Debian Weekly News - April 26th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 17th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. According to analyst house IDC, Free Software is gaining ground in Europe, as one third of mid-to-large sized companies in Europe report significant use of a Free Software database management system. The leadership team had its first meeting whilst this issue was being prepared.

GNOME 2.10 uploaded into Experimental. Jordi Mallach reported that most of the pieces of the 2.10 puzzle have been uploaded into the experimental distribution and many people are already using it. Since newer versions of a few libraries are needed they were temporarily packaged by the GNOME team and uploaded to their own repository until newer versions make it into Debian.

GFDL and Debian. Matthew Garrett explained in a discussion about the GNU Free Documentation License that Debian wants freedom for everybody. Matthew Wilcox drafted the Debian Free Documentation Guidelines that define slightly different goals or freedoms for documentation than for software.

User Poll: Remove non-free Documentation? Brian Nelson conducted a poll on whether to remove all GNU FDL-licensed documentation. He has published the results and emphasised some textual answers that several users gave. Only a few people have participated in this survey, though. The majority of them don't want those documents removed entirely but for many it is ok to move them into non-free.

Debian Day Call for Papers. Alexander Schmehl called for talk submissions for this year's Debian day, a one day conference for and by Debian developers and affiliates. It will take place on Thursday, 23rd of June during the LinuxTag conference and exhibition in Karlsruhe, Germany. The audience for the Debian Day is expected to mostly consist of experienced users and developers. Interested speakers should drop him a note.

Debian and mplayer FAQ. MJ Ray announced a draft FAQ covering the situation of mplayer in the Debian distribution. The document summarises former discussions on the debian-legal list on this topic. He also explains that a new version has been uploaded and awaits ftpmaster approval and that all questionable code has been removed.

Debian AMD64 Meeting. A Debian AMD64 porters IRC meeting took place on April, 23th where the main topic of discussion was the unofficial release of the AMD64 port for sarge and the move from Alioth to a new machine with more disk space. Several people have been assigned tasks for the upcoming release. The new machine will be hosted at the University of Darmstadt. A summary and the IRC log are available.

New Debian Consultants Policy. The Debian consultants team has published the new policy for additions to the consultants web page. A working e-mail address is now required by policy for all listed consultants and those who haven't provided one should contact the consultants team and update their record.

Debian Project Leader Report. Branden Robinson sent in his first project leader report in which he talks about sarge release issues, the ARM buildds, Debian assets around the world, interviews he gave, and more. Other issues were a backup site for snapshots and a more comprehensive backup strategy for machines critical to Debian's infrastructure.

One Year Debian Employment. Joey Hess sent in a summary about the past year in which he was employed by SLX Debian Labs to work on debian-edu. He compared the items on his todo list with the work actually done, which boils down to a lot of work towards the release of sarge. Additionally, he just moved his installer test farm into a remote rack.

Importance of the Snapshot Service. Adrian van Bidder wondered if the snapshot service shouldn't be promoted to an official service in recognition of its value to the project. Martin Schulze explained that it has been very helpful for security work when older package versions have had to be reviewed.

AMD64 Port Status. Andreas Jochens tried to build the current testing distribution for the AMD64 architecture from scratch which took only about one week on a standard single processor EM64T-P4 box. This was very promising since almost all packages build on this architecture without problems using the pristine Debian sarge sources.

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. 7 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 Zobel-Helas, Tobias Toedter and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.