Debian Weekly News - September 17th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. We are happy to include two items from Richard Wale this time. It was recently reported (German only) that the German Federal Cartel Office will use a modified Debian system on their desktop computers (German only) system and servers.

Debian supporting Sincere Choice? Gustavo Noronha Silva asked whether the Debian project is going to support Sincere Choice, which was recently founded by former Debian project leader Bruce Perens. Sincere Choice is a political platform for projects and individuals who believe that there should be a fair, competitive market for computer software, both proprietary and Open Source. It was founded in response to a clever fraud.

XFree86 4.2.x. Branden and his X Strike Force colleagues continue to work towards a 4.2.x release for Debian, with new "experimental" pre-release packages. He also responded to the recently announced Xlib security hole; Debian is not affected as "XFree86 4.2.0 hasn't been released to it yet." Since then he has released packages for XFree86 4.2.1-0pre1v1, which contains the fix.

Debian on RS/6000. After the recent pSeries-related activity on the PowerPC mailing list proposing a kernel repository for "working" kernels for RS/6000 machines, discussion jumped from debian-powerpc to debian-boot suggesting that CHRP/PReP kernels be revised to work towards a set of working install floppies. While no timescales are mentioned, the consensus seems to be the current CHRP/PReP kernels are broken (where RS6K's are concerned) and need investigation and reworking. Hopefully over time, Debian will become more viable on the pSeries platform.

Status of Perl 5.8.0 Update. Brendan O'Dea reported that the transition to Perl 5.8.0 in the unstable distribution (sid) is almost complete. Three architectures haven't rebuilt the packages, but for those that were released with woody, this should probably be fixed by the most recent source package. Brendan lists five remaining packages that still suffer from dependency problems. In general the transition went as smoothly as possible.

How can I help? Several people have shown that they don't know how to help to improve Debian. Not all people raise their voice when they are swamped and need help. To help, we provide some links to common resources. To improve the quality of Debian, see this small HOWTO document. If would like to spend time on packaging, the wnpp list (Work-Needing and Prospective Packages) refers to packages that require work. As a general task, the debian-installer requires assistance with non-i386 architectures. For those who would like to work on the web services, this list contains tasks for the website. Finally, here's a list of overall tasks that require help.

GNOME Transition Stagnated. A while ago we reported about ongoing discussions that deal with the process of adding GNOME 2 to the Debian archive. Finally, a discussion was held on IRC involving the technical committee (ctte) and the GNOME release manager. It seems that people agree to keep GNOME 1 libraries as long as possible and that GNOME 2 should replace GNOME 1 at some stage in the future. However, it doesn't seem to be decided yet where to develop GNOME 2 packages. Raphaël would rather like to see a decision by the Technical Committee rather than implementing a staging area.

Discussing the Task System. Eduard Bloch started a discussion about the task system and proposed to add more tasks for the user. This includes a division between GNOME, KDE and plain X11 and basic internet clients for X11 or the text console. It turned out that the scope of the task system isn't clearly defined. Some people believe that it should help new users install software without knowing details, while others believe that tasks exist to install large chunks of software in one batch.

Debian Jobs Database. Andreas Müller reported that he finished implementing a job database for Debian and asked for a public beta test. This is a job database for Debian related jobs, based on a Debian-LAMP system. The database aims at both companies that seek new employees as well as people seeking a new employer.

Blender is Free Software. After the company behind Blender, a very fast and versatile 3D modeller and renderer, went bankrupt, the Blender Foundation was created. The purpose was to secure and maintain the Blender source. 100,000 Euro were required to purchase the source from the company, and this was donated by many volunteers from around the world. To celebrate this, a conference will be held in October, closing with a party at which Blender 2.26 will be released as free software.

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. 2 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 111 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.

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