Debian Project News - April 12th, 2010
Welcome to this year's first issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
- Upcoming elections for the Debian Project Leader
- Bits from the Release Team
- Estimates of the number of Debian users
- Bits from the DPL
- New archive snapshot service available
- MiniDebConf held in Panama
- First German Debian Mini Conference
- Graphical Installer for ARM-Based netbooks
- QEMU image for SH4 port available
- The role of the Debian ftpmasters
- Other news
- New Developers and Maintainers
- Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
- Important Debian Security Advisories
- New and noteworthy packages
- Work-needing packages
- Want to continue reading DPN?
Four Debian Developers are nominated in the currently running election
for the Debian Project Leader: Stefano
Verhelst, Charles Plessy
marga Manterola — the first woman ever nominated for this
position. The voting period ends on Thursday, April 15th.
Some of the questions asked and topics discussed in the campaigning period were:
- Do you plan on taking on a 2IC or a team?
- Project Funds, donations and
- How much time do you currently devote to Debian? How will that amount of time change for the DPL term?
- Financing of development through external sources
- Heated discussions in the Debian project
In ten years I'd like Debian....
- Communication and media
- Release process
- Withdrawing delegations of DD not behaving correctly?
- Care of Core infrastructure
- Disappearing DPLs?
- Race against NOTA
- Architecture Support
- Decentralization of power
- License and copyright requirements
- Who would you vote for?
- Personal mentoring
- About membership
- Standardization, large scale changes, innovations
- Enforce Debian Community Guidelines?
Release manager Adam Barratt sent Bits
from the release team which gave an overview of the state of the
upcoming release, Debian 6.0
Squeeze. Adam admits that the
situation is not as good as the release team hoped, but that it is possible
Squeeze in a few months. He also gave a list of known
transitions and asked people to inform the release team about missing items.
Regarding the timeline, he asked all involved people to work hard, so a
freeze in late May or June would be possible. He concludes with some hints
on how to help. Most important is to fix release critical bugs or
organise face-to-face meetings to fix these. Andreas Barth later
more detailed list on how to help with the release.
In the discussion about the upcoming elections for the Debian Project
Towns wondered how many users Debian has. Several people discussed
who is a
Debian user and if users of Debian derivatives would count,
too. Another topic was how accurate popcon.debian.org (a service where
Debian users can report anonymously what packages they have installed)
reflects the number of installations. Mike Hommey analysed
the installations reported for xulrunner
(the rendering engine used by the Iceweasel browser) and compared them to the
hits of the page displayed after an upgrade. He came to the conclusion
that for every one of the 13,000 Iceweasel installations reported to
popcon, there are at least 7.7 additional Iceweasel installations, which
do not have popcon installed or activated, while Simon Paillard found
1.5 million unique IP addresses in the access logs of security.debian.org.
Shortly before the end of his term Debian Project Leader Steve McIntyre
Debian Certification for official
It seems that more and more companies are keen to hire
Debian folks, so it can be useful to have this kind of documentation
available. Steve also talked about suggestions made in the last few
months for ways to productively spend Debian money, including funding of
needed hardware and a large number of developer meetings, as well as
funding for the Debian Edu subproject, to help them to continue their
developer meetings into the future. He closed by wishing the candidates of
the current election good luck and is looking forwards to having more time
for some hacking.
A new service called http://snapshot.debian.org/ has just been announced. snapshot.debian.org is a wayback machine that allows access to old packages based on dates and version numbers. The ability to install packages and view source code from any given date can be very helpful to developers and users alike. It provides a valuable resource for tracking down when regressions were introduced, or for providing a specific environment that a particular application may require to run. The snapshot archive is accessible like any normal apt repository, allowing it to be easily used by all.
The archive currently holds almost all packages from the main and security archives since March 2005, as well as selected additional archives like debian-volatile, debian-ports and backports.org. This new service currently holds about 6.5 terabytes of data and will grow constantly.
More than 50 people participated recently in a MiniDebConf in Panama.
