Debian Weekly News - April 6th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Manoj Srivastava sent out the final call for votes on the project leader election and revealed that 351 of the 908 developers have already voted. Andreas Schuldei is still looking for ideas for talks for the upcoming Debian Conference.

Support for Hotplug in Debian. Joey Hess noticed that support for hotplugged devices is an area where Debian could lead and excel in integration, but the libgphoto2-2 package states that the provided scripts are not meant to be used by default. He complained that there seems to be little desire to work on these scripts and instead wait for other distributions to do fairly useful things by default when USB devices are plugged in.

Snapshot Archive is now searchable for Packages. Fumitoshi Ukai (鵜飼 文敏) announced that he has implemented a new function on to search for packages. This is sure to help many people in searching for old versions of a particular package from the huge archive. He has also created a shortcut URL of the form<packagename>. Domenico Andreoli and Branden Robinson thanked him for this great job as well as Martin Schulze who suggested he implement such this feature.

Debian Host Naming Scheme. After Lars Wirzenius wondered if no-one else cares about choosing names for computers with care, comments and revelations by Wouter Verhelst, Joshua Kwan, Scott James Remnant, Tollef Fog Heen and Jesus Climent, a Debian admin explained the naming scheme used for hosts. Most of them are named after ancient baroque or classical composers, with a number of exceptions.

RPM orphaned and not free anymore? Joey Hess orphaned rpm since the newest version depends on the non-free elfutils library. This makes it impossible for Joey to update the package. Not being able to include rpm in Debian could have far reaching consequences - from problems with the LSB to increased difficulty to run other distributions software on Debian and vice-versa.

Debian Security Advisories CVE-compatible. The Debian project announced that Debian Security Advisories have been declared CVE-compatible at the RSA Conference 2004, in San Francisco, February 24th, 2004. The project also believes that it is extremely important to provide users with additional information related to security issues that affect the Debian distribution.

Custom Debian Distributions. Andreas Tille announced a paper he wrote about custom Debian distributions, the techniques used and the goals behind them. This is an implicit call for participation for all those people inside and outside the Debian project. Custom Debian distributions try to provide a solution for special groups of target users with different skills and interests.

Getting newer Kernels in stable. Andrew Pollock wanted to know if it would be possible to get newer kernel packages in stable Debian releases, since he is concerned about Debian installation issues. The stable release manager explained that new versions are not possible since too much can break. Instead he encouraged people to maintain additional repositories with updated kernel packages.

April Fools Pranks. The community released a couple of April fools pranks, of which we're listing some. Pascal Hakim sent in a document covering improvements for Debian releases. Pablo Lorenzzoni became illuminated and wanted to switch to a proprietary operating system. The Internet Society determined the requirements for the Omniscience Protocol (RFC 3751). Symlink reported (German only) about a guy who wanted to file a class-action law against the Free Software Foundation. Finally, the defacement of their own website by the grsecurity developers was a bit awkward and scared quite some people.

Additional Links to Translations. Nobuhiro Imai (今井 伸広) wondered if he was permitted to add additional links to translations of Debian web pages. In these cases the original page links to an external resource and its Japanese translation is located somewhere else. Gerfried Fuchs explained that this would be appreciated and helpful, and he already have added such links to German translations. He also noted that one should not have to change anything if the other website has enabled content negotiation as well.

Proposed l10n Framework. Jure Cuhalev proposed a new scheme for Debian localisation work (l10n), where all translation teams would use an Alioth project that would serve as a common gateway. The advantage of such a system is that it is less work for maintainers and translators to update their translations, as it is now for the debian-installer already. However, Denis Barbier explained that this should be handled with care, since packages have to be synchronised and the maintainer could have used different translations.

Bugtracking System moved. The bug tracking system was moved from master to spohr but master kept a regularly updated copy. This has been moved to merkel, due to disk space issues on master. Colin Watson asked other developers to move their related scripts to merkel. The mirror is updated every fifteen minutes.

Zope Maintenance in Debian. There has been a discussion about removing Zope from testing. Jonas Meurer instead encouraged other developers to start forming a maintenance group since it may require more maintainer activity than most other packages. David Coe added that the current maintainers were always willing to accept good patches and non-maintainer uploads.

Indirect Donation from Redmond. A particular advertisement in the current issue of the German Linux Magazin magazine, created and paid by a Redmond-based company, did not only cause a discussion (German only) on whether a GNU/Linux oriented magazine should accept such an advertisement but also a large donation to the Debian project.

Probing for Operating Systems. Joey Hess reported that he was working together with Joshua Kwan to work on probing for other operating systems. This will be used by the debian-installer to create the boot configuration which should be able to boot other operating systems as well.

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 Nobuhiro Imai, Tomas Pospisek, David Moreno Garza and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.