Debian Project News - November 3rd, 2008
Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian
Some of the topics covered in this issue include:
- Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 updated
- Debian membership
- First Lenny Bug Sprint finished successfully
Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 updated
The Debian project is pleased to announce the fifth update of its stable distribution
Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (codename
Etch). This update mainly corrects security
problems in the stable release, along with a few adjustments to serious problems.
Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many
packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update.
New CD and DVD images containing updated packages are available at the regular locations.
Upgrading to this revision online is usually done by pointing the aptitude (or apt-get) package tool (see the sources.list(5) manual page) to one of Debian's many FTP or HTTP mirrors. A comprehensive list of mirrors is available online.
More information is available in the press release.
After talking to several of the groups involved, Jörg Jaspert proposed changes in the way Debian membership is handled. The motivation for these changes is to make it possible for people who contribute to Debian without maintaining packages (such as translators or documentation writers) to become members of the project. He later wrote some comments additional to his proposal. However due to the scope of the envisioned changes, several developers proposed to stop these changes until they have been decided upon via a general resolution, while Peter Palfrader asked to be allowed to continue trying to solve this problem.
Lars Wirzenius and others would like to see the whole
membership system rethought, not only the process
by which membership is granted. Lars proposed that membership must be periodically renewed, while
People should be allowed to join Debian when there is reasonably widespread consensus that they
agree with the project's goals, are committed to working on those goals, and are trustworthy.
Martin Krafft argued that instead of introducing different classes of membership Debian should instead define different privileges and criteria for how to obtain them. Since these privileges already exist it would be easier to define the criteria instead of mapping the privileges to classes.
First Lenny Bug Sprint finished successfully
To help clean up release critical bug reports, especially longstanding ones, Josselin Mouette initiated the first Bug Sprint. In this competition, Debian Developers and other interested people volunteered to try to fix their assigned release-critical bugs in a five day period. The winners in this competition would get cookies.
Josselin later added that 27 players joined the bug sprint and posted the results. (He already sent a more detailed draft ealier). All in all, he was very satisfied with the results. Stefano Zacchiroli proposed repeating this kind of event.
Firmware in Lenny and how to deal with DFSG-violating packages
Ben Finney wondered about several release-critical
bugs getting the lenny-ignore tag, which specifies that these bugs are not considered release critical for the upcoming
release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0
Lenny. Release Manager Marc Brockschmidt
In all of the bugs I recently tagged,
the DFSG violation is usually a formal problem, something that other
distributions and upstream don't consider a problem at all. While fixing
these issues is and should be a goal of Debian, it's hardly something
that can be done in the last few weeks before releasing. The drawbacks
of delaying the release indefinitely for these bugs are much greater
than releasing with these minor DFSG violations.
In the following discussion, Robert Millan proposed a general resolution on how to deal with packages violating the Debian Free Software Guidelines. In his proposal, packages having a bug report open regarding their compliance with the Debian Free Software Guidelines for a certain amount of time must be moved from the main section to the non-free section. In his response to Robert's initial proposal, Release Wizard Steve Langasek argued that Debian has been following the road of incremental improvement. He notes that all bugs reported regarding non-free firmware for older releases have been dealt with.
State of NEW queue
Aurelien Jarno wondered whether the NEW queue (where uploaded source packages creating new binary packages are held back awaiting the check and approval of an ftp-master) is currently being processed. Jörg Jaspert answered that the NEW queue has indeed not been processed very often recently. He explained further that changes in the software used to process this queue give precedence to packages that only add new binary components, as distinct from packages that add completely new code to the archive.
Changes to archive.debian.org
Jörg Jaspert announced several
changes for archive.debian.org, the most important being that Debian GNU/Linux 3.1
Sarge has been moved
from the regular mirrors to archive.debian.org.
For the convenience of our mirror network,
the deletion is being performed in several chunks, avoiding problems with mirrors refusing
to delete too many files at once. He later
highlighted that the
unofficial port of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1
Sarge to the AMD64 architecture has been moved there, too.
Other changes are the availability of binary packages for Debian GNU/Linux 1.2
Buzz and 0.93R6. An
archive for packages from volatile.debian.org,
security.debian.org and www.backports.org
is now also available at archive.debian.org.
During work on this, old mail archives from 1995, which had been lost, were found again as well as old bug reports ranging from bug #350 to #1750. These will soon be added back to the appropriate archives.
BTS-link in need of new maintainer
Pierre Habouzit announced that he won't be able to maintain and run the BTS-link service any more. This service is used to track activity in upstream bug tracking systems and update the corresponding bug reports in Debian's BTS in a semi-automated way. Currently this service needs to be run manually. Don Armstrong, one of the maintainers of Debian's BTS, highlighted the importance of the bts-link service, but won't be able to maintain it himself. Christoph Berg suggested maintainership under the mantle of Debian's Quality Assurance group if someone would volunteer to act as the main responsible maintainer.
Since the previous issue of the Debian Project News, 2 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers.
Please welcome Mehdi Dogguy and Olly Betts to our project!
Important Debian Security Advisories
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): linux-2.6.24, cupsys, qemu, dbus, clamav and openoffice.org. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.
Please note that these are a selection of the more important security advisories of the last two weeks. If you need to be kept up to date about security advisories released by the Debian Security Team, please subscribe to the security mailing list for announcements.
