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Debian Weekly News - September 10th, 2001

Sep 11, 2001, 00:50 (0 Talkback[s])
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 23:59:55 +0200
From: Martin Schulze 
Subject: Debian Weekly News - September 10th, 2001

Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - September 10th, 2001

Jigsaw Download. Richard Attererannounced[1] the availability of
Jigsaw Download 0.5.2 (or jigdo for short), a tool to help distribute
large filesystem images like CD ISOs or DVD UDF files. Jigdo consists
of a program to prepare the image file for download and an download
tool to grab the files. At this time the download tool has not been
implemented. Jigdo is a proposed replacement for the pseudo image kit.
Richard is also looking for help with Jigdo, so if anyone has some
free time on their hands this might be a fun project to sink your
teeth into.

Kerberos Integration Mailing List. Sam[2] Hartman is setting up a
mailing list for integrating Kerberos support into Debian. Currently
the list is not through Debian servers, you can find the archives and
signup for the list at

Adopt a Package! There are a lot of orphaned (102) and up-for-adoption
(35) packages out there. Some of the packages include kicq, knews,
mcvert (Mac to Unix file converter) and several others. This week's
list of packages is found here[4].

Translating Debian packages' descriptions. Michael Bramer has posted a
new proposal[5] to support multilingual package descriptions. In the
meantime the Debian[6] Description Translation Server has started
sending out automatic notification mails whenever a new translation
has been entered or modified. This caused some people feel offended.
Adam Heath, as an example, wrote[7] about this: "As an automated
mail, to which I have not request, I consider this spam." It has not
yet been decided how such translated descriptions should be handled,
so these mails are just notifications which will hit developers who
don't want to fiddle with it - and who may be confused by such mails.

Custom Debian Archives. Many people discovered the need for their own
Debian archive in addition to the ones at ftp ftp.debian.org as provided
by the project. People who need updates to potato for corporate
environments or who are not yet registrated Debian developers often
create an archive of their own. Oohara Yuuma has announced[8] a
small[9] HOWTO that describes the way how to upload custom Debian
packages on a web server so that they can be downloaded with apt-get
by others.

Switching to UTF-8. Radovan Garabik has written a HOWTO[10] that
contains a step by step introduction to switching a Debian system to
use UTF-8 encoding. Even though it is supposed to be well-documented
how to switch to UTF-8 encoding, there are many pitfalls and gotchas.
Often one has to locate the relevant information somewhere on the net.
This HOWTO intends to fill that gap.

Debian mirrors on the 6Bone. Heikki Vatiainen has posted a report[11]
about Debian on IPv6-enabled hosts. Since there are two sites that are
currently working and others are (re)joining 6Bone in the future, the
question is how to add these hosts to the list of official Debian
mirror servers. APT is fully IPv6 enabled and has been for a long
time, so interested people can use these servers without a hassle if
DNS is set up properly. There seem to have some confusion whether to
use AAAA or A6 records for IPv6 hosts. Debian uses AAAA and has added
their IPv6-enabled hosts to the ipv6.debian.org/ domain.

Bugs in standard packages. Martin Michlmayr has announced[12] the
availability of standard[13].debian.net. It displays all bugs in
packages of priority `standard'. "Standard" for the purpose of the
freeze also includes all packages included in tasks, that's roughly
this list[14]. Since these are important packages, NMUs should not be
released. Instead, patches or valuable comments should be sent to the
Bugtracking System.

The Layne Incident The Debian-Security list was plagued for quite a
while with a rather unintelligent individual who insisted on abusing
the list with strings of obscenities rather than unsubscribing
himself. (How he got subscribed in the first place is a matter of
conjecture...) Wade[15] Richards seems to have hit upon an extremely
elegant and apparently effective solution to the problem. Since this
sort of thing happens every now and again, folks who spend a lot of
time on mailing lists may want to read Wade's solution.

Pentium Optimized Debian. Risko Gergely wrote in and asked us to
announce that an effort to recompile Debian Potato with Pentium
optimization is underway and now apt-gettable. You can find more info
about these packages and apt lines at

Importance of packages. Junichi Uekawa has announced[17] a script[18]
that will calculate how many packages depend on a package. It
investigates both regular Depends as well as Build-Depends. The script
has, however, issues with loops in the dependency tree, it will report
funky numbers of packages in such a case.

