Debian Weekly News - July 31st, 2001

Base bugs and the freeze. Anthony Towns has posted yet another base bugs report. It says that we have most of the base bugs fixed. The architectures which will be released seems to be ARM, i386, m68k, PowerPC, Sparc, HPPA and IA-64. Alpha doesn't have boot-floppies yet, while mips and mipsel are being considered. We also need to decide on crypto in main. The process concerning this has a deadline August 4th. If everything goes better than planned then we will have woody released before Christmas.

Mips and mipsel for woody? We hear interesting and promising news from our mips ports. Henning Heinold has reported a partial success story for boot-floppies on a MIPS machine (big endian, binary-mips). The installer is loaded via NFS-Root. Karsten Merker and Martin 'Joey' Schulze have managed to get a DECstation (little endian, binary-mipsel) boot the Debian installer through a kernel with an appended ramdisk which is loaded via TFTP. The porters hope that these steps classify for an inclusion in woody. Here is Karsten's report.

Useful utilities on debian-devel. Small script gems keep popping out on debian-devel. You have probably su'ed to root in order to run an X program and then discovered that you only got a message like xterm Xt error: Can't open display: 0:0. Then you got around it in some way, either by running xhost, or ssh -X -l root localhost. Now, Francois Gouget has made a tool which solves the problem. It's called sux (su-with-x). Here is his announcement.

Sponsoring problems. For people who are in the New Maintainer Queue, there is a way to get a package into Debian. That is to get a sponsor, who checks the package and uploads it on behalf of the person being sponsored. Lately, there have been some problems with developers not checking the packages well enough. As usual, this spawned off a big discussion on debian-devel, and Anthony Towns proposed a way for the sponsor to become more involved with the packages she is sponsoring.

Say cheese. Or APT. Debian has the best packaging system around, but not everybody knows which utility to use when. Is it dpkg --reconfigure or dpkg-reconfigure? (It's the latter, but not to be confused with dpkg --configure.) Joe Wreschnig wrote a small frontend to apt, called FETA (Front End To Apt), which looks cute.

Quality of bug reports. Anthony Towns has posted a little complaint about the quality of bug reports. "If we get more and more users, or more and more newbie users, or more and more users who want an information appliance instead of a computer, I can only see this getting worse." This seems to be a result of the increased popularity of Debian GNU and our encouragement to send bug reports while tools like bug(1) and reportbug(1) make it quite easy to submit new bug reports, even it the problem is PEBKAC. The discussion quickly lead into technical proposals to cope with the number of bug reports and their classification. Matt Zimmerman came up with a bugzilla-like proposal (even with a flow chart), while Anthony introduced new tags.

Size of the Debian Archive. Marcelo Magallon has studied the size of the Debian archive for over one month and has summarized it on a graphic. It shows a steady increase in size of the Debian archive. New architectures which are catching up quickly like S/390, HP PA-RISC and both MIPS architectures, let the size increase fast.

New packages this week

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