Starting March 20th and lasting two full days, the MiniDebConf touched on a
variety of subjects involving Debian with the participants sharing their experiences
with both Debian and Free Software. As Alejandro Rios
All this is possible thanks to several sponsors from Panama and SPI, and
the hard work from many people, specially Anto Recio, Mauro Rosero, Carolina
Flores, Gunnar Wolf and the local team. SPI is
Software in the Public Interest, a
non-profit organisation which was founded to help organisations develop and
distribute open hardware and software.
The MiniDebConf got quite technical, some of the subjects they covered were: Packaging, Debian's Bug Tracking System, the Linux Kernel, pbuilder and quilt. There was also time for some socialising as there was a visit to the Panama Canal as well as a group photo and apparently some people even gathered to drink beer. Sounds to me like a successful MiniDebConf. More info on Alejandro's blog (in English).
The Debian Project announced the first German Debian Mini Conference to be held on the 10th and 11th of June in Berlin. Embedded into LinuxTag, one of the most important Open Source events in Europe, it will feature two days of talks, workshops and panel discussions for Debian Developers and Maintainers to contributors, users and otherwise interested persons. In parallel to the conference, in a neighbouring hacking area a Bug Squashing Party will be held. Details are available in the DebConf Wiki.
Frans Pop blogged about his work on porting Debian and the debian-installer to ARM-based netbooks from ChiTech. After solving some problems due to the limitations of the bootloader, he even managed to get the X11 based graphical installer running on that device.
To make debugging of problems with the (unofficial) port to the SH4 architecture easier, Aurelien Jarno provides SH4 images to be used with qemu. The images have some limitations as they can only use 64MB and need the current development version of qemu.
lwn.net published a lengthy article about the role of the Debian ftpmasters (article will be freely available from 15th April) and their kind of unique position compared to other distributions. Based upon explanations and a recent call for volunteers from ftp-master Jörg Jaspert, the article explains the duties and problems the ftp-team is facing.
DSA Martin Zobel-Helas announced, that the Debian Project got four powerful MIPS machines donated by Movidis. Two or three will be used as build daemon, the remaining one is accessible for all Developers as porter machine.
Christine Spang asked Debian Developers listed on the keysigning offers list to check their data regularly. She also added that it is possible to subscribe to changes in the list of people requesting keysigning.
Sune Vuorela reported about
Eckhart slope: quite a drop of the number of KDE related
Sylvestre Ledru gave an update about linear algebra libraries (e.g. blas and lapack) in Debian, which are used by various numerical programs in Debian (e.g. OpenOffice.org Calc). He emphasised how the packages deal with optimisation for different CPUs (like SSE in different versions).
Seven applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainer in the last two weeks. Please welcome Joachim Wiedorn, Kai Wasserbaech, Gabriele Giacone, Ahmed El-Mahmoudy, Niels Thykier, Stephen Leake and Daiki Ueno into our project!
According to the unofficial
RC-bugs count, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0
Squeeze, is currently affected by 445 release critical bugs. 108 of them
have already been fixed in Debian's
unstable branch. Of the remaining
337 release critical bugs, 53 already have a patch (which might need
testing) and 21 are marked as pending.
Ignoring these bugs as well as release critical bugs for packages in contrib or non-free, 196 release critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): drupal6, php5, ikiwiki, spamass-milter, mediawiki, curl, moin, icedove, xulrunner and xpdf. 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.
