Debian Weekly News - December 19th, 2000

Welcome to a special edition of Debian Weekly News. We had planned to skip this week for a vacation, but Debian never sleeps...

Testing has entered the main Debian archive. Testing is a new branch of Debian to complement stable and unstable. New uploads enter unstable, and if no bad bugs are found in two weeks time, flow into testing. Thus, testing is always in an "essentially releasable state". Now that package pools exist, it was not too hard to make testing a part of the main archive. Woody has now been designated as testing and populated with packages from stable, with updates that the code behind testing thinks is safe (so if you have "woody" in sources.list, you'll probably run into this problem). Testing is sure to have far-ranging implications throughout Debian, from package release frequency and everyday development, to porting and security fixes, to release timing and management. Interesting times lie ahead.

Now that woody == testing, how's it doing? Release manager Anthony Towns made a " state of the woody address". Important upgrades like glibc 2.2, X 4.0.1, and perl 5.6 are not in woody/testing yet, but they soon may be. Unsurprisingly, both the number of packages and the number of open bugs have increased since potato was released. Anthony's main concern is that the new debian-installer project is not ready yet, and the old boot floppies need several months of work to be usable for woody. A related thread discussed other goals for woody Putting all this together, Anthony projects a freeze in May, with a release in June -- though he cautions: "Presumably it'll end up getting extended since nothing ever goes to plan."

Fixing Debian's buggy vote counting methods has been the topic of discussion on debian-vote for several weeks. The few people who have been involved in the discussion all agree that there are some ambiguities in the constitution that, if triggered, could make a vote unresolvable. A proposed fix for the problems turned out to have an obscure bug of its own. Since this discussion is becoming increasingly arcane and off-topic for debian-vote and increasingly on-topic for the Election Methods mailing list, a joint committee is forming, made up of interested people from both lists. They will discuss "all the problems with decision-making process [...] in the current constitution", and develop a proposal about how to fix them. Of course the final decision about adopting the proposal will be made by Debian.

Security fixes in the past week include a nasty privilege escalation bug in zope, a local exploit in slocate, and the symlink attacks against editors continue with one in nano.

Debian Weekly News will be back next week with a more complete summary of ongoing Debian discussion and development.

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