Debian Weekly News - January 23rd, 2007

Welcome to this year's 1st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Erinn Clark, co-founder and leader of Debian Women is selected one of the top 10 girl geeks who are influential in Open Source. Linux-Watch posted Chris Fearnley's rebuttal to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols argument that Debian is in trouble.

Debian and the one Laptop per Child Project. Michael Voigt wondered if Debian is supporting the One Laptop per Child project. It has been founded by the MIT Media Laboratory and is about creating an cheap and affordable laptop for children in the third world and developing countries. Petter Reinholdtsen explained that Debian is participating with its DebianEdu sub-project.

French DebianEdu Developers Meeting. Mathieu Duploy announced the Debian-Edu developers meeting sponsored by Centre Européen de Transfert et de Recherche en Informatique Libre. It will take place on February 17th to 24th in Soissons (France). Transportation from Soissons to FOSDEM in Brussels is included.

Debian's History 2006. Martin Zobel-Helas reported that he and Ana Guerrero are creating an review of all major Debian events in 2006. They are using different news channels like Debian Weekly News, Planet Debian and several mailing lists as source for the review. Readers who find unmentioned events and thus want to contribute should write an email to the debian-publicity mailing list. The review is planned to be published on several websites like Linux Weekly News and

Debian-Installer for Sony PS3. Kenshi Muto (武藤 健志) announced that his friend, Takeshi Yaegashi (八重樫 剛史) succeeded to install Debian on a Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3), which is a 64-bit PowerPC architecture that some GNU/Linux distributions and NetBSD already have a port for. Yaegashi set up a Wiki page that describes the installation using a customised version of the debian-installer.

Adding Style Checks to lintian. Mikhail Gusarov wondered if removing empty lines from the end of debian/copyright and debian/changelog together with the use of two spaces before Homepage: in the description would warrant a lintian check. Nico Golde pointed out that these are not backed up by policy manual and hence shouldn't be included. Russ Allbery reported that he intends to add a set of style checks to lintian that would be optional and would have to be explicitly requested.

Woody Distribution archived. Florian Lohoff noticed that the old stable release woody has been removed from mirror servers recently. Kevin Mark explained that this happened because Debian only supports old distributions for a defined period of time by providing packages and security support. After this the old distribution won't be maintained anymore but kept on for historical reasons.

Kernel Handbook updated. Jurij Smakov announced that the Debian Kernel Handbook has been updated to reflect changes to the kernel build process and architecture which were made for the upcoming release of etch. The handbook covers several kernel-related topics and tasks like building kernel packages, module packages and the initial ram-disk system used in Debian. Any feedback, comments, or content proposals are welcome.

Anticipating the Release Date. Debian Administration is conducting a poll that allows readers to estimate the release date of etch. 45 % of its readers assume that etch will be released whenever it is ready. debianex stated that Debian is the most stable distribution and because of its stability, apt-get and a very helpful large community he is using the system and expects it to stay at No 1.

Abandon stable Releases? Joseph Smidt suggested to only support unstable and testing so that maintaining is less stress and the testing distribution becomes even better. Several developers disagreed on the numbers backing up the assumption that 76 % of the users already run testing. Wouter Verhelst added that in a corporate world stable is the prevailing Debian distribution.

Compatibility between Creative Commons 2.5 and Debian. Luis Matos asked for feedback about the compatibility between Creative Commons 2.5 licenses and Debian. Andrew Donnellan pointed out that at this moment none of the Creative Common licenses are compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG). However, some of the licenses of version 3.0 will most likely be compatible with the DFSG thanks to the effort of Debian people. Francesco Poli added that the current drafts are not DFSG-free, though.

Mailman Upgrade Path from Etch to Lenny. Lionel Elie Mamane reported that the current version 2.1.9 of mailman in etch will not have an upgrade path to version 2.2.x anticipated for lenny. This is because of a change in the file format. Mailman 2.1.10 will be able to export data into a neutral XML format which later versions are able to import. Lionel wondered if he was allowed to upload a newer version or include the export facility in the package for etch.

Measuring Development Progress. Lars Wirzenius proposed a set of carefully selected statistics to measure progress of development in Debian. He suggested weekly reports on total numbers, median and maximum for all open bug reports, reports grouped by severity, response time, lifetime of bugs, and more, and would like to compare these with numbers from the week before.

Status of the M68k Port. Ingo Jürgensmann reported that the m68k port is performing quite well after the GCC issues were finally solved by Roman Zippel. This port is currently in a better shape than alpha and arm. He wondered if m68k could be a release architecture now, given that etch hasn't been released in December.

Installing Debian over PPPoE Connections. Eddy Petrisor reported that he has successfully installed Debian over a PPPoE (DSL) connection which was established by the debian-installer. This demonstrates the comeback of native DSL installations directly from a mirror server by using the boot argument install modules=ppp-udeb.

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. 47 packages were orphaned since the last issue and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 377 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.

Removed Packages. 144 packages have been removed from the Debian archive since the last issue:

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Shrini Vasan, Sebastian Feltel, Felipe Augusto van de Wiel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.