Debian Weekly News - August 31st, 2004

Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. In an interview, id Software's Timothee Besset confirmed that he loves the Debian distribution. In a different review Leo Spalteholz described how he tried to escape Debian and switch to an "easier" distribution, but ended up with Debian again.

Splitting the Packages File. Daniel Ruoso wondered how he could keep a 486 with 8 MB RAM updated in unstable with only PPP on the serial line. He proposed to split the Packages file into sections so that clients can operate on smaller files. Peter Eisentraut asserted that with more than 30 sections this would make the sources.list file unmaintainable. He added that most but very specialised clients would probably need to include all sections anyway.

Standard 2.4 kernel for Sarge? Dann Frazier proposed to use 2.4.27 as the 2.4 kernel for all architectures with 2.4 kernels in the upcoming release. The strongest argument is that this version supports several architectures natively and binary packages for all architectures supporting 2.4 are already available. Joey Hess contributed a d-i kernel update checklist and Steve Langasek agreed that this is the way to go.

Debian Cloaks on Freenode. Göran Weinholt announced that he is a group contact for Debian on the freenode IRC network. He is currently the only one and is supposed to be some sort of relay between the Debian project and the freenode staff. His main reason for volunteering for this position is so that we can get cloaks working for all interested Debian developers whose nickname is registered.

Sarge Release Update. Steve Langasek sent in an update on the upcoming sarge release. Several library transitions were finished and brought GIMP 2.0 to sarge, among other packages. Instead of only a flurry of new and fixed packages it was more like a snowstorm, keeping the buildd network busy. The number of release critical bugs is lower than last time, but not as low as hoped. Hence, there is progress towards the release, but it is going slower than expected.

What's new in Sarge? Bartosz Fenski asked about the most important changes between woody and sarge. Kevin McCarty named several packages that will be updated to a newer version or added. Among others these are GNOME 2.6, KDE 3.2, GIMP 2, Firefox and Thunderbird, Linux 2.6 and

Ceasing Upstream Development... Daniel Burrows wondered if he should request the removal of noteedit, a music editor for KDE, since upstream has decided to cease development. He has already orphaned the package, so it's not properly maintained in Debian anymore either. Roland Stigge mentioned the nice list of import and export formats and reminded people that a package in a stable Debian release isn't changed a lot during its lifetime.

Outdated Packages for contrib and non-free. Jeroen van Wolffelaar reminded maintainers of packages in contrib and non-free, that they are responsible for getting all supported architectures in sync. More recent versions of these packages won't be able to be released at the same time as sarge otherwise. These packages cannot be auto-built.

Debian experimental Kaffe runs Tomcat4 on PowerPC. Arnaud Vandyck wrote that the free Java environment has reached an important milestone. He asserted that although free Java environments are not as full as proprietary ones, in some cases, they are far better. After experiencing multiple problems with IBM's proprietary JDK on the PowerPC architecture he managed to get the free environment running Tomcat4.

GNU/Linux on the Desktop. KDE Developers Kévin Ottens and Peter Rockai spoke about their work on the Kalyxo project, which aims to improve KDE integration on Debian systems as well as making KDE and non-KDE applications work well together. They are working on a common look and feel as well, which is why they packaged the qt-gtk-engine for Debian users.

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. 12 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 184 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.