Debian Project News - June 23rd, 2008

Welcome to this year's 5th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community.
Some of the topics covered in this issue:

Call for new New Maintainer Application Managers

Marc Brockschmidt, member of the New Maintainer Frontdesk, sent a call for Application Managers taking care of New Maintainers. Application Managers should have a broad experience in sponsoring and mentoring of prospective developers, a firm knowledge of the Debian Policy and Developer's Reference and at least a rough understanding of the current New Maintainer process.

Interested Developers, who have above all that a few hours of time each week, should send mail to nm@debian.org.

Backports.org keyring package?

Robert Milan stated his intention to package the keyring of the unofficial Backports.org service. This would ease the usage of this service, since the current approach to establish a trust path for the package management system is quite complicated, especially for inexperienced users. Concerns were raised because Backports.org is an unofficial service. Robert argued in favour of the inclusion, since it is often recommended to users to use the Backport service when they are in need of newer packages.

How to write proper get-orig-source targets

David Paleino wondered how to deal with the get-orig-source target for debian/rules files. According to policy, this target should create the latest upstream tarball, which might mean to export a version from a version control system. During this process timestamps of files are included, causing different checksums, even if the files haven't changed. Calling gzip with the -n switch didn't solve the problem entirely, but pristine-tar seems to be the solution to the problem.

Usefulness of Debian Release Goals?

Peter Eisentraut wondered about the so called Release Goals (global goals which should be implemented with the next release, but won't block a release if not completed). While they are good to improve the overall quality of the packages, most won't be noticed by users and most should rather become part of the policy. He also added that searching for bugs concerning release goals isn't very easy and proposed to set up an SQL database. Marc Brockschmidt added that such a database is part of a project in Google's Summer of Code.

Removing lilo?

William Pitcock asked for opinions about the removal of the boot loader lilo. Since lilo has a grave bug that is not trivial to fix and grub is pretty stable, he wondered if lilo is still needed at all. Frans Pop, member of the team developing the Debian installation system, disagreed. They would regularly receive installation reports having lilo installed. Since it needs several steps from the default installation routine to install lilo, he concludes that there's still demand for lilo packages.

Report of the BSP in Utrecht

On the weekend of 14-15 June a Bug Squashing party was held in Utrecht. Thijs Kinkhorst summarised the results, which included testing of the Debian-Installer on various platforms, resolving various release critical bugs and moving forums.debian.net to an official Debian server, improving reliability and responsiveness of this popular service.

Debian powers Max Planck Institute 32.8 TFlops supercomputer

The Observational Relativity and Cosmology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover has created Germany's 4th largest supercomputer using Debian GNU/Linux. By using Debian GNU/Linux on its clusters, the Research Group reduced the amount of work needed on the hardware and software infrastructure, compared to other scientific clusters running on other distributions, allowing them to focus on their objective of detecting gravitational waves. Dr. Aulbert, one of the cluster designers said: Thomas Lange's FAI package is extremely useful for automatic deployment of Debian. For example, without much tweaking and using only two hosts, we were able to reinstall the cluster in about 2.5 hours and were only limited by those two servers' network connection.

A more detailed report is available on Debian Times.

Other News

Brice Goglin sent a report from the X strike force concerning the upcoming stable release. Since Xorg 7.4 and Xserver 1.5 which were scheduled for this year's February are late, they won't make it into the upcoming stable release, which will be shipped with Xorg 7.3 and Xserver 1.4.2.

Luca Capello wrote a report about Debian's presence at LinuxDays 2008. Members of the project presented Debian at a small booth and got asked different kinds of questions, ranging from technical ones to philosophical ones.

Debian weather, an unofficial service intended as a quick overview on the state of the archive of a specific architecture, is back online.

Obey Arthur Liu gave a small impression on his GTK frontend for aptitude.

Peter Samuelson uploaded the recently released version 1.5.0 of Subversion, a popular version control system, to the experimental archive. He asks for aggressive testing so Debian might be able to ship the upcoming release for Subversion 1.5.0.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team released among others advisories for the packages xorg-server and typo3. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Please note, that those are only the most important security advisories of the last two weeks. If you would like to be always up to date regarding security advisories released by the Debian Security Team, please subscribe to the our mailing list for security announcements.

Work-needing packages

Currently 453 packages are orphaned and 111 packages are up for adoption. Please take a look at the recent report if there are packages you are interested in or view the complete archive of packages requesting help.

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Back issues of this newsletter are available.

This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Stefano Zacchiroli, Ana Guerrero, Thomas Lange, Andre Felipe Machado, Meike Reichle and Alexander Schmehl.