Debian Weekly News - November 23rd, 1999

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

Adam Di Carlo reports on the status of the boot floppies: "we've mostly completed shoring up the internals of boot-floppies". With the internals cleaned up, the boot-floppies team is ready to work on bugs and todo list items. Adam also says that "all the major tasks are assigned, and to capable people" and that the work on the boot floppies is on track to be "feature complete in early December". The best way to help with the boot floppies now is to help the team work through their bug list, and to help test the base system installed by the boot floppies. This last can be accomplished easily by unpacking a tarball and chrooting; no need to reinstall. These are tasks anyone with even a few hours can help with, and getting a working boot-floppies is the critical item that needs to be accomplished before our next release.

Debian with the FreeBSD kernel was the subject of a heated week-long discussion. It seems that since this idea was first conceived in February, a few people have been working on the port. The status of their work can be read about here. Basically, they are using the FreeBSD kernel and libc, and recompiling Debian packages to work on that system. Reactions varied. John Goerzen worries that a version of Debian based on a BSD copyrighted kernel would open the door to third parties taking our work and making it proprietary, and also that "we are essentially giving first aid to software that is dying (and rightfully so) because of its license". Many others disagree with him and have no problems with the BSD license. Others wonder if it wouldn't be technically better, and easier in the long run, to port glibc to FreeBSD, and allow Debian packages to be used unchanged with that kernel and library combination.

Guy Maor takes on the package pool. Guy described a variant of the package pool idea, and said he would implement it. This will be a major restructuring of the Debian archive, and it will add a great deal of flexibility: "creating a new distribution requires writing code which answers the question, given the available versions of this package, which one to choose?" The downside is that "mirroring by architecture and by freeness is still possible, but mirroring by distribution is not possible without a specialized tool." Response to Guy's posting was enthusiastic; maybe the package pool idea will finally become reality.

New packages in Debian this week include the following and 46 more:

Thanks to Randolph Chung for contributing.

To receive this newsletter weekly in your mailbox, subscribe to the debian-news mailing list.

Back issues of this newsletter are available.

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