Debian Weekly News - July 30th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. If you ever wanted to know how you could fund Free Software development, see what Drew Scott Daniels sent us. You may also find a good job in the UK, that recently released a policy for using Free Software within the UK government.

New Jigdo Howto. This week we found out that Peter Jay Salzman wrote a Debian Jigdo mini-Howto which was added to the Linux Documentation Project recently. Getting Debian ISOs has always been a painful, slow and supremely inefficient process. Jigdo is a new tool for obtaining Debian iso images in an easy, fast and very efficient manner. This HOWTO describes why you should use jigdo, adds a small explanation how it works and how it is used to get and update Debian iso images.

Policy for Woody Point-Releases. Several developers would like to add new packages and updates to their packages to the recently released stable distribution of Debian. Adding new packages and random updates to the stable distribution, however, would nullify the entire idea of having a stable release, Joey explained. Hence, the same policy as before will be used for point-releases of woody.

Gnome2 for Woody. Gustavo Noronha Silva announced that he was backporting Gnome2 for Woody. For installing his packages, you have to add the line deb woody gnome2 to your /etc/apt/sources.list. Gustavo is backporting some applications as well. Here are screenshots of gdm2 and Gnome2.

A Review of the Release Process. Anthony Towns wrote a review about the woody release process. He gave a short summary of the release history and pointed out the main blocking things: a six month delay before trying to release, the twelve-month-development of boot-floppies, the fact that the CDs weren't ready in time and the late noticing that security wasn't ready. His wishlist for sarge includes less wasted time, better communication and transparency and a testing distribution which is kept permanently in a releasable state.

Help Needed with GIMP Bugs. Martin Michlmayr investigated bug reports against packages for GIMP 1.0 and 1.1. Both were removed from Debian a while ago, but several bug reports are still open. Martin is looking for someone who has some time and knows GIMP well to go through these bug reports and either close them with an appropriate message if it's fixed in 1.2 or reassign them to the corresponding gimp1.2 package.

Solving the libpng Problem. Marcelo Magallon investigated the situation with libpng version 2 and 3 and lists development packages that depend on the older version of this library. Junichi Uekawa proposed an upgrade path for libraries that depend on the old libpng package. However, people disagree on the need to change the library's SONAME when changing the version of a library dependency.

Ceasing Support for Linux 2.0 in Glibc. Ben Collins announced that he's going to cease support for Linux kernel prior to 2.2.0 in the upcoming glibc release for Debian unstable. This change only affects the architectures i386 and m68k. All others already have a similar default. This means that if you have machine that runs a 2.0.X kernel and Debian unstable, you'd better stay with woody or upgrade the kernel.

Status of the debian-installer. Tollef Fog Heen wrote a status report about what is supposed to be the installer for sarge. Tollef will lead its development and says that it already works for users on i386 if you tell them what buttons they are supposed to press. Anthony Towns added some interesting bits to that. For those who would like to try it, here are step-by-step instructions for building the system.

Future glibc Maintenance. Ben Collins announced that he copied the Debian part of the glibc package into CVS. In order to use it, you'll need the glibc_2.2.5.orig.tar.gz tarball from the archive to go with it. Log messages of code commits are forwarded to the debian-glibc list so people stay updated.

Perl 5.8.0. Raphaƫl Hertzog reports that Perl 5.8.0 is released and once again we have a binary incompatibility for binary modules. With Debian growing, this affects more packages than last time, of course. Brendan O'Dea, the current Perl maintainer, intends to set up a staging area in his home directory on that should help a smooth transition. In order to speed up this effort, non-maintainer uploads (NMU) are discussed.

Reviving SuperH. It seems that the Debian SuperH people would like to revive the SuperH port -- and add four new architectures with it. Takeshi Yaegashi (八重樫剛史) requested the creation of binary directories for the four architectures sh3, sh4, sh3eb and sh4eb. There is still an ongoing discussion about the binary incompatibility between SH3 and SH4, though.

Ceasing /usr/doc/. Joey Hess wondered what other developers think about if he would remove the code in debhelper that makes postinst scripts manage /usr/doc links. Joey added that since we'll be recompiling a lot of packages due to the gcc 3.0 transition anyway, we will lose the links in /usr/doc stuff essentially for free. However, Adam Heath objected to this proposal in order to support backwards compatibility.

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

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

Orphaned Packages. 15 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 97 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.

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 notice everything, unfortunately. Of course, we are also thankful for completely written items from volunteer writers. Please see the contributing page. 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.