Debian Weekly News - November 14th, 2000

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Debian 2.2r1 is released. This update to r0 contains many security fixes and important bug fixes, as listed in the changelog. But in a departure from tradition, this minor release also has some new and updated packages. Console-apt has finally made it into a released version of Debian, and mozilla was updated to M18. Release manager Anthony Towns explains: "I'm treating updates to stable under two principles: they should make users notably better off; and they shouldn't ever make it harder for users to do anything they were doing before." Adding new packages and updating packages that were "fairly broken originally " meet these criteria, though this change shocked and bothered some. And indeed, there are at least two broken packages in the new release, although it is reported that apt will simply refuse to upgrade to the broken packages. Now that 2.2r1 is released, expect package pools to be rolled out soon, and r2 to come out "relatively quickly".

A troubled vote has expired. No, not in that election; the Debian project secretary announced that the General Resolution regarding non-free has expired because nothing was done about it during a four week period, and the Debian constitution stipulates that such a seemingly dead resolution "is considered to have been withdrawn". Furthermore, "the recent vote was conducted in error, and its ballots are hereby voided and the results have not been tabulated." With the amount of confusion surrounding that vote, this is probably a good thing, but it is also a breakdown of Debian's voting process. Calls for votes were posted, but the secretary did not act on them by releasing a ballot until far too late. Of course like all other members of Debian, the secretary is a volunteer whose time may be limited. He has stated that "I am back on active status", and that "my lack of time for Debian was part of the reason for seeking new employment". He is also working to involve two other people in the process so votes can proceed in the future even if the secretary is absent. Where do we go from here? The GR might be re-submitted, and several related proposals are in the wings.

A number of security fixes were released this week. There are fixes for a remote denial of service attack against bind, a temporary file problem in tcsh, and a signature verification bug in gnupg. Debian has been reported not vulnerable to a root exploit in the modutils package.

Glibc 2.2 has entered unstable, but this new upstream version does not seem to have broken anything. Instead, the new packages shave about 17 megabytes off the size of every Debian system -- Ben Collins has come up with an ingenious solution to the unnecessary locale information problem that was previously covered in DWN.

Dale Scheetz announced that the "doorway into Debian is fully open once again", with over 100 applicants currently working their way through the new maintainer process, and less than 100 more waiting to begin the process. Good job, everyone!

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