Debian Weekly News - May 23rd, 2002

Welcome to this year's twentyfirst issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. We're sorry to be late, but Joey's involvement at LinuxTag organisation kept him from preparing DWN in time. This is likely to continue until beginning of June. Of course, this week included a mail asking when Woody will be ready. Short answer: There is still work to do before we can release.

Is MPlayer Ready For Debian Packaging? With the recently released version 0.90pre2 of MPlayer, some important improvements to the source were announced. The package now entirely consists of 100 % GPL code and also contains runtime CPU detection code. This means that any x86 MPlayer binary can run on any other x86 CPU. Compile-time detection of the target CPU is not required anymore. A third interesting improvement refers to the support for more file formats, including the new and very popular Ogg format.

License Problem with new Nessus Package. Josip Rodin explains that he cannot release new Nessus packages because the upstream decided to switch to using OpenSSL, which is linked against GPLed code. Later Simon Law tried to reach upstream.

Missing Build-Depends. Junichi Uekawa released a list of packages that do not have a Build-Depends line but depend on other things than build-essential. The list is intended as a helpful approximation. Considering that there is only about 300 of them, which is making less than 10% of the Debian distribution, we might be quite close to having a useful Build-Depends setup. Thanks for all the people who've made this possible!

Packaging Fortunes. Aurelien Jarno pondered about the legal status for collections of fortune cookies. He was told that each fortune itself is a quotation, and it this legal to include it, as long as it is no longer than 4 lines, which is believed to constitute "fair use". However, the source package itself, which includes all the fortune cookies, needs a copyright from the person who has compiled it.

Flamewar of the Week. Nils Rennebarth wondered if long delays with regard to new packages are due to the upcoming woody release. Even with this rather not-flaming question, Jeroen Dekkers turned it into a "Debian is so anti-Hurd" flamewar. With more than 300 mails in this thread, it cannot be ignored. However, contributing to it doesn't make much sense, since it became a real huge flamefest.

GCC 3.1 for Debian? The GNU Compiler Collection 3.1 was released recently and several mails indicate that the GCC maintainers are already working towards packages for all architectures. The package doesn't bootstrap properly on the m68k and powerpc architecture, unfortunately. Preliminary packages, including binary packages for the intel x86 architecture, are here.

Restructuring Webmin. Jaldhar Vyas announced his plans to restructure webmin packages. It is a framework for web-based system administration tools written in Perl. It's released by the upstream developer as one big tarball. The framework and most of these modules are already packaged as part of the webmin source package but Jaldhar wants to split it up into separate source packages.

CVS Directories in Binary Packages? Joey Hess noticed that about 50 binary packages in unstable contain CVS files (like Entries, Root and Repository). He wondered if anyone could think of a reason for a Debian binary package to include it.

Debian Used for Setting a Record. The Internet2 consortium recently announced a new intercontinental Internet performance record. It was set by transferring the equivalent of an entire compact disc's contents across more than 7608 miles (12,272 km) of network in 13 seconds. Desktop computers running the Debian system were used on both ends of the pipe. With an Internet connection of this size transferring all six CDs of Woody from Fairbanks to Amsterdam would only require 78 seconds.

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

Seen something interesting? Please drop us a note whenever you see something noteworthy that you think is appropriate for inclusion in DWN. We don't see everything, unfortunately, and this month will be a busy one for us. Of course, we are also thankful for completely written items from volunteer writers. 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.