Debian Weekly News - January 4th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 1st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Martin Michlmayr announced that Jörg Jaspert has been appointed as an additional Debian account manager. The Debian project announced another update of their stable release. Joey Hess published a list of security problems fixed in unstable but pending in sarge.

New Arch and Subversion Server. Wichert Akkerman announced the move of all arch and subversion repositories to a new server. The switch to the fsfs backend for subversion will fix problems resulting from dead locks, stalled processes and incorrect access lists. He later reported that the move was successful.

Meaning of GNU/Linux. Ed White pointed out that Debian's interpretation of the term GNU/Linux is wrong according to a recent interview with Richard Stallman where he explained that the term GNU/Linux means that the system started out as GNU, with Linux added. Peter Karlsson explained that it's just a matter of interpretation. Either one starts with the Linux kernel and adds the GNU tools, then the wording on the Debian web pages is correct, or one starts with the GNU tools and adds a kernel, for instance Linux.

Mozilla Trademark Restrictions. Alexander Sack noted that the Debian project can be forced to change the name of all Mozilla related packages because of the Mozilla trademark restrictions. He also asked if this naming restrictions would make the packages non-free. Several suggestions for new names included Freebird, Freefox and Freezilla with or without the distribution name. Don Armstrong suggested a distribution-neutral naming scheme for non-official Mozilla packages.

Debian Eyecatcher Project started. Alexander Schmehl announced that he has started the Eyecatcher project. The idea is to create some kind of informative and funny presentation about Debian which could be run in a loop on fairs, when the booth personnel have nothing else to show or while it is busy with other visitors. Help on this project would be appreciated.

On Packaging MPEG Encoders. The question why lame couldn't be packaged and distributed in Debian recently came up. Chris Cheney explained that it is patent-encumbered by a company enforcing its patents. Florian Weimer added that even while software cannot be patented in Europe currently, it can infringe patent claims, which is more relevant for Debian.

Experimental Buildd Network? Frank Küster wondered if packages in experimental were autobuilt. Martin Michlmayr pointed out that Andreas Barth is running a buildd network for experimental. He added that versioned build-dependencies from experimental are not supported.

ITP Reminder Mails. Justin Pryzby wondered if he should send reminder mails to those who opened an intent-to-package (ITP) bug report and where the bug report hasn't seen any traffic in the last four months. This effort was mostly appreciated last time and the results sent to the QA group.

Origin of the Debian Swirl Logo. Martin F. Krafft wondered where the current Debian logo is from. Florian Ernst directed readers to the readme file in the webserver source that explains that Raul M. Silva has created the logo. The Debian project announced the new logo back in August 1999 as a result of a GIMP contest and a subsequent vote among Debian developers.

Detecting uninstalled Packages. Martin Michlmayr asked for a list of packages that are not installed by anybody or only by a few people. Frank Lichtenheld revealed that this refers to about 230 (or 600 for less than two installations) packages according to the popularity contest.

Using the Term Debian. Jürgen Lüters wondered if he may use the term Debian as part of "Debian extended Xterminal" or whether there are legal obstacles even though the scripts will be released under the GNU GPL as well. Brian Thomas Sniffen pointed out that the trademark could indeed prevent him from using the term.

Bug Squashing Party next Weekend. Frank Lichtenheld announced a bug squashing party to take place from January 7th to 9th in #debian-bugs on He wrote that over the last weeks the release-critical bug count has increased again. There are probably several reasons this has happened (e.g. many people on vacation, stalls in the testing migration due to gcc and perl problems etc.).

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

Orphaned Packages. 29 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 256 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 Sebastian Feltel, Martin Zobel-Helas and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.