Debian Weekly News - July 11th, 2000

Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. This is a combined two week edition.

The Zeroth Debian Conference took place last week in Bordeaux, France. During the Conference many topics were presented, including two introductory talks on the Hurd, given by Neal Walfield and Richard M. Stallman; an overview of Debian past and present, as well as some brief discussion about a new package format, given by Wichert Akkerman; PingOO, a project to provide schools with communication servers administered remotely by a distributed team, and Telemetry Software (management and diagnostics of networks and servers) provided by SiteRock, both of them based on Debian GNU/Linux. Major discussions took place around the topics of Debian's internal organization and the new maintainer process. For more information, see this summary by Marcelo Magallon. Plans are already underway for the First Debian Conference next July.

Anthony Towns posted an update on the status of test cycle 3, which begins Real Soon Now. "The purpose of the third test cycle is simply to ensure that we're ready to release: we believe the previous two cycles have shaken out most of the bugs in the install procedure, so we don't expect major problems." Randolph Chung said in an install report of the latest boot-floppies build that boot-floppies "2.2.16 for i386 is definitely ready for upload, and probably ready for potato release." Things have been slightly delayed though, with so many Debian people at the Zeroth Debian Conference.

Saying goodbye to libc5. Ben Collins proposed that all the libc5 support packages be removed from unstable, since it has been years since Debian was a libc5 distribution and keeping libc5 support has led to a "lot of very old cruft and hacks". Ben asked if anyone had "compelling reasons to continue to have it around", and so far no one has thought of any.

Paul J Thompson thinks that Debian is reaching "critical mass" of public recognition. He cites the increasing number of distributions based on Debian, the many people and projects that are beginning to release debian packages and support Debian, etc. With growth comes problems, and Paul identifies two key problems that are nothing new: the unmanageable number of packages, and release schedule difficulties. He goes on make a "radical" suggestion to address the problems -- split up Debian into several sections like core, rapid development, and so on, that have different release schedules. It's an interesting message, well worth reading even if you disagree with his ideas.

More news tidbits:

And finally, here is an article by one reporter who really understands Debian (and reads debian-devel). "Debian stands out as the primary Linux distribution that is a community, as opposed to other distributions that simply have communities. [...] Debian's committee-type workings are occasionally cantankerous and political, and it has never been quick to react or to release. But the quality of its work is unquestioned, as is the group's commitment to software freedom."

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