Debian Weekly News - August 3rd, 2004

Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Debian's 11th birthday is near (August 16th), and, so several parties are planned. Pablo Lorenzzoni announced that the Brazilian Debian community have postponed the celebrations to August 21st. Holger Levsen invited all interested bodies to celebrate on Castle Hohenholz, 100 km north of Berlin and 30 km far away from Szczecin (Stettin).

Improved Debian Developer Packages Overview. Igor Genibel announced an improved packages overview page. It now contains links to upstream watch information, excuse analysis by Björn Stenberg. Information is generally displayed in UTF-8 as well. Some information can be hidden as well, configured stateful via cookies.

Sarge Package Removals. Because of the approaching freeze of sarge, the debian-release list has seen a flurry of "please remove foo from sarge" requests. Typically, such packages are still undergoing extensive upstream development and are not yet ready for a stable release. Steve Langasek asked that such requests be accompanied by a release critical bug report with details on why the package should not be included in sarge.

OSCON Talks Jay Lyman reviewed talks given by three Debian developers at this year's O'Reilly Open Source Conference. Bdale Garbee spoke about community development and noted that people are surprised when something comes from amateurs because not many people recognise what they can do. Jeff Licquia described Progeny's model of componentised GNU/Linux. Jeff Waugh discussed the future of GNOME.

New RFH Tag for orphaned Packages. Frank Lichtenheld announced a new "request for help" tag for the Work Needed and Prospective Packages for packages. This tag is meant for situations in which the current maintainer wants to continue maintaining the package, but needs some help to do this, because his time is limited or the package is quite big and needs several maintainers.

Sarge Release Timeline. Steve Langasek posted another release update. There are still several major bugs in the base system that are being worked on. When the base system gets frozen, CD images of debian-installer release candidate 1 will be made available within a day or two. On August 8th official security support for sarge is said to begin with the number of release critical bugs dropped by 100. The timeline predicts them to drop to zero on September 1st, followed by the release on September 15th.

New Debian GNU/Hurd Installation Method. Michael Banck announced a new installation method for the Debian GNU/Hurd port. It uses the xattr-hurd support for ext2 by Roland McGrath mentioned earlier. Using his kernel patch and star, one can extract a base tarball and get a working Debian GNU/Hurd system immediately.

Status of GNOME 2.6 in Sarge. Jordi Mallach wrote an update on GNOME 2.6 in sarge. gnome-applets and a number of other less important packages depending on libgtop2 has finally made it into testing. The only two remaining packages that keep the metapackages for GNOME 2.6 out of testing are eog and gnome-games. The latter package will take a while since it is affected by several release transitions currently ongoing.

Bug Squashing Parties. With the release of sarge coming closer and closer, bug squashing parties become more important in order to reduce the number of release critical bug reports and to stabilise the debian-installer. Martin Zobel-Helas announced a bug squashing party from August 20th to 22nd in Darmstadt, Germany. Debian people from Europe and Germany are invited to participate this event.

Versioning and Stabilising of Debtags. Enrico Zini wondered how he should handle the libraries for debtags properly. The debtags codebase is getting fairly stable and he is planning to release version 1.0. Andrew Suffield asserted that no shared libraries should be uploaded for binary interfaces (ABI) that are not yet stable enough. Enrico would also appreciate people to help him with packaging.

Introducing Debian Lieutenants? Glenn McGrath wondered if the Debian project needs a structural change, and maybe Lieutenants who would be located between the project leader and maintainers. He asserted that Debian is more a "team of champions" than a "champion team" and that it is difficult to change something which does not lay within one's own responsibility.

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.

Debian Packages introduced last Week. Every day, a different Debian package is featured from the testing distribution. If you know about an obscure package you think others should also know about, send it to Andrew Sweger. Debian package a day introduced the following packages last week.

Orphaned Packages. 11 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 177 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, Michael Banck and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.