Debian Weekly News - February 13th, 2007

Welcome to this year's 3rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. In light of recent attacks on SHA-1, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is preparing for a competition to augment and revise the current Secure Hash Standard. Rick Lehrbaum reported that the installation of Debian etch on an old ThinkPad notebook went pretty well and added a number of screenshots.

Supporting Package Downgrade? Justin Pryzby listed a couple of reasons for not supporting package downgrades. They often work nevertheless, except when package replacements and maintainer scripts are involved. He wondered if there are any other reasons. Damyan Ivanov recommended the excellent documentation of maintainer scripts written by Margarita Manterola on the Debian Wiki.

LDAP and Infrastructure Updates. Ryan Murray announced new fields in the Debian LDAP schema: Date of birth (developer-only visible), Gender (world visible), and several fields to allow developers to disable their email address, specify a white-list, enable greylisting and sender verification callouts or specify RBL and RHSBL to be checked at SMTP time. Jörg Jaspert added some important points about fields available via the mail gateway and fields available only via the web interface. He also mentioned how developers could help with userdir-ldap.

FOSDEM Schedule finalised. Wouter Verhelst announced the schedule for talks in the Debian developers room at the this years' FOSDEM taking place from February, 24th to 25th in Brussels, Belgium. Debian developers will also maintain a booth. Interested supporters should contact Wouter Verhelst by mail.

Debian powers New Zealand's Electoral Enrolment. Rodney Gedda Sydney reported that New Zealands electronic election enrolment system is powered by Debian GNU/Linux. The system consists of two clusters of PostgreSQL databases in different locations that replace the former system of decentralised Oracle databases with Visual Basic front-ends. The new system also increases voting participation by automatically informing eligible voters about ongoing votes.

Restructuring Parts of the Debian Website. Frans Pop suggested to split the overview of untranslated pages into three categories to help translators. Manoj Srivastava noticed that the navigation bar for vote pages grows longer and would like to create a history page. Martin Schulze proposed to alter the menu even more.

Debian-Installer Release Candidate 2. Frans Pop, leader of the debian-installer team announced that the release candidate 2 of the debian-installer is imminent. Nearly all prerequisites for the last release candidate and probably final version of the etch installer are met. This candidate introduces Linux 2.6.18, incorporates translation updates and improves the graphical installer.

Debian GNU/Linux Support from Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard announced to support customers running Debian GNU/Linux on their business line products ranging from HP t5725 Thin Clients to ProLiant and BladeSystem file and application servers. Debian is also available pre-installed and configured on several product series.

Call for Project Leader Nominations. Manoj Srivastava, secretary of the Debian project, called for nominations for the upcoming Debian Project Leader election. Prospective candidates are asked to send in their platforms and letters of application to the project secretary in time, so they can be published on the voting page. The term of the new Debian Project Leader will start in April 2007.

Debian Live Autobuilder. Daniel Baumann announced that he has set-up an autobuilder for the Debian Live system. This is a live version of Debian GNU/Linux that doesn't need to be installed on a hard disk. The system is available with different desktop environments like GNOME, KDE and Xfce. Builds based on testing are created every week and the ones based on unstable are build daily.

First Test Report on Multiarch DVDs. Giuseppe Sacco reported his impressions about the use of multiarch DVDs. He wondered what should be done in order to start the amd64 kernel instead of i386, Steve McIntyre explained that i386 is the default and prepending amd64- would do the trick. Giuseppe also commented about a few documentation mistakes, Frans Pop confirmed that they are already fixed.

Automatic Installation and Removal Tests. Lucas Nussbaum sent in the results of piuparts tests against the whole Debian archive. The first run only tested the package installation process and the second run checked installation and removal of packages. Lucas proposed to find common sense before filling bugs with respect to the log files. For easier processing Stefano Zacchiroli asked for a list sorted by maintainer, which Loïc Minier provided.

Archive Signing Key for 2007. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña asked for the new archive signing key for 2007 which should be properly announced. Anthony Towns responded that a special Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 signing key is used instead and is expected to be valid until some time after the upcoming stable release.

Updates for Debian Sarge. Martin Zobel-Helas explained the preparations done for the next stable update, 3.1r5. It will include updated versions for Glibc, kernel 2.4 and 2.6, Mozilla, and XFree86 among others. Most of the other packages which are updated incorporate the security corrections that have accumulated.

Debian Conference 2008 in Argentina. Margarita Manterola announced that the annual Debian Conference for 2008 will take place in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina. The conference will probably held during the second and third week of August, 2008, which means that this will be the first DebConf to take place in winter.

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. 8 packages were orphaned since our last issue and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 364 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 Felipe Augusto van de Wiel, Sebastian Feltel, Frédéric Bothamy, Margarita Manterola and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.