Debian Weekly News - December 21st, 2004

Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The Oxford University's computer centre will complete its move to PostgreSQL running on Debian as the back-end database over the next year. The next stable update is being prepared and expected before New Year's eve. For those of you who celebrate Christmas we wish you a Merry Christmas.

Sarge Release Progress Update. Andreas Barth sent in an update on the release progress for Debian 3.1. He reported that GNOME 2.8 has been added to sarge and that a kernel update is inadvertently binary incompatible with its predecessor. The KDE maintainers have presented a plan for getting KDE 3.3 into testing that meets the release team's requirements.

Debian GNU/Hurd supports large Partitions. The latest upload of the hurd package features a patch by Ognyan Kulev which has support for ext2 partitions larger than 2 GB on 32 bit systems. A Kerneltrap story has more details on the history and implementation of the patch. Over the last years, this limit had become an increasingly annoying issue of the GNU/Hurd system, so this change represents an important milestone for Debian's GNU/Hurd port with respect to user expectations.

Packaging the Katie Suite. Andreas Barth reported that he has installed DAK (the Debian Archive Kit) on The installation of packages prepared by Jörg Jaspert went quite painless. It has integrated proper NEW handling and some staging area for the review before inclusion.

Debian on AMD64. Ladislav Bodnar reviewed the unofficial port of Debian to the AMD64 architecture, noting that almost all the Free Software he uses is already in the archive, with the notable exception of He discussed use of an i386 chroot to run legacy 32 bit software and described the installer as "rather dull (in a positive sense of the word)".

Standard CDD Tool? Sergio Talens-Oliag finished a proposal for a tool to be used by the custom Debian distribution (CDD) developers. It tries to standardise the way developers define their CDD and provide tools to distribute, install, update and manage the customised system. Comments should be sent to the debian-custom list.

Unattended Debian Installations. Carla Schroder posted the second part of her tutorial on installing Debian using Fully Automatic Installation (FAI). The first part covered the basic configuration for a Debian FAI server, whilst the second part explained configuration of the client installations - network server settings, what software is going to be installed and the client boot methods. She concluded that although initial configuration of FAI can get complicated, it is perfect for mixed networks that contain different kinds of PCs and once it's set up client installations are lightning-fast.

Debian Project at FOSDEM? Wouter Verhelst called for help for the Debian presence at next year's FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting). The developers room is well on its way with five confirmed talks already, but for the booth, more people are required.

Status of the Debian AMD64 Port. Due to an older mail accidentally processed again, Martin Michlmayr stated that all technical concerns were addressed and that the port would go in after the mirror issues will be sorted out, which will happen some point after the release of sarge.

Packaging OSSP Packages for Debian. Raphael Bossek proposed a common naming scheme for software packages derived from OSSP software. Since Debian already contains packages and files with the same name conflicts are preassigned. Basically he proposed using a common prefix which is what Piotr Roszatycki has already implemented.

Reporting Bugs in Debian or Upstream? Ian Wienand wondered where he should file a bug in a GNOME package since the GNOME project maintains a bug tracking system as well. Paul Hampson replied and proposed to file the bug upstream and then open a Debian bug report with that reference. Thomas Bushnell, however, pointed out that the regular way would be to file a bug in Debian and let the package maintainer forward the bug to the software authors.

German Free Software License. Martin Michlmayr reported that he was approached in September by a research institute in Germany about a new software license. The authors are interested in making sure that the license conforms with both the Open Source Definition as well as the Debian Free Software Guidelines and seek comments now that the license is published.

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. 1 package was orphaned this week and requires a new maintainer. This makes a total of 226 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 Michael Banck, Andre Lehovich and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.