Debian Weekly News - January 18th, 1999
Welcome to the third edition Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. Overall it's been a slow week, but there's still a fair amount of interesting things happening. However, a great deal of it is behind the scenes, on the debian-private mailing list and I cannot summarize it here. A plea to everyone: please think before posting to debian-private; debian-devel is usually a better choice.
This just in: slink will enter deep freeze on Wednesday, January 20th! 9 packages will be removed from the distribution due to critical bugs unless they are fixed immediately; 36 other critical bugs must be fixed before we release.
Elections for the next Debian project leader have begun. Elections will remain open for 3 weeks, closing on February 3rd. The ballot lists 4 candidates: Ben Collins, Joseph Carter, Richard Braakman, and Wichert Akkerman. For more information about the candidates, see Lalo Martins' interview. Of course, only Debian developers can vote.
This topic has come up before on the lists but we've not yet found a solution. What is Debian to do when someone wants to package up hundreds of megabytes of free data as part of Debian? This time around it's some astronomical data, but biological data, map data, etc, have come up in the past. Such huge packages could require Debian to expand onto yet another CD, for data sets that are useful to only a small number of people.
Another interesting question raised on the lists this week: should mutt become the standard Debian mail reader? Elm is currently our standard mail reader. The small amount of information we have so far from the popularity-contest package indicates that mutt is used more than elm, at least by Debian developers. But elm is more standard on unix systems as a whole than the upstart mutt, and is easier for a new user to configure.
The Open Group has released their first LSB compliance test suite. Reaction so far on the lists has been very negative, both concerning the scope of the test suite and the actual substance of it (for instance, it appears to contain i386isms). Joseph Carter is compiling a list of these problems so we can bring them to The Open Group's attention.
It looks like we are adding the tecra boot floppies back because a few people reported problems with the latest boot floppies and laptops.
Debian Hurd is the only port people who own just i386 hardware can work on. The Hurd port is in that interesting point in its development where it's right on the edge of being usable. If you're interested in dealing with this up-and-coming port, there's a list of tasks to work on. Of course the Hurd has some interesting new developments in it; one of these is the ability to mount multiple filesystems in the same namespace. That ability makes the deep directory tree used by the FSSTND unnecessary. There's been a long discussion on the debian-hurd mailing list this week about linking /usr to / on hurd systems, to allow a flatter directory tree while still preserving compatibility with the rest of Debian. Interesting stuff.
Debian sparc has finally been frozen.
Package releases this week include:
- For all those interested in XFree86 3.3.3, Ben Gertzfield posted that the Debian JP group has made their own 3.3.3 packages. They can be found at ftp.debian.or.jp. Your mileage may vary, but it may be something to try before pulling you hair out when the binaries from the XFree86 group give you problems.
- Another version of the cd creation scripts has been released at the usual place. This set features the ability to install from a tree of symlinks enabling people to create cd's using multiple hard drives or over nfs mounted mirrors. The next version of these scripts will probably have more support for the other ports.
Packages in trouble this week:
- A severe security hole was found in the design of the ftpwatch package. Since the problem is with the design of the program, the only fix is a complete rewrite, so ftpwatch will be pulled from Debian.
- The version of debhelper in potato had a minor bug in its support of the menu package. The bug only triggers on rare occasions, but it is in any packages that use the menu system and were built with debhelper versions 1.2.21 or 1.2.22. If you maintain such a package you should rebuild it with the fixed version of debhelper.
Server news this week:
- The bug tracking system has a new easy way to get to a given bug report. https://bugs.debian.org/foo will pull up the bug report for package foo; https://bugs.debian.org/nnnn will pull up a given bug by number.
- ftp.br.debian.org is up, a new official Debian mirror for Brazil.
Followups to news items from last week:
- Ben Collins released a new version of the source depends code, "a full blown implementation (not to be confused with a hack)". It includes versioned dependencies.
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.