Debian Project News - August 9th, 2010
Welcome to this year's ninth issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
- The Debian project Release Team announces an official Freeze
- Annual Debian Developer Conference 2010 ended
- A free (as in speech) Debian book in the making
- Second alpha version for
Squeeze-based Debian Live images available
- Net-installation CD images with firmware available
- Debian Edu/Skolelinux 6.0.0 alpha0 test release
- ZFS support in unstable on kFreeBSD ports
- Debian-Accessibility is using Blends web sentinel
- Debian GIS project will release Blends metapackages in
- DebiChem project will release Blends metapackages in
- DebConf11 logo contest
- When should services started by init.d scripts be operational?
- Different statistics about Debian
- Building all files from source
- 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?
On 6 August at DebConf10 in New York City, Adam D. Barratt and the rest of
the Debian Release Team announced that Debian is
being frozen in preparation for release. The tentative release goal is
before the end of the year. As
Adam D. Barratt said, a freeze is a horizontal transition and it means that
one doesn't introduce new transitions, or upload packages to unstable which
are not intended to be released in
Squeeze. Also, if your package is involved
in an ongoing transition, don't upload a new version until it migrates.
You can check the transition
tracker for more information.
The 2010 annual Debian Developer Conference, DebConf10, which was held at Columbia University in New York City, ended last Saturday on 7 August, 2010. With over 300 Debian Developers, Maintainers, and Users from 40 countries attending, it was one of the most productive conferences ever. Attendees met other developers, worked on projects, toured New York City, and attended talks, thus forming strong community bonds throughout the week long event.
Holding DebConf in New York allowed organizers to include members of the
wider Free Software and Free Culture community who gave talks and
presentations. Eben Moglen, chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center,
gave a talk
The Silver Lining in the Cloud (beta
version of the recording) that inspired days of
conversation and got many participants interested in the Freedom Box
project. John Sullivan from the Free Software Foundation showed a film
Patent Absurdity (beta
version of the recording), and led a BOF detailing the many
campaigns of the Free Software Foundation. We also enjoyed the award
winning animated film released under a Creative Commons license
Sita Sings the Blues.
The filmmaker, Nina Paley, along with Karl Fogel from Questioncopyright,
led a lively question and answer period after the film.
Many other interesting Debian-related talks and ad-hoc sessions took
place, ranging from the latest developments in packaging up to collaboration
with derivative distributions and projects like
Testing. Preceding the conference, a one week work camp took place,
and thanks to the bug-squashing contest held during the past two weeks,
almost 140 bugs were closed for the next release, and almost 80 for the
current stable release!
Debian's current DPL, Stefano Zacchiroli, gave an inspirational talk (beta
version of the recording),
explaining why Debian is still relevant after 17 years but also making
recommendations for attracting more users and developers, and for
building stronger collaboration with derivatives. The Release Team delivered
a quick but concise talk about their status and announced the immediate
For those who couldn't attend the conference, and would like to watch the talks, many sessions were streamed by the DebConf video team composed of over 40 volunteers. If you liked their work, please say thank you as this helps to keep them motivated.
A low quality beta version of the video recordings is already available.
Debian Developers Raphaël Hertzog and Roland Mas have announced their
intention to translate their French Debian book into English. Their
best-seller covers a wide range of topics from the basics (introducing
the community, dpkg, APT, debian-installer, etc.) to more advanced administration
tasks (automated installation, virtualization with Xen, RAID/LVM, SELinux,
etc.) as well as the most common services (mail, web, firewall, file server, LDAP,
etc.). It will be based on the upcoming Debian
The resulting book will be published under a DFSG-compliant license (dual license: CC-BY-SA 3.0/GPL2+) provided that they manage to raise the money required to fund this work. At this point, they need your feedback to pick the most appropriate funding service: check their announcement and respond to the questionnaire that they have set up.
Daniel Baumann announced the availability of the second alpha version
Squeeze-based live images, which can be used without being
installed. Due to space limitations, dedicated USB-HDD images will most
likely not be offered anymore, as the new ISO-hybrid images can be used on both
optical media like DVDs and USB-sticks. It's also possible to use
them via network boot. The images are
available for the amd64, i386, and powerpc architectures and also contain an
experimental installation system.
During the last few weeks,
netinst CD images (containing
the installation system and all packages for the base system,
downloading everything else from the Internet) have been available
which also contain the partly non-free firmware files needed (e.g.) for
some network and WLAN controllers. Now that they have been tested,
have been moved to their final location and can be downloaded
from the official
for the i386, amd64, and powerpc architectures as well as one image to boot
all three architectures.
DebianEdu, who adapt Debian for the special needs of schools and
similar institutions, released
their first test version based upon Debian
Squeeze. Many applications have been updated and added, so testers
are asked to take special care about the package selections: missing,
unneeded, and untranslated applications should be reported back. Other newly
introduced features are the integration of the LXDE desktop environment
and a roaming workstation profile for laptops.
