Debian Project News - October 18th, 2010
Welcome to this year's fourteenth issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
- State of Debian 6.0
- New question and answer service at ask.debian.net
- Updated DebianEdu released
sloppybackports suite for stable Debian
- General resolution about Debian project membership
- Hybrid installer image for optical and USB devices
- About the non-news of package removals in Debian's testing branch
- Following Debian Mailing lists via micro-blogging services
Four dayspromise for Debian Mentees
- Who's using Debian?
- Why do people contribute to Debian?
This week in Debianinterviews
- Other news
- New Debian Contributors
- Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
- Important Debian Security Advisories
- New and noteworthy packages
- Want to continue reading DPN?
After the release team recently met in Paris they published meeting
minutes and gave a release update. Aside from updating the documentation
for point releases and deciding about the future of the volatile archive, a major topic
was the progress of the upcoming release of Debian 6.0
They called for content for the Release Notes, which should document all
potential problems during an upgrade. They also noted that all transitions
have been done, and named the current blockers of the release: a bug in udev which might cause
problems during upgrades (a patch has been proposed in the meantime); a
problem in the preinstallation
script of dash (a patch has been proposed and is currently being
investigated); the need for debian-installer to reach its final
release; the lack of proper documentation in the Release Notes for
and upgrades; and finally the requirement for the security archive to support the new source
All in all the release team hopes to have these blockers sorted out by the end of October, which would allow a release before Christmas. The release team also points out that the help of everyone is needed to get this accomplished, be it by squashing the remaining bugs, providing facilities for real life bug squashing parties, writing the Release Notes, or supporting translations.
With the help of the Shapado Project, members of the Debian project started a new user oriented service at ask.debian.net. It lets users ask specific questions and find answers, while also providing rating systems and badges for users. It allows Debian Developers and other contributors to easily stay in touch with the community.
The DebianEdu Project has released an updated version of its Debian Pure Blend targeting schools and similar environments. This update includes an updated installer to support new hardware as well as various bug fixes and documentation improvements. Other notable changes are improvements of site summary where several Nagios checks have been added to monitor system health as well as a fix for shutdown-at-night.
Gerfried Fuchs from Debian's backports team announced a new suite on
backports for Debian
lenny-backports-sloppy. Its usage is
similar to the regular backports suite, but there's a major difference
in the contents of the suites: while users of the normal
backports suite can expect to update without major problems to the next
Debian stable release (as it only contains backports of the next
following distribution), users of the newly created backports-sloppy suite may need
to take special precautions, as the backports of the sloppy suite are not
restricted to coming from the next distribution, but may come from the second-next.
The new suite thus may also contain newer packages (e.g. during the
freeze already from the
unstable branch). It therefore allows
users to easily access newer versions of packages; but users can
not just upgrade to the following stable release. They will at least need to
upgrade to using the backports suite for the next release.
After Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli proposed a general resolution about non-packaging Debian project members, this resolution is currently being voted on. If it passes it would invite Debian's Account Managers to establish procedures to evaluate and accept non-packaging contributors to the project including full voting rights. Non-packaging contributors include for example documentation writers and translators.
In related news, Enrico Zini from the New Maintainer Front Desk sent a
from mail. He welcomed Xavier Oswald as full member of the
Front Desk and noted that applicants to become Debian Developers will need
stronger GPG keys from now on. Following the recent bits from the keyring
maintainers, the use of 1024 bit DSA keys is discouraged.
Joey Hess blogged about a hybrid debian-installer for USB and optical discs. While it has been possible to boot debian-installer from USB sticks for quite some time, the procedure to make such a bootable USB stick has been quite difficult. The new hybrid ISO image can be burned to CDs as well as simply copied raw (with cat) to USB devices. It is also very easy to add additional firmware. Joey also mentions that due to problems with the jigdo templates, currently only a minimal hybrid image is created, but he points out that it is very easy to make the existing ISO images suitable for USB sticks by using the isohybrid command from the syslinux package.
Is it newsworthy if packages, even popular ones like the Chromium web browser, get removed or added to Debian's testing branch? Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli doesn't think so and points out that Chromium is a good example for the non-newsworthiness of these things. It had been removed from Debian's testing branch, causing a media fuss and some criticism, as it appeared that Chromium would not be part of the next stable release. However, as the release critical bugs have been fixed, the package was allowed back again. Which is - according to Stefano - actually not newsworthy either.
