Debian Weekly News - October 30th, 2001

MPEG in a Console. Last week we mentioned that Uwe Herrman had announced an Intent to Package (ITP) for an MPEG player running in a text console. We got an email from Adam Sjogren saying that plaympeg from the smpeg-plaympeg package has this capability already. By running plaympeg in a console, or unsetting the DISPLAY environment variable in an xterm, it will run in console mode.

Linux Down Under. James Bromberger wrote in to tell us about a Debian Conference being planned for February 2002 in Australia. The conference will be February 4th and 5th, two days before the conference. For more information, or to read the Call for Papers, visit the site at

Feedback from RMS. We got a response from Richard M. Stallman about our statement on discussing free and non-free software in DWN, and we promised to pass it on:

The situations of GNOME and Debian are not the same, because GNOME is a part of the GNU Project. The GNU Project policy since the outset has been that we don't advertise availability of non-free software. GNOME ought to follow this policy. (I wish that Debian would adopt it, too.)

The reason that GNU has this policy is to follow our own principles seriously. The reason for developing the GNU system, and the central principle of what we say to the public, is that non-free software is a bad thing. If we recommend a non-free program, we contradict that principle. Others whose actions are based on different principles might be able to recommend a non-free program without contradicting their principles, but not us.

For the time being, DWN will continue to report on non-free software when appropriate -- however, when we do list non-free software in the "New Packages" section or elsewhere, it will be labelled as such.

Buildd for Debian/Hurd. Jeff Bailey happily announced that he has gotten the Debian build daemon to run on his Debian/Hurd machine. That should help the Hurd port keep up with the rest of the archive. Logs from this buildd are available on the buildd website above.

LSB Specification Update. Upon request, Christopher Yeoh posted an update on the LSB Specification. There is ongoing work being done for a 1.0.1 release which will primarily be editorial changes and the fixing of a few very obvious errors. Both the released version 1.0 and daily snapshots are found here. There is also a database of results from LSB tests online.

New Potato Release Behind the Door. Joey is working hard on getting a new release of Potato out. This will contain most security updates since the last Potato release as well as a couple of corrected packages. The plan is to release 2.2r4 at the beginning of November this year. See his second take on the package list and send him comments if you feel that he's missing something in the current list.

Debian on DVD! Slashdot recently reported that LAN Comp Systems is distributing snapshots of the upcoming Debian release, codenamed 'woody', on DVD-R. There are source and binary-i386 DVDs, containing main, contrib, non-free and non-US. Looks like an interesting alternative to a 4-5 CD set. Jim Westveer explained how a DVD is mastered with Debian's tools.

FHS Transition. Joey Hess checked if his system complies with an old tech committee decision from over 2 years ago on how /usr/doc will be transitioned. Joey says that we are currently near the end of step 2 and /usr/doc consists only of symlinks to /usr/share/doc. Except for very few packages the same applies to /usr/man and /usr/share/man, while the transition for /usr/info hasn't yet finished.

First OpenOffice Debian Package. Peter Novodvorsky (Петр Новодворский) announced the first successful build of OpenOffice #638c for Debian. It compiles into one single package which is 75MB large. Dooh. It is packaged lousily and reflects only a pre-pre-alpha stage, but it's a start. Use at your own risk! OpenOffice, however, has a modularized structure, and thus should be split up in smaller packages. However, license problems with the JDK still remain. See the discussion above for details. In addition to that Jan-Hendrik Palic recently posted a comprehensive status report.

New or Noteworthy Packages.

No News is Good News? We have no security issues to report this week.

Keep it Coming. We've been getting a lot of useful feedback and tips about new packages and so on. Keep it up! Until next week, have a happy Halloween!

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.