Thanks to Tuco Xyz, Petr Salinger and Aurelien Jarno, zfsutils are now
Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and available in
Sid, including the relevant
libraries and a
udeb package for the Debian Installer. Its availability also brought some kernel
ZFS issues to light which have been fixed in the meantime. Now
Debian GNU/kFreeBSD can fully support ZFS.
The Debian-Accessibility project is now using the web sentinel provided by the Debian Pure Blends effort to show their current work to users. Those who are interested might have a look at the
There is some ongoing discussion whether Blends metapackages make sense for the Debian-Accessibility project.
The definition for the packages which are shown on the pages above is available in the Subversion repository and the documentation of the format of the tasks files is available in the Debian Pure Blends documentation.
Debian GIS project has now
released a set of metapackages built using Debian Pure Blends tools which
are available in testing (and thus will be released in
web sentinel provides an overview
of the available GIS and OSM packages in Debian. It would be
great if some OpenStreetMap addicts would join this effort.
As above, the definition for the packages shown is available in the Subversion repository.
DebiChem project has
likewise released a set of metapackages for
using Debian Pure Blends tools. See the
chemical application packages in Debian and task
in the Subversion repository.
While Annual Debian Developers Conference 2010 has just ended, preparations for the 2011 conference have already begun. One example is the DebConf11 logo contest collecting ideas and logos for the conference, which will take place in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Petter Reinholdtsen wondered whether a service started by an init.d script should already be operational when the script exits successfully. As the execution of these scripts is ordered based on their dependencies, it can lead to difficult to solve problems (see for example #585966 or #589915) when these scripts exit before their service is completely up and running. A depending service may be called while the service is still only starting up. Josselin Mouette noted that this would be the case for all init.d scripts using the start-stop-daemon with the --background option. Josef Spillner added that services should be able to handle it if services they depend on are temporarily unavailable, e.g. by trying to reconnect.
After several bugs had been filed against packages not building Flash files during their build process but shipping precompiled files, Charlie Smotherman wondered whether all files shipped in a Debian package really need to be built from source. Some of the reasons named were quality assurance, conforming with Debian Policy, and compliance with the Debian Free Software Guidelines: being able to modify files distributed by Debian is a core principle.
The twenty-third issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:
- Debian MiniConfs
- Debian Maintainer index
- GoogleCode redirector
- Commit rights to Debian Project News for DDs
- Debian Developer Portfolio Service
- #debian-ubuntu on OFTC
- Team uploads
A list of the contents of all JAR files in Debian unstable is now generated daily. You can use zgrep to search package names, JAR filenames, or class names.
Martin Zobel-Helas announced the agenda for a meeting of Debian's System Administrators to take place on 3 September in Munich, Germany.
Petter Reinholdtsen wondered whether tools used to create users and their home directories should use a common framework (e.g. scripts in /etc/skel.d/) to automatically fill these directories with configuration files.
Six applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Michael Ziegler, Josué Miguel Abarca Samayoa, Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo, Tomasz Muras, Praveen Arimbrathodiyil, and Youhei SASAKI into our project!
According to the unofficial
release-critical bug counter, the upcoming release,
Squeeze, is currently affected by
245 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved
or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about
145 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the
release to happen.
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): xulrunner, gnupg2, openldap, kvirc, mapserver, ghostscript, libmikmod, gmime2.2, moin, tiff, lftp, avahi, cabextract, wget, php5 and socat. 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):
- amora-applet — use a bluetooth device as X remote control (systray applet)
- debian-installer-launcher — Debian Installer desktop launcher
- forked-daapd — media server with support for RSP, DAAP, DACP and AirTunes
- gnome-screensaver-flags — Screensaver for GNOME with flags of the world.
- gnuspool — A network-based print spooler
- guitarix — Rock guitar amplifier for Jack
- juffed — Lightweight Qt 4 text editor
- med-data — Debian Med suggestions for medical databases
- mencoder — MPlayer's Movie Encoder
- mplayer-gui — movie player for Unix-like systems
- mupdf — lightweight PDF viewer
- mussh — MUltihost SSH Wrapper
- nailgun — client, protocol, and server for running Java programs from CLI
- plasma-widget-fastuserswitch — Fast user switch plasmoid for switching between sessions in KDE
- pyrit — A GPGPU-driven WPA/WPA2-PSK key cracker
- vlc-plugin-notify — LibNotify plugin for VLC
- xacobeo — XPath (XML Path Language) visualizer
- xul-ext-dispmua — display Mail User Agent extension for Icedove
- xul-ext-imap-acl — Extension to manage ACLs on IMAP folders
- xul-ext-sieve — Extension that implements the ManageSieve protocol
- zathura — PDF viewer with a minimalistic interface
- zfsutils — command-line tools to manage ZFS filesystems
Currently 597 packages are orphaned and 141 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.
Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer writers to watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. Please see the contributing page to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Back issues of this newsletter are available.
This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Raphaël Hertzog, Andreas Tille, Jeremiah C. Foster, Biella Coleman and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.