Debian Weekly News - November 30th, 1999
Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community.
Has Corel goofed up again on licensing issues? Corel Linux's EULA prohibits minors -- including minors who are Debian developers and contributors to free software -- from downloading the Debian-based distribution. (Bruce Perens, frustrated at the third Corel licencing issue in as many months, briefly advocated a lawsuit against Corel.) Corel has been talking to Debian about the issue, though people are still unsatisfied with the results and are getting a bit fed up with these continuing problems.
The idea of an "Enhances" field that is like a reverse Suggests field has been broached again on debian-policy. Dpkg will support this field soon, and Wichert Akkerman wants to use it to make packages in main no longer suggest anything in non-free, thus satisfying some of RMS's concerns. While most people agree the Enhances field is a useful new addition, there is disagreement about using it in the way Wichert is proposing. Some feel that doing this would be putting "political correctness and quick hacks" ahead of doing things right.
Should we get rid of the "base" section? It turns out that packages in the section aren't automatically put in the base system on the boot floppies, nor does being in the section seem to affect things any other way. People agree it would be a lot cleaner to get rid of the section and put the packages in it in the sections they really belong in. The discussion moved on to a more general discussion of getting rid of all sections and organizing packages in other ways.
New packages in Debian this week include the following and 18 more:
- erlang: A real-time, concurrent and distributed functional language
- flexml: Generate fast validating XML processors and applications
- gsl-bin: The GNU Scientific Library (GSL) -- binary package (docs lib, dev)
Other things happening this week include:
- "Ask the Debian Project Leader" is this week's interview on Slashdot. Wichert will answer the questions on Friday.
- Ben Collins posted a PAM mini-policy. If you want to use PAM in your packages, this is a must-read.
- Debian has gained several machines lately, including a new netwinder, and a loaded alpha. We have lots of machines of many architectures available for developers to use, all listed here.
- It's hard to summarize this thread about release critical bugs except to say that tons of people are working on fixing various release critical bugs and they all spoke up -- a good thing to see.
I'll conclude with an editorial message to Debian users: A common theme this week, and indeed for the past several weeks has been annoyance at overuse of bug severities higher than 'normal'. Messages like this one are common. The inflation in bug severities seems to have arisen because bug reporting tools are now making it easy to set higher severities, and because it is hard to think objectively about a bug that is affecting you -- most bugs seem important to the person who is tripping over them. Bear in mind that tagging a bug as 'grave', 'critical', or 'important' does not necessarily mean it will be fixed sooner; it only means that if it is not fixed, the package it is in will be removed from Debian. Unless your bug is of a magnitude to make this necessary, it should be a 'normal' severity bug. If you are unsure, it is better to file a 'normal' severity bug and let the maintainer decide if a higher severity is necessary. Thanks.
Thanks to Randolph Chung for contributing.
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.