Debian Weekly News - February 1st, 2005

Welcome to this year's 5th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Andreas Schuldei announced that the registration for this year's Debian conference has been opened. Og Maciel installed Debian for the first time and thought that the expert mode was appropriate, giving him the opportunity to answer all 27 questions of which only a fraction would be displayed during a normal installation.

Debian Developer Room at FOSDEM. Wouter Verhelst announced the talk schedule for the Debian developer room during this year's FOSDEM taking place at the end of February. The talks will cover the release process, embedded Debian, the Debian Women project, the Hurd, porting, quality assurance and more.

Dealing with missing Dependencies. Frank K├╝ster wondered why the Debian policy manual uses the word "should" and not "must" when it comes to the requirement to add dependencies to packages which are used in maintainer scripts. John Hasler added that they are used to distinguish the significance of the various guidelines. Jeroen van Wolffelaar explained that the significance for the sarge release is defined in the release policy.

Library Packaging Guideline. Pierre Ancelot wondered why the library packaging guide is not yet integrated into the official developers reference. Andreas Metzler pointed out that it is already linked from there. Junichi Uekawa added that this document is rather a recommendation that should be followed as long as there are no good arguments against it.

MySQL related Packages Transition. Steve Langasek discussed a late transition of packages linking against MySQL libraries. Before, the MySQL maintainer, upstream developers, and others have worked on fixing the license so that it meets the needs of the software that Debian distributes. Andreas Metzler pointed out that there is still a license problem with packages that also link to the OpenSSL library. This seems to break the whole plan, though.

Woody to Sarge Upgrade? Henning Glawe noticed that circular dependencies prevent a normal upgrade from woody to sarge using apt-get. The version in sarge works around this by increasing the length of the argument list fed into dpkg. Steve Langasek added that the release notes recommend to use aptitude for upgrading.

Gettext Script in Binary Directory. Jochen Voss noticed that the gettext package installs a shell script component in the /usr/bin directory with execute permissions removed. In Bug#284637 Bruno Haible explains that it is meant to be included in shell scripts and needs to be installed in this location. Anthony Towns proposed to add a SOURCEPATH variable to the shells.

New 2005 Debian Archive Key. Several people noticed a problem with the Debian archive recently, like apt-secure failing. Steve Kowalik revealed that the archive key for 2004 has been expired and apparently GnuPG failed to create a signature with it leading to empty files. Anthony Towns created a new archive key and noted that it's almost four years that Debian started with a signature chain but it is still not even supported by mainline software in Debian unstable.

Bug Squashing Party. Frank Lichtenheld announced the next bug squashing party to take place from February 4th to 6th with coordination in #debian-bugs on The number of release critical bugs is around 100 for several days already. Targets will be packages that lack the license text for the GNU FDL, long-standing and complex bugs, QA uploads and work on removed packages.

Wishlist for Talks during DebConf 5. Lars Wirzenius pondered about talks he would like to have at the upcoming Debian conference that will take place in Helsinki in summer. Among others the list contains very practical talks like writing good manpages, tutorials and documentation, using gettext, understanding Unicode, adding test cases to packages, identifying security problems.

Temporary Exclusion of mipsel Architecture. Steve Langasek informed the developers that the mipsel architecture will be ignored for the propagation of packages into testing. This is only a temporary measure in order to let a number of release critical bugfixes migrate into testing. The port will have an opportunity to catch up down before the release.

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.

Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 241 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 'Joey' Schulze.