Debian Weekly News - July 16th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. This week we received an article from somebody who switched back from GNU/Linux and another article that lists major alleged deficiencies of GNU/Linux. They may contain problems from a users point of view, which developers take care of. If you want to know what happens when Debian geeks are bored on IRC, read this logbook.

GNU/Linux Team Fighting? The FIFA World Cup 2002 in Korea and Japan ended on June 30, 2002. Surprisingly, the Korean Republic impressed everybody in the world in both soccer game and supporters power (i.e. spirit of the Red Devils). Before the end, an interesting fun image was posted on the news group han.comp.os.linux.advocacy. This kind of parody is based on "Korea Team Fighting" which means "Go Korea Team". Penguins, Gnu, Chameleon and Dragonfly are displayed in the Korean soccer team uniform.

DebConf 2 successfully finished. The third Debian Conference, this year held in Toronto, Canada, is over. Thanks go out to Joe Drew for hosting the conference. He has already posted some of his experiences. Michael Cardenas from also wrote a report and James Treacy took a bunch of pictures. Tollef Fog Heen created a list of some of the different presentations.

Debian on your Cellular Phone? No, it won't run Debian. At least, it won't run it at the moment, but we'll better check what processors future cellular phones will be built upon. Christian Wenke played with scmxx, which exchanges data with Siemens mobile phones, such as logos, address books short messages etc. The Debian logo included in that package is useful for large screens only, but Christian created one for small displays (like for the M25i or S35i), based on the image from onShore. Christian provided the commandline required for uploading the image to your phone.

What Packages need to go into Non-US? Matt Kraai asked which packages still have to go into the non-US repository. Free software that makes use of cryptographic methods may be uploaded into the main archive already, however, non-free software, that uses cryptography, must not. The non-US repository also contains program code which needs to be stored on a non-US server because of United States patents.

Hewlett-Packard chooses Debian. Robert McMillan wrote in Linux Magazine about HP announcing plans to standardize its internal Linux development on one distribution: Debian. Cnet also featured a similar article, which itself is based on a message from Bruce Perens from May 2001, in which he announced that HP choose Debian as the selected development platform (among others) for their Linux work. Bruce explains that the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) are a critical component used for that reasoning.

Debian Mini-Conf in January. The upcoming Linux Conference Australia (LCA) will host a miniature DebConf on January 20th and 21st, two days prior to LCA. The Debian part will be organized by Jonathan Oxer, who has already set up a preliminary schedule and is looking for interesting talks and presentations. If you would like to attend this Mini-Conf, please check the above page.

New Stable Revision Released. Joey finally got around and released another revision (r7) of Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 (codename `potato'). This revision adds 12 more security updates to the stable distribution of Debian, covering packages like analog, Apache, CUPS, IMP/Horde, listar, sudo and UUCP. A few important corrections were added as well, which cover packages like erlang, qpopper and vrweb. See the preparation page for details.

Rendez-vouz with Ian Jackson. Robert McQueen interviewed Ian Jackson for DebianPlanet, a Debian member since the early days. He joined the Debian effort, because he got fed up of maintaining his system by hand (a common reason, together with the sophisticated ideology behind the project, by the way). Ian explains how dpkg was introduced and how he believes that package maintenance should interact with a user frontend.

Creating a Free Font. Dustin Norlander, an amateur font designer, contacted the Debian people, seeking help with licensing a new font family which should be considered a free font with regards to the DFSG. Jim Gettys asserted that it might be wise to retain control of the name of the font, even while allowing other derivative works. This way there won't exist conflicting versions of the same font using the same name. David Starner raised some important questions, though, which remained unanswered.

Checking Package Integrity? Jakub Turski wondered if it currently was possible to add a malicious package to the main ftp site and nobody noticing this? Anthony Towns pointed to a script that checks signatures and checksums. Colin Watson added that the ftpmaster's key needs to be added to the trustedkeys.gpg files instead of the regular pubkey.gpg file.

Sending Patches Upstream? Mateusz Papiernik wondered whether patches to Debian packages, which fix bugs, should be sent upstream as well. Simon Law answered that we want upstream packages to be bug-free, too. That said, all useful patches, which make Debian packages more stable, less buggy, improve their portability etc., should be sent upstream as well.

Glibc up for Adoption. Ben Collins announced that he doesn't have the time to work properly on the GNU C library. Hence, he's looking for one developer with shitloads of time and skill, or a team of 2-3 with average time, and good skills. The library requires an extra amount of clue, so as not to break the 11+ architectures that depend on it to work perfectly. Ben would love to see binutils, gcc and glibc maintained by a single coordinated team, and the three built in some sort of bootstrap setup.

Debian at 2002. Federico Di Gregorio sent in a report about the 2002 event in Padova, Italy. Federico says that almost 40 % of the people coming to the booth never heard of Debian or Free Software before. Hence, it was a pleasure to talk to them and explain about our philosophy. The report also contains links to three picture archives.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the Debian archive recently or contain important updates. Aside from the following packages, a lot of kernel and port specific packages were included (such as legacy utilities for powerpc and m68k machines and a lot of Hurd packages).

Orphaned Packages. One package was orphaned this week and requires a new maintainer. This makes a total of 83 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainer 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 notice everything, unfortunately. Of course, we are also thankful for completely written items from volunteer writers. Please see the contributing page. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

To receive this newsletter weekly in your mailbox, subscribe to the debian-news mailing list.

Back issues of this newsletter are available.

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