Debian Weekly News - October 21st, 2003

Welcome to this year's 42nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. According to natural computing the audit court of the German province Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is moving their 100 systems to Debian GNU/Linux. The Dutch robot soccer team Mission Impossible Twente use Debian woody as operating system and is very pleased with it.

Debian and the LPI. Martin Michlmayr reported about a meeting and discussions with representatives of the Linux Professional Institute (LPI). People can choose between rpm-based and dpkg-based questions and about 25 % of the testees in a Sydney LPI lab chose dpkg-based questions. Furthermore, LPI is working on the development of a "Desktop Certification" and interested Debian desktop people are encouraged to get in contact with Martin. LPI will also be present at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) handing out bootable Debian CDs (Morphix).

Project Leader Retrospective. Martin Michlmayr listed tasks he worked on during past six months which didn't justify a report on their own in order to be transparent and accountable. This included several internal Debian activities, financial and legal matters, publicity and development.

Debian in the News. LinuxForce has noted that 2003 has already become a banner year for Debian GNU/Linux. They have put together a list of the most significant news stories about Debian so far this year. This includes the most recent awards, a Netcraft survey, the case study in best practice for operating system management and others.

Package Policy Checker. Magosányi Arpád wondered which policy checker should be used since the versions in testing don't implement the most recent policy. Steve Kowalik explained that linda does but that the version hasn't been installed in testing yet.

Source only Uploads. Wolfgang Borgert experienced problems with a source only upload recently. Daniel Jacobowitz explained that they are not permitted because they would encourage carelessness by the maintainer, since these packages would not even have to be built by the maintainer anymore. Additionally binary-all would not be built by the buildds.

Debian in Wikipedia. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, contains a long entry about the Debian project and its distribution. Among other topics it mentions developer recruitment, motivation, resignation and the package life cycle. Wikipedia is a community written and edited encyclopedia published using the GNU Free Documentation license. Over a dozen people have contributed to the article since its original version was written in December 2001.

Mini-Freeze for some Packages. Steve Langasek encouraged maintainers of krb4, PostgreSQL, Heimdal, cyrus-sasl2 and coreutils not to modify these packages until they have migrated into testing. Several inter-package dependencies and serious problems prevent them to enter testing at the moment. PostgreSQL is delayed by an unexpected breakage in connection with Perl 5.8.1, heimdal conflicts with PostgreSQL and coreutils requires a new version of krb4 first.

Constitutional Amendment Ballot. Manoj Srivastava released the first call for votes for the constitutional amendment general resolution in order to clarify section 4.1.5 of the constitution. Votes must be received by Wednesday, October 29th, 23:59:59 UTC. He added further information, a list of fingerprints, statistics about this vote and mentioned the source code repository of the vote system.

Testing Packages at Build-time. Bill Allombert suggested to revise the policy and ask maintainers to place automatic tests for their packages in the build scripts, since autobuilder time seems to be a less scarce resource than porters time. Maintainers can only tests binary packages they will upload. They can only test an autobuilt package once it is part of unstable and is maybe already causing trouble. Such a prohibition is no longer part of the policy, though.

Packaging debian-installer Images. Goswin von Brederlow wondered where images for the new installer should be uploaded. There are floppy, CDROM, netboot and hd-install images ranging from 1.4 MB floppies, 5-20 MB netboot/hd-install images and 5/20/50 MB CDROM iso images, total 100-150 MB per architecture.

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. 16 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 181 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. We still need more volunteer writers who watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. 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 Andre Lehovich and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.