Debian Weekly News - March 29th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. James Troup announced the addition of two developers to the ftpmaster team, who will work on new packages in particular. Rob Bradford eventually announced the founding of a an Debian UK society that will deal with donations in the UK.

Debian-Installer RC3 released. Joey Hess announced the third release candidate of the debian-installer. The most significant change in this release are updated versions of all kernels that include numerous security fixes. The partitioner has also been improved with regards to other operating systems.

New Mailing Lists created. Pascal Hakim announced the creation of a few lists. There are three new localisation lists (debian-l10n-arabic, debian-l10n-czech, and debian-l10n-korean), as well as two new infrastructure lists. debian-testing-changes will be used to show changes to the testing distribution, while debian-dak will be used for discussion relating to dak and buildd related components.

Election Resources. David Schmitt published a summary of the questions asked and answers given by the 2005 project leader candidates during the election campaign. Thaddeus H. Black also distilled a semantical transcript from the live 2005 DPL debate's chronological log, organised for coherent reading the questions, answers and discussions of the debate's second part.

Build-Dependency against libtool 1.4. Andrew Pollock noticed that five packages still declare a build-dependency against libtool 1.4 which is orphaned and will be removed. Frank Lichtenheld proposed to open bug reports against packages that use libtool 1.4 files to upgrade to version 1.5 which was considered a good idea. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh also suggested to force the use of newer libtool, autoconf and gettext utilities.

Quality Assurance Hacking Event. Luk Claes proposed to organise an official QA hacking work camp in Helsinki right before the Debian conference. This would consist of bug fixing for lintian and linda, removing obsolete packages from the archive, cleaning up WNPP pages, fixing bugs in QA group maintained packages and of other subjects within the scope of the QA group.

Finishing a foreign ITP. Shachar Shemesh noticed that an Intent to package (ITP) for Open Xchange hasn't seen any progress and wondered what to do in case he had packaged the software on his own. Matthew Palmer suggested to add a note to the bug report and offer help before actually uploading the package.

Spelling Correction for Package Descriptions. Florian Zumbiehl noticed another common mistake that developers make in package descriptions. He added a list of words, which are mostly acronyms, where "a" and "an" are often used wrongly. Joey Hess pointed out that some acronyms such as FAQ are ambiguous, since they can be pronounced differently.

PHP and derived Works. The PHP licenses have been investigated with regards to distributing derived works. Francesco Poli pointed out that PHP 3 is dual-licensed with the GNU GPL. The license for PHP 4 contains a paragraph that prohibits derived work to be called PHP or contain the word PHP in the name. Andi Gutmans explained that minor changes and security fixes are no problem and that Apache is licensed the same way.

CD/DVD Images Release Progress. Steve McIntyre sent in a summary of the release progress from the CD team. Since the disk space has been increased on it can host full images for woody and sarge for a period after the release. Due to the sheer amount of sarge more than one binary DVD image will be produced per architecture. The list of prospective images and files contain Torrents and Jigdo files, of course.

Low Voter Turnout. In the second call for votes on the current project leader election Manoj Srivastava reported that we have the lowest participation ever in a project leader election since tracking voting rates. In an interview he assumed that several developers are disillusioned after the changes of the social contract, the problems with AMD64 and the Vancouver prospectus.

Marcus Brinkmann on Hurd/L4. In an interview Marcus Brinkmann explained the Hurd and that the Mach microkernel was discarded as basis because of poor virtual memory management. Instead, the new goal was to port the Hurd to the L4 microkernel which has reached the step of being able to execute programs recently. The interview gives a lot of insight into different areas as well.

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 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 Pascal Hakim, Thaddeus H. Black and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.