Debian Weekly News - January 14, 2003
Jan 20, 2003, 11:00 (0 Talkback[s])
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - January 14th, 2003
Welcome to this year's second issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. It looks as if the GCC transition reported in
last week's issue is working well. A new verb was accidently
created during a discussion about KDE 3 and Debian. It was said
that KDE 3 will sid soon. A contribution to an elitist Debian dialect.
SPI Progress. Nils Lohner resigned as president of Software in
the Public Interest (SPI) and Ean Schuessler was appointed as new
vice president. SPI provides legal and financial support for several
Free Software projects, including Debian. On the most recent Board
meeting, a charter for a by-laws committee was resolved. John
Goerzen will be chairing the committee to revise SPI by-laws. Three
volunteers are still needed to fill open seats. Additionally
nominations to fill three open seats on the SPI board are also
being accepted and members will vote on them. As always, SPI is
inviting interested people to become new members.
Interview: Living up to the Linux name. Sam Varghese from The Age
featured an interview with a member of the Debian Press Team this
week. Sam wanted to know the key differences between Debian and other
distributions, what the motivation for Debian developers was since
there didn't seem to be any payback, whether the release cycle was a
strength or weakness and predictions for the future of the Debian
Screen Snapshots of the Installation Process. The Debian Press Team
recently received a request from Personal Computer World, a
UK-based PC magazine, for snapshots of the woody installation process.
Thorsten Sauter was kind enough to produce a set of PNG
images, that shows all important steps of installing a woody system.
3.0r1 Update CDs Available. Significant hardware problems over the
holiday period caused some delay, but Steve McIntyre finally
generated update CD images for Debian 3.0 to 3.0r1. Using
jigdo and the template files update CDs are now available.
Potential x86-64 Port of Debian. Bart Trojanowski expressed
interest in getting work started on porting Debian to AMD's
upcoming x86-64 architecture. The x86-64 architecture will be
AMD's new 64 bit processor, which is expectd to enable
simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing. Michael Banck discussed
the possibility of gaining access to x86-64 hardware with AMD's Open
Source representative, but that includes an evil NDA and thus is
not possible for Debian at the moment.
Itsy Package Management System. Josh Narins was curious about the
oldest hardware still running Debian. After some people described old
486 and 386 machines still alive with Debian, discussion
turned to the slow performance of dpkg under these
resource-limited environments. Josh then found the Itsy
Package Management System (iPKG). iPKG was designed to be as much like
Debian's package management system as possible and supports the .deb
package format. However, iPKG is very lightweight and tailored for
GNU/Linux installations with severe storage limitations such as
Free Software Licenses Revocable? Recent postings on Advogato
discuss the legality of developers retrospectively revoking licenses
such as the GNU General Public License (GPL). Also under debate
was the role (if any) of contract law in the enforcement or
regulation of copyright licenses and whether or not Free Software
licenses are granted in perpetuity. There is currently some ambiguity
in this area, although it seems that outcomes will vary depending upon
which jurisdiction a developer is located in. A call was made to
update the GPL to more clearly address these issues.
Problem with Web Page Encoding. Tomohiro Kubota discovered a
severe problem with non-ASCII characters on automatically generated
multilingual web pages when multibyte encoding (such as
ISO-2022-JP for Japanese or EUC-KR for Korean) is used. He notes that
ISO-8859-1 is a local character encoding like KOI8-R and EUC-JP (they
conflict with one another), and hence, should not be used when a
different encoding is specified on web pages. Instead, non-ASCII
characters should be encoded as HTML entities.
Kernel without Ext2 Support? Marcel Kolaja noticed that the kernel
configuration for i386 and i686 optimized kernels differ in regard to
the second extended filesystem (Ext2). The latter has it compiled only
as a module. Josselin Mouette and Daniel Jacobowitz explained
that this is a feature rather then a bug. The kernel loads a ramdisk
with the modules in it. In Linux 2.6 initrd will be replaced by
Altering Debian Release Numbers. Scott James Remnant proposed to
alter the release numbering scheme since he believes that the next
Debian release will be a new major version as well, and should
therefore be named Debian 4 (sarge) instead of Debian 4.0 (sarge).
Martin Michlmayr added that one of the most important things to
keep in mind when proposing to change something which is exposed to
every user is that one should be conservative.
