Debian Weekly News - December 23rd, 2003

Welcome to this year's 51st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Finally, the Debian website is functional again, but not all mirrors are updating yet. The FSF Europe is seeking donations to secure their work in the future. Some political factions make clear statements with regards to the use of Free Software. So did the new Queensland Greens party and announced that their website is running Free Software on top of the Debian operating system. Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Mass pbuilder Installation Testing. Junichi Uekawa reported about his efforts to test the installation of packages in a pbuilder environment. About 300 packages failed to install, 20 of them were kernel packages and about 50 were Emacs 20 packages since Emacs doesn't install when stdin is directed to /dev/null.

Debian-Installer Translation Howto. Christian Perrier presented the debian-installer translation micro-HOWTO. People, who offer help with translating debian-installer should read it first. It suggests a list of priorities so that commonly used phrases are translated first. Christian also sent in a translation status report.

Debian-Installer Source moved to Alioth. Joey Hess announced that he has moved source code for the new debian-installer into Alioth's CVS repository. This should make it easier for translators and developers without accounts on the main Debian systems to contribute.

Support Free Software by purchasing Books. Thorsten Ehlers told us about the Bookzilla project which sells books online for a German distributor. The entire commission which is 5 % of the price is donated to the Free Software Foundation Europe. The FSF Europe was chosen as it works on general and political issues from which all Free Software projects benefit. He added that if you are planning to buy some books, CDs or DVDs, you may want to consider doing this at Bookzilla to support Free Software.

Two Years The German speaking web forum for Debian Users celebrated its second anniversary. With discussions starting like "How to install a program" has turned into an important site for both the Debian beginners and the professional users in German speaking countries. The forum is also awaiting its 100,000th posting soon.

Extracting SSH Keys from LDAP. Matt Zimmerman was interested in a way to extract SSH keys from Debian's LDAP database to ensure that the client connects to the proper machine. He sent in a Python program to accomplish this. Clint Adams added the same in Z Shell and Andrew Suffield finally provided the same functionality in Perl.

Alternative Linux Kernel Packages. Robert Millan put his alternative packages of the Linux kernel in an APT repository on gluck, so that interested people can use it until the ftp-masters enable the overrides. He believed that Debian doesn't provide a solution for newbie users to "install & forget" for kernel packages just like for all other packages, so he tried to accomplish this.

Support for the Lustre Cluster Filesystem? Nick Pavlica wondered if Debian was interested in adding support for the Lustre Cluster Filesystem. Jörg Wendland thought that this is something to include in the new Enterprise Subproject and Andres Salomon even planned to package the required tools and patches.

Defining Build Dependencies. Roland Stigge noticed that several packages (about 1871) declare an architecture independent build dependency against debhelper but use parts of it in the clean target. Andreas Metzler countered that such bugs will be found as soon as the package is processed by a build daemon. This is fine for architecture independent packages (binary-all), though.

Report from Linux World Expo Frankfurt. Alexander Schmehl wrote a report about the Debian presence at this year's Linux World Expo in Frankfurt. Debian, KDE and PostgreSQL joined booths so it looked larger and more inviting. An interested visitor wondered if there was a company supporting about 10,000 installations of Debian and another one was unhappy with the state of Java in the stable release and hence offered money to help fix it.

HP expanding Debian Support. John Ribeiro reported that Bdale Garbee (HP's Linux chief technology officer and Debian developer) announced HP's plans to expand support for Debian GNU/Linux at the recent Linux Bangalore conference in India. HP has sponsored Debian in various ways over the years but has lacked Debian support offerings. Michael Schulz from HP Germany later confirmed this.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Andre Lehovich, Sebastian Feltel, Richard Alexander Owen and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.