Debian Project News - January 12th, 2009

Welcome to this year's 1st issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. This issue is dedicated to Thiemo Seufer, who died on 26 December 2008 in a tragic car accident.

Topics covered in this issue include:

Bits from the Debian CD team

Frans Pop sent Bits from the Debian CD team, summarizing various changes affecting the installation media for the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny.

The most notable change is the replacement of the Xfce installation disc with a light desktop installation disc for installing Xfce or LXDE. Furthermore, all four major desktop environments (GNOME, KDE, Xfce and LXDE) are directly installable from the first DVD image; the desktop environment to be installed can now be chosen via the boot menu.

The Debian CD team still plans to create the following images:

Bits from the Debian Installer team

Christian Perrier sent bits from the Debian Installer team. With the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny in mind, he summarized the improvements made during this release cycle, including (but not limited to) support for loading firmware during installation, SATA RAID support, early upgrade of packages for security fixes, support for volatile, a new boot menu for i386/amd64, and support for installation from Windows through win32-loader.

He also mentioned that the next release candidate version is intended to be the version used in the Lenny official release. This version will fix a few bugs discovered in Release Candidate 1 (RC1) and a few more which were listed in RC1 errata. The team intends to begin the final release process of Debian Installer RC2 in the very early days of January 2009.

He also stresses the need for new blood to join the Debian Installer team after Lenny has been released, since out of the 180 people with commit access only three have been active in the coordination list and IRC channel during the last three months.

Results from the Lenny release GR

Bdale Garbee posted the results of the Lenny release GR, a general resolution about the handling of firmware issues and similar bugs affecting Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny.

From all the proposed options, the one titled Assume blobs comply with GPL unless proven otherwise won. With this outcome, the Debian project now assumes that source less firmware (rather small programs that internally control various electronic devices, see Wikipedias Page about Firmware) has been created the way it is (without a source in a higher level programming language) and therefore fullfils the requirements of the GNU General Public License.

New maintainer for search.debian.org needed

Thomas Viehmann is seeking a new maintainer for search.debian.org. The search engine is a slightly patched xapian-omega instance. You should be a Debian Developer or be willing to be part of a team for access to the installation. Some more improvements to the language support are desirable, which involve some C++, but Thomas would try to help out there.

Security support for next testing (Squeeze)

The Testing Security Team announced that security support for the next Debian testing (codenamed Squeeze) will not begin immediately after the release of Lenny as stable. Users of Debian testing who need security support should stay with Lenny until the beginning of security support for Squeeze is announced.

Internationalization support for planet.debian.org

Jörg Jaspert announced that planet.debian.org, a service collecting the personal blogs of various Debian Developers, Maintainers and other Debian-associated people, is now capable of hosting web pages and RSS/Atom-feeds in different languages, as demonstrated by the Spanish Planet Debian.

Adding a new language is quite simple but requires at least ten feeds to be added for the newly created language.

Personnel change of the Debian Secretary

Due to criticism while conducting the recent Lenny release GR vote, Manoj Srivastava, long term secretary of the Debian Project, decided to resign from this position. Following his resignation many developers have thanked him for his work.

Debian Project Leader Steve McIntyre is now searching for volunteers for this position, while Bdale Garbee, current Chairman of the Technical Committee, is now serving as Acting Secretary.

Personnel changes in Debian's Technical Committee

After being member of Debian's Technical Committee for three years, Anthony Towns resigned from that position to get fresh blood into the committee. We would like to thank Anthony for the work he has done over the past years.

Bdale Garbee, current chair of the Technical Committee, announced that Russ Allbery and Don Armstrong have been added to the technical committee. Please join us in congratulating them on achieving this level of recognition and trust within our community.

Personnel changes in the New Maintainer front desk

Christoph Berg announced some personnel changes in the New Maintainer front desk, handling applications of people interested in becoming Debian Developers. Marc Brockschmidt, who has been a member since 2005, has resigned from this position, while Bernd Zeimetz has joined the team.

We would like to thank Marc for his long term dedication.

Other news

The 12th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

Holger Levsen called for help to record the sessions to be held in Debian's Developer Room at the upcoming Free and Open Source Developer Europe Meeting (FOSDEM).

Simon McVittie wrote a small HOWTO about converting Debian packaging from bzr to git.

Nagarjuna G. launched a service drawing graphs representing dependency information for Debian packages, such as python and emacs21.

Ana Beatriz Guerrero Lopez proposed looking at bug reports you reported and updating their status as a new year's resolution, and gave a brief explanation on how to do so. She also proposed helping the maintainers of your favourite package with their bugs.

Luk Claes and Ralf Treinen are looking for some help with GPG Key Signing Coordination, a service primarily aimed at prospective contributors, finding existing Debian developers who can sign their key for the ID part of the new maintainer process. It's not much work; a description of the tasks can be found in their Subversion repository.

Daniel Burrows created some diagrams about the APT system and applications using it.

New Developers and Maintainer

Three applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers and one applicant has been accepted as Debian Maintainer since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Michael Casadevall, Arthur Loiret, Jelmer Vernooij and Tiago Bortoletto Vaz into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial RC-bugs count, the upcoming release Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny is currently affected by 99 release critical bugs. 26 of them have already been fixed in Debian's unstable branch. Of the remaining 73 release critical bugs, 15 already have a patch (which might need testing) and 12 are marked as pending.

Ignoring these bugs as well as release critical bugs for packages in contrib or non-free, 49 release critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): courier-authlib, proftpd-dfsg, avahi, moodle, phppgadmin, xterm, ruby1.8 and ruby1.9, icedove, iceape and gforge. 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 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):

Debian Package of the Day featured the packages procps (watch: Execute a program at regular intervals and show the output), atool (handling archives without headaches) and tellico (a collection manager for books, videos, music and a whole lot more).

Work-needing packages

Currently 482 packages are orphaned and 107 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 Thomas Viehmann, Paul Wise and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.