Debian Weekly News - January 16th, 2002

Welcome to this year's third issue of Debian Weekly News, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. We hope you enjoyed the last week. A lot of things happened. This week we proudly include two items by a new voluntary writer: Yooseong Yang.

Sponsors Needed. Raphaƫl Hertzog reminded us that Debian needs more sponsors to look after packages from prospective future maintainers. The sponsorship system offers official Debian developers help future maintainers by checking their packages, giving them advice, and uploading their packages into Debian before they have finished the new-maintainer process. Currently, there are about 30 people looking for a sponsor.

Libpng 2/3 Problems Resolved? Daniel Stone reported that former problems with libpng2/libpng3 should be resolved with the recently uploaded kdebase, kdegraphics and kdenetwork packages. Earlier he explained the problem: Ivan decided that libpng3 was the way forward for libqt2 people, but then Chris decided that libqt2 should stay with libpng2, while libqt3 should use libpng3.

Improving QA Work. Adrian Bunk discussed details about the proposal he made last year. He is going to publish the final list of tasks soon, and will be looking for volunteers to claim responsibility for particular tasks. Later Edward Betts wondered when the `help' tag should be used in the Bug Tracking System (BTS). Torsten Landschoff quickly implemented a modified LDAP gateway to the BTS, in order to make it easier to extract tagged bugs.

Problems with GNU Chess. It has been said that compiling this package can take several days on ARM and M68k machines. This is problematic since it locks the build machine for a while. Philip Blundell wondered how architecture-specific the chess datafiles are. Perhaps the build process could be modified, so that these files can go into an architecture-independent package and don't have to be regenerated each time.

Chroot Environment for Debian NetBSD. Matthew Garrett announced the availability of a chroot environment to help develop Debian on a native NetBSD system. After installing this and chroot'ing into it, you'll be able to use the power of both systems and should be able to start building preliminary packages. Matthew compiled a web page which contains further instructions and a todo list.

Public QA Logbook? The Quality Assurance Team (QA) is currently discussing a public logbook covering their work. It would probably be a good idea to make QA work more visible and credit the people who are actually doing QA work. Perhaps somebody who watches mails sent to the BTS and QA lists would like to compile a weekly or monthly QA progress report?

Debian Documentation Format. Recently, Cliff posted an important article related to writing documentation. He mentioned several documentation types in his article: aft, Docbook, LaTeX, and so on. However, he preferred a simple ASCII format. For Debian, John R. Daily proposed using DocBook/XML as documentation format instead of SGML (and manual pages). We should address this problem: what Documentation Type Definition (DTD) is useful for both Debian developers and users?

OpenPKG versus APT. OpenPKG 1.0 is a cross-platform Unix software packaging tool based on RPM, which was released recently. Some people discussed features of this and the Debian package tool. Jörg Wendland suggested several new functions embedded in APT or in a wrapper around it, mainly to make maintenance of large pools of similar Debian machine easier. These features include remote installation, deinstallation and reconfiguration of software.

Renaming Stale ITPs to RFP. Bas Zoetekouw proposed to rename ITP (Intent to Package) bugs into RFP (Request for Packaging) bugs if the bug report hasn't had any activity in the last 100 days. His list contains more than 300 items, which means more than 300 pieces of software that people wanted to package but didn't upload for a long while. Thomas Bushnell proposed closing the bug right away, if the last activity was the QA question asking for a status report.

Vanishing /usr/doc Symlink. Julian Gilbey upgraded and lost -- or won. He wondered why the /usr/doc symlink was gone after the upgrade. Santiago Vila explained that he had just upgraded the last package that came with a file in the /usr/doc directory, as described in the transition plan from August 1999.

Fifth Revision of Potato. Martin 'Joey' Schulze announced the fifth revision of Debian 2.2 (codename 'potato'). This is mainly a security update, while some serious bugs have also been fixed. Some important security updates are PHP4, INN2, Apache, OpenSSH, Postfix, Mailman, GPM, mutt and Exim. Also, important packages such as modconf and postgresql have been updated. Joey has a complete list, the changelog and the non-US changelog. If you haven't done so in a while, be sure to run apt-get update && apt-get upgrade. An update CD should already be available on

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

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

Orphaned Packages. Some packages were orphaned last week. This makes it total 102 packages that are orphaned. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list.

Got news? Please inform us about everything that's going on in the Debian community. We are always looking for more interesting stories to add, especially new items by voluntary writers.

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