Debian Weekly News - September 3rd, 2002

Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Good news is coming from Venezuela, since Linux Today reports that all software developed for the government must be licensed under the GNU GPL. uploaded to Unstable. Chris Halls recently announced that Rene Engelhard has finally uploaded 1.0.1-5 to unstable/contrib. The packages contain a large set of help documents and internationalization files for 18 languages. However, since the package is new to the Debian archive, it will take a while before the files appear in the public archive. Chris Halls also announced translated help files.

Revising old ITP Reports. Bas Zoetekouw announced that he is going to move very old ITP bugs (Intent to Package) into RFP bugs (Request for Packaging). He only plans this for reports that are one year old or even older. For such old intents it is unlikely that the original reporter is still working on these packages. However, some of them were already uploaded very recently and will be excluded.

Security Notification Script. Rob Bradford announced a script that compares locally installed packages with those on Furthermore it provides a description of the problem and the name of the Debian advisory if the package is mentioned in the DSA RDF file. The Resource Description Framework is used as an information interchange format for various things.

Wearable Debian. We have been notified that Debian is used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a research platform for wearable computers. The goal of the MIThril project is the development and prototyping of new techniques of human-computer interaction for body-worn applications. The systems running Debian are based on a StrongARM processor.

The Debian Bug-Fixing Game. Andrew Suffield wondered whether turning bug-fixing into a game would help Debian reduce the list of open bugs. This could be a counterbalance to the huge quantities of time which moon-buggy and frozen-bubble have taken away from Debian development. Andres Salomon warned that this could change the goal people have to changes from fixing bugs to simply closing them. Here's a summary from an associated IRC discussion.

No uncompressed Packages Files anymore. Anthony Towns announced that in a couple of days time uncompressed Packages files for unstable will cease to be generated, and bzip2'ed Packages files will be generated in their place. Similarly, the Contents-*.gz files for unstable will probably be switching to .bz2 in the not too distant future. Adam Heath pointed out that this is likely to break apt-get when using file uris.

Automatic Bug Closing revised. Gerfried 'Alfie' Fuchs was annoyed by the current system of how bugs are closed and proposed a change. Bug reports referring to bugs in testing or stable will be automatically closed when a new package was uploaded into unstable, even though the bug still exists in stable and testing. Alfie proposed a stronger connection between the Bug Tracking System and the testing scripts and offered his assistance.

Problems with Testing Migration? Michael Meskes noticed that packages don't seem to make it into the testing distribution currently and wondered if there are any serious problems. Anthony Towns explained that the glibc package in unstable has release critical bugs assigned against it, which keeps it out of testing, which in turn keeps other packages from entering testing, if they depend on glibc.

Debian Developer Packages Overview. Igor Genibel announced the new interface to the packages overview system. It is meant to combine links to all information that is relevant for a package maintainer. The interface helps a maintainer to keep track of what is going on with their packages with a particular focus on dependencies and porting issues. At one time it was discussed start for such purpose.

Free TrueType Fonts? Michael Cardenas wondered how to continue to be able to distribute more free fonts (other than dustismo and metatype). He came across a list of original font authors and contacted some of them. Simon Law pointed at the freefont effort and the ttfmod utility for creating and modifying TrueType hinting. Additionally, Peter Novodvorsky (Петр Новодворский) pointed at fonts that were converted from GPLed URW PostScript fonts with manual rehinting done and cyrillic glyphs added, and Brian Carlson added links to public domain fonts.

Is Apsfilter non-free? Ville Muikkula stomped over potential postcardware in the apsfilter package. The license, though, looks more like a "should" and not a "must", which should be fine. However, in order to solve this issue Osamu Aoki (青木 修) contacted the author.

Customizing Applications for a common Look. Erich Schubert wondered whether Debian should create and distribute a nice Debian theme for KDE and GNOME, like other distributors do. Yenar Calentaure added that every other major distribution has its own look, Debian can differentiate from them by sticking with the upstream look and proposed providing Debian wallpaper, logos and icons.

Debian based CD based Distributions. Dale Scheetz reported about two distributions that are based on Debian and run directly from CD. Dale says that it appears that Debian is finally being used in the ways that the project had been wishing for since before Bruce Perens was project leader. Dale includes a report about Knoppix from a German development group and Demolinux from a French development group.

Uploading more than one Architecture. Dale Scheetz pondered whether it would be useful and helpful to upload packages for more than one architecture in parallel with the source. Ryan Murray explained that it won't speed up the build process a lot since build daemons pick up new packages once they're accepted by the archive. However, it could be even worse if the maintainer misses an architecture-specific transition and the package requires a binary-only upload for the particular architecture.

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. 6 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 117 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.