Debian Weekly News - March 30th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The next update to Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 is being prepared together with a discussion about the Linux Standard Base. Manoj Srivastava called for votes on the project leader election a second time. Votes must be received by 23:59:59 UTC on April 10th. Two US states proposed an open source repository that would run on a Debian server.

Editorial Amendments to the Social Contract. Manoj Srivastava announced the formal discussion period on editorial amendments to the social contract, giving people the chance to propose amendments and modify wording, now that the non-free general resolution has passed. The following voting period shall be from Sunday, April 11th, to Sunday, April 25th.

GNOME 2.6 for Sarge? A user on Debian Planet noticed that it is quite unlikely for sarge to include GNOME 2.6, which has been rescheduled for March 31st. This would be a pity, especially as KDE 3.2 has gotten in. Ray Dassen explained that GNOME 2.6 is being uploaded into experimental so that its release can't delay the release of sarge.

Debian Project Leader Portraits. Bdale Garbee reported that Elizabeth Gordon-Werner is the first person who ever painted him during one of his talks. She has painted watercolours of many speakers at last February's Open Source World Conference in Málaga. Included are portraits of the former project leader Bdale Garbee and current one Martin Michlmayr.

UUCP and Sendmail. Peter Palfrader noticed that the new sendmail package has split off rmail which is required for processing mail via UUCP. Adrian Bunk requested that if something (B) is split out of a package A, the new version of A should depend on the new package B until after the next stable release, since this is the only way to prevent breakage on upgrades.

Kernel Source contains non-free Firmware? Adrian Bunk noticed that Linux 2.6.4 contains non-free firmware which is uploaded into the device by the kernel. Herbert Xu explained that in most of these cases the driver cannot communicate with the device in any meaningful way until the firmware is loaded.

User Accessible Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. Gary Greene from Ark Linux proposed a standard to accommodate the accessibility of the filesystem by end-users. Nicolas Mailhot explained why hidden files (and directories) are very bad from a users point of view. Henning Makholm added that hidden directories are not compatible with the way configure can be told to use a different prefix.

Debian-Installer on Oldworld Mac Hardware. Sven Luther reported about his work getting debian-installer to work on oldworld powermac machines. This does not only require a non-free compiler but also a non-free and binary-only boot sector. However, miBoot and the said boot block used to sit around in the boot-floppies source code, without any license or source code, as Jeremie Koenig pointed out.

Creative Commons Attribution License. Francesco Poli wondered whether the Creative Commons Attribution License 1.0 was considered free under the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Nathanael Nerode at first thought it was free, but upon reconsideration decided it was not free. Jeremy Hankins noted that Creative Commons have not designed the license to be free, but rather to maintain attribution by ensuring that people who see the license know about the people who contributed to the work.

Release Status Update. Colin Watson sent in an updated release progress report. He asserts that debian-installer is holding up fairly well. The plan from now on is to release beta versions at roughly monthly intervals. He also reports that we want to freeze for as short a time as possible and as soon as the installer schedule for a stable release is absolutely clear.

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, Matt Black and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.