Debian Project News - January 31st, 2011
Welcome to this year's second issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
- Debian 6.0
Squeezeto be released this weekend
- Join the DebConf team
- Bits from the Security Team
- Debunking myths about Debian's firmware (non-)removal
- Updated Debian GNU/Linux: 5.0.8 released
- Debian Installer 6.0 RC2 released
- Cross-distro Application Installer
- On the maintainability of Ruby
- Bits from Debian GIS
- Debian Project at several conferences and trade fairs
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?
Release Manager Neil McGovern announced the target release date of Debian 6.0
Squeeze on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of February. Debian 6.0
Squeeze will finally arrive as a stable release!
Final work towards this has begun including preparations for release parties all
over the world!
For those from the community who are waiting impatiently for the release, news.debian.net provides a countdown banner. As the release process takes time, members of the Debian Project will provide live comments and interesting facts via Debian's official identi.ca account.
One interesting number has already been
posted: in the two years of development of Debian 6.0
Squeeze the Debian Project has closed 149,862 bugs. Thank you everyone for this
DebConf is a yearly conference for
the Debian community. Like everything else in Debian, DebConf is run
completely by volunteers. Organising a conference is a lot of work, as
you might imagine, so it is no surprise that the DebConf team is eager
to have people help out. As Richard Darst writes:
DebConf is a huge process, and there are many things we could use
help on. People come and go, and are usually overworked after a year
or two — so we would love new people to get involved. If you
have new ideas, we'd love to hear about them and we can discuss if
they'd work and how to make them happen. And by the way, if you are
looking for a good way to get involved with Debian and don't know
where to start, this might be among the best options!
Thijs Kinkhorst sent some bits
from the Debian Security Team reporting about the group's meeting
at the Linux Hotel in Essen,
Germany. Among the things they discussed were various improvements to
the team work-flow, particularly regarding the release process of
Debian Security Advisories - redesigned from the ground up; a longer
security support for Debian stable - still a proposal - and backports
security support. The report also mentions various other interesting
topics such as
Beta testing of security updates, a README.test
file to include into packages to explain how its functionality can be
tested, and the problem of some specific packages which are difficult
to handle because they include a lot of source packages. The mail
ends with a call for volunteers. More details can be read on the full
of the meeting.
In related news, Simon Paillard from the Debian mirrors team reported news for sponsors of Debian mirrors. One interesting element was his request for help to provide more official mirrors of the security archive. He's especially interested in new official mirrors in South America, Asia, and Africa.
Noticing that Debian's recent announcement about
Squeeze with a completely free Linux kernel seems to
have been widely misunderstood, Debian Developer Alexander
some myths about the (non-)removal of firmware. For example, the
Debian removed all firmware files from its
kernels. The short answer to that claim is no.
Debian will be uninstallable (sic) for many users (short
answer: there are netinstall
images and tarballs
for other installation media available);
Ah, those Debian freedom
zealots again... (short answer: it's not only Debian).
He also explained some of the reasons for the fuss about non-free
firmware files, and recommended that people who find it difficult to find
the non-free images should just remember two words:
as everything needed can be found on the firmware page of Debian's
A new update for Debian
Lenny has been released. This update mainly adds
corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few
adjustments to serious problems.
The second release candidate of the installer for Debian
Squeeze was released
on 22 January. This release includes some fixes, such as correct keyboard
configuration for the graphical installer for several languages.
The errata collects some details and a full list of known issues. You are encouraged to test the installer and report bugs. Install media and further information are available on the Debian Installer page.
In related news, Matthew Palmer announced test images of the debian-installer supporting IPv6 (suitable for IPv6-only networks) and test images supporting Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). He calls for testers for both images.
Enrico Zini has published on his blog a report of his participation at the Cross-distro Meeting on Application Installer. The meeting, organised by Vincent Untz, was focused on metadata (both from packages and users) and how to share them between distributions or, at least, how to define some standards for this metadata. Enrico has presented debtags and apt-xapian-index, two of the most powerful tools for handling package metadata in Debian. As a result of the meeting, there is now a plan to match package names across Linux distributions.
