Debian Weekly News - October 14th, 2003

Welcome to this year's 41st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. A new site, Russian Debian, has just opened its doors especially to the Russian Debian community. Just like Debian Planet, they also use Drupal to power the site. Additionally there has been a review of Libranet 2.8.1, which is a Debian-based distribution.

SPI/Debian Trademark Committee. Martin Michlmayr reported about the formation of a trademark committee based on a resolution by Mako Hill and Gregory Pomerantz which was passed by the SPI board in June. The goal is to draft a new policy on the use of the Debian trademark. It will attempt to balance the restrictive elements of trademark law with the need for certain types of open use that are important to community driven Free Software projects like Debian.

Debian GNU/Linux the Favorite Distribution. The Debian project announced that Debian GNU/Linux was awarded this year's Linux Journal Ninth Annual Readers' Choice Award in the category favorite distribution with over 7,500 readers participating in the poll. "I would like to thank the Linux Journal readers on behalf of the Debian community, for taking the time to make their preferences known and for choosing Debian," said Martin Michlmayr in response to receiving the award.

Ballot for the Constitutional Amendment. Manoj Srivastava proposed a draft ballot for the general resolution currently under discussion. Three variants have been proposed, and hence the ballot covers all of them as well as no-action and further discussion. The first call for votes will go out on Tuesday when DWN is released.

Report from the Linux Expo UK 2003. Steve McIntyre wrote a short report about the Debian presence at the Linux Expo UK 2003 last week. It was a very successful show overall which kept Debian people busy for the two days. They spoke to a lot of people and sold loads of T and polo shirts in addition to CDs and DVDs. Many existing GNU/Linux and Debian users came to talk or ask particular questions.

Language Suffixes for Programs. Marco Paganini wondered whether programs in /usr/bin are allowed to have a language suffix such as .pl or .py. Marcelo Magallon strongly opposed this idea and Daniel Burrows explained that adding .py to programs in /usr/bin can cause problems with Python's module importing.

Debian GNU/Linux is the Best Enterprise Distribution. The German Linux Enterprise magazine conducted a "Readers Choice" survey. Among various questions readers also had to vote for the "Best Enterprise Distribution". The winner is Debian GNU/Linux which received 33 % of votes. It was followed by SuSE Linux Enterprise Server with 32 % and Red Hat Advanced Server at 22 %.

Eating Spam and Viruses with Debian GNU/Linux. Ugo Bellavance recently discovered MailScanner, which is a powerful security/spam/virus filter for mail servers. He wrote a short introduction on its use and installation. It can also be used in connection with an anti-virus product. The behaviour for spam and virus catching is highly customisable using several settings, and the defaults usually make sense, if one is using a recent version.

Building Packages consume too much Memory. Sam Hocevar noticed that building openvrml on arm, mips and mipsel consumes too much memory so that the automatic build is terminated. He admitted that g++ uses about 200 MB of memory on his own system. Adam Majer suggested not to use the -O2 switch for optimisation in order to save memory on these architectures.

SysFS - Managing Device Nodes. Martin Pitt read about the new architecture for Linux kernel device nodes and wondered how to package its library. A user-space daemon will provide a consistent interface to the kernel device information file system sysfs and replace devfs. Marco d'Itri contributed preliminary packages for udev.

Booting a Debian System faster. Andrea Mennucc wondered if there have been any effort in speeding up the boot sequence by implementing parallel starting of daemons, minit or Richard Gooch's boot scripts. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh has been working on the init system. Joe Drew added that he has converted an embedded machine from busybox init to simpleinit plus tools that support dependencies and saved some time during boot. Gerrit Pape also implemented runit, but it's not a drop-in replacement for the SysV init system.

Helping busy Maintainers. Martin Michlmayr called for a group of people who are willing to help busy developers by co-maintaining their packages for a while. Interested people don't need to be registered as Debian developer yet, but should contact him.

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 180 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 Michael Schaefer and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.