Debian Weekly News - June 25th, 2002

Welcome to this year's twentyfourth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. In order to improve the quality of DWN and to let new contributors know how we put together each issue, we updated the contributing page. Here's a nice quote from Jérôme Marant: The good work Debian folks are doing on their packages is the real secret for APT's magic.

Preliminary XFree86 4.2.0 Packages. Branden Robinson finally announced preliminary packages for XFree86 4.2.0. Thanks to Branden and Ishikawa Mutsumi (石川むつみ) for the great work. As Branden has mentioned before, Debian provides the cross-platform testbed for XFree86. The developers only build for i386. Additionally, Werner Heuser set up a Mini HOWTO about Debian-XFree86 v4.2, and Adam Heath and Tollef Fog Heen set up a mirror list.

Debian used in French Schools. The Debian system is used as basis for a distribution of GNU/Linux used in French schools. It uses a customized installer. The system will install on a single disk, either empty or with a single vfat partition. In order to install it, the user only has to boot from the CD. The installation process is in French and installs a working Debian system in less than 20 minutes. There is more information with links pointing to French documents.

Developer's Reference Updated. Raphaël Hertzog announced that a new version of the Developer's Reference has been installed in the archive. The number of changes is said to be impressive and include: documentation of testing, the Package Tracking System, the new incoming system, IRC channels, madison, new maintainer sponsoring and a completely new chapter covering Best Packaging Practices.

GNU FDL 1.2 Draft Comment Summary Posted. The Free Software Foundation finally released the comments they received after publishing the license draft for the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL), which Branden Robinson asked for quite a while ago. However, since Branden is unhappy with the current situation, he intends to develop the Debian Free Content License (DFCL) which will be unambiguously DFSG-free. Hence, the APS Free Game License and the Design Science License were mentioned.

Additional Restrictions for the GPL? A question came up on the debian-legal list whether the author is permitted to add some kind of advertisement clause to the license of a package which is otherwise licensed using the GNU General Public License. Branden Robinson explains in detail why this package doesn't seem to comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Prettyprinting Java Code? Every once in a while programmers would like to print their code on paper, either for review or for archiving. However, plain code does look boring. Hence, it's always good to use a beautifier before actually printing the code, so keywords get printed bold, etc. For e-mail there are mp and muttprint, for C, C++, Java, Shell, Perl and Verilog there is trueprint. For Java you may also use tinyc2l.

Multilingual General Debian Flyers. Several Debian people have recently worked on an updated general flyer that informs about the Debian project and the Debian distribution. It should be used at international exhibitions whenever the Debian project is invited to attend. It uses free software (i.e. LaTeX) and is organized as bilingual flyer when printed on both sides of a sheet of paper. The copyright has been assigned to Software in the Public Interest, Inc. and the flyer source is already available in German, English, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Swedish.

PGI based Woody Installer. Branden Robinson announced that in light of the imminent release of Debian 3.0, also known as Woody, Progeny Linux Systems is publishing a beta version of a Woody installer, which is based on their Progeny Graphical Installer (PGI) software. ISO Images of this installer are available from

Reorganizing Debian's Documentation. Osamu Aoki (青木 修) proposed to reorganize the documentation which Debian installs on the users system in /usr/share/doc, similar to RFC and HOWTO documents. This will provide more consistent file location and other benefits like easier integration on CDs, documentation, which is easier to find, and consistency.

Easier Translation of Debian's Web Pages. Denis Barbier posted a request for comments to debian-www regarding a new way to do translations. Earlier, there have been many problems regarding the so-called slices, in which multiple languages are present in the same file. This causes problems for some multi-byte encodings, such as Japanese. Denis came up with a solution which uses the familiar gettext method and .po files.

Debian on Rank 35 on Supercomputer List. The last International Supercomputing Conference recently took place in Heidelberg, Germany. The University of Heidelberg did not only host this year's conference but also built their own cluster at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR), which uses Debian as basic operating system. This cluster is the world's fastest computer cluster running GNU/Linux and made it to rank 35.

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

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

Orphaned Packages. Two packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 79 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.

Seen something interesting? Please drop us a note whenever you see something noteworthy that you think is appropriate for inclusion in DWN. We don't see everything, unfortunately, and this month will be a busy one for us. Of course, we are also thankful for completely written items from volunteer writers. 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.