Debian Weekly News - September 16th, 2003

Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Several readers told us that the first hardware audio player that supports Ogg/Vorbis is the NeurosAudio and has been shipping for months. They are said to also support one of the key Ogg authors and also supply a synchronization manager for GNU/Linux, positron, which is packaged and distributed with Debian.

Too many Versions of Tcl? Andreas Rottmann wondered why there are four different versions (8.0, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4) of the Tcl programming environment in the archive. Matthew Palmer explained that Tcl isn't particularly backwards compatible. Hence, several packages don't run or build with newer versions of the language.

Status of Testing Migration. Petter Reinholdtsen reported that the migration of packages into testing has been slowed down significantly. At least partially this is due to the mips buildd being under heavy load. Colin Watson pointed out that the reason is glibc 2.3.2 and that there is a good chance that this will start to clear quite shortly.

Second Revision of Woody. An official announcement has been sent out stating the current status of the second revision of Debian woody (3.0r2). This revision is planned to include about 130 security updates that have been issued since the first revision. Comments should be sent to Joey directly.

No Dueling Banjos from Debian. Some of the most bizarre mails on debian-devel over the years have been repeated requests by various people for the sheet music for dueling banjos. Several list subscribers have been eager to assist the posters in their search. Jim Penny called this the Dueling Banjo Effect and explained that this has become a self-perpetuating Google-flop. People use Google which points them to Debian to get this sheet music, and the act of asking reinforces Google's notion that Debian is a good place to get the music.

Criteria for Inclusion in Debian. Adam Kessel wondered if there are guidelines for what gets included in Debian other than what is required by the DFSG. Steve Langasek explained that it is rare that Debian would overrule a developer who wishes to maintain a piece of software which is free and legally distributable. Manoj Srivastava added that if a developer has spent the time and effort to package software and made it policy compliant, then as long as Debian can legally distribute it, it has usually found its way in.

Alternative to the GNU FDL. Wouter Verhelst prepared a draft documentation license that seeks to retain the spirit of the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL), but which he thinks is DFSG-free. Branden Robinson wasn't sure precisely what the FDL's intent is, but thought that it would be more fruitful to enumerate the license's intentions before constructing the text.

Attribution-ShareAlike License. John Goerzen wondered whether the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License was DFSG-free. On his own analysis it occurred that it would satisfy each requirement of the DFSG. Branden Robinson agreed, but warned that licenses must also pass a more "holistic" reading to make sure they aren't non-free despite passing each specific clause of the DFSG. Florian Weimer thought it would depend upon whether the license was applied to a documentation format suitable for editing.

News from the Package Tracking System. Raphaël Hertzog reported about a new feature which has been added to the Package Tracking System (PTS) a few months ago. It is now possible to add custom information to the PTS web page for a particular package. The PTS features many useful links (BTS, QA statistics, contact information, DDTP translation status, buildd logs) and gathers much more information from various places. There are over 3000 subscriptions from 1500 different addresses for 1650 different source packages.

DebConf 4 in Brazil. Carlos Laviola announced that the Debian Conference #4 will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This country has been extremely active in the Free Software movement but is very unrepresented at past Debian conferences. There are already plans planning to host the conference some days before or after the Fórum Internacional de Software Livre (International Free Software Forum), so that Debian developers can attend this event as well.

Improvements in the Bug Tracking System. Colin Watson announced the new tag 'fixed-upstream' which is intended to replace the old (mis)use of the 'pending' tag and refers to bugs that were fixed upstream and the maintainer is only waiting for a new release. The new 'owner' attribute allows maintainer teams to divide the work up more conveniently. If set the address receives the same mail sent to that bug as a package maintainer would receive.

Installing Sarge with the Debian-Installer. Sebastian Ley reported that the debian-installer team has cleaned up the build process of debian-installer images. They also put together a howto which guides through the process of installing sarge. At the same time the Debian-CD team has reviewed the netinst iso images for a sarge installation with the new debian-installer.

Maintaining Packages with Subversion. Eduard Bloch maintains the svn-devscripts package which contains tools that help create and maintain Debian packages in a large Subversion repository. Joey Hess, however, has problems with the implementation and proposed improvements. Graham Wilson also added another method of importing new upstream source archives.

Debmirror Survey. Goswin von Brederlow would like to know how other people use the debmirror package to mirror certain parts of the Debian archive. He has rewritten most of debmirror in an effort to clean up the codebase and to add flexibility of the actual download method used. For the configuration part he is seeking input.

Using proper Build Dependencies. Joey Hess discovered a glitch in the policy with regards to build dependencies. Hence, Wouter Verhelst explained how Build-Depends and Build-Depends-Indep have been created as a tool to make autobuilding packages easier and proposed to rewrite the paragraph in the policy.

Debian-Installer Work Camp. An invitation to the 8th Oldenburg Linux developers meeting was sent to the debian-boot list since it will host a debian-installer debcamp. The meeting will take place at the last weekend on September in Oldenburg, Germany. Several developers who work on the debian-installer already subscribed to the meeting.

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. 17 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 212 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 Matt Black and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.