Debian Project News - December 2nd, 2013

Welcome to this year's twenty-first issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:

Bits from the Release team

Niels Thykier summarised the release team sprint, in Paris on November 23-24. Niels Thykier will join Adam D. Barratt as release manager for Jessie, replacing Neil McGovern. Ivo De Decker becomes a release assistant, whereas Dann Frazier is leaving his position as stable kernel liaison and Marc HE Brockschmidt, Luk Claes and Steve Langasek are stepping down from their positions as release wizards. Concerns have been raised about some architectures, in particular ia64, which is no longer considered as a blocker for testing migration. The release team also agreed that it should be acceptable for most uploads to unstable to be uploaded with medium urgency, to reduce the delay for testing migrations.

A new member for the Technical Committee

In mid 2012, the Technical Committee, the body in charge of making decisions on technical disputes in the Debian project, took nominations from the project at large for a possible new member. After private discussions, the Technical Committee decided to propose to the Debian Project Leader, Lucas Nussbaum, the nomination of Keith Packard as a new member. Lucas immediately confirmed this appointment. Keith will thus join Bdale Garbee, Russ Allbery, Don Armstrong, Andreas Barth, Ian Jackson, Steve Langasek and Colin Watson in the Technical Committee. I look forward to working within the committee to further Debian's goals as the universal operating system, Keith said.

Alioth is back

On November 10, the Debian server vasks suffered catastrophic disk failure. This machine was hosting the storage for alioth.debian.org, the Debian service running FusionForge and giving access to repositories of many packaging teams. After 10 days of intense work to recover the data and move the Alioth service from a dual vasks/wagner setup to a new machine, moszumanska, the Alioth admins announced that the Alioth service is up again. Please update your known SSH keys, and make sure your data is available on the new host.

Reports from November mini DebConfs

In mid-November, two mini DebConfs were organised: one in Wulai, Taiwan, the other in Cambridge, UK.

During November 9–11, 41 people from 3 different countries (Taiwan, China, and Japan) gathered in Wulai, Taiwan, sharing the experience of using Debian. In this conference, participants had discussions and learned how to port Debian to an sh4-based set-top box and various ARM dev platforms. Other topics involved using Debian to develop something interesting: creating a quadrotor helicopter, developing apps for Firefox OS on Debian, implementing a browser in QML, Big Data, server deployment, etc. Links to the videos and slides of the talks are available in the Schedule section of the wiki page.

The mini DebConf in Cambridge welcomed roughly 60 people to the ARM offices from November 14 to 17. It started off with two days of sprint time, set aside for focused hacking. A selection of ARM development boards were available for people to play with. The sprint sessions also saw some lively discussions on a couple of topics: the status of the ARM ports in Debian and automated system testing. The last two days were more in the traditional style of conference session. Two full days of talks covered a wide range of topics: system testing to git tools, Debian ftp team work to bootstrapping the new arm64 port, improving ways of tracking and crediting Debian contributions to dealing with the new world of UEFI. You can find more details on the wiki page and videos of the talks are available in various formats.

Bits from the Debian Med team

Andreas Tille sent some bits from the Debian Med team. After mentioning talks he gave at conferences covering a variety of topics to do with Debian and open source software in the medical field, Andreas points out an interview via Jabber with Rajeev Nair, the head of a health care journal. Discussion centred on the contributions of Debian and open source software to the health care industry, and how Debian is at the forefront. This interview triggered the team to assemble an article targeting readers who are interested in Free Software in medicine but don't necessarily have an informatics background. Debian Med is now looking for ideas for where to publish this article. The team was involved in several events, such as the Codefest of the Bioinformatics foundation in Berlin, continuing Debian's contributions to open source software in the medical field. The team is scheduling a sprint for February 2014 and invites people interested in developing packages helpful in health care and bioinformatics.

Other news

Paul Tagliamonte sent a call for proposals of desktop themes for Jessie. Contributions will be accepted until February 5. More information and instructions for submitting proposals are available on the dedicated page of the Debian wiki.

Sylvestre Ledru announced that the Debian France association will be organising a mini DebConf in Paris, on January 18 and 19 in the buildings of Télécom ParisTech. Please consult the wiki page to register or submit a talk.

Moray Allan sent a call for volunteers to join the DebConf team to help to prepare DebConf14, which will be held in summer 2014, in Portland, USA. Moray also indicated that anyone interested in putting forward a bid for DebConf15 should tell the DebConf team mailing list and that bid material should be ready by December 31.

Upcoming events

There is one upcoming Debian-related event:

You can find more information about Debian-related events and talks on the events section of the Debian wiki, or subscribe to one of our events mailing lists for different regions: Europe, Netherlands, Hispanic America, North America.

Do you want to organise a Debian booth or a Debian install party? Are you aware of other upcoming Debian-related events? Have you delivered a Debian talk that you want to link on our talks page? Send an email to the Debian Events Team.

New Debian Contributors

Five people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Thibault Cohen, Torge Szczepanek, Beren Minor, Takanori Suzuki, and Peter Roberts into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): libav, spip, lighttpd, torque, icedove, curl, chromium-browser, nss, libhttp-body-perl, nginx, quagga, drupal7, sup-mail, nbd, and links2. 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 stable updates list) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

310 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others are:

Work-needing packages

Currently 534 packages are orphaned and 148 packages are up for adoption: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help.

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Cédric Boutillier, Ying-Chun Liu, Carl J Mannino, Steve McIntyre and Justin B Rye.