Debian Weekly News - January 30th, 2002
Jan 31, 2002, 04:03 (0 Talkback[s])
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Welcome to the fifth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the
Debian community. The past week has been an exciting one. A lot of
talk with regard to the upcoming release of woody took place on the
list. This issue contains items by Tollef Fog Heen and Yooseong
Yang, which are greatly appreciated. The mail version of this issue
uses a new style for embedding links which was generated by a
script provided by Aaron Schrab. Please let us know if it makes DWN
easier to read or not.
New GDB Manuals free? Thomas Bushnell reports
that a new upstream GDB release has been made which fixes the
copyright problem on the GDB manuals. It fixes the fact that the
GDB manuals (for some presumably accidental reason) labelled
various technical sections as being invariant. Thomas says
that this makes GDB now in the same category as Emacs and GCC: not
unproblematic, but also not horrible.
Package Tracking System. Raphaël Hertzog
the new Package Tracking System. It allows developers to subscribe
to all messages regarding a source package: Bug messages and
«Installed» messages (not yet implemented, though).
This service can be used by "backup maintainers" to follow a
package, or by upstream authors who wish to follow how their
package is handled within Debian, or by people doing an NMU. Send a
message containing the word «help» to email@example.com
Packaging an O'Reilly Book. Stefano Zacchiroli
to package the electronic version of an O'Reilly book covering
Objective Caml and was wondering if the package could go into the
main distribution. Even though O'Reilly believes
that the license meets the DSFG
so the book was about to be packaged
for non-free. However, O'Reilly later modified
the license, so it now meets the DFSG and can go into the main
Outdated Netscape Packages? Although Netscape
4.79 was released on November 16th, 2001, the Debian package is
still at 4.77. DonDiego wondered
whether the Netscape package is orphaned or not. Several bugs are outstanding for more
than 60 days. Packages for other browsers seem to be better
maintained. Netscape has lost the
browser battle, while Mozilla (or Mozilla-based browsers
respectively) and Konqueror prevail among Open Source web browsers
in the Debian distribution.
The Emacs Operating System. Adam Major wondered
about a couple of strange manpages distributed with the Emacs 21
package. Replies to his original mail uncovered phases
of the moon, pong,
The latter is useful for all notebook users who like to keep an eye
on the battery. The discussion ended in Adam saying: "Will this
madness never end? I'm trying to get some work done!"
Desktop Entry Standard or Debian Menu System?
Chris Cheney suggested to switch to the
Desktop Entry Standard which has been adopted by recent Gnome
and KDE. Even though a distribution neutral menu system would be a
good thing, Ben Armstrong pointed
out that the Debian menu system does more than just provide a
way of specifying desktop-neutral menu entries. It provides the
mechanism for implementing the same set of menus across all window
managers. Joseph Carter added
that the Desktop Entry Standard lacks support for requirements
(such as: needs x11, a virtual console, a terminal etc.).
Adrian Bunk Retired. Since the woody release is
making only very little progress (if any), Adrian Bunk decided
to retire from the Debian project entirely, and has orphaned all of
his packages. The current release process has led to very few
motivation on Adrians side and he doesn't see his work honored in
Debian in form of a new stable release in the forseeable
Addressing the Release. Anthony Towns posted a
targetting the woody release. Basically he says that there is
currently no real progress. There is absolutely no magic that can
be done to make a bunch of buggy useless software acceptable as a
Debian release. We shouldn't resign, though. Indeed, it is quite
obvious what needs to be done: we need to fix these bugs.
Besides, NMU (non-maintainer uploads) are okay as of now.
However, please keep in mind that a maintainer upload is still
better, passing on patches and helping the maintainer to integrate
them, is preferred as well. There's also a system implemented for
NMUs that will delay the installation up to 10 days (see details in
Anthony's mail). Please note that once you've made an NMU it is
your responsibility to make absolutely sure you didn't break the
Upgrade Problems. The Debian distribution is
known for smooth upgrades from one stable release to the next one.
Upgrading from potato to woody, though, does not seem to follow
this path. Several reports demonstrate problems during the upgrade,
such as this
one from Dale or this
one, to name some examples. Ted T'so asked
if Debian can only be used by experts or by regular users as
Installation Problems. During an exhibition (HCT,
in Germany, see the trip
report) several Debian people tried to install a plain Debian
woody system onto another exhibitor's machine. This should have
worked just as smooth as expected, but didn't. We failed with the
release file error and even the patch from the debian-boot didn't
work as expected. It only went worse. After patching the file
manually, nano-tiny received a segmentation fault. This clearly
demonstrates that Debian needs more testing of boot floppies and
more clueful people working on this system.
Debian as a CORBA Component? Colin Walters was
annoyed that the web interface to packages.debian.org only displays
i386 packages. He started thinking about how to implement a
replacement, and realized that he requires access to the database
on auric. That alone cried out for a CORBA interface. Once there is
a CORBA interface to the archive, why not a CORBA interface to the
bug tracking system and to other services? He has already
implemented a working
XFree86 4.2.0 is Out! On January 18th XFree86 4.2.0 was released. On
DebianPlanet the question came up
whether Debian is going to package it anytime soon. Branden
Robinson updated the X
Strike Force pages on which he explains that he is currently
preparing packages for 4.1.0-14. He has also started to work on
version 4.2.0 but cannot promise when packages may be ready. As in
the past, the first packages of the new upstream version that will
be available will be experimental pre-releases from his private
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following new
or updated packages were added to the Debian archive recently.
-- Archiver for GNOME.
-- An instant messenger compatible with Gadu Gadu.
-- GNU PIC utilities.
-- Postfix loadable modules development environment.
-- Small Device C Compiler.
-- X11 fonts created by Artwiz and TigerT.
Security Updates. Under normal circumstances we
would recommend to upgrade your packages. However, since the most
security advisory breaks what it ought to fix instead, please
be careful when upgrading on a machine which acts as anonymous
rsync server. You would fix a remote root hole, but you would also
shut down the service. It may be advantageous to recompile the
package from unstable on your potato machine instead.
Orphaned Packages. 18 packages were orphaned
this week and need a new maintainer. This makes it total 113
orphaned packages. Please see the WNPP pages for the full
Got News? Please keep us informed! We don't
want to miss it. Be sure to send us feedback and tips about new or
old packages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you only want to meet Debian people, we suggest you consider
attending the LinuxWorld Conference
and Expo currently taking place in New York.