Debian Weekly News - December 16th, 2003

Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Finally, the website CVS repository was resurrected, but the website can still not be updated. Chris Halls announced that he and René Engelhard have verified all recent changes in the CVS repository. Christoph Berg proposed to call the experimental distribution "scud", which is the name of Sid's dog that broke toys even worse than Sid did.

New Features in APT-RPM. Joey Hess noticed an article that described features in apt-rpm that are not available with plain apt-get. Some of them would be nice to have as well. The most interesting feature is to install local files but automatically satisfy the dependencies through network download if required.

Installer Status Report. Joey Hess reported that there are so many installation reports that the developers have not managed to follow up on them all as of yet. He added that the big focus for the next beta release will be on ports and translations. A lot of work has begun to port the debian-installer to more architectures, but most of these are nowhere near working.

Public X Strike Force Repositories. Branden Robinson announced the availability of anonymous, read-only, public access to the X Strike Force Subversion repositories via the Subversion protocol. Write access is restricted to people with SSH access to the host. Branches include XFree86 4.1.0, 4.2.1 and 4.3.0.

XFS Support in Debian Installer? Gunnar Wolf wondered if the debian-installer should support XFS since it will be included into future releases of Linux 2.4. Joey Hess added that once the stock Debian kernel contains XFS, support can trivially be added to the debian-installer.

Daily Debian-Installer Builds. Martin Sjögren announced that he has restarted daily builds of the debian-installer for the x86 architecture. Older builds were removed because he didn't have time to verify their integrity.

New Debian Stable Update CDs. After Ingo Saitz noticed that the update CD was broken, Steve McIntyre created new images and jigdo files that should be available in the usual places soon. He added a README file that explains why there have been two image files with the same name.

Dependencies to lower Priorities? Marc Haber asked if it should be allowed for packages to depend on others with lower priorities. Not allowing this makes CD creation easier, but modern tools can follow the dependencies on their own. Bastian Blank explained that parsing the entire Packages files during the basic installation would require at least 6 MB additional memory.

Debian AMD64 FAQ. Bart Trojanowski pointed out the Wiki resource on this port and mentioned the FAQ that some people build there. Additionally the developers have discussed how to implement the mixture of 32-bit and 64-bit libraries.

Naming the BSD Ports. Joel Baker reported that he was approached by a member of the NetBSD team, who expressed that "Debian GNU/KNetBSD" is a better name for the port than "Debian GNU/NetBSD". Robert Millan pointed out that a lot programs are using uname for system identification when they're primarily checking for libc features. Hence, the name needs to be selected carefully. Joel added the final naming scheme later.

Writing Copyright Files. Peter Palfrader discovered several badly written copyright files by new maintainers and many by old maintainers. They lack information about the copyright owner, the particular license and does not say that the software is licensed under a particular license. He then wrote a guideline on how to properly phrase a copyright file that contains all required information. Developers should also read Andrew Suffield's mail on what you should do when writing a copyright file.

Debian Spain founded. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña reported that a legal Spanish Debian organisation has been founded during DebConf-ES by more than 20 people. The organization still needs to be approved by the Spanish Internal Affairs Ministry, though. Once this is done it could also be a way to collect donations for the Debian project in Spain, to defend the Debian trademark and to register the domain.

Collaboration between Debian and KDE Developers. Several Debian and KDE developers announced a strategic proposal for closer collaboration between UserLinux and KDE projects. The strategy consists of KDE core enterprise enhancements, UserLinux installer and system tools, and GNOME/GTK+ integration and and Mozilla integration.

Using tmpfs as default? Masanori Goto (後藤 正徳) proposed to use tmpfs from Linux 2.4 in the default sarge installation which was discussed long ago already. Roger Leigh added that a size limit should be added since it is much nicer to get ENOSPC than a kernel panic.

Providing a graphical WWW Browser. René Engelhard suggested using the virtual package x-www-browser for all graphical web browsers. Then other packages could suggest or recommend a graphical browser while the user can select one among them. He would also like to add this one to the list of virtual packages.

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.