Debian Weekly News - October 12th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 40th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Christian Perrier reported the new debian-installer can be understood by two thirds of the world population since it is translated into 40 languages.

2003 SPI Annual Report. David Graham announced the annual report for Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI), the non-profit corporation which manages Debian's bank accounts and other legal affairs. The report discusses SPI bylaws, membership, and finances as well as hardware donations and reports that wxWidget was invited to become a SPI member project.

Consistent Themes for Debian. Jaap Haitsma noticed that there are many nice themes for grub, bootsplash, GDM, desktop splash and backgrounds, but in general it's difficult to find a combination that fits together nicely. Therefore he created DebBlue, a set of themes, which can be used to give a nice consistent look to the Debian Desktop from boot until shutdown.

Developers Reference revisited. Andreas Barth reported that he has updated large parts of the developers reference. This includes, among others, synchronisation with the Work needed and prospective packages, updated information about upload queues, ftp-master features and the testing distribution. A new package is pending and some bugs need more input.

Different Types of Bug Submitters. Benjamin Drieu classified bug submitters based on his experience as Debian developer and upstream software developer. He described the enthusiast, the anonymous clueless submitter, the rigorous, the clever (but mislead) submitter, the battler, the (annoying) badger, the Taiwanese and finally the patcher who has the skills to join development.

New SpamAssassin Package. Martin F. Krafft noted that SpamAssassin 3.x has been uploaded but has a different program interface (API) than its predecessor. He proposed to remove all packages from sarge that depend on SpamAssassin but don't work with the new version. Its maintainer wants to keep this version out of sarge though.

Setting up Databases for Packages. Philipp Hahn asked about the best practice when a package requires an SQL database and needs to create its own catalog and/or tables. Peter Eisentraut opted for creating tables when the program starts first. Andrew Pollock mentioned wwwconfig-common which works well but lacks documentation. Oliver Elphick raised more concerns.

Archive for volatile Packages. Andreas Barth discussed the idea of maintaining an archive for volatile packages such as virus scanners and intrusion detection systems. Those packages require periodical updates that the main Debian archive cannot provide. However, packaging new upstream versions should be avoided as long as this is possible.

Producing CDs and DVDs for Sarge. Steve McIntyre discussed CD and DVD image generation for the upcoming release. Creating the images will take a while even when using JTE. He raised the question for which architectures a DVD set should be create and whether source DVDs should be built as well. Creating a double-layer DVD will also require pruning of packages, since the Debian archive contains more than can fit on such a DVD.

Debian Desktop Goals. Stefano Fabri started a discussion on common desktop goals for Debian, UserLinux and Ubuntu, such as a graphical installer, but listed many admin gadgets. Adrian von Bidder added KDE-GNOME integration, font support/management and multimedia support. Cesar Martinez Izquierdo would like to see more internationalisation and localisation.

LSB Status of Sarge. Roger So noticed that the thread implementation in glibc (NPTL) in sarge is too old to pass the LSB 2.0 tests. Jeff Licquia explained that updating to NPTL 0.61 is evidently difficult without upgrading to the most recent glibc. Jeff offered to backport NPTL 0.61 to the Debian glibc.

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 package was added to the unstable Debian archive recently.

Orphaned Packages. 9 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 188 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.