Debian Weekly News - August 13th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 31st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. This was a quiet week as well, except for security updates. However, we don't want you to get bored. Check out this Free Software licensing quiz. The Linux users group of Davis collected articles about Free Software and compiled a list of reasons to avoid certain non-free systems.

New Python Version? Torsten Landschoff wondered when Python 2.2 will become the default version for Debian, since the new upstream source of python-gnome for Gnome 2 requires Python 2.2 for building. Chris Lawrence explained that there was a consensus apparently, that Debian would move to Python 2.3 as the next default Python version, skipping 2.2 entirely.

Ceasing db1 from GNU libc. Ben Collins announced that db1 has been gone from glibc proper since after glibc 2.1.3. The only reason it was kept around was for backward compatibility. According to Ben, it's now time to dump this old version early in the sarge release cycle so we have time work out the details. The announcement contains a FAQ, explaining that db2/3/4 all provide compatibility layers. Adrian Bunk later requested a dummy package to support a smooth upgrade.

Library Name Conflict. Simon Law discovered a doubly used library name libdnet. Supported in Debian for quite a while is the DECnet library. The new library with the same name provides a portable interface to several low-level networking routines. Apparently, one of these libraries needs to be renamed, however, the DECnet library has a historical background and the new library is already in use in the OpenBSD ports collection.

Large File Support. Oliver Elphick asked whether it is safe to turn on large file support (LFS) for PostgreSQL binary packages. Miquel van Smoorenburg explained that adding large file support (i.e. supporting files that are larger than 2 GB) will not break with older kernels, but it will only work with 2.4 kernels.

Mozilla 1.1beta? It was asked whether Debian will support packages for Mozilla 1.1beta which was recently released upstream. Erich Schubert pointed out there are mozilla-snapshot packages for that very purpose. He also noted that Mozilla 1.1beta will break at least Galeon, Skipstone and Nautilus. Even when Mozilla 1.1 final is released, these packages need to be upgraded in sync.

Upgrading to Gtk 2? Oohara Yuuma (大原雄馬) wondered how the transition plan to Gtk 2.0 spells. Erich Schubert explained that Gtk 1 and Gtk 2 are not interface compatible, so simply recompiling all affected packages is likely to be an insufficient solution. Hence, we will have to wait for upstream to port their packages to Gtk 2. The transition is partially discussed here.

Security Updates. The security team has prepared fixes for a couple of security related bugs in the stable distribution. If your machines running Debian are connected to the Internet you should update these packages if you haven't done so already. It would probably be a good idea to subscribe to the debian-security-announce list and add the security line for apt as pointed out on the security page. Updating regularly won't make your system secure but would fix some known problems at least. The following packages were updated since the last issue of DWN.

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

Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 100 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 Martin 'Joey' Schulze.