Debian Weekly News - June 27th, 2006
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Alan Baghumian announced a new version of Parsix a special Debian-based live and installation CD with Persian support. Joey Schulze reported that an RSS feed for the weekly news is generated automatically, including translations for the current issue.
Debian Query Language. Berke Durak from the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control is seeking feedback and ideas for defining a query language that would be useful to maintainers, power-users and researchers. They have already developed a dependency checker based on Boolean form. Tools for handling the Debian meta data with its evolution in time are also being implemented.
Date of last Modification. Kai Hendry noted
that policy's date field is
poorly implemented on
/var/lib/dpkg/available. Relying instead
on the changelog date for package activity can sometimes be incorrect as some
developers may not update the date on their final change accordingly.
Joey Hess stepped in and recommended
the use of
dch -r to update the changelog timestamp when
continuing work on packages.
Priorities of Alternatives. Wouter Verhelst wondered
why package maintainers are allowed to choose the priority for
alternatives. Naturally they are biased, as demonstrated with
mcedit becoming the default for
Using popularity contest instead would
ensure that the applications which most people prefer would be the default.
Improving Debian's Publicity. Raphaël Hertzog announced the creation of the debian-publicity mailing list. It aims at helping the press team by preparing and suggesting announcements and reviving the press clipping section of the project's website. It can also be a place to help Debian developers in drafting announcements intended for the debian-news mailing list. This initiative is one of the conclusions of the Representing Debian meeting held at this year's Debian conference. Assistance by non-technical people would be greatly appreciated.
Tracking Critical Bugs. Andreas Barth announced some enhancements in his bts2ldap interface for tracking critical issues in Debian packages. The interface now takes into account the version of the package a bug appeared or was resolved in. Steinar H. Gunderson then made many suggestions to improve tracking the resolution state of bugs in the Debian Bug Tracking System, for example by making the official release-critical bug graph use the versioning information.
Separating shared Libraries and Executables. Goswin von Brederlow noted that policy demands that run-time support programs using a shared library must not be put in the shared library package. This would prevent the installation of more than one version of the shared library. Goswin added that it would also complicate a conversion to multiarch.
Debian in Cuba. David Moreno Garza reported that he has been invited to go to Cuba to support some of Cuban Free Software initiatives, which some of them are Debian-based. Walter Landry explained that it used to be illegal under US law to export crypto to any country, which has been relaxed though, but does not include Cuba. According to Walter, some types of communication are allowed, but some are not and even using the mailing list infrastructure may be a problem for Debian.
Automatic Loading of Kernel Modules. Jim Popovitch noticed that the default installation of Debian loads many more kernel modules than he needs and wondered how to prevent this. Robert Sanchez explained that the system probably has some auto-detection running which automatically load modules for the hardware they have discovered.
Stopping Daemons upon Removal. Michael Prokop wondered
about maintainer scripts that fail when they can't stop the daemon process
they try to. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh added
that stop targets are to exit with a zero exit code 0 if the service is
already stopped. Bert Schubert explained
that the proper solution for
chroot environments is to add a
policy-rc.d script and gave an example.
Private List Messages sent to Google Mail. Ian Jackson noted that the current privacy and processing policies of Google Mail are not compatible with Debian's policy for its private list. In his opinion Google should not get a copy of debian-private, even if the only current output is aggregate keyword hit reports.
TrueCrypt Licensing. Karl Goetz wondered if the license of the popular multi-platform disc encryption software TrueCrypt is free enough to allow distributing it with Debian. Michael Poole answered that the license isn't free at all because there are a lot of unclear and imprecise paragraphs which makes it impossible to distribute TrueCrypt within Debian.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
- DSA 1101: courier -- Denial of service.
- DSA 1102: pinball -- Privilege escalation.
- DSA 1103: Linux 2.6.8 -- Several vulnerabilities.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
- ajaxterm — Web based terminal written in Python.
- bfilter — Simple web filtering proxy.
- bmagic — C++ template library for efficient platform independent bitsets.
- bootsplash — Enables a graphical boot screen.
- chalow — Weblog tool that converts ChangeLog to HTML.
- cmus — Lightweight ncurses audio player.
- edos-debcheck — Checks whether dependencies of Debian packages can be satisfied.
- edos-rpmcheck — Checks whether dependencies of Red Hat packages can be satisfied.
- ferret — CASE tool for edit data models.
- gsambad — GTK+ configuration tool for samba.
- hamradiomenus — Hamradio menus for GNOME and KDE.
- klone — Web application development framework.
- kmplayer — Media player for KDE.
- lzma — Default and general compression method of 7z format in 7-Zip program.
- magpierss — Provides an XML-based (expat) RSS parser in PHP.
- mock — Build RPM packages inside a chroot.
- open21xx — Tool suite for Analog Devices ADSP 21xx family DSPs.
- overgod — Bi-directional scrolling arcade game.
- parprouted — Transparent IP (Layer 3) proxy ARP bridging tool.
- pympd — Frontend for mpd in the style of rhythmbox and itunes.
- rhinote — Virtual sticky-notes for your desktop.
- s48-refman — Unofficial reference manual for Scheme48.
- sks-ecc — Cryptographic tool based on ECC.
- smcroute — Static multicast router daemon.
- texmaker — Free LaTeX editor.
- ttf-nafees — Nafees free OpenType Urdu fonts.
Orphaned Packages. 4 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.
- drupal — Fully-featured content management/discussion engine. (Bug#375496)
- htdig — WWW search system for an intranet or small Internet. (Bug#374643)
- mmix — Assembler and Simulator sources for Knuth's MMIX. (Bug#374646)
- qcad — Professional CAD System. (Bug#374954)
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Kai Hendry, Mohammed Adnène Trojette, Sebastian Feltel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.