Debian Weekly News - July 13th, 2004

Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Jordi Mallach reported that the transition of GNOME 2.6 into testing is nearly sorted out. Steve McIntyre explained that the CD/DVD creation process in debian-cd is very slow because large amounts of data are read and written, and because that data is checked with checksums several times.

Debian Software used at Google. Marc Merlin of Google fame reported in an interview that Debian is the most comprehensive software library available for GNU/Linux. He uses apt-get and an overall getupdates mechanism to keep the huge farm of servers in sync. The tool itself is distribution- and even Unix-agnostic, though.

New Debian based Distribution. New Mexico Software, Inc. (NMXS) announced that it will release the new Santa Fe desktop environment which is Desktop-oriented and based on Debian GNU/Linux on August 3rd this year. Dick Govatski, CEO of NMXS is proud about its ease of use: "Users won't have to be a Linux guru to easily use the system." They apparently have spent special effort on the installer and its hardware detection.

Lacking commercial Support for Debian? An article about GNU/Linux adoption in organisations, shows that Debian may need to advertise its commercial support pages more prominently: "All the contracting houses said if you want Red Hat, it's not a problem, but Debian was harder" said Mike Kennedy, CIO for Australia's New South Wales Office of State Revenue who have switched their GNU/Linux servers from Debian to Red Hat.

Debian Control Center IRC Meeting. David Moreno Garza announced an IRC meeting on July 18th at 16:00 GMT, at #debian-desktop on The main idea is to bring users the capacity to configure their entire system. With portability in mind it is planned to provide a graphical interface, a web-based one and a command-line driven interface.

Move Exim 4 to BerkelyDB 4.2? Andreas Metzler wondered if it would be acceptable to switch Exim 4 to a newer version of BerkelyDB, namely libdb4.2. Since the release of sarge is planned for the near future, such a change may have the potential to delay the release but shouldn't.

Watching new Upstream Versions. Stefano Fabri announced Debian Watch Health Status, a service for Debian developers to monitor upstream package versions. He complained that only very few packages contain proper watch files to utilise this. Blars Blarson assumed that many maintainers don't find them useful.

Bug Squashing Party. Frank Lichtenheld announced the next Debian bug squashing party on July 16th to 18th. As usual it will be coordinated through #debian-bugs on freenode (i.e. where you will find pointers to all the useful websites, too. The overall goal is to get the base system and standard packages in a releasable state.

Discouraged Use of -rpath. Martin F. Krafft wondered why the rpath issue is not documented in the policy manual. Florian Ernst contributed another thread and a summary by Richard Atterer. Goswin Brederlow added that anything that uses -rpath will break after the release of sarge if multiarch support is introduced.

Python Modules and Versions. Fabio Tranchitella noticed that a lot of Python modules are not versioned and are available only for particular versions of Python. Matt Zimmerman wondered why those modules couldn't be byte-compiled after the installation for each installed version of Python. Andreas Barth added that byte-compilation is not even required.

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. 5 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 170 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 Adrian von Bidder and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.