Debian Weekly News - September 25th, 2001

KDE 2.2.1 and Xinerama. Ivan Moore's KDE 2.2.1 packages are compiled without Xinerama support for reasons too lengthy to go into here. However, if you want to find some packages with Xinerama compiled, David Bishop has been kind enough to put some here

Using HFS+ with Linux. There has been a discussion about using HFS+ partitions with Linux. They are used on Mac OS X for large partitions. A Linux driver is, however, unstable and abandoned. Several people have experienced kernel panics when accessing HFS partitions. The only way to access this filesystem with Linux is to use userspace HFS+ tools from the hfsplus package. Alternatively one could use UFS partitions which Mac OS X supports and for which an experimental Linux driver is available.

Using Mosix on Debian GNU/Linux. Viral Shah has written a HOWTO about using Mosix on Debian GNU/Linux. Mosix is a scalable, multi-os, transparent load balancing tool, which unfortunately only works on the x86 architecture. The HOWTO provides a step by step introduction to using Mosix, which is available as Debian packages already.

New Treasurer for SPI. The general meeting of Software in the Public Interest, Inc., has appointed Branden Robinson, the fabulous X guy from Debian, as new treasurer for the corporation on September 17, 2001. SPI forms a legal umbrella around the Debian project.

Security Secretary. Current problems with Debian Security have led Joey into reconsidering the situation. Debian Security is very crucial to our users and thus should be managed properly. To help improve the situation, Joey has asked for a Security Secretary, who will help the Debian Security Team doing their work.

English, British English or American English? There has been a discussion on Debian-Devel inspired by Marcelo E. Magallon and Bug#111465 which brought up a problem with creating an alias "English" for either en_US or en_GB. There have been many voices in favour of naming en_GB.ISO-8859-1 as "English" since the language comes from Great Britain and is spoken outside of it as well, similar to French being fr_FR and Spanish being es_ES, even while the language itself is spoken outside of France or Spain in a local version.

No More Evil? Last week we reported on the evils of /usr/share/java/repository. Ola Lundqvist was kind enough to summarize the results of the discussion so far. Java fiends may wish to peruse this summary and join in the discussion. The prevention of further evil may depend on it!

Apache Task Force. Ardo van Rangelrooij has proposed to form an Apache Task Force that will maintain the Apache packages. The current state of Apache and the recent need to fix at least some of the outstanding bugs led him to the conclusion that a more active maintenance of these packages is needed. This includes an Apache Task Force Webpage defining goals, writing up guidelines for packaging Apache modules, setting up a CVS repository and migrating the Debian apache packages to Apache 2, which is already prepared by Thom May and Daniel Stone. Several people have already volunteered to help out. Looks like there will be new Apache packages soon - better than ever. A preliminary mailing list has been created already.

Preview of new Ghostscript packages. Torsten Landschoff has announced new Ghostscript packages which are up for testing. This includes both gs 6.51 as well as gs-aladdin 7.00. Torsten is going to throw away the upstream scripts and replace them with his own ones.

New update_excuses output. Anthony Towns has announced that there will be a new set of lines in the update_excuses output. His announcement contains an explanation.

Uninstallable packages in Debian/testing. Andrew M. Bishop has posted a summary of packages in testing which are not installable. The list is depressingly long. Anthony Towns has agreed that there are a few packages that aren't installable in Woody. A number of packages are out of sync or even have release-critical bugs. There is also a more accurate list of uninstallable packages.

Aptitude updated. We reported on a problem with aptitude in our last issue. Daniel Burrows wrote us: "I just realized, when I saw this in DWN, that I never followed up to this. The version of aptitude in sid is now free of this bug (and some stupid segfaults that somehow snuck in at the same time). Install, and if it still doesn't work, report bugs."

Bootstrapping on SuperH. Yutaka Niibe has posted a step-by-step manual for bootstrapping Debian GNU/Linux distribution on SuperH. Currently Debian GNU/Linux on i386 is required, including the development environment as well as binutils-multiarch. Congratulations!

Graphing Debian Lists. Joey has played with RRD apparently. He has created some graphics of the mailing lists that Debian serves on They display both the total list of subscribers as well as the posting frequency per list. This results in some interesting graphs, such as Debian-Announce whose number of subscribers grow steadily with no postings or Debian-Alpha with frequent postings but nearly the same number of subscribers.

New lintian to test. In our last issue we reported that Shaleh announced to restart work on lintian. He has already put up preliminary .debs. Get them while they're hot.

Python Policy Draft. Neil Schemenauer has posted a draft of a Debian Python Policy. All interested parties should check it out and send comments to the debian-python list.

32/64-Bit Coexistence. There's a lot of discussion on the LSB-Spec list about a proposal for 32-bit and 64-bit compatibility on 64-bit systems. Not many of us happen to have 64-bit systems sitting around at home, but this topic is going to be more and more important in the future. (Note, if you do have a 64-bit system sitting at home, there's no need to email us to let us know. Thanks.)

Correction. Last week we included an item on Alternatives in Build-Dependencies and Bdale Garbee's name was misspelled as Bdale Garbie. Sorry about that Bdale!

Fonts missing after upgrade. Several people have reported problems with fonts after X was upgraded. Characters appeared as boxes within Gnumeric, GIMP, XMMS or other programs. This is caused by the presence of ISO10646-1 ("Unicode") encoded fonts in the new 4.1.0 X font packages. Many applications and toolkits don't specify what character encoding they want when requesting a font, and aren't equipped to handle the return of a 16-bit font. Using the X Font Server (xfs) from XFree86 4.x will fix the problem. People have reported that changing the font ordering in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 will also work, though it may only be a fortunate coincidence.

New Packages. Here's some of the new and notable this week.

Recent Security Advisories. A few new security advisories to take heed of if you use these packages.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.