Debian Weekly News - November 22nd, 2005

Welcome to this year's 47th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Nathanael Nerode observed that the new C++ libraries are not transitioning to testing due to a rash of dependent uploads and has requested that maintainers hold off from uploading dependent packages that will contribute to the clog. Guillem Jover proposed to split dependency lines in the source control files for improved readability. Andreas Tille reported about a free Live CD aiming at children.

Standard C++ Library Modification. Matthias Klose announced that the memory allocator in the standard C++ library will be changed which requires several packages to be rebuilt for which he has appended a list. The library will be updated by new versions of the gcc-3.4 and gcc-4.0 packages. Maintainers may have to rename the binary packages to reflect the new dependency.

Declassification of private Mails. Anthony Towns proposed a general resolution to open the archives of the debian-private list to the public after three years. A declassification team should be delegated to extract financial information about individuals and mails of no historical relevance. Authors and recipients should be given a period to comment on the publication.

Project Leader Delegations. Branden Robinson released a document explaining how project leader delegations work. The constitution suggests that there may be other powers which the project leader may not directly wield, and which they must delegate instead. If a particular decision is delegated, the project leader cannot take back responsibility for the decision personally, but can re-delegate it to someone else.

Debtags Package Search. Enrico Zini announced an experimental search engine for Debian packages on the basis of debtags information. The search starts with a normal text search, and then continues with categories. Since it is a prototype the engine is currently slow.

LCA05: Call for Presentations. Matthew Palmer called for presentations for the upcoming small Debian conference at the 23rd and 24th of January 2006 prior to the Linux Conference Australia. The topic should be related to Debian and could be a normal presentation, discussion, tutorial or a story of grand success.

Automated Testing for Packages. Ian Jackson proposed an interface for packages to describe included tests that can be run automatically. This should help find regressions in more recent versions of packages. The format shall be RFC822-style again and describe limitations or side effects as well.

Debian Developer's Packages Overview. Christoph Berg announced new features for the packages overview page. Arbitrary packages can be added to the page, the system can be configured to display additional user-defined sections, recently uploaded version are displayed and data from the popularity contest is included as well.

No uncompressed Packages Files anymore. Ian Bruce noticed that the Debian package archive doesn't provide uncompressed Packages files anymore. Jörg Jaspert explained that this change was announced three years ago already. Goswin Brederlow added that apt from experimental is able to use the recently provided differential files.

Automatic File Updates in Alioth. Frank Küster wondered how files on Alioth could be kept up-to-date with the Subversion repository and already proposed to use a post-hook. Enrico Zini explained his way of updating the web pages by using a mail trigger and an anonymous checkout area.

Descriptions for Dummy and Meta Packages. Enrico Zini asked for consistent descriptions for meta and dummy packages so that they aren't tagged wrongly and future package managers can handle them properly. A metapackage is used to pull in other packages. On the contrary, a dummy package is used for smooth upgrades of packages and can safely be removed afterwards.

PHP License Status.. Jeremy Bouse asked for clarification regarding the PHP licenses as to whether or not they qualify as free since many PEAR packages use them. Steve Langasek explained that the licenses itself are considered free but not suitable for anything which is not PHP.

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. 1 package was orphaned this week and requires a new maintainer. This makes a total of 201 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. 35 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 Martin 'Joey' Schulze.