Debian Weekly News - August 27th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Many developers still seem to be enjoying their holidays so the lists are quite silent, compared to other times of the year. After large numbers complaints that were posted on debian-project, Slashdot and Debian Planet, Rob Levin, head of the network in question, finally announced that global notices for fundraising will stop.

Reviving a Constitutional Amendment. In December 2000, Raul Miller proposed a General Resolution (GR) to fix the voting process as defined in the constitution. The GR was withdrawn until a committee assigned to study the problem returned with a recommendation. The Debian Project Secretary, Manoj Srivastava, recently revived the discussion.

OpenLDAP and TLS/SSL. Torsten Landschoff was pondering whether he should enable SSL support in OpenLDAP. This, however, results in a priority problem since libldap2 uses a higher priority in the Debian archive than libssl0.9.6. Hence, either of these packages need to have their priority changed. Creating two packages is not really an option since the number of -ssl packages should be fewer now that crypto is permitted to go into the main archive.

On the new GCC 3.2. Gerhard Tonn started rebuilding all packages that depend on C++ on S/390. The results are not looking very good, since more than a third of all affected packages failed to build at all. However, several packages failed to build due to problems not directly connected to GCC 3.2. Gerhard agreed to write bug reports for build problems that are not GCC 3.2 specific.

Python 2.2 as the default Version? Matthias Klose proposed to change the default Python version in Debian unstable to Version 2.2. When preparing packages for multiple versions of Python, Matthias asks maintainers to drop python1.5 support and consider providing support for the experimental python2.3 packages.

Dock Apps packaging. Josselin Mouette finally proposed how to package WindowMaker dock apps for Debian. Basically, dock apps from the same category will be included in one package. The proposed packages include many dock apps which are already in the archive.

Supporting Gnome 2. There are ongoing discussions that deal with the process of adding Gnome 2 to the Debian archive. It is not yet decided whether there will be both Gnome 1 and Gnome 2 in Debian, since both possibilities are problematic. It's been said that some applications won't start with Gnome 2, and supporting both versions will create new integrity and namespace problems. Ian Jackson eventually proposed a resolution.

New Sun Documentation License. Peter Novodvorsky (Петр Новодворский) wondered whether this license, which is going to be used for OpenOffice.Org documentation, is compliant with the DFSG (Debian Free Software Guidelines). This actually seems to be the case. However, Branden Robinson pointed out that it could be argued that the license de facto imposes further restrictions by the choice of law clause and an increasingly hostile situation against Free Software in the U.S.A.

Are Word Lists Copyrightable? Bas Zoetekouw was seeking advice for packaging a Dutch aspell dictionary, which itself lacks a license, but seems to be based upon a package which is licensed under the GNU General Public License, even though it uses a non-free word list. Richard Stallman agreed that word lists seem to be copyrightable.

Getting Rid of non-free Packers. Juhapekka Tolvanen wondered why Debian still ships non-free packers. Different packers than the commonly used gzip or bzip2 are required to uncompress archives like arj, rar, lha, zoo or ace. They are especially useful if you want to listen to music modules made under other operating systems, or when virus scanners are required to examine many compressed formats. Juhapekka investigated the situation and found, that there are some free alternatives which only need to be packaged, or be ported, or completed. For packers with license or patent issues it would be necessary to contact the authors and ask for DFSG compliant modifications.

The debian-installer Runs Again. Tollef Fog Heen released another status report on the debian-installer effort. The most important news is that cdebconf has been fixed and now works like a charm. The second most important piece of news is that support for multiple architectures has begun, since Colin Walters is working on the PowerPC port and Wartan Hachaturow is working on the Alpha port. Currently, it is questionable, though, if a reduced libc will be possible.

First Bug Squashing Party. Raphaël Hertzog announced the first bug squashing party for the sarge distribution. It will take place during the upcoming weekend, from August 30th to September 2nd. Raphaël explains that the number of release critical bugs in sarge is already too high for a release and we aim to a short release cycle.

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. There are no new orphaned packages last week or the LDAP gateway to the bug tracking system is currently out of order.

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

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