Debian Weekly News - January 25th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Marc Haber announced experimental packages of Exim4 linked against db4.2 for later inclusion in to sarge/sid. OSNews has a guideline on using the new debian-installer to install Debian by Luis Lima.

Sarge Release Progress Update. Steve Langasek sent in an update on the release progress for Debian 3.1. He reported that KDE 3.3 has been added to sarge and a porter upload for perl had taken place, which dropped the release critical bug count about 60 bugs. He also stated that progress on testing-proposed-updates and testing-security has been made but is still waiting for infrastructure.

Status Update for volatile Archive. Andreas Barth reported about the status of debian-volatile. This unofficial archive aims at supporting fast moving packages for the stable Debian release like spam filter, virus scanner and the like. He and his team have set up the infrastructure and mirrors for it. The first package, whois has been accepted for debian-volatile's section of woody.

Renaming Binary Packages. Jay Berkenbilt wanted to rename a package in order to lose the version in the package name. To achieve this he planned to create a new source package and convert the old packages into transitional packages only. Anthony Towns explained that the name of a library package does not have to match its soname and believes that no transitional packages need to be provided when Conflicts, Provides and Replaces fields are carefully crafted.

Support for Devfs? Russell Coker stated that devfs is regarded as obsolete in the kernel source and will be removed in July 2005. However, the new installer is based on it. Joey Hess asserted that Debian will not destabilise the installer by beginning to make large changes to it, like not using devfs, until sarge is released.

Changing the Architecture of a Package. Jay Berkenbilt wondered if the change from any to all in a Debian package would require manual intervention. Santiago Vila asserted that such a package could enter the archive even faster, since it is built for 11 architectures "instantly".

Debian Women IRC meeting. The Debian Women group held an IRC meeting on January 16th. The topic discussed was "How to best convey the purpose and goals of the Debian Women project to those who have questions about it." Prior to the meeting, Jérémy Bobbio raised the question of the best way to organise and moderate IRC meetings, especially when non-native English speakers are present. The meeting was well attended and provoked lively discussions. Minutes were taken by Colleen Hatfield.

Spurious Permissions Changes. Otto Wyss noticed that permissions on a program he added the setuid flag were changed back permanently. Peter Samuelson contributed the proper dpkg-statoverride command and Maciej Dems added that it would be better to use sudo in this case.

Depending on a particular Kernel Package. Martin Kittel wondered if it is sensible to declare a dependency on a kernel image package since arguments were raised in a former discussion that not all users have the Debian kernel installed. Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho explained that the job of a dependency is to make sure that another package is installed so its provided content can be used. The kernel is a different case.

Mozilla Foundation Trademark Proposal. Gervase Markham from the Mozilla Foundation proposed a trademark agreement for Debian Firefox and Thunderbird packages. Walter Landry pointed out that people outside of Debian would still be unable to legally modify and redistribute the packages.

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 package was added to the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

Orphaned Packages. 4 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 242 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 Martin Zobel-Helas, Helen Faulkner and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.