Debian Weekly News - February 21st, 2001

Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian community.

It's time to think about freezes, and releases, and all that nasty stuff again. Anthony Towns posted plans for the upcoming freeze. He plans to freeze testing in three stages. First the base system will be frozen and tested. Next the boot-floppies, standard packages, and tasks will go through a freeze and test cycle of their own, and finally everything else will be frozen and tested. This will allow updates to less important packages while the core of Debian is already frozen, so fewer packages will be out of date in the final release. Aj included a "theoretical (and overly optimistic) timeline", spanning some 5 months (and probably longer), with the first test cycle beginning April-ish. A bug squashing party will be held on IRC this weekend to begin fixing release critical bugs.

The boot-floppies team needs help. Adam Di Carlo wrote in, asking for help on what may be the final revision of the boot floppies -- for woody -- before the upcoming debian-installer effort replaces them. According to Adam, "a lot of the 'talent' have been sucked into debian-installer. I have pretty much no one helping me right now with boot-floppies maintenance." He included a list of tasks that need doing to get a usable set of boot floppies for woody, and concluded, "Please help me out. Otherwise, god knows when we'll be able to release woody!"

Many of the Debian autobuilders are severely overloaded. Debian has one machine that does m68k autobuilds, and the poor thing has to try to keep up with the constant churn of unstable. It is 400+ packages behind now, and has not updated any packages uploaded to non-US since January 10th. Arm is even further behind, and sparc is way behind as well. The situation is worse with respect to non-free: Most autobuilders do not build non-free packages at all, leaving maintainers of non-free with the difficult chore of manually trying to build it on all architectures if they want updates to get into testing. M68k machines are not going to get any faster as the years go by, so we need to find more m68k machines to use as autobuilders lest the port slip dangerously behind.

The nomination period for DPL is over, and the candidates have begin posting platforms. Ben Collins and Branden Robinson have posted platforms so far. Ben listed some specific issues he wants to deal with if elected, including "allowing new maintainers with less privileges", QA, and a more pro-active stance on security. Branden, in turn, listed some issues including a more formalized delegation process, keeping track of unmaintained packages and MIA developers, and ensuring Debian is well represented at real-life events.

Unstable lived up to its name again this week, despite (or maybe because of?) the impending freeze. The latest perl reorganization went well all and all, but there have been some reports of apt wanting to remove everything rather than do that upgrade. And speaking of apt, apt 0.5 just made it into unstable! This major new revision of apt includes features like "apt-get build-dep", to download a source package, satisfy build dependencies, and build it. And it supports the pinning feature, to allow for commands like "apt-get install mozilla/unstable" (which installs unstable's version of mozilla onto a testing or stable system). Shoop also entered Debian this week, but nobody really noticed.

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