Debian Weekly News - May 17th, 2005
Welcome to this year's 20th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. A paper from the MIT talks about the development process of Free Software, which is the basis for an article on Groklaw that emphasises on the importance of Free Software due to its educational potential. Looking at the traffic on the debian-release list it becomes apparent that Debian sarge will be released soon.
Inconsistent Password Authentication. Shaul Karl wondered
about the difference between a disabled login and a disabled password. Marc
Haber explained how this works with ssh. Russ Allbery added some notes
UsePam option. Brian May reported
even more oddities.
Mixing GNU GPL and FDL Content. Gueven Bay wondered if he can mix content licensed under the GNU FDL and the GNU GPL. Anthony DeRobertis emphasised that both licenses are incompatible. One would have to get permission from the copyright holders to distribute their work under a different license.
Alioth on the Move. Wichert Akkerman announced that Alioth, Debian's GForge incarnation, will move to a new server. Now that the AMD64 archive has been moved to its own server, there will be sufficient disk space on the new Alioth host. After the move, source code and web pages will be on the same host again and password changes won't need a day to take effect.
Upgrade Tests. Steve Langasek called for upgrade testers. It is recommended to read the release notes before upgrading, and in particular Chapter 4, "Upgrades from previous releases". Andreas Barth has prepared an upgrade report template to help when reporting problems with the upgrades. If you do run into problems please fill it out, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debian is different. Anthony Awtrey took a look at how the Debian distribution is developed. He noted that the build and distribution processes of commercial distributions are tightly locked up while the development in Debian is open and freely accessible. He mentioned that for some organisations it is vital that the processes is visible, available and extensible.
Automatic Package Testing. Lars Wirzenius wrote down his thoughts about automatic testing of Debian packages. These include testing of upstream functionality with unit tests and the like which should be added to the upstream source. Testing of Debian packaging functionality should be done in tools like linda and lintian. For installation and removal tests a new tool would be needed.
Call for a Free BIOS. Richard Stallman called for support and help freeing the computer BIOS. Formerly, it was impossible to replace and ran from read-only memory, but is stored in non-volatile writable memory these days. He asked to purchase CPU chips from manufacturers that support a free BIOS. In light of digital restriction management it becomes even more important to be able to trust the computer.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
- DSA 723: xfree86 -- Arbitrary code execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
- chewmail -- Mail archiver for various mailbox formats.
- cogito -- Version control system.
- dbacl -- Digramic Bayesian text classifier.
- flow-tools-dev -- development files for flow-tools.
- matrox-tvout -- configure a Matrox G550 for NTSC TV output.
- mountpy -- Script for quick mounting of removable devices.
- qtdmm -- GUI for digital multimeter.
- r-cran-bayesm -- GNU R package for Bayesian inference.
- typo3 -- Powerful content management framework.
- vkeybd -- Virtual Keyboard program.
- xkbset -- Small utility to change the AccessX settings of XKEYBOARD.
- z80asm -- Assembler for the Zilog Z80 microprocessor.
Removed Packages. 6 packages have been removed from the Debian archive during the past week:
- ibm-jdk1.1-installer -- Installer for IBM Developer Kit for Linux
Bug#308191: Request of Maintainer; Superseded by java-package
- libapache-mod-dynvhost -- Apache Dynamic Virtual Hosting
Bug#308240: Request of Maintainer; Functionality already in mod_rewrite
- perl-transition -- Transitional packages for perl-5.004, 5.005 and 5.6
Bug#308697: Request of Maintainer; Obsolete transitional package
- xpdf-i -- Dummy transitional package for xpdf with decryption support
Bug#308753: Request of Maintainer; Obsolete transitional package
- prozilla -- Multi-threaded download accelerator
Bug#308826: Request of Maintainer; includes non-free code, obsolete, orphaned upstream
- expect-dummy -- Dummy upgrade package for expect 5.24 and 5.31
Bug#308713: Request of Maintainer; Obsolete transitional package
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Martin 'Joey' Schulze.