Debian Weekly News - May 25th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 21st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. The June issue of the Australian Personal Computer magazine includes a Debian 3.0 DVD and an installation guide. We've been told that users can install Debian seamlessly through Overclockix, another Knoppix variant, as well.

Debian from Scratch. John Goerzen announced a Debian From Scratch (DFS) rescue or rather installer CD. The CD supports all major filesystems and has the usual, plus some unusual, recovery tools. DFS can be used to do a Gentoo-like installation of i386 woody, i386 sarge, i386 sid, or amd64 sid. John will package the scripts used to build the CD soon.

Package Build Errors. Goswin von Brederlow wondered how severe it is for a package not to build on a given architecture because of the use of uname instead of dpkg-architecture. This will fail on architectures where the Debian architecture string differs from the Linux architecture string in the kernel, e.g. when running an i386 system on an amd64 machine. Thiemo Seufer asserted that only a few packages would be affected by this since mipsel also reports mips as Linux architecture, so most of these errors should have been found by now.

How to declare versioned Dependencies? Andrew Pollock wondered how to calculate a versioned dependency to a library, because the package doesn't seem to work with an older version of the library. Matt Zimmerman explained that the library package needs to be adjusted with regards to shlibs if it has introduced incompatible changes.

Linux Kernel 2.6.6 for SE/Linux i386. Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton announced new Debian kernel image packages for Linux 2.6.6 and SE Linux since he believes that some adventurous people might want to try SE Linux from the latest CVS, but wouldn't necessarily want to go to all the trouble of baking their own kernel. Please follow these instructions as well.

Base System Dependencies. Joey Hess complained about developers who still change dependencies in the base system. Each of these changes costs the debian-installer team at least two days of development and testing as they need to get a fixed version of debootstrap into testing. Some time ago the release management team declared a freeze of the base system, but some packages are still being altered.

Debian Kernel Packaging. William Lee Irwin III announced how the new kernel maintenance group will be composed. It will be lead by him and Al Viro. Additionally, Masanori Goto, Christoph Hellwig and Benjamin Herrenschmidt have offered their help.

Debian Kernels for non-x86 Architectures. Troy Benjegerdes started a discussion on how to best support non-i386 architectures with Debian kernels. Christoph Hellwig explained that he would like to see architecture-dependent patches included in the main package. Thiemo Seufer asserted that the real question is how to create kernels from it.

Spam on the Lists. Pascal Hakim computed some statistics on how much spam is hitting the Debian mailing lists. Currently only about 3.5 % of incoming messages are forwarded on to list subscribers. Each day about 60 thousand spam messages are deleted and almost 1 and a half million emails are delivered to list subscribers.

Anatomy of the Debian Filesystem. Ivan Savov thought about documenting the path where particular files reside on a Debian system since finding stuff turned out to be a major problem for him after switching from another system. Thereupon readers created the Debian Anatomy document in a Wiki so others could contribute.

Debian Packages a Day redesigned. Andrew Sweger reported that he has redesigned Debian Package a Day, set up a database to manage the postings, and has started loading up new packages from readers suggestions into the queue. He will try to add some commentary on each package in addition to its description to help answer the why question. Please give him feedback.

Improved Kaffe on the Way. Arnaud Vandyck reported that Debian will be the first distribution to package kaffe 1.1.5, which will be released next week. This version integrates many improvements in gnujaxp, added gjdoc as a javadoc alternative and more.

GNOME 2.6 for Debian unstable. Sebastien Bacher asserted that GNOME 2.6 is indeed ready for an upload into Debian unstable. It has been built on 9 architectures and a tenth is work in progress. The release manager also agreed on this. As a first step, the have uploaded GTK 2.4.

Debian Conference 2004. The Debian project announced this year's Debian Conference which will take place from May 26th to June 5th at SESC in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This is a conference with, by and for Debian developers, interested and sophisticated users. The schedule is composed of talks and birds of a feather sessions. This is a chance for developers to work together in a less formal setting.

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.

Debian Packages introduced last Week. Every day, a different Debian package is featured from the testing distribution. If you know about an obscure package you think others should also know about, send it to Andrew Sweger. Debian package a day introduced the following packages last week.

Orphaned Packages. 18 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 174 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list, and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you plan to take over a package.

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