Debian Weekly News - February 20th, 2002

Welcome to this year's eighth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter to the Debian community. We've received promising news with regard to the Woody release, but please see below. In case you've missed this week's flamebait on our release structure, here's the link to the thread.

New Upload System. James Troup finally revealed the gory details of the new structure and implementation of the Incoming directories into which new packages are uploaded, before they are processed and installed into the Debian archive. The main advantage of this change is that only those packages that will be installed by the next archive run will be publicly visible through This change was required to let crypto-enabled software enter the main archive. It is installed on the non-US server and will eventually be installed on ftp-master after it has proven stability.

Debian on Top of Sun Solaris. John Groenveld started a discussion covering a Debian system running within a Solaris box. However, his proposal does not include running Debian natively on the architecture but in SunPC/bochs. This would open Sun's customers the world of Linux binaries and more applications, even on the non-x86 architecture, that other companies don't plan to support with their applications. Somebody else added an interesting view about the Debian project: "Their [the package maintainers] personal reputation is on the line if a package isn't updated/fixed/etc."

New Stable Revision (r6) in Preparation. In another quixotic attempt, Joey is again working on an update to the stable Debian version (alias 2.2). The list of packages contains no less than eleven security uploads currently. Joey's plan is to get the sixth revision out at the beginning of March. However the new incoming system could put a spoke into this wheel. If you would like to add a comment to the list, please drop him a line.

Unofficial Woody Image for Mini CDs. Ho-seok Lee developed an unofficial small CD image for the i386 architecture that fits on a 3.5" CD which takes about 180MB. The image was created manually and contains 280 Debian packages including packages like Sawfish, IceWM, XMMS and the Linux kernel 2.4.17 supporting ReiserFS, Ext3FS and the PPPoE module for ADSL users. This entire image can be downloaded from here.

Woody Release Status. Anthony Towns sent in a new status report about the upcoming Woody release. The good news are that the base system is back in good shape. There are still bugs in some important packages, but most of these seem fairly controllable. The bad news are that several packages still come with release critical (RC) bugs which means that they will be getting randomly ripped out of testing. If packages you're interested in having accumulated RC bugs the maintainer and you have almost run out of time to get them fixed if you want them released.

SPAM on Debian Lists. The mailing lists, that the Debian project provides, are open and anybody can send mail to most of them. Since their addresses are publicly available, they are abused by spammers as well, unfortunately. There is not much we can do about this besides trying to filter out as much as we can and closing the lists. While we are already doing the first, we won't do the latter. We appreciate people complaining about spammers, but please, please, please think thrice about where you are sending the complaint to. Here is yet another example of a subscriber of a Debian owned mailing list filing spam complaints against Brainfood for spam on Debian lists.

Autobuilding Debian? Have you ever wondered if it would be possible to rebuild all Debian packages from source? Theoretically speaking, this should be possible. Many packages provide Build-Depends that describe which packages need to be installed before a package can be built. Junichi Uekawa used an Athlon 900 with 512 MB of memory that tried to rebuild all Debian packages. 4114 packages were built successfully while 375 packages didn't. That's pretty impressive.

Report From Last Weekends Bug-Squashing Party. Colin Watson reports that the seventh Bug-Squashing Party (BSP) attracted a substantial number of existing developers, applicants, and users. The release critical (RC) bug count has dropped from 442 on Friday morning to the current level of 331, a large amount of which was due to bug-squashers providing patches and/or Non-Maintainer-Uploads (NMUs). The delayed incoming directory currently contains fixes for 72 bugs (many of them are RC).

Mirrors Recovering after the Rsync Breakage. Josip Rodin reports that most Debian mirrors recuperated automatically after the last rsync breakage. This was anticipated since rsync was fixed a while ago and should detect broken files. He also tells us that there are currently 290 officially registered Debian mirrors. All mirror maintainers are encouraged to investigate what's been changed since the last time they checked.

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

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

Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 108 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.

Got News? Please inform us about everything that's going on in the Debian community. We are always looking for any interesting stories to add, especially new items by voluntary writers. We're looking forward to your mail, send it to

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