Debian Weekly News - January 25th, 1999
Welcome to the fourth edition of Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. As you can see, this is now part of the main Debian web site.
The license for the Debian logo has expired again. We need to come up with and ratify a permanent license. There has been some talk about a new logo, too -- one possibility would be to use a gimp logo contest, which has produced excellent results in the past for projects like Gnome.
Bruce Perens asked us what we think about the license of Zope. The license has a requirement that you must add a "powered by Zope" button to your web pages if you use it. Everyone agrees this is obnoxious, but it may still be allowed by the DFSG. One thing this discussion highlighted is that point 6 of the DFSG ("No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor") is too vague and too easily misinterpreted. One way this might be fixed is if we ratify a new version of the DFSG, such as the draft version Darren Benham posted this week.
Should all Debian developers be required to agree with the DFSG? A thread about this started in debian-private and later escaped to the debian-devel mailing list. Everyone agrees developers must understand and abide by the DFSG when working on Debian, but there is no consensus that they must also agree with it. One commonly held opinion is that developers should at least believe in the spirit of the DFSG, but may disagree with specific points of it. Another common opinion is that it doesn't matter what developer's private opinions of the document are.
On the conferences front, LinuxTag '99, "the largest German Linux user show" (and probably the largest Linux event in Europe), has invited Debian to attend. Many European developers have expressed interest, and there is now a mailing list devoted to organizing Debian's presence there. Also, LinuxCentral has donated to Debian a booth on the LinuxWorld Expo show floor and volunteers are needed to man the booth. For more information about this event see the entry in the Debian events page.
Good news for French developers: the French Prime Minister has announced that cryptography will become legal in France. This will finally allow signing of Debian packages in France with standard tools.
Last week with excitement growing about the imminent linux 2.2 release, Joey Hess proposed that Debian add a source package for kernel 2.2 to frozen as a convenience to our users so they can easily get it on CD. Even though we're in the deep freeze, this idea met with a lot of approval, and our release manager, Brian White, is cautiously agreeing with to allow it in. Now that 2.2 is finally released, preliminary packages are available.
Branden Robinson posted an explanation of the Great X Reorganization, to go into the release notes for Debian 2.1. If you haven't dealt with the Reorganization yet it's a useful document to read. A few problems with the renamed font packages are still being hashed out.
Steven Baker started a thread about the names used for debian packages, which increasingly have to contain part of the version number of the package. This is ugly, but it can be hard for experienced debianites to see this as a problem until they step back and look at things from a new user's perspective. One solution could be to modify dpkg so it can install multiple versions of the same package. Some people pointed out that RPM can do exactly this. However, such a change to dpkg would be a lot of work, for relatively little gain, and could introduce worse problems.
New packages added to Debian this week include:
- vrms, a "Virtual Richard M. Stallman", it will report all non-free packages you have installed.
- rolldice, a computerized dice roller for the RPG'ers out there. (Judging by the enthusiastic discussion about this new package, a fair number of developers are into Role Playing Games.)
- wmglobe, xearth shrunk into a 64x64 icon.
- nestra, a free Nintendo emulator.
- Scott Hanson needs a co-maintainer for the mysql packages.
- Barak Pearlmutter informed us about a large Debian Beowulf cluster to be set up at UNM in Albuquerque New Mexico; he is looking for a Debian developer to admin it.
Followups to previous news items:
- Dan Quinlan responded to the concerns about the LSB test suite. According to Dan, "...the TOG is *not* defining LSB. Linux people are defining it -- and if a company passes every hurdle we insist that they pass, why shouldn't we allow them to help?"
- More information about the Project Leader candidates is available now. Richard Braakman's interview has been added to the page of interviews, and platform statements for some of the candidates are available here.
- The Hurd port is continuing to move along, progress this week includes a working X, and lots of updated packages.
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.