Debian Weekly News - August 20th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The FLOSS (see below) survey is finished and the results were posted. The most interesting bit is the number of Debian users among the participants, however, since we pointed out that survey, we may have contributed a little bit to the trend...

Interview with Mr. Tux Paint In this interview with Bill Kendrick of New Breed Software, Bill explains that he decided to write Tux Paint because a friend of him who uses Debian Jr. with his children noticed we were lacking a paint program for children. Before Bill wrote it, there was nothing like Tux Paint, designed specifically for children with sounds, fun to use "magic" tools, and a simple user interface in our distribution. The closest thing to it was The Gimp, and that is a program even adults have trouble using. Debian Jr. now has not only packaged Tux Paint, but keeps tabs closely on new releases, communicating regularly with Bill about development of new features, and helping him to shake out the bugs.

Where should Debian People IRC? Since about 1996, the Debian project used IRC servers of Open Projects Network for real-time communication. Josip Rodin points out that the founder of this network has started soliciting donations for the use of the network, in a highly questionable way. OFTC (Open and Free Technology Community) was suggested as an alternative network, which is an affiliated project of Software in the Public Interest that supports Debian already. Rob Levin tried to explain why spamming users with requests to donate is done.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software report. In a former issue we mentioned that the European Commission was accomplishing a survey about Free Software developers. The recently published final report reveals much data concerning the age, social status, motivation etc. of the corresponding developers. The question about their favorite distribution/operating system answered 1069 from 2228 developers (48 %) with "Debian" followed by "Red Hat" (14 %) and "Mandrake" (10 %). The complete report is available here.

Problems implied by GCC 3.2. Debian will sooner or later switch to using version 3.2 of GCC for all architectures. However, the binary interface for C++ programs has changed again. The main point of the GCC 3.2 release is to have a relatively stable and common C++ binary interface for GNU/Linux and BSD usage. Unfortunately this means that GCC 3.2 is incompatible with GCC 3.0 and GCC 3.1 releases. Matthew Wilcox is working on an update plan already and Luca Barbieri released his thoughts as well.

Free Dustismo Font. Dustin Norlander, a font designer who contacted us before for help him with licensing a free font, created a first font package. The font is in Unicode encoding but does not yet contain all special characters for commonly used non-english languages. However, Dustin is seeking feedback so you may want to contact him directly.

Multilingual Security Lists? Joey wondered if multilingual security-announce lists would help our users more than they could damage. His main concern is that, being a volunteer organization, the Debian project cannot guarantee that a translated advisory will be posted immediately after the original advisory was released. If users don't notice the original advisory, they may not be aware of a publicly known vulnerability in their systems, and hence vulnerable for a longer time than is healthy. On the other hand, translations are available in several languages on after the advisory has been released. Oohara Yuuma (大原雄馬) explains how security advisories are handled for Japanese users.

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. 4 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 103 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.