Valessio Brito announced the beta version of a new service allowing users of micro-blogging services to follow the topics of various Debian mailing lists. It is possible to search for particular tags, bugs, meetings, or specific work.
The current approach of mentoring new package maintainers who can't
upload packages themselves is far from perfect as it doesn't ensure
mentees get feedback. Asheesh Laroia and Niels Thykier tried to come up
with a solution. As a first step they started a campaign promising to
ensure that all mails on the debian-mentors list
get an answer within four days. The second step is a rewrite of the mentors.debian.net service allowing
mentees to upload packages to a central location.
will not only allow mentees to upload their packages and run some limited
tests, but will also allow mentors and other people to check and comment on
the packages. However, some help is still needed before the new service
can go online.
Are you interested to know why other people use Debian? No problem! Debian maintains a list of Debian users ranging from governmental or educational institutions up to dozens of companies, of which surprisingly not all are IT related. Fernando C. Estrada summarised some of the entries and their reasons. You can send us new submissions via e-mail.
Why do people contribute to Debian? Long-term Debian Developer Raphaël Hertzog tried to answer that often asked question by summarising what motivates him personally in his contributions to Debian: technical excellence, inspiring goals, high impact work, working with great people, and recognition of work.
Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, three new issues of the
This week in
Debian podcast have been published: with Ben Hutchings,
member of Debian's kernel maintenance team; with Margarita
Manterola about the Debian Women Project; and with Neil
McGovern, member of Debian's release team.
The 600,000th bug has been reported to the Debian bug tracking system. The results for the bet on the date of this bug have been published and a bet on the submission date of Debian's 700,000th bug has been opened.
The Debian Project has been invited to the Society for Neuroscience meeting 2010 in San Diego and will be present with a booth there.
Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli appointed an additional Debian Auditor: Martin Michlmayr joins Luk Claes. Stefano also gave his monthly DPL report where he summarised his recent activities. He listed a number of interesting interviews and talks he gave, what money has been spent on, and his communication with other teams inside Debian.
Robert Millan reported on his
personal blog about ZFS integration into the Debian Installer for
kFreeBSD. Aside from a patch for GNU Parted, all other patches needed for a ZFS
root filesystem have been accepted and made it into Debian
Squeeze. Robert also
made available a slightly modified version of the Debian Installer Image for downloading.
5 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers and 7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers, while 13 people started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Salvatore Bonaccorso, Jeffrey Ratcliffe, Deepak Tripathi, Michael Schutte, Ansgar Burchardt, Federico Ceratto, Tanguy Ortolo, Jonathan Yu, Mats Erik Andersson, Ryan Kavanagh, Stefan Bauer, Stuart Prescott, Andreas Noteng, Gustavo Panizzo, Julien Jehannet, Kevin Roy, Marek Brudka, Richard Holland, David Hannequin, John Feuerstein, Hans-Christoph Steiner, James Goppert, John Stumpo, Nicolas Bonnefon and Mònica Ramírez Arceda into our project!
According to the bug-tracking
web interface of the Ultimate Debian Database, the upcoming release,
Squeeze, is currently affected by
327 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved
or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about
130 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the
release to happen.
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): freetype, apr-util, subversion, moodle (updated advisory), poppler, postgresql-8.3, 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 (and the separate backports list) for announcements.
The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently (among others):
- algotutor — program for observing the intermediate steps of algorithms
- auto-multiple-choice — multiple choice papers management
- autojump — shell extension to jump to frequently used directories
- chemical-structures — set of molecular structures in open formats
- glogg — smart interactive log explorer using Qt4
- gwibber-themes — social networking client for GNOME (themes)
- hatop — interactive ncurses client for haproxy
- imspector — instant messenger proxy
- ioquake3 — game engine for 3D first person shooter games
- jack-capture — program for recording soundfiles with Jack
- jumpapplet — autojump notification icon, to jump to frequently used directories
- pomodoro-applet — GNOME Panel applet for a time management technique
- postfix-cluebringer — anti-spam plugin for Postfix
- premake — build script generator
- projectfootball — football (soccer) management simulation game
- pyro-gui — graphical tool for Pyro
- wikkid — Bazaar-backed wiki
- xul-ext-firexpath — extension for Firebug to edit, inspect, and generate XPath expressions.
Please note that due to the freeze of the upcoming
Squeeze acceptance of new packages has almost ceased.
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 Martin Zobel-Helas and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.