Debian Weekly News - March 9th, 2004

Welcome to this year's tenth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Christoph Berg reported about a Knoppix based live CD including lots of the hamradio software Debian ships. Wichert Akkerman announced that the alioth service has been moved to a new server. Additionally, Ethan Sommer has set up a collection of Open Source advocacy papers.

Questions for the Candidates. Anthony Towns formulated a set of questions for the project leader candidates. In his platform only Gergely Nagy mentioned changes to the distribution, replace perl scripts in base by shoop scripts. The questions include the new-maintainer process, announcements, installer development, release process/progress and more. Andreas Tille also submitted a set of questions.

DPL Bits. Martin Michlmayr sent in another report and said that over the last two weeks he attended three conferences: Open Source World Conference in Spain, FOSDEM in Belgium, and a conference in Italy organized by Firenze Tecnologia. He added reports for these conferences as well. Also, a London based company is interested in having a 64 bit port of Debian to PowerPC and are willing to invest resources in this.

11 Keystrokes away from Debian. Joey Hess counted the keystrokes in a Debian installation with DHCP and partman's spiffy streamlined autopartitioning. 11 keystrokes from the boot prompt to the "Welcome to Debian" screen. 10 of them even were "Enter". The one extra was selecting the "Yes, please nuke my drive" button. He believes that perhaps two more keystrokes could be removed.

Video Cluster running Debian. The Visualization Group at Penn State University has been building a graphics cluster and tiled video display wall using it for Architecture and Engineering applications. They utilise Distributed Multiheaded X and Chromium for an interactive, parallelized application environment. Applications are developed with VTK and OpenSG. VideoLAN is also used to stream a video source to multiple displays via multicast for tiled video.

Does Debian scare away Women? Amaya Rodrigo Sastre asked the project leader candidates about their ideas to encourage more women to be involved and what the benefits would be. Helen Faulkner explained that women face subtle problems and that on average, women are likely to be not so confident that their skills will allow them to survive in an environment like debian, compared to their male counterparts. The following discussion seems to have very well proven this.

Call for Votes on a General Resolution. Manoj Srivastava called for votes on a General Resolution to decide on future handling of the non-free section. Votes must be received by Sunday, March 21st. The vote is being conducted in accordance with the policy delineated in section Standard Resolution Procedure of the Debian Constitution.

Supporting Hurd with ext2. Roland McGrath has written a patch for Linux 2.6 which makes it possible to get and set passive translators for Hurd via extended attributes for the ext2 filesystem on Linux 2.6. This makes it possible to archive passive translators using star. Using experimental kernel packages, Michael Banck was able to extract a Debian GNU/Hurd base tarball and successfully boot into a working Debian GNU/Hurd installation without having to setup translators natively. This could considerable ease the installation of Debian GNU/Hurd if this patch gets accepted upstream.

Debian Conference: Call for Papers. Andreas Schuldei sent out the call for papers for this years' Debian Conference which will take place from May 26th to June 2nd in Porto Alegre, Brazil. On day one there will be an introductory talk for all speakers covering public speaking. The deadline for submissions is April 1st and interested people should only submit a short description of the presentation and provide technical details.

Debian Source Archive. Joachim Breitner wondered whether it is possible and useful, to have a website with all source packages from the Debian archive extracted and available, including older versions. Shaun ONeil mentioned the peek of to look into archives and Roland Bauerschmidt suggested to use Subversion and ViewCVS.

Transition Plan for non-free. Michael Banck proposed a transition plan to move the non-free archive off of and on In particular he talks about replicating the FTP archive, the bug tracking system, the package tracking system and some mailing lists. He also called for help since the services would have to be set up at the beginning. At the end, only a few people would be required to maintain the service.

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 Michael Banck and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.