New Virtual Package Name dns-server? Toni Mueller suggested to
create one or two new virtual package names for nameservers. He
noticed that Debian ships several and they only partially conflict
with each other. Michael Poole wondered why packages need to
conflict since they can be installed concurrently and only need to be
Installing Woody on a Vaio Laptop. Roger Lipscombe took some
notes, documenting how he installed Debian 3.0 (Woody) on his Vaio
SRX87 laptop. Because the laptop comes with a firewire based DVD-ROM
drive which is currently not supported by the installation process, he
had to do a network installation, using PXE to boot from the network.
Creating a .deb of .deb Files. Steve Traugott wanted to know if
there is a tool that bundles a Debian package, its prerequisite
packages, and its related debconf db deltas, into a single archive. He
tries to implement techniques described in this administration
paper. The existing tool apt-zip is not sufficient.
The Story of radiusd-freeradius. Chad Miller explained the current
status of radiusd-freeradius. A dummy bug was filed against this
package to keep it outside of woody, but unfortunately the bug report
wasn't removed after the release and when the maintainer didn't pay
enough attention the package was removed from testing and unstable
during an announced mass removal. The package can't be added back
since it indirectly links against libssl but is licensed under the
GNU GPL. However, some people maintain private packages for
CUPS and SSL. Jeff Licquia contacted the developers of GNU TLS to
discuss whether the OpenSSL compatibility library could be re-licensed
using the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Nikos
Mavroyanopoulos from GNU TLS replied that this is up to its
author, of course, and Jeff added that he is probably going to
write native GNU TLS support for CUPS on his own.
Random Requests to remove Packages. James Troup contacted the QA
team since ftpmasters are receiving an increased amount of bug reports
asking for the removal of packages. However, these requests didn't
come from their maintainers or the QA team but from random people who
often aren't even developers. He doesn't feel comfortable with
ftpmaster making the decision of whether or not to remove packages.
Future requests for removal will be discussed by the QA team.
Porting OSCAR to Debian? Benoit des Ligneris wondered whether
Debian would be interested in porting OSCAR, a collection of
userland programs to do clustering, to the Debian system. Current
tools are mainly for scientific computation purposes. Benoit added a
list of problems that need to be resolved. Interested people could
easily join and work on them.
Building GTK Applications for Windows on Debian. James Michael DuPont
sent a call for help and requested support from the Debian
community. The goal is to build the dia application for the
W32 platform using Debian and the MingW32 cross-compiler. He also
suggested to use the GTK port for W32 to build a graphical installer
based on GTK and the debian-installer.
Debian on the X-box. If you are still looking for a cool digital video
recorder and home entertainment platform, the Dreamix project may
be interesting for you. Its goal is to bring Open Source personal
video recording, video and audio playback, and image viewing
capabilities to the X-box. Although Dreamix will be based on Debian
X-box-Linux, all necessary libraries will be included in the
distribution of the CD image and will auto-excecute after the CD is
inserted into the X-box DVD drive.
Debian Privacy Notice Updated. We reported about a privacy notice for
Debian in our last issue. It has since then been pointed out that
a disclaimer page already exists for the Debian mailing lists,
and that this could be used as a template for a more general
disclaimer or privacy notice for many more things in Debian, such as
the PTS (package tracking system), BTS (bug tracking system) and
others. Any contributions to this effort would be welcomed, e.g. as a
follow-up to the above thread. A proposal was made for
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* geneweb -- Information exposure.
* canna -- Buffer overflow and denial of service.
* tomcat4 -- Source disclosure.
* xpdf-i -- Arbitrary command execution.
* OpenLDAP2 -- Buffer overflows and other problems.
* libmcrypt -- Buffer overflows and memory leak.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* esix -- PDP-8 Engineering and Scientific Interpreter eXtended.
* gucharmap -- Unicode character picker and font browser.
* hspell -- Hebrew spell checker.
* jmp -- Profiler for Java to trace object and method timings.
* lmarbles -- A game where you build figures out of colored
* prelink -- ELF prelinking utility to speed up dynamic linking.
* tptime -- Gregorian<->Julian date converter.
* wings3d -- A Nendo-inspired 3D polygon mesh modeller.
* xml2rfc -- XML-based formatting tool for RFCs.
* xmltv -- Functionality related to the XMLTV file format for TV
Orphaned Packages. 6 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 167 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.
* bpowerd -- monitor UPS status for Best Patriot power supplies.
* freebirth -- Bass synthesizer/sample player/sequencer similar
to Rebirth (Bug#176475)
* gnosamba -- A graphical configuration utility for Samba.
* linleech -- Program to selectively download usenet articles.
* qiv -- a quick image viewer for X. (Bug#176329)
* xtrojka -- Fast paced columns-like game. (Bug#176434)
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