It's also nice to see how Debian's services and projects like screenshot.debian.net (providing screenshots of applications to users and package management frontends), the Debian Description Translation Project (DDTP for short; translating Debian package descriptions into other languages), or debtags (tagging Debian packages for easier search) were welcomed and admired by other representatives.
The maintainability of Ruby became again topic of discussion, after two of its long-time package maintainers decided to give up on Ruby and related packaging. Lucas Nussbaum explained some of the problems he sees, which make it difficult for distributions to package Ruby and its libraries. Often problems seem to arise due to the different needs of developers and administrators/distributors. The topic was also discussed in an article on Linux Weekly News. How the situation will continue is not yet clear, but even so some progress has been reported. Both maintainers have also said that they will be open to handing over package maintenance of their Ruby related packages to new volunteers.
The mailing list for general discussion of Geographic Information System (GIS) issues in Debian was moved from Alioth to lists.debian.org. As usual lists.debian.org is also open for non-subscribers, has a more generic name, and can hopefully attract more GIS users and developers in Debian to discuss relevant issues.
The Debian GIS Blend has defined a new task
SAR and Earth
on their tasks page
which contains a list of not yet official packages which are potential
targets for inclusion into Debian. Feel free to discuss this task or
other ideas you might have about the GIS relevant packages on the
mailing list mentioned above.
Please note that Debian GIS also maintains OpenStreetMap-related packages, together with the Debian OpenStreetMap Team (pkg-osm on Alioth). Feel free to join!
The Debian project announced that it will be present on several upcoming events and trade fairs, including Cloud Expo Europe 2011 in London, UK, FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium, SCaLE in Los Angeles, USA, CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, and the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage in Chemnitz, Germany.
There has also been one further
People behind Debian interview:
Vogt, synaptic and APT developer.
Aurélien Jarno announced the new debian-ports archive signing key, which will be used to sign the archive on unofficial ports.
Mike Hommey blogged about changes to the Debian Mozilla team APT archive, where test versions of several Mozilla products (like Firefox 3.6 and 4.0) are made available.
Raphaël Hertzog noted that unlike other
is doing very well
eating its own dog food, meaning that its
infrastructure is running on its own distribution. He congratulated the
Debian Systems Administration team for
keeping more than 140
servers running Debian.
Cyril Brulebois published Debian XSF News summarising many recent events around X.org packaging in Debian.
Yves-Alexis Perez requested a crypto declaration file number from the French authorities. The number is 1101027 and he's made scans of the documents available too.
3 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, 1 applicant has been accepted as Debian Maintainer, and 3 people have started maintaining packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Kamal Mostafa, Scott Howard, Kai Wasserbäch, Vincent Legout, Christer Edwards, Rico Tzschichholz, and Krzysztof Klimonda into our project!
According to the Bugs Search
interface of the Ultimate Debian Database, the upcoming release,
Squeeze, is currently affected by
8 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved
or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, only about
5 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the
release to happen!
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): wireshark, libsmi, mydms, pimd, tor, dbus, request-tracker3.6, openoffice.org, hplip, linux-2.6, exim4 and freetype. 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):
- accountsservice — query and manipulate user account information
- amqp-tools — command-line utilities for interacting with AMQP servers
- clipit — lightweight GTK+ clipboard manager
- d-itg — distributed Internet traffic generator
- focuswriter — fullscreen, distraction-free writing program
- ministat — simple tool for statistical comparison of data sets
- nagios-plugin-check-multi — run Nagios checks as a group
- rdfind — find duplicate files utility
- xdeb — cross-build tool for Debian packages
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 email@example.com.
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Back issues of this newsletter are available.
This issue of Debian Project News was edited by David Paleino, Francesca Ciceri, Jeremiah C. Foster, David Prévot and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.