Debian Weekly News - January 11th, 1999

Welcome to the second edition Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community.

It turns out there was a bug in the program that generates the release-critical bug report. Some bugs that were not release critical were being included. So in fact we have less than 40 release critical bugs left now. Brian White plans to put slink into deep freeze and chose a release date soon. In the ensuing discussion, someone brought up the old libc6 versioning problem — Paul Crowley posted an excellent summary of the problem and our options.

There's been some discussion this week about whether we can just release Debian i386 when it's ready, if Debian m68k or other mature ports aren't ready for release yet. On the one hand, this lets us release i386 as soon as possible; on the other hand, this makes some of the porters feel like their architectures are second class citizens.

Jay Treacy introduced a new package search system on the web pages based on DFSG free software, swish++. According to Jay, It is very simple, but well thought out. Sadly, Debian itself continues to use non-free software elsewhere. We use qmail on, to handle the huge mail demands of the Debian lists, and we use pgp for package signing. I hope this will change one day..

Vincent Renardias suggested replacing fdisk with cfdisk, since fdisk now has no upstream maintainer. However, cfdisk is missing some important troubleshooting options, and lacks some useful fdisk features. Some people suggested sfdisk as a better candidate for fdisk replacement.

The CD group is ready for more testing of their scripts. If you have the ability, burn some CD's to test them. And once you have some slink CD's, why not try installing slink? Adam Di Carlo is working on the Installation Manual for slink. He posted a request for help and the current progress is available online. If you are planning on doing an installation soon, be sure to print these up and give him some comments.

The Hurd port is making progress; a minimal Debian GNU/Hurd system is now available. This marks an important point in the hurd port's bootstrapping progress; packages can now be built directly on the hurd. Also on the hurd mailing list there has been some talk about whether the GRUB boot loader is suitable for Debian to use instead of LILO as its default boot loader.

Ben Collins posted a small patch to dpkg-source that implements the much-requested Source-Depends feature.

Bruce Perens is going to donate a huge quantity of US map data to Debian and other free software groups in an effort to spur the development of free mapping applications.

Marc Haber asked why Debian uses the .deb package format instead of .rpm. See my package format comparison page for some answers to this common question.

Finally, Karl B. Hammar deserves a plug for his lilo.conf file. Well documented config files should be a goal for every part of Debian.

Interesting package releases this week include:

Packages in trouble this week:

Server news this week:

Followups to news items from last week:

Response to the previous issue was overwhelmingly positive, including mentions in Freshmeat and Linux Weekly News. Thank you all. I do have some corrections to make:

Debian weekly news now has several contributors to help me sift through the lists for items of note. Thanks to Josip Rodin, Brandon Mitchell, Robert de Forest, Aaron Van Couwenberghe, and Rob Tillotson for their help.

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Back issues of this newsletter are available.

This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.