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Debian Weekly News - December 5th, 2001

Dec 05, 2001, 23:49 (0 Talkback[s])

Debian Weekly News - December 5th, 2001

Fixing GPM Bugs. Zephaniah E. Hull worked on GPM recently, fighting against broken mice which broke mice protocols on their side and sent more characters to the computer than expected. Zephaniah publically asked for bug reports about problems with GPM and PS/2 mice. Even if these bugs are filed as bugs already, please read his mail and provide all information he needs.

Quality of Ximian's Debian Packages. Eric Van Buggenhaut was playing with Ximian's Debian Packages, trying to get Ximian's version of gdm compile. His fears include the possibility that some of Ximian's packages could make it into Debian, even though they lack proper maintenance resulting in: no Build-depends, no clean target in debian/rules and broken debian/conf-files.

Automatic Building of non-free Packages? Adrian Bunk started a discussion about discrimination of non-free packages. It was noticed that Debians Build Daemons (buildd) don't seem to automatically build non-free packages for all architectures, resulting in difficulties getting non-free packages entering the testing stage. Richard Braakman and James Troup (ftp master and maintainer of nearly half a dozen buildds) explained why buildds can't automatically build non-free packages.

Freeze in Progress. The freeze for Woody is coming closer which will definitively lead into a released Woody. Anthony Towns is reviewing the situation of testing/unstable and reports problems which the maintainer of these affected packages have to solve in order to get their packages updated in testing. People who care about Woody should read the debian-devel mailing list frequently.

Interpretive Guidelines Regarding DFSG 3. Branden Robinson proposed an interpretation to the DFSG clause 3 that covers modifications and derived works. His proposal reflects the current situation about certain parts of packages are unmodifiable (e.g. license texts and auxiliary material). Such auxiliary material was introduced by the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL).

Quick Reference for Debian. Osamu Aoki started a new document named Quick Reference for Debian GNU/Linux which is distributed under the GNU FDL. This document is mostly a collection of scripts which can be used as quick reference. It covers many aspects of system administration through shell command examples and configuration files. Many issues were picked up from the debian-user mailing list.

Freeze Update. Anthony Towns sent an update of the freeze process. After December 9th, no changes (beyond minimal security backports, or incredibly special exceptions) will be made to base packages in Woody. After December 9th, standard packages which have been dropped from Woody won't be reinstated. See our last issue for details.

LDP Documents in non-free? David Merrill, the Linux Documentation Project coordinator, mailed the Debian Project recently with concerns about LDP documents (affecting packages doc-linux-html and doc-linux-text, plus the various translations) having to be moved to non-free. Unfortunately many LDP documents are encumbered by distribution requirements. Many authors, however, are cooperating with David and are relicensing their work.

Report from International Linux Kongreß 2001. The Debian Project had the opportunity to run a booth and a developers workshop during International Linux Kongreß 2001 which was held at the University of Twente last week. Joey wrote a trip report describing some details of the meeting. More than a dozen Debian people joined the conference, were talking with each other about various topics and exchanged GnuPG fingerprints. And, of cource, evening meetings were always fun to attend.

Packages from NSA's SE Linux. Russell Coker spent some time investigating SE Linux and assembling a couple of preliminary packages. In order to benefit from the changes made to SE Linux you'll first need to have a kernel with extra functionality booted. Russell has a patch prepared already.

Free Software in Russian Companies. A non-public conference targeting Free Software in the Business world was held in Moscow at the end of November. Peter Novodvorsky and Wartan Hachaturow from Debian attended the conference and gave a talk about Debian.

One Small Step for Debian... We normally don't do product announcements, but we thought it was worth mentioning that HP's new line of Blade servers will debut with Linux before Windows versions or HP-UX. Naturally, one of the GNU/Linux distributions available is Debian GNU/Linux. Unfortunately, the first models won't ship until January. Too late for stocking-stuffers, but just in time for Valentine's...

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following new or updated packages were added to the Debian archive since our last issue.

  • dhcping and dhcpdump -- Test a DHCP server and decode DHCP data packages.
  • dtaus -- Paperless money transfer with German banks on floppies.
  • kudzu -- A hardware detecting library.
  • pmidi -- A command line MIDI player for ALSA 0.9.
  • snooper -- Captures communication between two external serial devices.
  • ghemical -- A computational chemistry software package.
  • wbd -- A multicast white board application that allows you to share a virtual white board with other people running wbd.

A Particularly Interesting Package... This one really caught my eye, it's called "Vipul's Razor". It's a distributed, collaborative, spam-catching and filtering program to help weed out SPAM. It rates special mention because the more folks who use it, the more efficient it will be. Anything that helps put an end to SPAM is a Good Thing(TM).

Security Updates. Just one security issue to report this week, be sure to update your systems if it affects you.

Stay in touch! Be sure to send any comments, suggestions and news tips to us at dwn@debian.org.

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