Debian Weekly News - April 24th, 2002

Welcome to this year's seventeenth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Since the Debian project joined (is planning to join) OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) we will keep an eye on them. One thing that was reported last week covered IBM's patent reservation which would render ebXML (an open standard for electronic transactions and business collaboration) useless. However, later IBM clarified the issue.

Debian GNU/FreeBSD Base Tarball. Nathan Hawkins recently announced a new base tarball for those of you who would like to see Debian GNU/FreeBSD live. A whole bunch of packages had to be modified for this purpose, but the work seems to be worth it. People should also check the status of this port.

Say Thanks. As a reaction to the most recent flamebait Sean Perry noted, that we should say thanks to the people who make our day easier. He says, that just mailing out a big "thank you, your work is used every day and I love it" is worth more than anything.

Why XFree86 4.2 Isn't in Woody. As another reaction to the most recent flamebait on missing XFree86 4.2 packages Branden Robinson sent an article to the list. He explains that he has been busy with getting 4.1.x stable, which has to run on no less than 11 architectures. XFree86 doesn't test or prepare distribution tarballs for several of these architectures. Hence, Debian is the de facto portability laboratory for XFree86 on Linux.

Hurd Ceased? Some people may have noticed that all packages from the hurd-i386 architecture have been removed recently. Don't worry too much, since Jeff Bailey requested this, so the Hurd team can start uploading packages with the new ABI (Application Binary Interface), the interface by which an application program gains access to operating system and other services. It's probably best to wipe out your existing Hurd system and re-install it. No effort has been made to make this an easy transition.

Activating Keys on Extended Keyboards. It's a frequently asked question from laptop owners: How is one supposed to make use of additional keys? If the Linux kernel and XFree86 generate key codes for them, hotkeys or just plain xmodmap may be helpful. If Linux doesn't know about the keys, you'll have to go patching the kernel first.

Potato's Fate? Several users wondered what will happen to Debian 2.2 alias Potato when Woody has been released. Those who have slow or small machines that run Potato just fine, may be reluctant to upgrade to Woody, since Woody requires more space and more powerful machines than Potato. One thing is certain, once Woody is released, the Potato release will be moved to the archive where other old releases like buzz, rex, bo, hamm and slink are saved. The security team might support the old stable release for a while after Woody has been released, but it would be better not to depend on that, revealed Josip Rodin.

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

Orphaned Packages. 7 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 88 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list, and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you plan to take over a package.

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.