Debian Weekly News - April 19th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Micah Anderson noted that the oldest open bug reports in Debian turn ten this month. Brian Proffitt commented on a report about a survey that uncovered that in 2005 the majority of Free Software developers preferred community-based distributions.

Debian based Desktops in Munich. The city of Munich chose (German) the Debian distribution as a basis for their desktop. Two German companies will configure and maintain the 14,000 machines based on this client. The decision (German) to move away from a proprietary system had attracted a lot of interest by all kinds of media.

Interview with Branden Robinson. Our former Editor Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier conducted an interview with Branden Robinson, the new Debian Project Leader. He would like to put some care into infrastructure that is often complained about and wants to emphasise on Debian's continuing position as the most significant GNU/Linux distribution. Regular reports will round this up.

Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 updated. The Debian project announced the fifth update to their stable Distribution alias woody. It contains mostly those security updates that have accumulated since January when the last update was made. Some packages were also removed from the stable distribution, mostly due to license infringements. A complete list of all accepted and removed packages together with rationale is on the preparation page.

GPL Programs belong in non-free? Adrian Bunk noted that all programs licensed under the GNU GPL have to go into non-free, since the GPL license itself must not be modified. Glenn Maynard stated that the only reason the text of the GPL is allowed in main is because including license texts is a fundamental, unavoidable requirement of distributing software at all.

IRC Meetings. The Debian Kernel Team held an IRC meeting in which they decided that the kernel in testing is frozen. A meeting of the AMD64 porters will take place on 23rd of April to discuss how to do an unofficial sarge release of the AMD64 port. On the 26th of April there will also be a public IRC meeting of SPI.

Further Restricting the GPL. Warren Turkal wondered if terms and conditions in addition to the GNU GPL would render a package non-free. Glenn Maynard explained that granting the user permission by using the GPL but at the same time limiting the rights with additional limitation puts software in an uncertain state. Since Debian tends to honour the author's desires as closely as possible this would imply that Debian shouldn't be distributing this software.

Kernel Firmware Blobs. Sven Luther started a new discussion about binary blobs in kernel drivers without an explicit copyright notice. Allegedly, these blobs are considered a mere aggregation of bits and bytes that aren't linked into the kernel and hence don't infringe the kernel license.

Christian Debian Distribution. Raphaƫl Pinson reported about the start of Ichtux, a custom Debian distribution (CDD) focusing on Christianity and free Christian projects. They are currently considering becoming an official CDD to be included as such in the Debian project.

Documentation Licensing FAQ. Jacobo Tarrio released a draft FAQ on documentation licensing. In this document he summarises several questions and answers about this topic which should be useful especially for people who have questions about the GNU FDL.

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. 2 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 223 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.

Removed Packages. 6 packages have been removed from the Debian archive during the past few weeks:

Want to continue reading DWN? Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer writers who watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. Please see the contributing page to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

To receive this newsletter weekly in your mailbox, subscribe to the debian-news mailing list.

Back issues of this newsletter are available.

This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Martin Zobel-Helas and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.