Debian Weekly News - June 22nd, 1999

Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. This is a special two week combined issue since I was unable to publish last week. I am now looking for a substitute editor.

In the wake of the logo vote, a few developers have surfaced who didn't hear about the vote until the results were announced and are understandably upset about not getting a chance to vote. This perhaps points to a larger problem: though all developers are supposed to subscribe to debian-devel-announce, not all do. So there is no way to ensure every developer sees an announcement. One fix that's been discussed is auto-subscribing all developers to debian-devel-announce. Debian Weekly News encourages anyone who wants to make sure they don't miss this type of thing in the future to at least read DWN regularly.

Wichert Akkerman has proposed splitting non-free and contrib out to a new server, The impetus for this is to emphasize that they are not part of Debian, since "the distinction isn't as visible as it used to be; advances in searching in the distribution and tools like apt make it very hard to see when something is in main and when not". The proposal will come up for a vote soon and is generating lots of discussion.

The issue of signing debs has come up again. Interestingly, Wichert Akkerman says that "we will support multiple verification methods within a year" (presumably this is related to the dpkg v2 project). Manoj Srivastava posted a good overview of the security issues related to signing packages and some workarounds.

Speaking of security, a new version of man-db that fixes a symlink attack has been released.

Dale Scheetz posted to debian-private (reposted here with his permission) about the problems with Official Debian CD's. "Having an Official CD has not stopped the delivery of broken CDs, and it doesn't protect the vendor either." To help rectify this, he proposes sending CD's to testers before publicly releasing them, and also setting up a process that will let CD vendors put patches and other changes on the CD's and still call them "Official".

Joost Witteveen, author of the menu package, has released version 2.0 of that package, which incorporates a neat new concept: hints. Read his post for details, but this should allow menu to optimize the menu hierarchy it generates so there are no over-full or under-full menus.

The APT team has released a new version of APT. The most interesting new feature is support for downloading the sources of packages. With a "--compile" switch, apt can even launch a build of the package!

A perl update. Packages of perl 5.005 are finally ready for testing. Maintainers of perl modules and other interested parties should read the new perl policy.

Debian events:

On debian-policy there was a discussion about the undocumented.7 man page and whether it's really useful at all. Some feel that "The undocumented(7) link is not only useless, but actively annoying."

A few tidbits from the Debian JP project. Debian JP is doing a survey of use of their packages, results here. It seems that their announcement of plans to merge with Debian backfired a little bit with people thinking the project had quit. In fact their work on Japanese localized packages continues.

Server news:

Thanks to Katsura S. Yoshio, Raphaƫl Hertzog and Christian Meder for contributing.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.