Debian Weekly News - April 10th, 2002

Welcome to this year's fifteenth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. This was an impressive week, not only a preliminary schedule for this year's Debian Conference was released and developers are making plans for attending, but also Anthony Towns released a promising woody status report. The current Project Leader Election is in full swing until next Tuesday. The next issue of DWN will probably be able to name the next Project Leader.

Local init.d Files. Karsten Self proposed that the use of system local init.d scripts be added to the Debian policy document. Scripts that are named local-foo should be considered local and sacrosanct by the system, where -foo could have any arbitrary value, including null (for the single instance of a local script). The short version for this request would be that no Debian package should ever use an initscript ID prefixed by local.

Final Boot-Floppies 3.0.22 for Woody. David Kimdon announced that he finalized new boot-floppies and uploaded packages for the i386 architecture. Adam Di Carlo later alarmed porters to hurry up or some architectures will have to stay with an older version. Despite showstopper bugs, this will be the version of boot-floppies Woody will be released with. All architectures that will be released with Woody are finally in sync with this version.

Cyrus IMAPd 2.1.3 in Unstable. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh informed us about new Cyrus packages that have been uploaded into the unstable distribution. Henrique feels that they are not mature enough for the next stable release of Debian. Hence, he is trying to keep them out of the testing distribution in order to keep them out of the next stable distribution.

Annoying BTS Ack Mails. Daniel Jacobowitz recently complained about storms of "Information received" acknowledgement mails sent by Bug Tracking System (BTS). For instance, this could cause annoying circumstances for users and third-party bug tracking systems. This was prompted by the GCC GNATS system, which has dozens of reports created by these ACKs. The BTS maintainers are currently working on a solution.

Problems with ioctls Affecting XFree86. Jack Howarth pointed out that the current version of XFree86 doesn't build on all architectures. This is due to a problem or misunderstanding between kernel headers, glibc headers and XFree86 source, as Branden Robinson explained it, and it seems non-trivial to work around it.

Schedule for Debian Conference 2. Joe Drew released a preliminary schedule for the upcoming Debian Conference 2, which will be held from July 5th - 7th at York University in Toronto, Canada. A registration page is up as well, ironically, it is powered by a non-free Microsoft-IIS/4.0 like Joey pointed out.

Woody Release on May 1st. Anthony Towns is becoming increasingly confident in woody's release readiness and has therefore scheduled it for May 1st. However, as always, it'll be released when it is ready: if we find out that the software is not ready by April 30th, it won't be released. Together with this announcement, he mentioned another set of 53 packages, which have been removed from the testing distribution due to bugs and other issues.

Woody Release Notes. With the release of Woody closer than ever, there is an urgent need for updated release notes. Rob Bradford still has to address several issues in the current version and is seeking your assistance. Please get in touch with him at if you can help with the release notes.

GNU FDL a non-free License? Several people are discussing whether the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) is a free license or not. If the GFDL is indeed considered a non-free license, this would render almost all KDE and many other well known packages non-free since they use the GNU FDL for the documentation. Additionally, here's an old thread from debian-legal, which may shed some light on the issue.

New Developers Reference Uploaded. Adam Di Carlo uploaded an updated developers-reference 2.11. It contains important updates for crypto-in-main and closes a number of bugs. He also stated publicly that anyone who wishes to join in on the maintenance of the developers-reference can and should put themselves forward. Simply get in touch with him.

Debian rules! The Sucks-Rules-O-Meter technique tries to make tongue-in-cheek testimonies about the popularity of software. The frequency of combined terms in the WWW like "foo sucks" and "foo rules" is analyzed and plotted from the results of a search engine. Statistics of operating systems show as expected a strongly positive deflection for free systems like GNU/Linux and FreeBSD. The investigation about the popularity of GNU/Linux distributions even points out the highest sympathy value for Debian with a large distance to others.

Removing Orphaned Packages. Martin Michlmayr noticed that there are a couple of orphaned packages in testing that were never part of a stable release. Since these packages are currently not maintained, the question arises whether Woody should be released without them. Some of them are required since other packages depend on them. However, quite a few could easily be removed from testing. His mail, of course, included such a list.

Python Module for Debconf. Josselin Mouette was tired of shell programming and created a Python module for debconf. Interested people can get it from here. However, as long as Python is not essential, people will have to install Python first, in order to be able to install other packages. The module may be included in the regular debconf package after Woody has been released.

Updated FAI Package Available. Thomas Lange just recently released a new version of FAI (which stands for Fully Automatic Installation). FAI 2.3 is tested with Debian 3.0 alias Woody. Many improvements are included in this version, however, the documentation is not yet up to date. If you are using this package and have some spare cycles to donate, Thomas would probably be happy about assistance.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were recently added to the Debian archive.

Orphaned Packages. 6 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 120 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list, and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you plan to take over a package.

Got News? Please inform us about everything that is happening in the Debian community. We are always looking for any interesting stories to add, especially new items by volunteer writers, and topics we tend to miss. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Yooseong Yang and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.