Debian Weekly News - March 20th, 2002

Welcome to this year's twelfth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community.

Voting starts on Sunday. Manoj Srivastava, the Project Secretary, posted an update to the election process. The voting starts on Sunday March 24th 00:00 UTC. At 21:00 UTC, Saturday 23th March, there will be an IRC debate in #debian-debate on OpenProjects IRC Network.

Boot floppies 3.0.21 released. Adam Di Carlo asked for more non-i386 testing of the installation system. This release is the first one which builds against Woody instead of sid. Like most releases of boot-floppies, it has an impressive list of changes. Please help test those so we can get Woody out the door soon.

Pre-release XFree 4.1.0-15 .debs. Branden Robinson has pre-release .debs available at his repository. As he writes: <crass bribe>The sooner I can put this release to bed, the sooner I can work on 4.2.0.</crass bribe>. So, please help test those packages and report bugs to the debian-x mailing list.

Censoring Debian? irssi-scripts got a bug report about a racist joke which was used as a kick message. This spawned a long, long thread about censorship with both tongue-in-cheek and serious comments. We won't even try to summarize the thread here. However, it spawned some interesting threads about censorship, whether perl is offensive and whether Debian Jr. should conflict with offensive packages.

CeBIT Trip Report. Even though the Debian project wasn't able to acquire a booth at this year's CeBIT exhibition, which is the largest computer show in Europe, there have been some interesting activities with regard to Free Software and GNU/Linux. Several Free Software advocates attended this event. We found out that the only CDs containing GNU/Linux that were handed out to visitors contained a derivative of the Debian system: Knoppix, which was distributed by the Agency for IT Security of the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Germany, and a specialized system that we are going to report about in our next issue. It seems that the hype is over and GNU/Linux is becoming an accepted operating system among others.

update_output.txt explained. The scripts which install packages into testing generate two files which are useful to understand why a package isn't moved into testing. Those are update_output.txt and update_excuses.html. Those are somewhat explained at Jules Bean's Unofficial Testing FAQ. In addition, Anthony Towns explained it some more.

Linda announced and pre-released. Steve Kowalik wrote a replacement for lintian, Linda, which is in python instead of perl. She was announced and pre-released this week. Linda follows in lintian's footsteps by being modular and extensible, although she checks packages a lot faster than lintian. Steve tells us that he hopes Linda will be uploaded to the archive when the crypto-in-main confusion dies down.

Debian GNU/Linux User is Poor Hacker? Several months ago, Franck Alcidi made some interesting drawings, which show the respective GNU/Linux users' image: Debian Geek, Red Hat Geek, SuSE Geek, Mandrake Geek and so on, as shown in the 72nd issue of Linux Gazette. He described the Debian Geek as a poor and real hacker.

How to split packages? Junichi Uekawa wondered how to split packages. Colin Watson gave some advice on it, and how he handled the split of groff into groff and groff-base.

Securing Debian Manual 2.0 released. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña informed us that he had updated the Securing Debian Manual. The translations are not up-to-date yet. Javier is looking for people to fix the FIXMEs and translate the manual.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the Debian archive recently.

Because of the ongoing crypto-in-main transition, dinstall seems to have been stopped, so we are postponing this week's New Packages List to the next issue.

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

Got News? Please inform us about everything that is happening in the Debian community. We are always looking for any interesting stories to add, especially new items by volunteer writers, and topics we tend to miss. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Yooseong Yang and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.