Debian Weekly News - June 20th, 2006

Welcome to this year's 25th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Matt Brown created a couple of wrapper scripts around sbuild and debarchiver to automatically build uploaded packages. Isaac Clerencia reported that the Zaragoza City Hall has deployed a thin-client solution based on Debian in six elderly centres.

Homepage Location in Package Description. Kai Hendry pointed out that the way URLs are listed in package descriptions is a hack which in practice commonly differs from the Developer's reference. Margarita Manterola suggested to first patch dpkg with a Homepage field in order to address this problem in policy. Raphaël Hertzog finally recommended this meta field should be incorporated in a Web application of a collaborative repository of meta information for packages.

Debian Community Conference Italy. Marco Bertorello announced the Debian community conference to take place on the 16th and 17th September in Venice, Italy. This conference is organised by the Italian Debian community and aims at users, developers, translators and all those who love Debian.

On compressing PDF Files. Yaroslav Halchenko noticed that about half of the PDF files distributed with Debian unstable are compressed into .pdf.gz files and cannot easily be read by commonly used PDF readers. According to policy large documents need to be compressed, but PDF files are already compressed inside. Compressing the remaining PDF files with gzip will only save about 50 MB while not compressing the compressed PDF files would cost about 150 MB of space.

Debian Mentors Site relaunched. Christoph Haas announced the relaunch of the mentors service that is dedicated to help package maintainers who are not yet Debian developers get their packages uploaded into Debian by sponsors. The new site has an improved web interface and several new features that are supposed to help bring package maintainers and sponsors together.

Executing System-V Style Init Script. Lars Wirzenius noted that a lot of packages still don't make use of invoke-rc.d in their maintainer scripts. This is required by policy 3.7.2 and a lintian check should be in place already. According to the list of release-critical issues for etch these packages violate policy but this bug is not release-critical.

Hardly used orphaned Packages. Nathanael Nerode created a list of packages that are orphaned and have less than 20 recorded installations. These are candidates for removal as they have less than one installation in 500. He wondered if somebody would object filing removal requests since they clutter the archive and use the Debian infrastructure but nobody cares to maintain them. Bas Zoetekouw argued that even if only a few people use these packages, they are in use and should probably be kept if they're don't have release-critical bug reports.

Debian Day at FrOSCon. Joey announced that the Debian project organises a one-day conference during FrOSCon in Sankt Augustin, Germany, where it also maintains a booth. The conference will take place on Saturday, June 24th and aims at users and people interested in the structure of Debian.

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. 27 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 311 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. To find out which orphaned packages are installed on your system the wnpp-alert program from devscripts may be helpful.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Kai Hendry, Sebastian Feltel, Christoph Haas and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.