Debian Weekly News - February 6th, 2002

Welcome to the sixth issue of 2002's series of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The feedback we received after we tried another mail format, was overwhelming and mostly appreciating the new format. I guess, we will keep it. Not directly affecting Debian, a heated debate is going on in Germany, discussing whether Free Software (i.e. GNU/Linux) should be used by the parliament or not.

Preparing the Next Stable Revision. In another quixotic attempt, Joey is preparing another revision of the stable Debian distribution (r6) and will infrequently send reports so people can actually comment on it and intervene whenever this is required. As usual the next stable revision will mainly add new security fixes.

Problem with Donations. Martin Krafft started a discussion about donating money (and equipment) to the Debian project. He pointed out that it is rather difficult to donate money to the Debian project if you're not living in the U.S. or in Germany. A PayPal account could help here, but there are horror stories out there as well, and it seems difficult to reach a human being in case of trouble. Additionally, individuals could act as relay, but only donations to charitable organizations are tax-deductible.

Fixing Packages in Testing. Robert McQueen and Jonathan McDowell wrote a proposal that talks about woody-proposed-updates. Fixing bugs in testing can be problematic if the current version in unstable is a new upstream release or is linked against newer libraries that prevents their inclusion in testing until the package is considered ready. This dual-feed approach to testing should bring us much closer to the ideal of having a testing that remains bug-free and current enough.

Installing Debian Packages on AIX. IBM is distributing free software tools for its AIX platform packaged as RPM files. This is disappointing for people who used to work on Debian, especially if it comes to source modifications and package rebuilding. Hence, several people are interested in porting dpkg to AIX as well, in order to be able to install Debian packages there.

Bugs That Require Help. Martin Michlmayr reports that the QA web site now features listings of bugs tagged help, security and unreproducible. People who care about the woody release should take some time and go help with those bugs. Developers who would like to know how to tag bug reports against packages they maintain, should read the documentation.

Loki Games Inc. Goes Out of Business. Many users and developers of GNU/Linux, who use their system for playing games, feel sad about Loki's demise. However, some projects and the CVS repository of Loki will last. This should be a general reminder, that we should not pirate software, which may lead to their companies going out business. Frankly to say, one of reasons that many people show their back to GNU/Linux is the lack of many games and support.

LSB 1.1 Released. On February 1st 2002 it was reported that Linux Standard Base 1.1 (LSB) was released together with the first version of the Linux Internationalization Initiative Standard to deal with GNU/Linux language barriers. This project tries to assure users that their choice of GNU/Linux will be supported across vendors as well as across hardware platforms. It will be very useful for breaking the barrier among many GNU/Linux distributions including Debian GNU/Linux which sponsors mailing lists for this LSB project.

Successful Booth at LWCENY. Jaldhar Vyas, who organized the Debian booth at the past LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in New York City, wrote a summary after the show. Twelve people from Debian showed up at the booth. At the booth, they got machines of several architectures (sparc, mips, alpha, and parisc) running which most visitors found quite impressive.

Status of Debian Jr. Ben Armstrong sent in a status report for Debian Jr. It has been a while since Ben Armstrong reported on how Debian Jr. is developing. A number of improvements have been made to the Debian Jr. web site to give people a better idea of what they have accomplished. Since nobody has stepped forward to work on Debian in education, Debian Jr. has taken membership in the newly formed Schoolforge coalition, a group of "independent organisations that advocate, use and develop open resources for primary and secondary education".

Updating Outdated Netscape Packages. Diego Biurrun, who wrote the article on DebianPlanet that we commented on in our last issue, sent us an update. The maintainer for our Netscape packages, Ryan Murray, was waiting for CJK translations, is working on 4.79 packages and hopes to finish them soon. Diego has started doing some productive work and helped Ryan Murray by sifting through the bug lists and weeding out around 90 outdated and/or unreproducible bugs, merging a few and assigning to other packages if they did not belong to Netscape.

New Boot-Floppies 3.0.19? New boot-floppies are about to be released soon. The current version 3.0.18 was released on December 18 and an impressive number of changes were made to the current code in CVS. It's time to let people test the system. One outstanding issue, however, that may hold this release, is the pending non-maintainer upload of slang1-utf8.

Updated XFree86 Packages for Potato. Charl P. Botha announced new potato packages of Branden's official 4.1.0-13 release. People who are still running Debian 2.2 (potato) and want to use these newer X packages, should read this before upgrading.

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

Security Updates. You know the drill, please make sure that you update your systems if you have this package installed.

Orphaned Packages. 14 packages were orphaned this week and need a new maintainer. This makes it total 108 orphaned packages. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list.

Did You See More News? Please keep us informed! Be sure to send us feedback, news and tips about new or old packages to

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