Debian Weekly News - December 28th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 51st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Piotr Roszatycki reported that he has created preliminary packages for PHP5 already. We would like to thank all contributors and translators of this online resource who have helped provide high quality information to our readers. We are seeking more contributions in order to be able to maintain DWN in 2005 as well.

51 Issues of DWN produced this Year. You are currently reading the 51st issue, which means that this is also the 51st week of gathering information on interesting activities in the Debian community, writing items, proofreading and translating. Even though the English version is prepared only by a small group of people, many more people are involved before you can read the issue. Each issue is sent to proofreaders, and translators also improve it. Each issue is also translated into several other languages simultaneously.

Documenting transitional Packages. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña investigated the archive in order to provide a list in the Release Notes that can tell users which packages in woody have been renamed or moved in sarge and can be safely removed after an upgrade. This information was part of the documentation for woody already.

Limiting the Number of Mails. Osamu Aoki proposed to limit the number of mails per user per mailing list in order to help reduce the noise in discussions. Colin Watson pointed out that lists need to be treated differently. He would rather like to see more lists moderated, and the moderators given power to stop threads after they have become off-topic.

Depending on a real RSH Client. Wolfgang Borgert discovered a problem in an unofficial Debian package. Due to the use of an older embedded system the package depends on a real rsh client. Since the package ssh provides an rsh-client, adding a dependency to this is not sufficient. Wouter Verhelst and Miquel van Smoorenburg pointed out that a versioned dependency will do the trick, since it can only be resolved by a real package.

Individual Package Optimisation. Julien Danjou translated a short French article about apt-build by Julien Reveret into English. This package intends to mitigate the alleged advantage Gentoo has over Debian with regards to optimised packages. It makes it easy for interested user to recompile Debian packages with different compiler options.

Volatile Status Update. Andreas Barth sent in another status update about the volatile archive and reported that it is ready to have packages uploaded. New packages should be discussed on debian-devel first and always include the original source archive. He mentioned the general rules for this archive as well.

Legal Issues with the (L)GPL. Michael K. Edwards forwarded three issues. He wondered if the GNU General Public License (GPL) is more an offer than a contract, if it is violated when the source code is unobtainable and whether a vendor of non-free software can require users to particular versions of libraries released under the LGPL. Nathanael Nerode tried to answer these questions.

MIA Database Coding Request. Jeroen van Wolffelaar asked for help with coding up some extra features in the MIA database management in Python. Basically he would like to be able to add configurable delays and hints on a per-maintainer basis for the MIA (missing in action) tools.

New Entities for the Installation Manual. Frans Pop proposed to introduce more SGML entities for the new installation manual. This would ensure that the same terms and spelling would be used in all places of the manual and in all translations. It is unclear, however, if this is possible in all languages.

Release Notes Translations needed. Rob Bradford called for translators for the release notes for the upcoming release of sarge. Several replied and committed to translating the document into their own language. New translations should be sent to the debian-doc list.

Preparations for Stable Update. The next stable update is being prepared and expected before New Year's eve. It will consist only of corrections for about the last 60 security problems that the security team addressed and fixed with advisories. This update will get the woody release in sync with the latest security updates.

Rewriting GFDL Documentation. Frank Küster wondered if it was possible to rewrite the GNU Emacs manual starting with an older version since it has recently been released under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) which has been considered (preliminary) non-free by Debian. Florian Weimer pointed out that even the Emacs 18 manual contained a permission notice that honoured invariant sections.

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.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Martin 'Joey' Schulze.