Debian Weekly News - July 23rd, 2002
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Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - July 23rd, 2002
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. It looks like Free Software got recognized by
the European Commission (EC), since a study of the EC suggests that
software developed for and owned by public administrations should be
issued under a free license. In response to an item from last week's
issue Henrik Härkönen told us that he prepared Debian swirl images
for the Ericsson T65 cellular phone. Debian fans in Berlin are going
to throw a Debian release party next weekend.
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 released. The unbelievable happened, on July 19th
Woody was released. Woody supports a total of eleven processor
architectures, includes KDE and GNOME desktop environments, features
cryptographic software, is compatible with the FHS v2.2 and supports
software developed for the LSB. Anthony Towns revealed that the
new testing distribution will be called sarge, which is named after
the squad leader of the plastic soldier, continuing the tradition of
using codenames based on characters in the animated movie Toy
Status of Debian Jr. Ben Armstrong sent in a report about the
Debian Junior effort. He also started a collaborate effort on
documentation where users and developers can help. Ben recently became
liaison between Tux4Kids and Debian Jr. The TuxPaint package
is the first new Tux4Kids sponsored package that was added to the
project since that relationship was formalized.
DeMuDi revived. The Debian Multimedia Distribution (DeMuDi) seemed
rather dormant until recently, but was revived apparently. Marco
Trevisani wrote that DeMuDi became part of a project funded by the
European Community, called A GNU/Linux Audio distribution
(AGNULA). Let's hope the this project doesn't continue it's lonesome
path but joins forces with the Debian project so programs doesn't need
to be packaged twice.
Writing proper Changelog Entries. Every Debian package contains a
changelog file that contains a list of changes for every revision of
that package. There is no policy for writing proper changelog
entries, but is common practice that each changelog line refers to the
nature of the bug report, if it also leads to closing that bug report.
There was a small dispute about what changelog lines should look
Distributing binary-only CD Images. A request for clarification
was sent to the debian-legal list asking for advice for
distributors of binary-only CDs or images that contain software
licensed under the GNU General Public License. Basically, whenever
one distributes a binary, the receiver has to be able to obtain the
source code as well, at least through mail order on a physical medium.
Comments and Concerns from the LPPL discussion. Frank Mittelbach of
LaTeX project courtesy summarized concerns and comments he
gathered from various mails that people put up as a problem with the
LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL) or rather as a problem behind
the ideas behind LPPL. He's not going to comment on them yet, but
instead hopes for further reactions by others as well.
Patent on JPEG enforces non-free? A Texican company recently purchased
another company including a patent that is used in generation of
compressed JPEG files. License fees are currently extracted from
various hardware and software companies. The JPEG group believes
that they have prior art, and they're asking for more examples of
prior art. It is not yet clear whether the library libjpeg62 and all
software which depends on it has to be moved into non-free. There's a
heated discussion on this topic in Germany as well.
Future of the Debian Installer. Now that Woody is finally released,
development on the debian-installer has to be improved. The goal is to
stop the current installation system (boot-floppies) and finish
development of the new debian installer, which has a cleaner and more
flexible design. Work and design needs to be done for a
partitioning widget. Here is the current todo list for the new
The Meaning of force-reload. Tobias Burnus wondered what actions
the force-reload argument of an init.d script is supposed to imply.
The Debian policy does not explicitly state what actions should
happen if the daemon is not yet running and the replies also showed
different expectations. In the end an addition to the policy has
Changing the default PATH. Santiago Vila reports that he was asked
to define the PATH variable in /etc/profile only if it is not already
defined. However, since /bin/login already sets a default PATH, this
change was rejected. Santiago was also asked not to export the PS1
variable at all so that non-bash shells won't get confused anymore.
Mounting devices several times. Michael Meskes experienced a
problem with double-mounting devices, which does work for NFS
mounts. Miquel van Smoorenburg explained that with earlier 2.4
kernels you could also mount the same device on the same mountpoint
multiple times, but it confused the users and was changed in a later
version to specifically prevent this case. Here's an updated list.
Rewriting the Menu System. Chris Lawrence proposed a rewrite of
the menu system after he experienced serious problems with the current
implementation. Several people improved the list of goals. Sebastian
Rittau pointed out, that GNOME and KDE use the same desktop file
format, which seems to fit our goals as well. It was also
mentioned with an example that implementing an entirely new
programming language instead of using an existing one embedded may not
the best solution.
Mass filing of Bug Reports. Gergely Nagy warned about a possible
mass filing of bug reports due to policy violations he stumbled upon.
This includes packages that do not include a verbatim copy of their
copyright and distribution license, packages that build their
architecture independent binary packages in the wrong target, packages
that contain copyright information in the wrong file as well as
packages that contain spurious files.
Internationalising Debconf. Tomohiro Kubota announced his plan to
work on internationalisation of debconf. This includes a technique to
find out the encoding type of messages and templates, proper
conversion, a new line-wrapping mechanism and output routines for all
supported user interfaces.
New BTS Tags. Adam Heath, who maintains the Debian's Bug Tracking
System (BTS) announced two new tags. The first new tag sarge
denotes that the bug particularly applies to the new testing
distribution, which is called sarge. The second new tag experimental
applies to bugs which are present particularly in the experimental
distribution and hence should not be counted as release critical at
New Source Packages. Colin Walters started a discussion to change
in the way Debian currently handles source packages. The current
system has some flaws, one cannot simply add binary files for example,
and some packages implement a more sophisticated but badly documented
system to cope with some of them. Colin has set up source code and
examples so interested parties can already play with it.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* argouml -- Modelling tool to help you do your design using UML.
* away -- A terminal locking program.
* cltl -- Common Lisp the Language, second edition, book (Pre-ANSI).
* cvsdelta -- Summarize differences in a CVS repository.
* dcl -- GNU Enterprise - Double Choco Latte.
* flashplayer -- A GPLed Flash Player.
* freej -- Digital instrument for video liveset.
* mbrowse -- A SNMP MIB browser.
* rutebook -- Linux: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition, an
* sfm -- Simple File Manager.
* syscalltrack -- Track system calls across the Linux system.
* tuxpaint -- A paint program for young children.
Orphaned Packages. 4 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 83 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.
* aethera -- E-mail and PIM application for KDE.
* gnu-smalltalk -- an implementation of Smalltalk-80.
* korelib -- cross-platform library for plugin-based
* xcdroast -- X based CD-writer software. (Bug#153970)
Seen something interesting? Please drop us a note whenever you see
something noteworthy that you think is appropriate for inclusion in
DWN. We don't notice everything, unfortunately. Of course, we are also
thankful for completely written items from volunteer writers. Please
see the contributing page. We're looking forward to receiving your
mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.