Debian Weekly News - August 16th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Today is Debian's twelfth birthday. On August 16th, 1993 Ian Murdock announced a new type of distribution and listed the goals he wanted to achieve. Ramakrishnan Muthukrishnan announced the first Bangalore Debian Developer Conference to be held on August 20th in Bangalore, India.

Removing Packages from Testing. Frank Lichtenheld explained that packages are sometimes removed from testing when they are not in a releasable state. To get such packages back into testing, it should be sufficient to fix all reported release-critical bugs in them. For most removals the information is available in the package tracking system.

Linux Kernel Source Package Rename. Andres Salomon suggested renaming the Linux kernel source packages and proposed to maintain only one version 2.6 in a release. The ability to fall-back to an older version of the kernel, however, is valuable. To ease the security team work, the Linux kernel source package is now called linux-2.6 and the latest end-user binary package containing the source is named linux-source-2.6.12.

Bug Handling and Upstream. Wichert Akkerman mentioned that Debian maintainers have always assumed full responsibility for their work within Debian. This includes dealing with bug reports that need to be forwarded upstream. Eric Dorland answered that dealing with bugs in the upstream software takes too much time away from fixing bugs in the Debian packaging.

Security Support for AMD64. The Debian project announced to support the stable amd64 port security-wise from now on, even though regular binary packages reside on an external server. This port is not yet part of the Debian archive, but it will be included in unstable/testing soon, after the ftp-master service has moved to its final location and the mirror-split has been implemented.

Expulsion of Debian Developers. Jörg Jaspert defined the procedure for the expulsion of Debian developers which formalises the process and makes it more transparent. Any registered Debian developer can propose another developer to be excluded from the Project, but needs to get support from a number of other developers. An expelled developer may join again by going through new-maintainer as long as no lifetime ban is set.

Debian receives Funding. The Debian project announced that it is funded by LinuxFund with $ 500 per month for an entire year. The money will be used prudentially to continue building the universal operating system, improve the distribution and foster Free Software. Branden Robinson emphasised that it will help the project to be more flexible and reactive when dealing with hardware failures and should enable it to do a bit more forward planning.

Scope of Debian Women. Hanna Wallach explained that the Debian women sub-project is about integrating women into the Debian development community. It is also not an affirmative action project. She asserts that the infrastructure that comprises the development of the distribution is technically complex, but using simpler tools would mean to segregate from Debian.

Sponsoring Developer Meetings. Andreas Schuldei called for sponsors to donate locations, work and money for Debian developer gatherings that are usually very cost efficient and productive. Especially problems that require group discussion and focused cooperation over an extended period of time could best be solved during such gatherings.

Auto-accepting Soname Changes. Torsten Landschoff proposed new library packages that match a certain pattern (i.e. contain only new versions of existing packages with a new soname) to be accepted automatically, even though technically the filename is new. Jörg Jaspert quickly presented a counter-example since somebody has recently uploaded an empty library package. Gustavo Noronha Silva, however, pointed out that this could happen to regular updates as well.

Gutenprint in Sid. Roger Leigh reported that Gutenprint (the new name for Gimp-Print) has entered unstable including a number of changes. The upgrade should run smoothly for most installations, but CUPS users may need to install new PPD files, LPRng users may experience problems, a new foomatic database is required and the STP patch in Ghostscript needs to be removed.

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. 2 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 180 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.

Removed Packages. 5 packages have been removed from the Debian archive during the past week:

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Alexandre Rossi and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.