Debian Weekly News - February 1st, 1999

Welcome to the fifth edition of Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. Debian Weekly News has been in publication for a month now. How are we doing? Write to the editor and let us know what parts of the newsletter you like best, and what needs improvement.

Attention all developers: Elections for Debian project leader close on the 3rd; hurry up and vote if you haven't already. Just don't vote like Netgod.

The gimp contest for new Debian logos has begun. It will run for one month, then a 5 person logo team will weed out the best logos for the rest of Debian to vote on. "The winner will be awarded an email-address at, a CD-set with Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 for the architectures of his/her choice (alpha, i386, m68k, or sparc) and ever-lasting fame for creating the one and only Debian logo-set."

Development of dpkg will soon begin again. Ian Jackson says he plans to get to work on it once he's no longer project leader. Guy Maor intends to do some work on it, and long MIA Klee Dienes has re-surfaced and is looking for some dpkg coding tasks to work on too. Guy has already implemented a nice new feature: When a new experimental dpkg-dev package is used, dinstall (the program that installs packages onto the ftp site) can now announce package uploads to the correct list, and close bugs fixed by those uploads.

There have been suggestions to clean up dselect's access methods. One suggestion is to take out harddisk, mounted, cdrom, and nfs; either removing them entirely or splitting them into a separate package. This would prevent some of the confusion newbies experience when they first use dselect, at least until they get to the package selection part.

Of course, the ultimate end to dselect confusion is apt; and gnome-apt, the GUI front end to apt, has finally been released as a .deb. "Who says package management can't be Sexy?". It's available here.

The long awaited X packages have been released to frozen, and they sport the longest Debian changelog entry ever, weighing in at an impressive 189 lines. (This has been verified by a scan of the entire distribution.) In other X news, Stephen Crowley plans to package Red Hat's Xconfigurator as part of Debian.

A draft chapter of the O'Reilly book Open Sources mentions Debian in several places. The chapter is written by Bruce Perens and describes the Open Source Definition. "the Debian Free Software Guidelines were the right document to define Open Source"

Darren Benham is searching for new software for list archiving. Hopefully, it will support pgp/MIME signatures, and it must be DFSG-free. Among other problems, the current list archiving software used on the Debian web site has a Y2K problem. And speaking of Debian and Y2K, we now have a Y2K web page.

And last but not least, the longest thread on the lists this week was a frustrating dialog with the author of libtool about its use of -rpath. Many developers agree this is a bad idea for linux systems; the libtool author disagrees. After arguing in circles for days, we haven't quite reached a resolution, but a hack of is looking likely instead of a change to libtool.

Help wanted:

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