Debian Weekly News - March 15th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 11th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Sean Finney uploaded the first version of the dbconfig-common package which implements a general database maintenance interface and is intended to be used by other packages.

DebConf 5 Call for Papers. On the 15th of March the Call for Papers for DebConf 5 will end. The list of proposal contains more than 20 items. The review committee will make its decision by April 1st. The Debian conference is most important event where Debian developers and interested users meet to discuss about the Debian project and its development. This year DebConf will take place in Helsinki, Finland.

Debian Logo License. Francesco Poli wondered if there has been any progress recently to change the license of Debian logos to a free one. Martin Michlmayr answered that SPI's legal counsel has written a copyright assignment agreement and the artist of the logo has agreed to sign it and thereby hand ownership over to SPI. Once this is done, the license can be changed.

Automatic Integration of USB Storage. Martin Dickopp has developed a script that automatically mounts USB mass storage devices when they are plugged in, and unmounts them when they are removed. He mentioned that similar functionality is included in the pmount package when it is used as part of the desktop together with the hal device manager, though.

License for Documentation? Daniel Carrera wondered which license he should use for documentation and came up with the idea to co-license it with the Creative Commons Attribution and GNU GPL. Gervase Markham asked not to use the GPL for documentation as it wasn't designed for such but admitted that there is no documentation-specific license that is considered free by the Debian project.

Key Management on USB Stick. David Härdeman pondered about the best method to manage private keys (for SSH and GnuPG) on a USB storage device. The keys should be automatically available when the key is inserted. At the end he improved a script by Sean Finney that uses a VFAT system with a loopback filesystem on top.

Election Discussion Etiquette. In light of the high number of project leader candidates Jeroen van Wolffelaar asked all participants to keep their mails brief, stay on-topic, trim the replied text in the response, alter the subject when the content is changed and to be polite. Off-topic remarks may better be suited on the debian-curiosa list.

Sarge Release Status. Steve Langasek sent in a new status report on the sarge release. A modification on the SSH server on the wanna-build host and on all buildds is required to cushion the load evoked by the new testing-security queue. After this change is in place the archive will be frozen in connection with the third release candidate of the debian-installer.

NEW Queue Processing Proposal. Joey Hess proposed to share the burden of processing the queue of new packages among more people and not only the ftpmasters. Packages could be uploaded to an alternative public new queue so that more developers could review the packages and send back a re-signed .changes file to the main queue. Once a package was advocated by enough developers it could be processed more automatically by the archive maintainers.

Project Leader Election IRC Debate. Martin F. Krafft announced that the IRC debate for the upcoming project leader election will take place on Wednesday, March 16th, at 06:00 UTC on the Freenode IRC network ( It will use four IRC channels, whose logs are going to be made available after the debate.

Post-Sarge Release Plans. Steve Langasek announced plans for the release after sarge that includes splitting the Debian archive into a regular and a second class component with less frequently used architectures. This should reduce the mirror space and the time required for keeping testing in shape since it will contain lesser architectures.

Asia Debian Mini-Conf 2005. The first Asia Debian Mini-Conf was successfully held as a part of the 5th Asia Open Source Software Symposium in Beijing, China. Sun Wah Linux kindly sponsored the meeting and invited several developers from around the world to attend and give talks. The meeting also helped with integration among Debian communities in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, such as the resurrection of the Chinese Debian channel #debian-zh and some cooperation in translation work.

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. 4 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 223 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 Manuel Romero Velázquez, Carlos Z.F. Liu and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.