Debian Weekly News - 2000 Timeline
This special supplement to Debian Weekly News is a review of the most important happenings of 2000 in the Debian world. This is certainly not a comprehensive list. The focus is on unusual and notable events, not the continual background development activity and discussions.
To give some idea of the sheer volume of what has gone on behind the scenes this year, a few numbers: 27 thousand bug reports were filed this year, while 194 thousand messages were posted to the various Debian mailing lists and nearly 33 thousand new versions of packages were uploaded. All of these numbers are up significantly from their 1999 values.
Here are the most memorable events of 2000 in the Debian project:
- At this time last year, the world -- and Debian -- watched the predicted Y2K problem fizzle, generating fewer bugs than a typical release of Debconf.
- Debian entered a freeze in preparation for the release of Debian 2.2. The boot floppies and task packages were a bit behind, so work continued on them despite the freeze.
- Copyleft began offering Debian T-shirts for sale over the web.
- In preparation for Debian Project Leader elections, four candidates posted platforms and engaged in debates on IRC.
- As the freeze continued, the release manager introduced the concept of a release critical bug horizon -- all packages with release critical bugs would be removed when Debian passed the horizon. This proved quite effective in motivating developers to fix release critical bugs, before 100 packages fell under the knife.
- The new maintainer process, closed for several months, began to be reorganized with the formation of a new maintainer team. By the end of the month, the new process was almost ready for its first applicant.
- Debian passed the first release critical bug horizon, and 20 buggy packages were removed from frozen. But more RC bugs continued to be filed, and another horizon was set, and passed. With Debian 2.1 one year old and showing its age, the pressure to make another release intensified.
- Wichert Akkerman was re-elected Debian project Leader.
- We started the month with a discussion about signed packages and other ways to improve the security of the Debian archive. Now, 8 months later, nothing has changed.
- The new maintainer process reopened after being closed for some 9 months.
- Debian entered a test cycle, to flush out any last minute bugs before release. Few bugs were found, but the test cycle did bring to light some coordination problems with our release process, since we were unable to make CD images on time. Undaunted, we began a second test cycle soon after.
- In preparation for release, a powerful new system was brought online to be the project's master archive server, ftp.debian.org was upgraded as well, and moved to an international network backbone, and Debian finally stopped using non-free qmail on master.
- This year's most memorable and far-reaching issue erupted onto the mailing lists when John Goerzen proposed that it was time to remove non-free from the Debian archive. This was and continues to be a highly controversial idea.
- The Zeroth Debian Conference was held in France. About 30 developers gathered for the event, and discussions were wide-ranging. Overall it was quite a success, and we hope to make this an annual event, with another conference this July.
- Developer Joel "Espy" Klecker passed away. Joel was well known for his cutting wit and as the maintainer of libc for Debian. Much less widely known was lifelong struggle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
- We entered a third test cycle, hopeful that it would be the last.
- Progeny entered the public eye. The company was founded by Debian's founder, Ian Murdock, and it announced it had hired several Debian developers.
- Debian became 7 years old.
- We made final preparations for release, working on an announcement, and other last-minute details.
- And on August 15th, Debian GNU/Linux 2.2, the "Joel 'Espy' Klecker" release, was finally released, in the midst of much excitement at LinuxWorld Expo including such unheard of events as a real live press conference and a Debian release party. Ftp.debian.org ran at full capacity for weeks afterward as the world downloaded the new version of Debian, though problems with the CD images did put a damper on the euphoria.
- Anthony Towns announced a preliminary version of the "testing" distribution, which tracks unstable but avoids many of the pitfalls of the cutting edge.
- KDE entered Debian after Qt's license was finally changed to be compatible with the GPL.
- The boot floppies team began working on a new Debian installer, aiming to fix many of the problems in the old installer.
- It was announced that security fixes for Debian 2.1 would end and the end of the month. After a lot of hue and cry this date was pushed back a month; even then not everyone was satisfied.
- Unstable development heated up, with a major update to glibc causing lots of breakage.
- Problems with the Debian bug tracking system, including over-use of bug severities and the increasing number of bugs in the BTS, spurred on new work on the BTS and development of new features like bug tags.
- First Tuxtops and then VA began offering systems with Debian pre-installed, as Debian began to be usable on other platforms like the Ipaq and HP PA-RISC.
- X 4.x and perl 5.6 entered unstable in the same week -- and it was a pretty rough week for intrepid unstable users.
- Debian 2.2r1, a minor update to Debian 2.2, was released.
- In an unlikely turn of events, the controversial resolution to remove non-free expired before it could be voted on.
- First the non-us archive, and then the main Debian archive were moved into package pools.
- The big changes to the Debian archive continued as the "testing" distribution was rolled out.
- In between these major changes, we found time to release Debian 2.2r2.
As Debian Weekly News enters its third year, I want to thank everyone in Debian for providing such a plethora of interesting discussions, events, and hard work for me to report on. It's been a wild year!
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Debian Weekly News is edited by Joey Hess.