Debian Weekly News - October 8th, 2002

Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. This week we are pleased to include two items by both Matt Black and Richard Wale. Now that the Free Standards Group has released specification of Linux Standard Base 1.2 (LSB), it is seeking items missing from it, which probably also affects Debian.

OpenSSL with CPU Optimisation. Christoph Martin announced that he has uploaded new packages for the OpenSSL library. The new version exploits the ability of the shared library loader to include special directories depending on the CPU architecture. Optimisation is currently available for i486, i586, i686, sparc-v8, sparc-v9, alpha-ev4 and alpha-ev5. For details see the file README.optimizations in /usr/share/doc/openssl/.

Problematic BitKeeper License. Branden Robinson pointed out that some of us may be exposed to tort claims from BitMover, Inc., the company that produces BitKeeper, the software that is the primary source management tool for the Linux kernel. Your license to use BitKeeper free of charge is revoked if you or your employer develop, produce, sell, or resell a source management tool. Debian distributes rcs, cvs, subversion and arch at least and this seems to be a different case. Ben Collins however, who works on both the Linux kernel and the subversion project, got his license to use BitKeeper free of charge revoked. Ulrich Drepper experienced similar problems. This has also been brought up on Slashdot and discussed on debian-devel.

LWN subscription for the Debian Project? A while ago Linux Weekly News (LWN) experienced financial trouble and identified it by starting a subscription service that has to be paid for. Branden Robinson asked LWN whether they would be interested in donating an LWN subscription to the Debian Project, since Debian generates a fair share of news for LWN to cover. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh however, asked to acquire such a license, instead, to support LWN.

KDE 3 heats up. This week the KDE Project released KDE 3.1 beta2. The goal of the release is to provide new features as well as to solve several known problems. Packages for woody are available for Debian users who don't want to wait for official Debian packages. David Pastern gave advice on installing KDE3 as well.

Cryptography in South Africa. Lukas Geyer brought up efforts by the South African government to regulate the distribution of "cryptography products". The law will require providers of "cryptography products" to register their details with, and pay a fee to, the government. This will at least cause a problem with Debian mirrors in South Africa.

XFree86 4.2.1 in unstable. After a lot of testing and preparation, Branden and his colleagues from the X Strike Force (XSF) have finally unleashed XFree86 4.2.1 to the incoming directory. Many thanks to Branden and the XSF for all their hard work in making this a reality.

GNOME 2 Transition. Colin Walters announced to the debian-gtk-gnome list that he had started to maintain a web page about using GNOME 2 for woody, sarge and sid during the transition progresses. This page lists the available scenarios and known issues.

Incompatible new Bogofilter Package. Clint Adams sent a warning to users of bogofilter. The package uses a new database format and doesn't convert files automatically. His mail contains upgrade instructions for users who would like to keep their spam databases with the new version. Alternatively, you could just wipe out the old files and start building them again with the new version.

Debian "removed" archive? Drew Scott Daniels tried to setup an archive of removed Debian packages at SourceForge. This issue has been discussed several times, since orphaned packages that nobody would like to maintain are likely to be silently removed. However, Sourceforge explained that their mission is the development of Open Source Applications and not hosting a pure content repository.

Debian Mini-Conf at LCA2003. Jonathan Oxer sent in a reminder for the Debian Mini-Conference which is to be hosted at the upcoming Linux Conference Australia. Jonathan still needs more people willing to do presentations. He has so far already received 39 registrations for the Mini-conference.

Perl Transition not Migrating. Some people may have already noticed that the new Perl 5.8 does not migrate into testing. This is due to several packages still depending on the older version of Perl, as Joey Hess pointed out. Funnily, the Python transition contributes to this problem since PostgreSQL is out of date on most architectures due to a Python error.

Debian FreeBSD Update. Nathan Hawkins sent in an updated status report for the Debian port to FreeBSD. Basically, he has been busy working on glibc and has been contributing patches to the package. He also has some of the essential BSD utilities building under glibc and will continue to work on the rest. Mostly this involves working on the system headers that glibc didn't include. Later he reported that glibc is working well except for DNS resolution. Also X is building nearly everything except the server, which helps a lot already.

BTS supports MIME. Colin Watson announced that a new version of the mail bot for the Debian Bug Tracking System (BTS) has been installed. This version adds MIME support for initial incoming bug reports. This means that you can now safely submit bug reports with attachments without having to wait for the bug number to come back, GPG-sign bug submissions and control messages, and so on.

W3C Patent Policy. Bruce Perens reports that after a year of argument and see-sawing the Patent Board of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommends a royalty-free patent policy. Bruce was invited to join W3C's patent policy board, representing Software in the Public Interest, and was later joined in this by Eben Moglen, for the Free Software Foundation, and Larry Rosen, for the Open Source Initiative.

Debian Project at UK Linux Expo. There will be a Debian booth at the upcoming UK Linux Expo in London this Wednesday and Thursday (9th and 10th of October). Registration is required, but there are no entrance fees. People from Debian will sell woody CDs at the exhibition and Debian will be demonstrated running on various architectures (maybe even including NetBSD).

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.

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