Debian Weekly News - December 30th, 2003

Welcome to this year's 52nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. LinuxCertified announced the Debian-certified LC2430 laptop, which is sold with Debian GNU/Linux pre-configured. Merry Christmas: Nathanael Nerode noticed that the list of release critical bugs is below 600.

Debian Timeline 2003. We have prepared a timeline for the ending year as retrospective of a quite exciting and active year. It lists (hopefully) all major events of the year 2003 as they were mentioned in the past 51 issues of DWN. They are composed by a total of 36 volunteer writers and translated into a dozen languages by many developers. A big and warm thanks for your great work.

Testing Advances. Anthony Towns reported that several packages with release-critical bugs have been removed from testing. Perl and zlib were also pushed to move into testing soon. He also noted that anyone can upgrade and downgrade bug reports if it is appropriate. There's no need to ask the maintainer or the release manager unless you're concerned with the "in the package maintainer's opinion, makes the package unsuitable for release" clause.

Removal of non-free Components. Andrew Suffield proposed a general resolution to exclude non-free software from the next and all future release processes. He also proposed disabling the possibility of uploading packages into non-free and that the Debian project cease active support of the non-free section. Anthony Towns stated that this proposal violates the social contract and therefore cannot be passed.

2003 GNU/Linux Timeline. Our colleagues from Linux Weekly News prepared the 6th annual GNU/Linux Timeline. A year is a long time in the Free Software world, and in 2003 there were lawsuits filed, major releases made, and, as always, the code got better. A few of the Debian related events that are mentioned include the mICQ drama, the project leader election, and of course, Debian's tenth birthday. The timeline is split up by months, as usual.

Comprehensive Debian Installer Reports. Rick Moen created a page in which he describes all known ways to install Debian. He debunks some common misconceptions about Debian installers, such as no user-friendly installers, no easy XFree86 4.3.0 support, no ReiserFS support, no software-RAID support and so on. Rick lists and describes new-user friendly installers, run-from-CD variants, unofficial installer images, the official installer, specialised variants, chroot installation, PXE installation, installation from a USB memory stick, and 'make your own' installers.

Debian Installer Ports Status. Joey Hess reported on the status of the debian-installer ports. The i386 port is on track for beta 2 and seems to be working well. The PowerPC port is very shaky and needs a Debian admin or a kindly offer from someone with a PowerPC box. IA64 probably works, but there are no install reports to back this up. The mips port may be in beta 2. It almost works, but there may be some final issues to attend to. Status of the arm port is uncertain. There seems to be progress, but apparently no install reports. Finally, status of mipsel is also unclear, but it may be a little behind.

APT 0.6.x in Experimental. Matt Zimmerman announced that he has uploaded apt 0.6 into experimental. This branch of apt represents a first pass at merging apt-secure into apt proper. Other new features are planned, but this is the first. No extra effort should be required unless one uses non-Debian package sources, in which case an extra confirmation step will be required by apt-get.

Automatic Generation of Perl Packages for Debian. Andreas Klein announced a program he wrote that turns Perl modules into Debian packages automatically. This tool is quite useful for users when the respective Perl modules haven't been packaged officially. This is somewhat similar to dh-make-perl.

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have this package installed.

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