Debian Weekly News - September 24th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The Commission on Intellectual Property Rights released a document that suggests governments and donor organisations in developing countries could review their software procurement policies with a view to giving greater consideration to low cost business software products, including generic and open-source products that are widely available.

Bits from the DPL. The Debian Project Leader (DPL) sent his notes again. Bdale Garbee talks about various conferences he was invited to give a talk or hold a workshop, most of them were related to Debian. Later this month, he will attend the HPWorld convention in Los Angeles and then spend two weekends in a row at AMSAT satellite design meetings in Orlando, Florida, and in Marburg, Germany.

Debian Cluster serves as Research Tool. It was reported that a cluster computer consisting of 512 nodes has been set up at the Syddansk Universitet (University of Southern Denmark). Researchers will use the cluster to map the pig genome and to do research related to quantum chemistry, solid state physics, and cellular biology.

Debian Meeting in the UK. Over the weekend of August 31st Debian developers from across the country (and the continent) flocked to Cambridge for the annual festivities of drinking beer, barbecuing and generally geeky chat. Steve McIntyre kindly hosted 25 Debian people and their demands for net connections. A big thanks should go out to Steve and everyone who helped out. Photos of the occasion were taken by Mark Baker and Martin Michlmayr.

Bits from the Release Manager. In addition to the bits from the DPL (see above) Anthony Towns reported the reasons the next Debian release (codename: sarge) will rock for sure. He mentions all great additions that we can expect, like OpenOffice, SE Linux, support for *BSD, Hurd and more architectures as well as internationalised dist-upgrades. Very few improvements are currently included however the rest will be included at a later date.

Help for Website Translations. Gerfried Fuchs reported the status of some translations of According to the statistics and the corresponding translation coordinator(s) Esperanto, Greek, Finnish and Russian, could use some help. If you are interested and would like to help to make the website more useful for the people in your country who can't read English fluently, please contact one of your translation coordinators.

Updating the Release Notes. Robert Bradford is seeking updates for the Release Notes. Three areas where corrections would be beneficial are upgrade instruction improvements, last minute changes to the document and general bugfixing. Documenting noteworthy changes in the Release Notes is also important. These could include different behaviour of some packages as well as non-critical but potentially important bugs in packages that won't be updated in the point-releases.

GNOME Transition in Progress. Last week we reported that the GNOME 2 transition and the associated discussion had unfortunately stagnated. This resulted in a new (and perhaps an old) discussion on the subject. While some of the old conflicts remain, hopefully everyone can work towards the common goal of adding GNOME 2 to the Debian archive. Regardless of our internal problems GNOME 2.0.2 was released.

Debconf with Charset Encoding Support. Joey Hess announced that Debconf 1.2.0 has experimental support for encoded character sets. He will try to use UTF-8 encoding for everything in the templates files that are shipped with packages. However if that should not prove to be practical for some languages, it supports other encodings as well. If you are using a different character set, debconf will convert it to the preferred encoding.

Choosing the Internet Superserver. Marco d'Itri restarted the discussion on how to support more than only the regular inetd program and configuration file, which is done through the update-inetd program from netbase. Anthony Towns explained that the plan hasn't changed and netbase needs to be removed so we can avoid requiring inetd on all systems. update-inetd needs to be rewritten and it's syntax changed to solve a whole bunch of old outstanding bugs. He explained his plan in detail and attached preliminary code. Andrew Suffield also provided preliminary code.

Same Package - Two Names. Wichert Akkerman discovered that the Debian archive contains two packages with similar names and descriptions: progsreiserfs and reiserfsprogs. Timshel Knoll, the maintainer of progsreiserfs explained that the package he maintains uses a library for manipulating ReiserFS partitions. This differs from the upstream source but the library is also used by GNU parted.

SE Linux for Woody. Russell Coker announced that Brian May has taken over woody back-ports of the SE Linux code, so Russell can now concentrate on code and packages for sarge. In his unofficial repository he hosts patched packages for system utilities like dpkg, login and ssh that will work fine with SE Linux but can't be uploaded into the Debian archive.

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. 16 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 123 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.

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