Debian Weekly News - September 30th, 2003

Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Joey attended the "Joey meets Joey" session also known as Oldenburg Linux Developers meeting last weekend where both finally met. The meeting was quite successful, both in terms of Debian as well as for the Linux kernel. A longer report on the Debian part will probably be sent to the list later.

Lessons in Packaging Linux Applications. Billy Biggs and Doug Bell wrote about their experiences in packaging tvtime for many distributions, including communication between packagers and developers, dependency problems, dealing with bugs, and the Debian menu system. They conclude that coordination between packagers from different distributions could reduce work for the packagers and reduce the number of distribution-specific bugs.

Committee for FSF-Debian Discussion. Bruce Perens organised people from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Debian to discuss issues revolving around the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL). Eben Moglen and Henri Poole (from the FSF), and Benj. Mako Hill (from Debian) will serve on the committee. Bruce is seeking another Debian representative with a constructive and dispassionate attitude. The committee will bring the results of their discussion back to their respective organisations for consideration.

Python Transition Problems. Colin Watson summarised the transition problems that are currently blocking Python 2.3 from entering testing. It may be slightly incomplete, though. He listed six packages that contain bugs which prevent them from entering testing. The python-gnome package also suffers from various dependency problems.

Timeout of ITP bugs. Søren Boll Overgaard wondered how long an ITP (Intent to Package) should be allowed to exist without an uploaded package until it times out. In particular he was looking at the packaging notification for thunderbird. Anthony Towns explained that ITPs should be considered as advisory locks. If one doesn't get responses from the person who wanted to work on the package, one can just maintain the package on his own.

Converting configure Scripts. Richard Atterer wondered how he is supposed to regenerate all the libtool and auto* files after fixing some bugs. Martin Quinson described in detail how to proceed and provided a script to build the autotools scripts.

Position Statement on the GNU FDL. After Branden Robinson announced that he had updated his Free Documentation License (FDL) webpage, Manoj Srivastava started crafting a position statement. He believes that a position statement should be issued under the Debian constitution section 4.1.5. Manoj's page includes an annotated FDL, details of practical problems with the FDL, results from Branden's FDL survey, and related links.

Pristine Source Archives. Matthias Urlichs noticed that many packages seem to contain .orig.tar.gz files which may not be directly related to the files actually available from upstream. Manoj Srivastava explained that pristine sources are already desired, but not required. There are enough strange upstream packaging practices that Debian cannot mandate pristine sources.

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. 1 package was orphaned this week and requires a new maintainer. This makes a total of 195 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainer 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.