Debian Weekly News - April 5th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. A Hurd live CD has recently seen the light for everybody who would like to give it a try without installing the system. Noèl Köthe reported during the CeBIT exhibition that some German government agencies have switched to Debian recently. Kenshi Muto has recorded an installation of Debian sarge which can be watched by using telnet.

Use the Source, Luke. John Goerzen proposed a source-centric approach to mitigate the problem of getting all architectures in sync and to save disk space on the mirrors. Wouter Verhelst pointed out that one of Debian's key selling points is the fact that you don't have to wait for something to build before you can use it. The proposal would turn Debian into a second Gentoo distribution.

Why Firewall Support? Thomas Bushnell wondered why the Vancouver prospectus listed firewall support as an essential requirement before a port can be supported by a release. Joel Aelwyn explained that probably the buildd machine needs to be able to run with a firewall of its own in order to operate in a hostile environment like the Internet.

Emulating Architectures. Gunnar Wolf proposed to emulate slower architectures on faster machines by using one of the many emulators in Debian. Peter De Schrijver added that cross-compiling with distcc or scratchbox would be even faster while the buildd would still run on the target architecture and be able to execute newly created programs.

Better Support for chroot Environments. Jorge deLyra proposed to add better support for chroot environments to init scripts so that daemons don't get started inside of these. Henning Makholm asked him to write a proper policy-rc.d script for the chroot environment. This is documented in /usr/share/doc/sysv-rc/README.policy-rc.d.gz.

Supporting LSB init Functions? Thomas Hood wondered if Debian should adopt the use of LSB init script functions. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña added that currently scripts differ a lot. Contrary to common belief, the output of init scripts can be logged as Wouter Verhelst noted.

Reason for Package Removals. Frank Küster wondered how one could find out the reason why a package was removed from the testing distribution. Jeroen van Wolffelaar admitted that this information is indeed not available yet. In the future the new debian-testing-changes list should be used for such information.

Major Outage of Debian Infrastructure. James Troup announced major problems with one of Debian's servers. After it became apparent that there has been extensive data corruption on one partition the machine was moved off of the network. Some services have been moved and restored since then but developers still need to check the files in their home directories on their own. This also means that this issue cannot be read on the web when it is distributed via mail.

Release Status Update. Andreas Barth sent in another status update for the sarge release. He added a last call for volunteers to maintain the 80386 upgrade path and patch, otherwise this sub-architecture is bound to be dropped entirely. He also anticipated a soon freeze of testing once the arm architecture catches up.

A friendlier Debian Project? Hanna Wallach wrote an essay about making Debian a friendlier place for both men and women. Surprisingly, many men participate in the Debian Women project because of a much more positive, welcoming and friendly atmosphere than in other Debian fora.

Helping the GNOME Team. Jordi Mallach asked for help from people reading, testing and commenting about the validity of the bugs filed against several GNOME packages. Plain packaging of the software didn't turn out to be a big problem, except when there are tricky upgrades and transitions. Coping with the large number of bug reports, though, is.

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. 8 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 224 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.