New and noteworthy packages
The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently (among others):
- a56 -- Motorola DSP56001 assembler
- antlr-gcj -- language tool for constructing recognizers, compilers etc
- apgdiff -- Another PostgreSQL Diff Tool
- apt-dater -- terminal-based remote package update manager
- apt-dater-host -- host helper application for apt-dater
- avr-evtd -- AVR watchdog daemon for Linkstation/Kuroboxes
- automysqlbackup -- a daily, weekly and monthly backup for your MySQL database
- ballz -- B.A.L.L.Z. - platform/puzzle game where you control a rolling ball
- ballz-data -- B.A.L.L.Z. - game data
- barry-util -- Command line utilities for working with the RIM BlackBerry Handheld
- barrybackup-gui -- GTK+ based GUI for backing up the RIM BlackBerry Handheld
- batman-adv-battool -- B.A.T.M.A.N.-advanced network debugging tools
- batv-filter -- Mail Filter (milter) for BATV signing/verification
- blocks-of-the-undead -- Tetris Attack clone with spooky undertones
- blocks-of-the-undead-data -- Tetris Attack clone with spooky undertones - data files
- bti -- command line micro-blogging tool
- btnx -- daemon for rerouting mouse button events
- btnx-config -- graphical user interface for btnx
- buildtorrent -- command line torrent creation program
- cciss-vol-status -- HP SmartArray RAID Volume Status Checker
- cdde -- CD Detect & Execute utility
- command-not-found -- Suggest installation of packages in interactive bash sessions
- dns323-firmware-tools -- build and manipulate firmware images for the DNS-323
- dwdiff -- front-end for the diff program that operates word by word
- elfrc -- convert arbitrary files into elf objects
- etoolbox -- Toolbox for LaTeX class and package authors
- faketime -- report faked system time to programs
- fbterm -- A fast framebuffer based terminal emulator for Linux
- fwknop-client -- FireWall KNock OPerator client side
- fwknop-server -- FireWall KNock OPerator server side
- gedit-latex-plugin -- GEdit plugin for composing and compiling LaTeX documents
- git-cola -- highly caffeinated git gui
- gracie -- OpenID server for local PAM accounts
- guvcview -- GTK+ base UVC Viewer
- jardiff -- tool to visualise API differences between two JAR files
- kiki-the-nano-bot -- a 3D puzzle game, mixing Sokoban and Kula-World
- ldap-account-manager-lamdaemon -- Quota and home directory management for LDAP Account Manager
- mono-vbnc -- Mono Visual Basic Compiler (VB.NET)
- mozvoikko -- Finnish spell-checker extension for Iceweasel
- mrpt-apps -- Mobile Robot Programming Toolkit - Console and GUI applications
- mz -- versatile packet creation and network traffic generation tool
- netplug -- network link monitor daemon
- nvramtool -- Read/write coreboot-related NVRAM/CMOS information
- onetime -- command-line encryption using the "one-time pad" method
- openyahtzee -- classic dice game of Yahtzee
- pacpl -- a multi-purpose audio converter/ripper/tagger script
- pgtap -- Unit testing framework for PostgreSQL
- prayer-templates -- templates for customizing Prayer Webmail
- python-cssutils -- CSS Cascading Style Sheets parser and builder
- python-feedvalidator -- library and tool for validating syndication feeds
- python-netaddr -- manipulation of various common network address notations
- python-netifaces -- portable network iface information for Python
- python-poppler -- Poppler Python bindings
- python-soaplib -- Python library for writing and calling soap web services
- python-socksipy -- Python SOCKS client module
- python-zebrapygtk -- scanning and decoding bar codes (PyGTK bindings)
- qorganizer -- featured lightweight graphical organizer
- recoverdm -- recover files/disks with damaged sectors
- replaceit -- A quick, light and effective text replacement tool
- rifiuti -- A MS Windows recycle bin analysis tool
- rst2man -- tool to convert reST documents to Unix manual pages
- rst2pdf -- ReportLab-based reStructuredText to PDF renderer
- sdlbasic -- BASIC interpreter for game development
- sdlbrt -- BASIC interpreter for game development - runtime interpreter
- simplyhtml -- Java word processor based on HTML and CSS
- snimpy -- interactive SNMP tool with Python
- sofa-apps -- GUI for the Simulation Open Framework Architecture (SOFA)
- sofa-tutorials -- Simulation Open Framework Architecture - tutorials
- sputnik -- Extensible wiki
- sputnik-goodies -- Extra modules for the sputnik wiki
- sqlline -- JDBC command-line utility for issuing SQL
- switchsh -- bind-mount bash as /bin/sh
- tint2 -- lightweight taskbar
- twidge -- Unix Command-Line Twitter and Identica Client
- unworkable -- efficient, simple and secure bittorrent client
- vbackup -- A modular backup utility
- virtaal -- graphical localisation editor
- wicd -- wired and wireless network manager
- wiipdf -- present a PDF file using your wiimote
- xd -- smart directory change utility
- zebra-tools -- scanning and decoding bar codes (utilities)
- zope-maildrophost -- send mails from within Zope through a mail queue
Currently 498 packages are orphaned and 118 packages are up for adoption. Please take a look at the recent reports to see if there are packages you are interested in or view the complete list of packages which need your help.
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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Jörg Jaspert, Ben Finney, Justin B. Rye and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.