Explicit Congestion Notification. After an update from a vanilla 2.2.x
kernel to a 2.4 some sites will effectively disapear from the
internet. Explicit[19] Congestion Notification (ECN) allows routers to
notify clients about network congestion, resulting in fewer dropped
packets and increased network performance. Note that, on the Internet,
there are many broken firewalls which refuse connections from
ECN-enabled machines, and it may be a while before these firewalls are
fixed. Until then, to access a site behind such a firewall (some of
which are major[20] sites) you will have to disable this option. A
discussion[21] and another[22] have been started which targets to a
smooth upgrade of a Debian system, when a new ECN-enabled 2.4.x kernel
is used. The current problem with Debian provided kernel images seems
that ECN is enabled in the default 2.4.x kernel which is not disabled
later (/proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_ecn).

Backup Package Maintenance. During the base freeze preparations in the
last few weeks, a problem Debian has always had became apparent again.
Since Debian is a distributed, volunteer run project it is difficult
to tell whether a maintainer is doing Debian work at the moment or
not. In the freeze, it is often crucial to get a bug fixed within a
very short period of time. If the maintainer doesn't respond to e-mail
immediately, you can either wait or make an NMU. Martin Michlmayr has
posted a proposal[23] about a better use of multiple maintainers by
using a backup maintainer or two listed in the Uploaders field.

Adduser rewrite? Roland Bauerschmidt released[24] his plans of
rewriting adduser from scratch in Python. Adduser is in base and part
of the boot-floppies bootstrap process. Rewriting it in Python would
add another set of dependencies which would bloat the base system even
more. Quoting Randolph Chung: "Creating more dependencies is a Bad

Separate mailing list for users running testing? Discussions on
debian-user show that many people are already running testing/unstable
and have to ask back which distribution one is running who has
experienced problems with a certain part of the system. The question
came[25] up whether debian-testing[26] is a place for users or
developers to discuss issues. Dwarf clarified[27] this: "This list was
created for the testing group started during the release of 1.3. Most
of the members at that time were Debian users, and not developers. The
whole point was to get users involved in testing. Developers said they
were already testing on their own."

New Packages. This a short list of a few of the new and noteworthy
packages for Debian this week. Note that this is by no means an
all-inclusive list or in any way a snub against any packages not
mentioned. Any maintainer who releases a package that they'd like to
call attention to should send us a note.

 * The[28] Berlin Display Server -- A windowing system not based on X
 with some nifty features.
 * DocBook[29] Book -- The HTML version of the O'Reilly DocBook book.
 * Teg[30] -- A turn-based strategy game. All work and no play...
 * Gqcam[31] -- GTK Webcam control.
 * gvidm[32] -- Gtk application to change video resolution in X.

Recent Security Advisories. There's only one security advisory this
week, in the telnet daemon in the netkit-telnet-ssl_0.16.3-1 package
found in stable. Anyone using this package will want to upgrade
netkit-telnet-ssl. The original advisory is here[33].

  1. http://lists.debian.org/debian-cd/2001/debian-cd-200109/msg00000.html
  2. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce-0109/msg00000.html
  3. http://mailman.boxedpenguin.com/mailman/listinfo/debian-kerberos
  4. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce-0109/msg00003.html
  5. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00297.html
  6. http://auric.debian.org/~grisu/ddtp/
  7. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00309.html
  8. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00629.html
  9. http://www.interq.or.jp/libra/oohara/apt-gettable/apt-gettable/
  10. http://melkor.dnp.fmph.uniba.sk/~garabik/debian-utf8/HOWTO
  11. http://lists.debian.org/debian-ipv6-0108/msg00038.html
  12. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00606.html
  13. http://standard.debian.net/
  14. http://ftp-master.debian.org/~ajt/stddscs.txt
  15. http://lists.debian.org/debian-security/2001/debian-security-200109/msg00072.html
  16. http://debian.fsn.hu/fsni586/debian/README.txt
  17. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00550.html
  18. http://mikilab.doshisha.ac.jp/~dancer/analyse-sourcepackages
  19. http://gtf.org/garzik/ecn/
  20. http://urchin.earth.li/ecn.html
  21. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00430.html
  22. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00041.html
  23. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0109/msg00130.html
  24. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01999.html
  25. http://lists.debian.org/debian-project-0109/msg00006.html
  26. http://www.debian.org/MailingLists/subscribe#debian-testing
  27. http://lists.debian.org/debian-project-0109/msg00008.html
  28. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/misc/berlin.html
  29. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/doc/docbook-book.html
  30. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/games/teg.html
  31. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/graphics/gqcam.html
  32. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/x11/gvidm.html
  33. http://lists.debian.org/debian-security-announce/debian-security-announce-2001/msg00077.html

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