Debian Weekly News - February 3rd, 2004

Welcome to this year's fifth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Most true Unix geeks will recognise just how nice lpd is as a distributed queueing mechanism for managing all jobs sent to the printer, but don't realise it can be used for other things as well. In fact, it can be viewed as a general queueing mechanism and used as an engine for distributed spooling of audio files. The January issue of the German LinuxUser magazine shipped with Knoppix, Debian 3.0 and sarge on two DVDs.

Debian Project at European Conferences. The Debian project announced that its members and affiliates will attend three exhibitions and conferences that cover Free Software and GNU/Linux in Europe. From February 3rd to 5th Solutions Linux takes place in Paris, France. On February 16th and 17th Linux Expo Ulm will take place in Ulm, Germany. Finally on February 21st and 22nd FOSDEM will take place in Brussels, Belgium, where the Debian project will share a developers room with another project and organise a mixed schedule.

Debian fastest growing Distribution. Over the last six months Debian has been the fastest growing GNU/Linux distribution when measured by counting active sites that contain the name of a distribution in the Apache Server header. A distribution name is present in a little over a quarter of Linux based Apache sites. In January 2004 Netcraft counted 442,752 Apache servers running on Debian, a 25 % growth rate from 355,469 counted in July 2003.

Report from Practical Linux and Dresden InfoTag. Alexander Schmehl wrote a report about Practical Linux in Gießen, and a report about LinuxInfoTag in Dresden, both in Germany. They were small events but the Debian booth was crowded, as usual, so they ran out of freebees before the end. In Gießen, Alexander also gave a talk and a workshop covering the Debian system.

XFree86 to alter its License. According to an announcement of the XFree86 project there will be a new license starting with XFree86 v4.4.0-RC3. There are some worries (German) that these changes might be incompatible with the GPL due to a BSD-style advertising clause. Branden Robinson indicated that he will probably not be maintaining the system using the new license.

Report from LinuxWorld Expo New York. Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote a report about the successful Debian presence at this year's LinuxWorld Expo in New York. The Debian booth attracted a lot people, usually more experienced than on past events, and they handed out many CDs, flyers and t-shirts. He also gave an interview on SYS-CON radio covering the Debian project.

Debian Extra CD Project. A few people have started a new project to provide an additional CD for the stable Debian distribution. They want to update the desktop software (GNOME and KDE most likely) with backported packages but don't want to force people to download large amounts of data.

Debian Administrator's Toolbox. David B. Harris is soliciting package lists from other Debian administrators. He's going to put together a live CD of applications and utilities he wants to have everywhere. He's going to put them on 185 MB CD media for its small size.

Debian-Installer Call for Help. Joey Hess called for helping the development of the debian-installer. The debian-boot team still lacks manpower for several tasks such as report processing, documentation, PCMCIA, low memory support, arm, sparc and s390 ports, policy checks for udeb files, boot screen, support for PPP and much more.

Distribution Chords of Music? Raphael Goulais wondered if it would be ok to distribute chords but not melody since this is done in mma. Henning Makholm added that many popular tunes work with chord sequences that are so generic and nondescript that it would be ridiculous to claim a copyright on them.

Supporting new GNU TLS Library. Kenshi Muto wondered how he should switch CUPS from GNU TLS version 7 to version 10. Matthias Klose asked him to wait until the current version of CUPS has entered testing, so that a recent version will be distributed at least. Andreas Metzler also asked to wait until libgnutls10 has entered testing so this can't keep a new version of CUPS out of testing.

License Change for C-Kermit. Ian Beckwith reported about his conversation to Frank da Cruz, the author of C-Kermit. Both would like to see Kermit move to main and are negotiating a license change. In 2000 the license was already altered in order to free C-Kermit more, but it is still not compliant with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Browsers without "mailto" Support? Andreas Tille noticed that both Galeon and Firebird don't know how to handle mailto URLs until a GNOME mail reader is configured, which is not the case on a new desktop. Felipe Almeida Lessa confirmed this behaviour for Galeon, but not for Firebird. He assumes that the support for mailto URLs does not exist yet.

Changing the Priority for GCC? Andrea Mennucc complained about GCC having priority standard. Unless the user goes into dselect and deselects all of them, GCC and friends will always be installed. When either space or bandwidth is low, this can be quite annoying. Hence, he proposed to move them to priority "optional". Nathanael Nerode explained that the issue is not that easy since a lot of packages depend on CPP which should therefore stay at the old priority.

Goals for a new Debian-Installer Release. Joey Hess discussed goals for another release of the debian-installer which could become beta 3. This includes discover 2, partman, using grub, support for XFS, Linux 2.6, improved language chooser, less questions in base-config, better PCMCIA and wireless support, sub-architecture support for PowerPC and m68k and a move to subversion, among others.

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.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Andre Lehovich and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.