Debian Weekly News - April 12th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. After an unscheduled downtime of one major host in the Debian network the machine is available again, but suffered from gross filesystem corruption.

Debian Project Leader Election Result. Manoj Srivastava announced the results of the recent project leader election. After running as project leader candidate since 2001 Branden Robinson eventually won the election in 2005. He thanked those who voted for him and hoped to gain the confidence of those who didn't. 504 developers have casted a vote, which is 52.227 % of all possible votes.

Why supporting PHP3? Marcelo Magallon wondered why Debian still supports PHP3 in addition to PHP4 in the unstable (and testing) distribution. Gunnar Wolf noted that those packages that depend on PHP3 are available for PHP4 as well or depend on either version. Andres Salomon added that the license was changed which caused people to stay with PHP3 instead of upgrading.

Creative Commons License Committee. Evan Prodromou reported that he was contacted by Creative Commons to work out the issues over their licenses. The project leader has appointed him as official representative in this matter. He created a work group of Debian developers who will participate in the discussions.

Acenic Firmware Rewrite. Peter De Schrijver wondered if people would be willing to work on a free firmware for the Tigon II chip. Looking at the datasheet it doesn't seem to be a very complicated chip to code for. He was thinking about somebody reading the existing firmware sources, writing a specification and a second person or group implementing the new free firmware based on the specs.

Automatic Testing of Debian Packages. Mads Lindstrøm wondered if there are any tests that are or could be applied to Debian packages automatically. Petter Reinholdtsen mentioned a prototype script that will perform an automatic upgrade. Ola Lundqvist added comments about functional tests and component tests which are both specific to the particular package.

Help needed for Openswan 2.3.1. Rene Mayrhofer called for help with packaging openswan version 2.3.1 which is supposed to fix several problems in version 2.3.0. Since sarge is close to a release, packaging a new upstream version may not the best idea, even if it is supposed to fix a number of bugs. Rene has made available preliminary packages for larger testing.

Packages for GNOME 2.10? Jordi Mallach explained that the GNOME packaging team is rather trying to stabilise the current GNOME 2.8.3 release for testing than to package the new release. If this works well, they will be starting to work on version 2.10.

SELinux Integration into Etch. Manoj Srivastava has started a mini project to bring Debian's SELinux patched packages back in sync with the latest upstream and the latest SELinux patches, and to make it easier for Debian developers to access SELinux patches. Its proper integration into the etch release after sarge is out could be a worthwhile release goal.

Debian as a Web Serving Platform. Ladislav Bodnar discussed several operating systems for web servers and compared the features and security aspects of Debian GNU/Linux with those of FreeBSD. With Debian's slow release cycle, the only way to upgrade some packages was to get them from The ability to upgrade the operating system painlessly to a newer version is one area where Debian enjoys a considerable advantage, says the author.

Running a homeless non-profit Organisation. John Goerzen wrote about running Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI) which has no physical home. Holding discussions, even board meetings and annual meetings online, is a confusing concept to many people, but it makes perfect sense to the developers. He also asked how SPI could attract more people into becoming involved.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

Orphaned Packages. 6 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 228 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 Martin 'Joey' Schulze.