Debian Weekly News - May 4th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 18th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The debian-devel list carried many discussions about releasing sarge in light of recent editorial changes to the social contract, leading to more general resolutions and much cross-talk.

Several General Resolutions proposed. Henning Makholm summarised all recently proposed general resolutions on the social contract and other foundation documents. In the interest of reducing the risk of somebody voting for something they did not intend to, simply out of confusion, he proposed that the actual voting part of the ballot should contain ultra-short summaries of which option is which, rather than just "Option A: Steve Langasek's proposal" and so forth.

Bootstrapping Debian from Knoppix. Norbert Tretkowski wrote a short howto on installing Debian stable using Knoppix and debootstrap. This method is helpful especially when the boot-floppies from woody don't work with your hardware, but you still want to install Debian stable.

Is there still a Place for Debian Planet? The Debian Planet staff wondered if the Debian Planet (DP) news website is still serving a useful purpose for the community, especially in light of the more popular and confusingly-similar named Planet Debian weblog site. Several readers replied that they would miss DP if it went off air and gave suggestions on possible changes to the site. DP is always looking for news stories, especially longer articles, tips and tricks, or Debian specific HOWTOs.

Preliminary Schedule for Debian Conference 4. A preliminary schedule has been published for the upcoming Debconf, the annual Debian conference, which will take place in Porto Alegre, Brazil this year. Andreas Schuldei said the program is so good you should attend, if necessary selling your car to raise the airfare. He also announced a limited amount of travel support for developers.

Debian Installer Beta-4. Joey Hess announced the fourth beta of the new sarge installer on nine of Debian's eleven architectures. New features include the detection of other installed operating systems and experimental support for the Linux 2.6 kernel on i386. The new installer has already been translated into 35 languages. Joey also wrote a retrospective on the difficult installer release process, with suggestions on how to improve things next time.

Debian Conference Status Report. Pablo Lorenzzoni reported that the registration period for the Debian conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil is almost over. Due to a number of generous sponsors the first 150 attendants will get free accommodation. Additionally, the hotel has special offers for DebConf attendees who want to stay longer. The call for papers is over and the most interesting talks will be selected and published soon.

New /media Hierarchy. Joey Hess reported that new versions of base-files have introduced the /media directory for new installations and stopped creating the /cdrom and /floppy directories. Since the paths are hard-coded in many programs Joey ponders whether it would be sane to have /cdrom and /floppy be symlinks into /media for sarge?

Naming Scheme for PEAR and PECL Packages. Andreas Tille is in need of some PHP PEAR packages for the debian-med sub-project. Steve Langasek pointed out that the current consensus among the php4 maintainers is that packages for PEAR modules ought to be called php-*, and packages for PECL modules (and extensions shipped with php4) ought to be called php4-* and php5-* as appropriate.

Request to add Package Tags. Enrico Zini noticed that many developers still don't know that they can tag their packages using debtags, nor how this can be done. He explained how developers can add tags to their packages and asked them to add them. Tags are grouped by "facet" or "namespace", which basically is a different point of view from where to look at the package archive.

Draft Position Statement on the GFDL. Manoj Srivastava started a new discussion on a draft position statement on the GNU Free Documentation License. The Debian project has been discussing problems with the FDL since November 2001.

Power Management in Debian. Matthias Grimm wanted to know how to rearrange the scripts for pbbuttonsd. To become more flexible and maybe share development and infrastructure with other power management systems like apmd the script environment and maybe the interface have to be reformed.

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.

Orphaned Packages. 8 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 165 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 Andre Lehovich and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.