Debian Weekly News - September 26th, 2000
Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian community.
Be careful. If you have grown complacent tracking unstable for the past month, and were wondering why nothing has broken yet, wonder no more. Unstable now has several breakages, most of them centered around a new version of libc. It is known to break exim, sendmail, perl, and apache, and may break other packages as well.
This week's only security update was a fix for a root exploit in sysklogd. This one could be exploited remotely in theory. Slink users have been given a short reprieve: the security team has decided based on the feedback it has received to keep producing security updates for Debian 2.1 until October 30th, 2000.
Several threads this week involved Debian's support of emerging technologies. It's now possible for any Debian developer to join the 6bone with a few simple commands, which nicely demonstrates that Debian's ipv6 support is usable, and should encourage developers to work on making their packages support ipv6. There has been talk of making ipv6 support a tentative release goal for woody. Another thread discussed preparing Debian to use capabilities. In it, Nicolás Lichtmaier pointed out that on a capability-based system, root shouldn't necessarily be able to write to files like /bin/ls, and he proposed we make all such files be owned by a special group such as "bin". But linux capabilities are still under development, not yet supported by the filesystem, and so on, so it may not yet be time to worry about them.
Mentions of Debian in the media this week:
- The Duke of URL reviewed Debian 2.2, with mostly favorable results if you can stand the kernel/distribution confusion like "Debian reached a milestone, Potato, or 2.2. Immediately after that, a couple distributions started using the 2.2 kernel, including such popular ones as Stormix's Storm Linux 2000" This review is no more and no less shallow than most linux distribution reviews -- so it's not quite the perfect review.
- The most recent Linux Weekly News opened with a look at Debian's organizational structure. " Kernel development looks like a benevolent dictator floating serenely above a screaming bazaar of hackers loudly trying to get their patches noticed and accepted. Apache is an anarchic, but calmer group of people quietly implementing the features they need. Debian, instead, resembles an established constitutional democracy, complete with elections and a civil bureaucracy. " Overall it's a good summary, though it is conspicuously quiet on the subject of the infamous Cabal. Debian can certainly overdo the bureaucracy at times, as is exemplified by this post: "the shenanigans of altering the quorum requirements for the final vote on the GR based upon the vote on the proposed amendment to it are totally out-of-line and in gross violation of the letter and the spirit of the Constitution."
Manoj Srivastava posted a draft of the Debian packaging manual that he hopes will be blessed into policy. Whether the Debian packaging manual has been a part of policy all along is unclear; the new draft excises some parts of the manual that do not belong in policy. If this is accepted, the API's of various parts of Debian such as the fields in the control file and the way postinst scripts are called will all become part of policy.
Internationalization of Packages files was also discussed this week. While figuring out how to allow for the fields in the control file to be internationalized is hard enough, it looks like the real problem will be making dpkg use the translations in a sane fashion. Nothing conclusive has yet come from the thread.
Debian's main web server suffered a dead disk drive and is offline while a replacement is being readied. Besides serving as the Debian web server, va.debian.org was Debian's cvs server. All of its functions have been moved to other Debian servers in the meantime.
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.