Debian Weekly News - February 24th, 2004

Welcome to this year's eighth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Finally, we can send mail using morse code, since the International Telecommunications Union assigned a new code (. - - . - .) for the "@" sign. Andreas Barth reported that 16 packages were broken by a recently uploaded broken tar version, that was fixed later.

Storing RRD Data and Graph Files. Jean-Michel Kelbert asked where to store RRD files. Since it is impossible to rebuild RRD files without data loss due to log rotation, it must not be stored in /var/cache, he asserts later. However, since the graph files are generated from the data files, they have to go into /var/cache.

Investigation of the new XFree86 License. Branden Robinson inspected the new license for XFree86 4.4 and higher. He concluded that the de facto impact of the change to the XFree86 Project, Inc.'s own license is to render the XFree86 source distribution GPL-incompatible in many aspects. Keith Packard asserted that he has a strong desire to make the released software on from that source completely DFSG-free.

Expiration of the GIF/LZW Patent. Roland Stigge wondered if it is still possible for sarge to be released before 7 July 2004. If not, Debian could start preparing to move GIF/LZW patent encumbered packages from non-free and contrib to main since that's the day when the patent US4558302 expires internationally.

Report from Solutions Linux. Julien Blache wrote a report about this years' Solutions Linux exhibition and conference in France. Several Debian developers met at the Debian booth inside the .Org pavilion and were even interviewed by a French web radio station about Debian in general and the upcoming release of sarge. The number of interested visitors at the booth was also higher, compared to past events.

Release Progress Report. Colin Watson wrote a new report about progress made with the release of sarge since December 1st. He said that the debian-installer is improving, that GNOME 2.4 and KDE 3.1.5 have entered testing and that XFree86 4.3 has been uploaded to unstable recently. An important task left is to finish debian-installer and port it to the remaining architectures. There are also still 350 release-critical bugs on packages in testing. This isn't something we can release with.

Pure 64-Bit AMD64 Port? John Goerzen proposed to stay with a pure 64-bit port to the AMD64 architecture. When a way forward with the multiarch is finally laid out they can transition to becoming a multiarch platform while still supporting those that want a pure 64-bit environment. Josh Hansen added that both efforts will continue as long as people are willing to devote time to them.

Mozilla Firefox Packages. Eric Dorland announced that he had uploaded packages for Mozilla Firefox 0.8. Since the package has gone through a name change (the package was formerly known as phoenix, then as firebird) it will take about one week until they appear in the archive. For the interested and impatient he has copied the files to as well.

Man-pages to be moved to non-free? A recent change in the upstream man-pages project was detected. As of version 1.65 manual pages from the POSIX standard are included in the upstream man-pages distribution. Their copyright, however, doesn't talk about distribution and modification, but the latter is explicitly not permitted, according to the upstream maintainer. Since this would render the entire package non-free, its packaging has changed slightly so that non-free parts are stripped off in time.

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 Matt Black and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.