Debian Project News - January 14th, 2011
Welcome to this year's first issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
- Debian Installer 6.0 RC1 release
- Debian 6.0
Squeezeto be released with completely free Linux kernel
- Machine-readable format for debian/copyright files
- Bits from the Debian Project Leader
- Further documentation on Emdebian: components and filters
- Two new Debian Women tutorials
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?
Neil McGovern writes in an recent
Following the plan outlined in the previous
release update, we are
now in deep freeze, which means that we'll only be migrating to testing
packages that fix RC bugs. A deep freeze is one of the last phases
before a release of Debian. There is lots of bug fixing and documentation
still to do and you can help. Check out the New in
for example; and if you
find bugs in the installer help report and even fix them.
The first release candidate of the installer for Debian Squeeze was released on January 12. Many fixes are included in this release of the installer, along with new improvements: better OS and partition detection, new supported hardware, etc.
As the Debian project announced, the upcoming stable release Debian 6.0
Squeeze will be shipped with a completely free Linux
kernel - thus achieving a long term goal which was already set for
Etch and 5.0
Lenny. Thanks to the work of the
Debian Kernel team and
various upstream Linux developers, non-free firmware files have been split
off; instead of being integral parts of the kernel, these files may now be
shipped separately and loaded at runtime if needed. This provides a
free system to those who wish to have one, while allowing those who
need the non-free firmware files still to use them.
Steve McIntyre, lead of Debian's CD team, added that unofficial CD images have been created, containing non-free but distributable firmware files, while USB-installations have already supported loading additional firmware files for some time. More details can be found in the Debian wiki.
Debian Project leader Stefano Zacchiroli also blogged a bit about the background of the changes.
Lars Wirzenius announced
that Debian Enhancement
Proposal 5, specifying a machine-readable
format for the copyright information of a Debian package, has reached
candidate status, meaning that discussion about the format has been
settled and no major changes are expected anymore: it is ready to be
Debian's policy mandates that Debian software packages must come with copyright information of the source code used, but no specific format is mandated. Most packages come with a freeform text file, making it hard to process this information automatically.
Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli sent new bits from the DPL. Besides mentioning various talks and interviews he gave, he announced a new contact point for participants at Debian events: email@example.com. An anti-harassment policy for Debian sprints (based upon a draft for such a policy for DebConf) is about to follow soon.
He also mentioned that he had approved two sprints, one for the Web Team (which has already been taken place) and one for the Security Team (which is forthcoming), as well as several cross-distribution collaboration activities, such as organizing a cross-distro face to face meeting to discuss the topic of integrating third party applications on top of FOSS distributions, à la Software Center/App Store.
Continuing his intermittent series on Emdebian, Neil Williams described Emdebian's concepts of components and filters. As the package data files of Debian's main distribution have become too large to be sanely handled on embedded systems, Emdebian Grip therefore subdivides Debian's main repository to minimize cached data, so that systems not using any Java components (for instance) don't need to download and cache metadata for Java-related packages. Neil also explained in detail further filtering techniques used by Emdebian.
The Debian Women project published two new tutorials. In the first
Fuchs gave an introduction
to Debian's bug tracking system, including
explanation of the different tags and usage of package version information
by the bug tracking system.
In the second tutorial, Enrico Zini introduced the various information sources about Debian packages, ranging from data available through Debian's package repositories, over debtags and various package tracking tools to the package tracking system.
Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, five new issues of the
This week in
Debian podcast have been published: with
Laroia, member of the Debian Mentor Community; with
Yates, host of the Lotta
Linux Links Podcast; with
Castro, discussing Ubuntu as a Debian derivative; with
Nadeau, about the latest Debian news, and the upcoming release of
Squeeze; and with
member of Debian's Webmaster Team, discussing the updated
Debian Website, due for the release of
There have also been two new
people behind Debian interviews: with
Dogguy, who became a member of Debian's Release team barely a year
after first becoming a Debian Developer, and with David
Kalnischkies, one of
the developers of APT, Debian's package management system. In the spirit
of these interviews, there has also been a
Luca Capello announced that the annual general meeting of debian.ch, the official representation of the Debian project in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein, will take place on January 31 in Aareheim in the center of Bern.
Richard Darst reported about the successful first Debian-NYC Novice Night, which is a meeting for everyone who would like to install or configure Debian for their own needs. The next session will probably be in January or February; some planning hints are also in place.
Alexander Wirt reported on his blog that six new mailing lists are now available on lists.debian.org:
Kumar Appaiah noted that the Duck Duck Go search engine has set up some shortcuts (the so-called !bangs) for searching in various Debian sites: !dpkg goes to packages.debian.org, !dpts goes to packages.qa.debian.org, and !dbugs goes to bugs.debian.org.
Christian Perrier noticed that German and French localization reached 100% for po-debconf. Russian, Swedish, Portuguese, and Czech localization may also be able to make it, while Spanish probably won't this time.
Stefano Zacchiroli collected various existing pieces of
documentation in order to answer the question official contribution
page of the website, and its equivalent on the wiki and in the FAQ.
He also highlighted less documented
of Debian technical life such as coordination over IRC
or interacting with package maintainers via the BTS.
5 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, 1 applicant has been accepted as Debian Maintainer, and 12 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Didier Raboud, Benjamin Drung, Kåre Thor Olsen, Scott James Remnant, Jerome Marant, Gregor Jasny, Gildardo Adrian Maravilla Jacome, Cristian Henzel, Colin Darie, Anton Gladky, Lukas Gaertner, Yask Gupta, Michael Lustfield, Pjotr Prins, Monica Ramirez Arceda, Tim Weippert, Milan Kupcevic, and Sven Eckelmann into our project!
It is our special pleasure to welcome Kåre Thor Olsen, who is our first official non-packaging Debian Developer!
According to the Bugs Search
interface of the Ultimate Debian Database, the upcoming release,
Squeeze, is currently affected by
46 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved
or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about
20 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the
release to happen.
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): exim4; bind9; xulrunner; collectd; xpdf; tor; libxml2; wordpress; phpmyadmin; libapache2-mod-fcgid; openssl, nss, apache2, and lighttpd; dpkg; glibc (updated advisory); and mysql-dfsg-5.0. 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 and volatile list) for announcements.
The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently (among others):
- clzip — data compressor based on the LZMA algorithm (C version)
- debian-reference-pt — Debian system administration guide, Portuguese translation
- gjacktransport — access to the JACK's transport mechanism as touchable slider
- ir-keytable — alter keymaps of remote controller devices
- k8temp — AMD K8 thermal diode reader for BSD system
- nginx-full — small, but very powerful and efficient web server and mail proxy
- nginx-light — small, but very powerful and efficient web server - light
- nodau — simple console based note taking program
- plzip — parallel data compressor based on the LZMA algorithm
- pyppd — CUPS PostScript Printer Description's compressor and generator
- surf — simple web browser
- telepathy-ring — GSM and 3G UMTS Telepathy connection manager
- transgui — front-end to remotely control Transmission
- whyteboard — overlay painting and annotation application
- wraplinux — utility to wrap a Linux kernel and initrd into an ELF or NBI file
- xul-ext-quickproxy — statusbar button to turn the proxy on and off with a single click
- zita-at1 — JACK autotuner
- zutils — utilities for dealing with compressed files transparently
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 Francesca Ciceri, Jeremiah Foster, David Prévot and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.