Debian Weekly News - February 22nd, 1999
Welcome to the eighth edition of Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community.
There's now a version of Debian translated into Italian. PROSA Debian is based on slink, and is sold with a book "Athena Linux". For more information see the announcement.
Linuxpower interviewed Wichert Akkerman. Definitely worth a read.
Bruce Perens is
moving away from supporting the term "Open Source" and
returning to promoting "Free Software". "
Open Source has de-emphasized
the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software. It's time for
us to fix that."
This month's Linux Journal contains three articles related to Debian. One is about the Linux Router Project, a mini-distribution derived from Debian. The second describes ARGO, an autonomous car driven by a computer running Debian. The last is by Andrew Feinberg, a Debian developer, and is a general article about linux in a high school. Debian seems to have quite a tradition of having high-school aged developers..
Someone proposed a Debian distribution based on FreeBSD. There was considerable debate on this topic. Most of the favorable opinions expressed were based on the argument that there should be a Debian distribution for as many open source UNIX variants as possible. This was countered with the argument that this would drastically increase the workload of the package maintainers.
The final test build of the X packages is available now, everyone who is able should test it. Also, X 184.108.40.206 is now packaged though not yet part of the distribution. On a related note, the request for a prompt for the default term type during xterm's configuration has resurfaced. This would be nice for people in a heterogeneous environment, and who therefore prefer xterm over xterm-debian despite the disadvantages. For those interested, the reasoning for xterm-debian as a default term type is at the bottom of Branden's X Strike Force page.
If you're wondering where all the .deb's for the arm architecture went, they've all been removed from the archive. The arm port has broken binary compatibility with those .deb's and has deleted them all and has started building new ones.
Brian May has written a number of perl scripts which one might use to configure and maintain NFS images for diskless clients. He has asked whether these might be included in the Debian distribution. There are some problems that need to be resolved. For example how to compare two packages for upgrades and calculating module dependencies when /lib/modules is mounted as read-only.
Javier Fdz-Sanguino Peña has written an article on Slink for Open Resources and is asking for comments. Among other things, this article discusses the problems that needed to be overcome for this distribution and some of the issues involved with the gcc compiler upgrade.
It was a busy week for security holes:
- Debian 2.0r5 has been released, the contents are primarily security fixes, but include some other bug fixes as well.
- A new version of mutt that fixes the mailcap security hole has been released. This isn't the end of that security hole, pine and other mailers may still be vulnerable. A more general fix to mailcap is in the works.
- A buffer overflow problem in lsof is fixed.
- A trivial root exploit was discovered in eterm and quickly fixed. It only affected potato.
- The version of wget in slink and potato had an exploitable problem with attempting to chmod symlinks, this has been fixed.
- zgv has a security hole as well, reliable sources tell me the fix is in Incoming.
It's always a nice change of pace to meet fellow Debian developers face to face. There were a couple of opportunities for this lately.
- Nine developers, including Wichert Akkerman, Enrique Zanardi, and almost every single developer in .nl, got together in Amsterdam last week for dinner.
There was a Debian gathering in San Fransisco, on February 6th. Ian
Jackson and Dale Scheetz were in town, and several local Debian developers
and many users showed up for an impromptu meeting -- billed as the "
First Ever Debian User's Group Meeting". About 17 people attended in all. Some summaries of the event can be found here.
The next big chance to meet fellow developers will be at LinuxWorld Expo next week at the Debian booth.
New packages added to Debian this week include:
- synaptics, a configuration utility for the Synaptics TouchPad.
- gnome-metatris, a themed gnome tetris.
- gtick, gtk based metronome.
- An icecast server and client.
- midentd, an identd replacement with masquerading support.
- Also, a package of the security scanner satan is in incoming.
- Havoc Pennington won't be able to work on gnome-apt for a while. He has a list of small, discrete tasks that others could help with in the meantime.
- An archive of all the old versions of Debian is now available. Only source is available for some of the older versions.
Followups to previous news items:
- Daniel Burrows wrote a script that automatically converts Windowmaker themes to .deb's. Frozen Rose posted about a similar script, and a GTK-theme-to-deb converter as well. These should eventually appear in a package.
Many thanks to this week's contributors: Michael Dahlberg and Brandon Mitchell.
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.