Debian Weekly News - December 27th, 1999

Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. Once again we skipped a week; this is a two week edition. Debian weekly news has now summarized a full year of events in Debian. A timeline of the most important stories of 1999 is available as a special supplement to this issue.

Debian has won the 1999 Linux Journal Readers' Choice award for "Favorite Distribution". We won with 27.3% of the vote, compared to 27.0% for SuSE and 23.6% for Red Hat. The award appears in the January edition of Linux Journal.

Richard Braakman posted plans for the freeze. No completely new packages (like those listed near the end of this newsletter) will be accepted after January 2nd. He also mentions another bug-squashing event. And it looks like the next version of Debian will be code-named "woody", continuing the Toy Story theme (and opening the door for lots of off-color jokes). Richard followed up with a post that looks beyond the freeze and outlines a timeline for release. The plan is to go through one of two short "test cycles" inside a very short freeze, releasing near the end of February.

Lintian now supports local overrides. This allows a package to say that it knows it triggers a lintian error or warning, but it wants that ignored. Use these overrides with caution, and be sure to read this message first.

Should /sbin and /usr/sbin be in a normal user's path so they can easily run traceroute and other similar programs? It seems that many people make this change when installing Debian. Since the FHS says that "users should not have to place any of the sbin directories in their path", people seem to agree that the real problem is that traceroute and some other programs do not belong in sbin in the first place. But just how to fix this without breaking things that expect to find these programs in sbin is still under discussion; symlinks would seem to be the easy solution but some people dislike that idea.

The source code for Quake 1 was GPL'd last week, resulting in several ITP's and other posts wondering when it would be put in Debian. Be assured that the current maintainer of the quake packages in non-free does intend to package the source and move it into main. After that was resolved, another concern came up. It seems that quake and doom are not allowed in some countries, including Brazil and (maybe) Germany because of their violent content. People running a full Debian mirror in those countries could get in legal trouble for distributing these games. Of course, quake and doom have been present in non-free for quite a while, and have already presumably been mirrored into those countries. A long thread resulted, with no real conclusion reached yet. Concerned mirror admins in these countries might want to set up some local exclusions for these games in the mean time.

CD images for 2.1r4 are available now from

For the first time, systems are being sold preinstalled with not just Debian GNU/Linux, but with Debian GNU/Hurd preinstalled as well on a separate partition. Space-Time Systems is the British company offering these systems.

Two more sparc machines are available for developers to use.

Following up to last edition's item about Ian Murdock's Progeny project, here is a message from Ian with some details.

New packages in Debian include the following and 38 more:

Thanks to Randolph Chung for contributing.

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