Debian Weekly News - February 17th, 2004

Welcome to this year's seventh issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The debian-desktop sub-project has announced an IRC meeting on Wednesday, February 25th. Andrea Mennucc conducted several Google searches and found out that Debian is ranked in the middle field of popular distributions. Pablo Lorenzzoni also announced that registration for this years' Debian conference has opened.

New ftp-master Machine. James Troup announced that ftp-master has been moved to a more powerful and better connected machine (newraff, an HP DL380, donated by HP), which has always been a long term plan. Therefore access to the host auric is not restricted anymore, opening an upload queue that is accessible via SSH.

Project Leader Nominations. Manoj Srivastava announced that nominations for the upcoming project leader elections takes place until February 28th, followed by campaigning until March 20th. The election will take place from March 20th to April 10th. Prospective leaders should be familiar with the constitution. Nominations should be sent to debian-vote and cryptographically signed.

Using LDAP for Name Resolution. Torsten Landschoff prepared this how-to on using LDAP for name resolution. It explains how to install the OpenLDAP server on a Debian system, and how to set up OpenLDAP for use as an accounts database with libnss-ldap and libpam-ldap. Markus Amersdorfer also wrote an article about using OpenLDAP on Debian woody to serve GNU/Linux and Samba users.

JavaScript Libraries. Sebastian Ley noticed that Debian ships at least two different JavaScript libraries: libsmjs from spidermonkey and libjs from NJS. Renaming a library causes problems for packages linking to it. However, one library doesn't use a library name (soname) from upstream. Both libraries provide the same functionality but a different programming interface.

Translatable debconf Templates. Christian Perrier announced the list of old-style debconf string techniques by Martin Quinson. The listed packages don't use po-debconf for debconf templates. Denis Barbier noted that if maintainers provide a templates.pot file, they will receive a French translation quite quickly.

Why Linux, Why Debian? Manoj Srivastava wanted to solicit opinions towards this subject. He knows why he chose Debian and Linux but was asked to give a talk for a technical audience and wanted to deliver a talk with a broader perspective. He would like to cover why one would want to select GNU/Linux over the BSDs, and why one would want to select Debian over the other distributions.

How to make a Port official. John Goerzen wondered what it takes a port to qualify an official Debian port. Anthony Towns explained that currently porters need to wait until mirroring is segmented to support more architectures. To be considered a release candidate, the port should generally have a buildd which is integrated into and consistently reach at least the 85 % mark, have a developer accessible machine online and should have debian-installer working.

Experimental NTP 4 Packages. Matthias Urlichs announced that he has uploaded NTP 4.2.0 to experimental, finishing some package reorganisation. He also explained that most users either run their own NTP network and need to do hand-edit /etc/ntp.conf anyway or can happily use as their NTP server, which is the new default.

Wasteful Packaging. Steve McIntyre noticed that large amounts of data files in /usr/share are contained in regular binary packages. Instead they should be split out into common packages that all the architecture specific packages can depend on. Putting this data into all binary packages impacts on disk space and bandwidth, both for central servers and all the poor mirror admins out there.

Custom Debian Distributions. Petter Reinholdtsen asked for help with custom Debian distributions. The Debian-Edu sub-project believes that using debconf with proper defaults is the only sensible way that all custom distributions can benefit. Thomas Viehmann added that debconf is not intended as a way to store stuff, especially if the package maintainer believes that sensible defaults are shipped with the package.

New DELAYED Upload Queue. Tollef Fog Heen announced a new delayed upload system in his home directory on gluck. For a fairly recent version of dput he also provided a configuration snippet. Uploads can be removed by the uploader and superseded by an upload with a higher version number.

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 unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

Want to continue reading DWN? Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer writers who watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. Please see the contributing page to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

To receive this newsletter weekly in your mailbox, subscribe to the debian-news mailing list.

Back issues of this newsletter are available.

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