Debian Weekly News - December 5th, 2001

We're Late. Yes, and we're awfully sorry for it. Joey went out for International Linux Kongress (see below) and time was too short writing up an entire issue in time, hence we decided to skip one week and prepare a fantastic issue for this week.

Fixing GPM Bugs. Zephaniah E. Hull worked on GPM recently, fighting against broken mice which ignore mice protocols and send more characters than expected. Zephaniah publicly asked for bug reports about problems with GPM and PS/2 mice. Even if these bugs are filed as bugs already, please read his mail and provide all information he needs.

Quality of Ximian's Debian Packages. Eric Van Buggenhaut was playing with Ximian's Debian Packages, trying to get Ximian's version of gdm compile. His fears include the possibility that some of Ximian's packages could make it into Debian, even though they lack proper maintenance, including: no Build-Depends, no clean target in debian/rules and broken debian/conffiles.

Automatic Building of non-free Packages? Adrian Bunk started a discussion about discrimination of non-free packages. It was noticed that Debian's Build Daemons (buildd) don't seem to automatically build non-free packages for all architectures, resulting in difficulties in getting non-free packages to enter testing. Richard Braakman and James Troup (maintainer of nearly half a dozen buildds and ftp master) explained why buildd's can't automatically build non-free packages.

Freeze in Progress. The freeze for Woody is coming closer which will definitively lead into a released Woody. Anthony Towns is reviewing the situation of testing/unstable and reports problems which the maintainers of these affected packages have to solve in order to get their packages updated in testing. People who care about Woody should read the debian-devel mailing list frequently.

Interpretive Guidelines Regarding DFSG 3. Branden Robinson proposed an interpretation to the DFSG clause 3, that covers modifications and derived works. His proposal reflects the current situation where there are certain parts of packages that cannot be modified (e.g. license texts and auxiliary material). Such auxiliary material was introduced by the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL).

Quick Reference for Debian. Osamu Aoki (青木修) started a new document named Quick Reference for Debian GNU/Linux, which is distributed under the GNU FDL. This document is mostly a collection of scripts which can be used as quick reference. It covers many aspects of system administration including shell command examples and configuration files. Many issues were picked up from the debian-user mailing list.

Freeze Update. Anthony Towns sent an update of the freeze process. After December 9th, no changes (beyond minimal security backports, or incredibly special exceptions) will be made to base packages in Woody, and standard packages which have been dropped from Woody won't be reinstated. See our last issue for details.

Removing LDP Documents? David Merrill, the Linux Documentation Project coordinator, contacted the Debian Project recently with concerns about LDP documents (affecting packages doc-linux-html and doc-linux-text, plus the various translations) having to be moved to non-free or removed due to license issues. Unfortunately many LDP documents are encumbered by distribution requirements. Many authors, however, are cooperating with David and are relicensing their work.

Report from International Linux Kongress 2001. The Debian Project had the opportunity to run a booth and a developers' workshop during International Linux Kongress 2001 which was held at the University of Twente last week. Joey wrote a trip report describing some details of the meeting. More than a dozen Debian people joined the conference, and were talking with each other about various topics and exchanging GnuPG fingerprints. And, of cource, evening meetings were always fun to attend.

Packages from NSA's SE Linux. Russell Coker spent some time investigating SE Linux and assembling a couple of preliminary packages. In order to benefit from the changes made to SE Linux you'll first need to have a kernel with extra functionality booted. Russell has a patch prepared already.

Free Software in Russian Companies. A non-public conference targeting Free Software in the business world was held in Moscow at the end of November. Peter Novodvorsky (Петр Новодворский) and Wartan Hachaturow from Debian attended the conference and gave a talk about Debian.

One Small Step for Debian... We normally don't do product announcements, but we thought it was worth mentioning that HP's new line of Blade servers will debut with Linux before Windows versions or HP-UX. Naturally, one of the GNU/Linux distributions available is Debian GNU/Linux. Unfortunately, the first models won't ship until January. Too late for stocking-stuffers, but just in time for Valentine's...

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following new or updated packages were added to the Debian archive since our last issue.

A Particularly Interesting Package... This one really caught my eye, it's called "Vipul's Razor". It's a distributed, collaborative, spam-catching and filtering program to help weed out spam. It rates special mention because the more folks who use it, the more efficient it will be. Anything that helps put an end to spam is a Good Thing(TM).

Security Updates. Just one security issue to report this week, be sure to update your systems if it affects you.

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