story on Certcities.com. LPI has delivered more than
24,000 exams, and awarded more than 5,500 certifications
List of setuid/setgid Binaries in the current stable Release.
Steve Kemp announced a list of all the setuid/setgid binaries
in the current release. The main reactions to this list revolved
around the recent security advisories on games and Joey Hess'
suggestion to make it a policy that all setuid/gid binaries
should go through a peer review, an idea that was supported by
several developers who also volunteered to do the
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you
update your systems if you have any of these packages
- phpgroupware -- Several vulnerabilities.
- eroaster -- Insecure temporary file creation.
- xtokkaetama -- Buffer overflow.
- xpcd -- Buffer overflow.
- zblast -- Buffer overflow.
- pam-pgsql -- Format string vulnerability.
- perl -- Cross-site scripting.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to
the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important
- autoconf-archive -- GNU Autoconf Macro Archive.
- bluez-pin -- Bluetooth PIN helper with D-BUS support.
- cyclades-serial-client -- Network Serial port client
software for Cyclades terminal servers.
- drgeo-doc -- Dr. Geo online manual.
- grub-disk -- GRUB bootable disk image.
- mboxcheck-applet -- GNOME2 applet to check your mbox
- scalemail -- Scalable virtual mail domain system built on
Postfix and LDAP.
- synaptic-debtags -- Gtk GUI-frontend for APT with debtags
- tclthread -- Tcl extension implementing script level access
to Tcl threading capabilities.
- tclvfs -- Exposes Tcl 8.4's virtual filesystem C API to the
Tcl script level.
- tome -- Single-player, text-based, dungeon simulation
- wmkbd -- WindowMaker dock app which can
define/modify/switch keyboard maps.
- xfe -- Lightweight file manager for X11.
Orphaned Packages. 9 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.
- libastro-ads-perl -- Modules for querying the Astrophysics
Data System. (Bug#204442)
- libastro-catalog-perl -- Generic object-oriented
astronomical catalog object. (Bug#204447)
- libastro-dss-perl -- Interface to the Digital Sky Surveys
astronomical databases. (Bug#204448)
- libastro-fits-cfitsio-perl -- Perl extension for using the
cfitsio library. (Bug#204458)
- libastro-fits-header-perl -- Perl tools for reading,
modifying and writing FITS headers. (Bug#204453)
- libastro-simbad-perl -- Object-oriented interface to the
SIMBAD astronomical database. (Bug#204450)
- libastro-waveband-perl -- Transparent change between
astronomical filter names, wavelength and frequency.
- sextractor -- Builds a catalogue of objects from an
astronomical image. (Bug#204464)
- snacc -- ASN.1 to C or C++ or IDL compiler.
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