Debian Weekly News - February 25th, 2003

Welcome to this year's 8th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. For those of you who always wanted to learn more about nerds, the most recent essay from Paul Graham about why nerds are unpopular may shed some light on the issue. The Swedish agency for public management has performed a feasibility study on free and open source software and has given advice to use free and open source software.

Debian reviewed at DistroWatch. Alexander Antoniades wrote a report about Debian GNU/Linux. He did not only look at the installation process but also used the distribution and learned about powers of the apt-get command. The article admits that the Debian installation wasn't the easiest, but it is not particularly hard. Using unofficial repositories you can get pretty much all the newest software.

Maintaining Success Stories. Colin Walters announced that he is putting the Debian users page up for adoption. He did not have the time to give it the love it deserves, and accumulated an embarrassingly long queue of submissions. If somebody is interested, please send him a mail. Good English skills are very important, and the person will also need some knowledge of how the Debian website works.

Debian-Installer still installs Debian. Tollef Fog Heen reported that debian-installer is still able to install Debian. Most of the goals he mentioned in an earlier report are mostly reached. cdebconf has gotten a slang frontend, which seems to work reasonably well. A lot of work has been going into infrastructure issues, but more needs to be done. The most important job, however, is porting the tools to other architectures.

Project Leader Platforms. Platform statements from each of the candidates for the Debian Project Leader elections are online. Moshe Zadka plans to do as little as possible but help people do their work. Bdale Garbee believes that the primary role of a leader is facilitation and approached this by spending a lot of time listening and reading. Martin Michlmayr intends to represent Debian to the outside world, while his main focus will be on internal matters. Branden Robinson wants to delegate responsibility and set clear and reasonable expectations for their fulfillment.

Questions to the DPL candidates. Raphaël Hertzog formulated several questions to the candidates for the Debian Project Leader elections. For Bdale Garbee, Martin Michlmayr and Branden Robinson he asked specific questions as well. Eduard Bloch added more questions for all candidates.

Help with Packaging Roxen 3.3. Turbo Fredriksson spent the last couple of months on packaging Roxen Webserver 3.3 and is close to a release. New versions of the Roxen Webserver require a MySQL server to run. He wonders how to handle the situation best. The package should still be able to use an external database server and not depend on a locally installed one.

Ominous Security Support Policies. An article in The Register caused a discussion about supporting old versions and the recognition of the release process including the testing distribution. The article complains about the Debian Security Team ceasing support for slink (2.1) with only two weeks notice but ignores the update sent out later which announces that the support period was extended by one month. Another discussion about this is taking place at SecurityFocus. The Security Team is trying to support the old potato for 12 months after the current stable distribution was released, which is superior to all other distributions.

List of APT Frontends. Javier Viñuales Gutiérrez revealed Jeff Licquia's list of frontends to the Debian package management system. The list includes aptitude and stormpkg, but also apt-move, apt-proxy and apt-zip or jablicator. Junichi Uekawa (上川 純一) added two special modes for Emacs. Alexander Wirt also added the missing synaptic.

Installing Debian parallel to Operating Systems. DebianHelp has an article that describes how to install woody and two different proprietary operating systems on the same harddisk. This can be tricky because of the way that those systems use the bootsectors of other partitions, including overwriting the master bootrecord. However, since LILO can boot them all, it'll become the primary boot loader.

Linux Certification Tutorials. IBM has made available a set of tutorials designed to be guides for preparation for Linux Professional Certification from the Linux Professional Institute. The tutorials cover general GNU/Linux administration and networking and should also be helpful to those not interested in certification.

Do Font Names Infringe Trademarks? Anton Zinoviev (Антон Зиновиев) wondered whether his font package might be infringing some trademarks. He remembered that one font developer was asked to change the name of his fonts because their use on modified font designs was said to infringe the creator's trademark. Terry Hancock suggested that Debian could simply give fonts alternate but similar names, as has been done by some companies faced with the same problem.

LinEx presented to the European Parliament. Last week LinEx was presented (Spanish only) during the celebration of the first annual meeting of the European Regions Committee within the European Parliament Brussels. This is the first time it was demonstrated outside of Spain. LinEx is a government funded distribution of GNU/Linux based on Debian GNU/Linux that was adapted for the needs of the Extremadura, one of the poorest regions in Spain.

Knoppix for the masses FAQ. Karsten Self burned 50 CDs with the Knoppix release and is handing these out to people he meets on the street. He would like to use additional information to give away with the CDs. Therefore he prepared a short introductory FAQ to include with the CD.

SPI Board Membership Election Results. Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI) has held an election for new Board members. The voting period ended on Friday and the three winners were Bruce Perens, John Goerzen, and Benj. Mako Hill. The current Board of Directors will vote on adding them to the Board at its next meeting. The lists of voters, votes and results is available and there is a seven day dispute-period during which people can verify their votes.

Messages Promoting non-free Software. The new cdrecord program displays a message saying "If you need DVD-R/DVD-RW support, ask the Author for cdrecord-ProDVD". Ben Collins thought that Debian should not be promoting non-free software in this way and that the message should instead point users to the free dvdrecord package. Andreas Metzler preferred to leave the message where it is and maintain good relations with the upstream author, but Craig Dickson suggested to simply remove the message.

Debian Project at three European Events. The project announced that it has been invited to participate in three events taking place during the next days. On March 1st developers meet at LinuxForum 2003 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Debian maintains a booth. From March 1st to 2nd a talk about the benefits of using Debian GNU/Linux will be given at Wilhelmshavener Linux Information Days in Germany. At the same time Debian will maintain a booth at Chemnitzer Linux-Tag and give talks about the Debian Description Translation Project and Debian-Med.

Packaging Electronic Magazines. Kevin Rosenberg intended to package all issues of the Phrack Magazine as separate package. Lars Wirzenius raised concerns since this would dramatically increase the size of the Package files that users have to download frequently.

Exim 4 Packages in Experimental. Marc Haber announced that the Debian Exim 4 maintainer team has uploaded the first version of Exim 4 into Debian experimental. The packages will be moved into the archive soon. The packages offer a semi-clean update path from Exim 3 by trying to parse the old configuration file if it has been generated by eximconfig.

Debian Workshops on IRC. Gürkan Sengün alias tarzeau informed us that he is organizing online workshops on IRC. Last week they had a talk about Debian Packaging. This weekend (on Saturday at 15:00 GMT) the workshop will cover IPv6 on Debian by Ricardo Javier Cardenes Medina alias Heimy. The workshops take place on #debian-friendly on

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 unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 164 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.

Want to continue reading DWN? Please help us create this newsletter. Some people are submitting items already, but we are still in need of volunteer writers who prepare items. Please see the contributing page to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

To receive this newsletter weekly in your mailbox, subscribe to the debian-news mailing list.

Back issues of this newsletter are available.

This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Matt Black, Andre Lehovich and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.