Debian Weekly News - June 14th, 2000
Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. This is a combined two week edition; the editor was on vacation last week.
A huge discussion and flamewar erupted when John Goerzen made a controversial proposal to remove non-free from the Debian archive in woody. This has resulted in about 1000 messages arguing about the proposal, about 1/3 of the total Debian list mail volume for the past week. (There was also a Slashdot article and a poll.) Many arguments have been made on both sides, too many to summarize here.
One central disagreement that seems to exist between those for and against the proposal concerns the purpose of Debian itself. Does Debian exist to promote free software, or to make the best distribution possible, or both? Which is more important? In the end it looks like each developer will have to decide on his or her own. Enough people have seconded the proposal that it will become a general resolution and be voted on in a few weeks. A few compromises have also been proposed; one involves reorganizing the archive to make it more clear that non-free is not part of Debian, and another proposes using installer packages for all non-free software.
Work on the release has continued despite this hullabaloo. CD images for the second test cycle are now available.
Lots of security holes have been dealt with since the last edition of Debian Weekly News:
- A buffer overflow in splitvt was fixed by the security team.
- A local buffer overflow in mailx was corrected.
- Majordomo was removed due to a security hole and license issues. "If you are using majordomo we recommend that you replace it with one of the many other mailing-list tools available"
- Mh was also vulnerable to a remote exploit first discovered in nmh. This has been fixed.
- A fix for the capabilities-related local root compromise in kernel 2.2.15 was backported into the Debian package of kernel 2.2.15.
One more update to the new-maintainer saga: Before the new-maintainer process was closed last year, weekly reports were made on new developers entering the project. With the reopening of the new-maintainer process, these reports are restarting, beginning with this list of 10 new Debian developers and then this list of 7 more. Some sixty other people are working their way through the new maintainer process. Future announcement of new developers will be posted weekly to debian-project.
The Zeroth Debian Conference will be held in Bordeaux, France from July 5-9, 2000. Program topics will include the HURD, package pools, quality assurance, etc. There is more information available from the Libre Software Meeting web page, including instructions for registration and schedule/accommodation information.
Wrapping up, here are some other things that have been happening lately:
- A discussion about the static users and groups that exist on every Debian system. These aren't very well documented, and hopefully this will lead toward some complete documentation about what every user and group is meant to be used for.
- Wichert Akkerman has written statoverride, a replacement for suidmanager that is better integrated with dpkg and fixes some problems of suidmanager.
- The netcraft survey reports that 9% of the linux web servers they surveyed ran Debian and Apache. 72% run Red Hat.
- The old tired story of KDE and Debian has surfaced again, this time with a twist: $3000 has been offered to KDE if they amend their license with a short clause to make it suitable for inclusion in Debian.
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.