Debian Weekly News - December 12th, 2001

No Ports Anymore? Some people were wondering why Debian's main Web page doesn't contain a link to Ports anymore. Josip Rodin explained that he removed the link, since he felt that it didn't seem to fit in the section where it was, and he couldn't quite find any other place to squeeze it in.

Debian at FOSDEM? The Debian Project has been offered a conference room for a Debian meeting during the next Free & Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM). This event takes place in Brussels on February 16th and 17th. People who are interested in giving a talk or attending should contact Joey at

Halfway non-free? Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller proposed splitting some packages off of non-free and creating a new partially-free collection, which could contain manuals that only fail DFSG 2, 3 or 6 -- such as the Emacs Manual. However, there's still an ongoing discussion about this issue. This has come up before, and for packages which are not entirely free there is the non-free repository.

Contacting Bug Submitters. Since some people were confused about the Bug Tracking System's (BTS) behaviour we'd like to quote Colin Watson: If you are attempting to get in touch with a bug submitter, do NOT send mail only to If you do that, the message will only be sent to the maintainer, and the submitter will never see it. Always Cc: either or the submitter's e-mail address directly if she should know about the mail. For those of you unfamiliar with the BTS, nnnnn is the number of the bug.

Too Many Acronyms? The Debian mailing lists are rife with Linux gurus and newbies alike. When a newbie wanders into a discussion the acronym and jargon ratio is usually more than they can bear. Mark Bucciarelli brought this up on the Debian Java list, but it's a problem on other lists as well. Even competent computer users get confused because many acronyms are Debian-specific. (Like NMU, ITP, BTS, etc...) Naturally a technical community like the Debian crowd isn't going to stop using jargon and acronyms -- nor should they, they're more efficient and that's why they're used in the first place. Perhaps it's time for a Debian Glossary project, though? I (Zonker) am throwing the idea out there to see if people are interested. If so, I'll set up an alias for folks willing to work on such a project. I (Joey) am already maintaining such a list; contributions are welcome, of course.

Apache Belonging In non-free? Rob Bos finally brought up an issue about the Apache Web server on debian-devel. Its license says that the names "Apache Server" and "Apache Group" must not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without prior written permission. Debian, however, is modifying several files so that the Debian package could possibly be considered as derivative work. A similar discussion was covered on debian-legal about 8 months ago. The discussion is rather pointless, but it happened...

Unofficial Debian Testing FAQ. Several people have questions with regard to the testing distribution. In an attempt to compile and present knowledge about the testing distribution, which is currently spread among those developers who read Anthony Towns' postings most carefully, Jules Bean has prepared an Unofficial Debian Testing FAQ.

Debian Menus Policy. This week, Rob Bradford brought up the need for menu files for all packages that provide X, Gtk, Gnome or KDE applications. Erik Steffl asked for a better menu structure so it doesn't look as chaotic as it does now. Looks like somebody will need to go through all current menu items and check for their relevance and location, and go through all other packages and provide menu items for them.

A Few Unofficial KDE Packages... Gregory J. Oschwald announced that he has made packages of KLatin, KLettres and KMessedWords from the KDE Edutainment project available. Anyone who wants to run these apps on Sid can find them at

IrDA on Dell Inspiron. We ran across this advice on getting IrDA to work on a Dell Inspiron 8100. Anyone who wants to sync their Palm Pilot directly to a laptop might want to check this out. Very nifty.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following new or updated packages were added to the Debian archive since our last issue.

Security Updates. You know the drill, make sure you update your systems if you have one of these packages installed.

Got news? So please tell us! We're looking forward to adding more items by voluntary writers. Send your scribbles to

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