Debian Weekly News - June 14th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 24th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Last week has seen a lot of discussion on release goals and the release team for etch. Several people are already keen on discussing the preparation and timing for the next release. Branden Robinson explained where news about Alioth should be sent to instead of using private mail.

Release Policy Changes. Andreas Barth proposed a few changes to the release policy for the upcoming release of etch. When libraries are provided, other programs should link against them dynamically instead of duplicating its source, build-dependencies must be static. The section about PIC libraries probably needs a technical discussion first.

C++ ABI Changes. Matthias Klose announced that the application binary interface (ABI) for C++ will be changed in unstable. All packages that contain shared libraries written in C++ will have to be renamed. After that, all packages that depend on these need to be uploaded again. Therefore unstable is frozen with regards to C++ libraries.

Scheduling Talks for DebConf 5. Don Armstrong called for votes on the talks people would like to listen to at the upcoming Debian Conference in Helsinki, Finland. In order to reduce the likelihood that two talks that people really wish to attend are scheduled for the exact same time, the scheduler will attempt to minimise the conflicts between talks according to the vote.

Sarge for AMD64 released. Jörg Jaspert announced that the AMD64 archive is declared stable as well. In general this release is the same as for the official ports in Debian, with only a few modified packages and several removed. Security Support for this release is planned to be provided by the Debian Security Team via

Debian for the Geeks. Bruce Byfield has written a review of the new Debian release. He acknowledges the benefits the new installer brings and that this release uses current versions of many packages. However, aptitude doesn't seem to be a particularly easy program and several video cards were not detected automatically.

Development of dpkg. Scott James Remnant reported that the current development branch 1.13 of dpkg has been uploaded into unstable. The new version contains improved handling of architectures, especially for splitting the cpu architecture and the underlying operating system kernel. The values for several variables have been changed to reflect reality better, but has the potential to break existing build scripts.

Proficiency-level for Debian Packages? Mark Edgington wondered if it would be useful to add a field to the package description indicating the minimum proficiency level that a user should have in order for a package to be useful. Enrico Zini thought about this as well but admitted, that it is difficult to measure "easyness" universally.

Debian Package Customisation. Roberto Sanchez announced his howto about the customisation of Debian packages. The document starts with setting up pbuilder for building the customised packages and explains how to create a new package version by adding a new changelog entry.

Debian and SELinux. Luke Leighton wondered if there has been any progress turning the library libselinux1 into a required package. Stephen Frost explained that it's working the other way round and that e.g. coreutils needs to add a dependency itself. Petter Reinholdtsen added that using a library does not mean using SELinux.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Martin 'Joey' Schulze.