The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently (among others):
- aaphoto — Auto Adjust Photo, automatic color correction of photos
- aimage — Create forensic image of devices in an open format
- ambdec — Ambisonic decoder for first and second order
- asterisk-espeak — eSpeak module for Asterisk
- asterisk-flite — flite module for Asterisk
- autokey-gtk — desktop automation utility - GTK+ version
- autokey-qt — desktop automation utility - QT version
- banshee-community-extensions — set of community contributed extensions for Banshee
- banshee-extension-awn — AWN integration extension for Banshee
- banshee-extension-lcd — LCD display integration extension for Banshee
- banshee-extension-liveradio — LiveRadio extension for Banshee
- banshee-extension-magnatune — Magnatune for Banshee
- banshee-extension-radiostationfetcher — radio station fetcher extension for Banshee
- banshee-extensions-common — common files for banshee-community-extensions
- banshee-extension-streamrecorder — StreamRecorder extension for Banshee
- banshee-extension-telepathy — Telepathy extension for Banshee
- bzr-rewrite — History rewriting plugin for Bazaar
- cluster-agents — The reusable cluster components for Linux HA
- cluster-glue — The reusable cluster components for Linux HA
- codelite — Powerful and lightweight C/C++ IDE
- codelite-plugins — Powerful and lightweight C/C++ IDE - plugins
- crawl-tiles — Dungeon Crawl, a roguelike game, tiles version
- ddir — display DOS style hierarchical directory tree
- docky — Elegant, powerful, clean dock
- eclipse-plugin-cvs — Eclipse Team Integration (CVS support)
- eekboek-gui — Graphical User Interface for EekBoek
- fusionforge-full — FusionForge collaborative development tool - full metapackage
- fusionforge-minimal — FusionForge collaborative development tool - minimal metapackage
- fusionforge-standard — FusionForge collaborative development tool - standard metapackage
- fusioninventory-agent — Hardware and software inventory tool (client)
- gogoc — Client to connect to IPv6 tunnel brokers
- gpsprune — visualize, edit, convert and prune GPS data
- icedove-3.0 — mail/news client with RSS (transitional package)
- icinga — A host/service/network monitoring and management system
- icinga-phpapi — phpapi for icinga
- imageshack-uploader — a image and video upload utility for the ImageShack hosting service
- ipheth-dkms — USB tethering driver for the iPhone [DKMS driver source]
- ipheth-utils — USB tethering driver for the iPhone [support utilities]
- jabref-plugin-oo — OpenOffice plugin for JabRef
- kobby — Collaborative text editor for KDE
- lazarus-ide-gtk2 — IDE for Free Pascal - IDE build on top of GTK+ backend
- lazarus-ide-qt4 — IDE for Free Pascal - IDE build on top of QT backend
- lcl — Lazarus Components Library - LCL metapackage
- mapnik-viewer — GUI for rendering and viewing maps based on Mapnik mapfiles
- menu-l10n — localized menu entries for Debian menu.
- multiwatch — Forks and watches multiple instances of a program
- muroard — minimalist RoarAudio sound daemon
- nagstamon — Nagios status monitor which takes place in systray or on desktop
- netio230a-gui — GUI to access the Koukaam NETIO-230A
- nfs4-acl-tools — Commandline and GUI ACL utilities for the NFSv4 client
- numptyphysics — crayon based physics puzzle game
- ocamlviz — real-time profiling tools for Objective Caml (clients)
- openrocket — Model Rocket Simulator
- otf-freefont — Freefont Serif, Sans and Mono OpenType fonts
- pdf-presenter-console — multi-monitor presentation tool (ala Keynote) for PDF files
- plymouth — Graphical Boot Animation and Logger
- postgresql-8.4-orafce — Oracle support functions for PostgreSQL
- python-django-auth-ldap — Django LDAP authentication backend
- python-django-picklefield — Pickled object field for Django
- python-docky — Elegant, powerful, clean dock - Python support library
- python-netio230a — Python class to access the Koukaam NETIO-230A
- python-pygccxml — specialized XML reader reads the output from gccxml
- python-py — Advanced Python testing tool and networking lib
- python-stemmer — Python bindings for libstemmer - snowball stemming algorithms
- raincat — 2D puzzle game featuring a fuzzy little cat
- sabayon — system administration tool to manage GNOME desktop settings
- saga — System for Automatic Geoscientific Analysis
- skipfish — fully automated, active web application security reconnaissance tool
- trac-datefieldplugin — Add custom date fields to Trac tickets
- trac-wikitablemacro — Table from an arbitrary SQL for Trac
- tryton-modules-calendar-classification — Tryton Application Platform (Calendar Classification Module)
- tryton-modules-dashboard — Tryton Application Platform (Dashboard Module)
- tryton-modules-party-siret — Tryton Application Platform (Party SIRET/SIREN Module)
- ust-bin — LTTng Userspace Tracer (utilities)
- vidcontrol — command-line tool to control the system console on GNU/kFreeBSD
- webgen0.5 — A template based static website generator
- zeromq-bin — Utilities for ZeroMQ
Currently 594 packages are orphaned and 139 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 Jeremiah Foster and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.