Debian Weekly News - September 28th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 38th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Brad Fitzpatrick of LiveJournal/Danga interactive gave a talk at this year's OSCON on the use of Free Software in a large scale web application which is based on the Debian operating system. Slashdot reported about the hardening effort for Debian that was recently started by Lorenzo Hernandez Garcia-Hierro.

Sarge Release Update. Steve Langasek sent in an update on the release of sarge and explained which packages are blocking the transition of others into testing. The major blocker seems to be the lack of the testing-security buildd infrastructure. A new release candidate of the installer is expected soon and the number of release critical bugs is dropping but not as fast as prospected.

Surveillance Robot powered by Debian. An article talks about a surveillance robot that was recently switched to using Debian as operating system. Engineer Dave Northrup said, that Debian stood out because of its quest to provide very stable and proven sets of packages. Their commercial systems are very trimmed-down versions of Debian GNU/Linux, and their research systems will be transitioned over to full-releases of Debian by the end of the year.

Support for removed Packages? Andreas Kr├╝ger wondered how packages will be supported that were part of sarge at one time but were removed later in the testing life cycle. He mentioned a wishlist bug report to implement downgrade functionality. Frank Lichtenheld added that aptitude has a special category for obsolete packages so that they could be removed easily.

Graph of the Debian Organisation. Martin F. Krafft prepared an organigram of the Debian organisation mainly for his forthcoming book. He has released it under the Artistic License and concedes that there is no way to properly encapsulate the Debian organisation into a graph, but it was felt that this representation is good. He welcomes constructive criticism and suggestions.

Bugs via LDAP updated. Andreas Barth announced that the LDAP frontend to the bug tracking system provides access to closed bugs as well. The system has also been moved to a standard woody OpenLDAP installation using the standard LDAP port. The new slapd uses a different base dn: dc=bugs,dc=debian,dc=org and the old instances on master and spohr are deprecated.

Bugfix Migration into Sarge. Jeroen van Wolffelaar reminded developers that the release team needs help with ensuring that important bugfixes migrate into sarge. He added a list of packages for which he doesn't have up-to-date information. If you maintain one or more packages that have a newer version in sid than in sarge, please visit the updates administration database and update the information.

Documentation of Sub-Sections. Gustavo Franco wondered if new and more precise documentation for subsections would be required. He stomped over a package that would apparently fit into several sections. Enrico Zini added that there should be more support for package tags.

X Display Manager Comparison. Osamu Aoki compared the four X display managers Debian ships: XDM, GDM, KDM and WDM. GDM seems to be best suited. He also noticed that there is no standard way to set up a start up script when choosing the window manager via menu. This is major problem for CJK (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) user who needs to set up keyboard input which is sometimes a daemon program.

Modifications to the GNU Free Documentation License? Roger Leigh wondered if it would be possible to add a clarification document to the license in order to counter the main problems which would affect a manual licensed under the GNU FDL. The work itself is written in Docbook/SGML, and contains no invariant sections. The answers suggest that this would work but that the document would still not be compatible with the GNU GPL.

Debian-Installer Schedule. Joey Hess sent in plans for the debian-installer meeting in Oldenburg that talked about immediate release plans and post-sarge work. A timeline is included in the minutes. This includes a test candidate to be released on September 30th, including a string release.

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. 9 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 169 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 Adrian von Bidder, Matt Black and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.