Debian Weekly News - June 25th, 2001

MOSIX Correction: Last week we mentioned the MOSIX tool, and there may have been some confusion when we described it as a "multi-platform" tool. MOSIX works on several OSes, but only on the x86 architecture. However, ports for SPARC and Alpha are under way as well.

KDE 2.2 Alpha Packages: If you want to live on the bleeding edge, Ivan E. Moore II, the Debian KDE maintainer has made preliminary KDE 2.2 packages available on Thanks, Ivan!

Inexpensive Linux Laptops: Chris Ivanovich is looking for an inexpensive laptop that is Linux-friendly. He's gotten quite a few suggestions on the debian-laptop list. If you have any suggestions, or are looking for one yourself, check out the discussion.

When it rains...: Auric, Debian's FTP master server, crashed during last Thursday's 'dinstall' run, which corrupted the database. Consequently, testing disappeared for a day, but returned on Friday.

Watch where you put that...: On debian-devel, the location of the traceroute program is the subject of (another) heated discussion. Should it go into /usr/sbin or /usr/bin? Currently, it makes its home in /usr/sbin -- where the package maintainer believes it should be. As always, there are some strong opinions and interesting points made, as well as a few silly ones -- almost as much fun as watching two geeks argue over the relative merits of Emacs and vi.

Improving Qmail Performance: It's always good to get advice on how to improve system performance. Jason Lim has a recommendation on the debian-isp list that might be of interest to Qmail users.

Exim and outgoing SMTP AUTH: Andrew J. Perrin is a Telocity user who is looking for help to make Exim work with his ISP's mail servers, which now use SMTP AUTH. SMTP is the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which is used to transmit mail from one mail server to another. It typically does not require a username/password pair to transmit mail, but to prevent spammers abusing their mail servers to relay mail across the Internet, ISPs usually use the IP address of the sender and the destination of the mail to decide if they will accept it. Some ISPs are supplementing this with the SMTP AUTH system, where in order to relay mail to another machine, senders must provide a username and password. Unfortunately, Telocity's idea of how this works doesn't quite match Exim's... If you have any ideas, join in the thread on the debian-user mailing list.

NewbieDoc News: We need more proto-newbies! If you've got a hurdle that you figured out how to overcome -- maybe a configuration setting for Exim, or a trick with Apache, or a command in vim -- we'd love to hear about it. You'll be able to help someone tomorrow by documenting what you learned today. Please help out -- see the web site or mailing list for more details!

School finals have just about drained our talent pool dry recently, so the NewbieDoc effort has been a bit quiet lately. Even so, Will Trillich has been applying some PHP tricks to automate the NewbieDoc listings, so our document listings are now generated on-the-fly, and Romain Lerallut has re-wrapped the whole NewbieDoc set in tarball form, and it's available for download now.

Newbie Tip: If you haven't tried using Mutt to read your mail, you should give it a whirl. First, "apt-get install mutt" and then run "mutt" to read your messages. To see how powerful the customization features are, you can visit a web site and download some example configurations there.

Security Advisories: Several have been issued this week for various Debian packages. Take a look and see if you need to update your system:

As always, many thanks to the security team for their hard work.

New packages this week:

Also of special note, after a heated thread on debian-devel, last week Mozilla 0.9.1, the first new version since November 2000, was installed to non-US/main.

As always, feel free to write to us with your Debian-related news at

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, Jean-Christophe Helary and Tollef Fog Heen.