Happy new year and welcome to Debian Weekly News. Debian Weekly
News has now been summarizing the events of the Debian world for
two full years. A timeline of the most important stories of 2000
is available as a special supplement to this issue.
Discussion volume has been light on the mailing lists over the
holidays, with many developers on vacation. Lots of users were on
vacation too, and some wanted to temporarily unsubscribe from
debian-user to prevent email piling up while they were away.
However, several of them were unable to unsubscribe. Brian Moore
tracked down the problem to an invalid threshold that had been
set in SmartList's configuration, and the problem was eventually
We're beginning to learn what life with the testing distribution
will be like. Developers now need to keep track of what versions of
their packages are in testing, as well as stable and unstable, and
it's proving to be rather hard to figure out why an updated package
is not being accepted into testing. This involves reading the
"update excuses" file and trying to guess what it means.
Anthony Towns has posted several explanations of various aspects of
testing's workings (architecture details, versioned
dependency details). Some packages, including the new versions of X
and perl, are not in testing yet, and are "holding back the tide"
of other packages that depend on them. On the other hand, glibc 2.2
has now entered testing.
The move from /usr/doc to /usr/share/doc is proving long and
slow. Joey Hess calculated that unless 6 packages are converted
every day from now until woody is frozen, the first stage of the
transition will not be finished in time for woody, and the full
transition would be pushed off into the far future. Though this did
spur some uploads, nowhere near six packages a day are being
converted. Ben Collins pointed out that an alternative is to
"reevaluate this decision based on the fact that the bug in dpkg
that forced this implementation (as opposed to a clean /usr/doc
symlink to share/doc) has been gone for awhile now". He proposed a
single transition script that would move the remaining contents of
/usr/doc to /usr/share/doc and symlink the two directories.
According to Ben, all of his systems have been set up this way
"without any errors or missing files". Santiago Vila worries
about "risking the integrity of the system by complex scripts"; in
the meantime development of such a script is under way, though
it is not clear if it will be used.
Wishlist features for dpkg turned out to be the topic of this
thread, although it didn't start out that way. The features
people would like to see added to some future version of dpkg
include the ability to easily rollback upgrades,
relocatable packages, installation of multiple versions of
a package at one time, entirely eliminating maintainer scripts
so installing a package does not run code as root, and many other
difficult things. It's not just all daydreaming though -- dpkg may
support binary database cache files as early as version
Just in time for Christmas, three new security fixes were
released: a temporary file attack against dialog, several
vulnerabilities in stunnel, and two gnupg problems were all
fixed on December 25th.
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