Debian Weekly News - July 19th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. By the time that this issue is released, this year's Debian conference in Finland will have finished. About 270 people gathered for nearly three weeks in Helsinki forming a nice group photo. During the conference Alioth has been upgraded to Debian sarge with several improvements included.

Plans for new Debian-CDs. Steve McIntyre summarised the goals and plans for the next version of debian-cd. The handling of tasks and dependencies needs to be improved. They want to improve the layout code so that packages are copied faster and to simplify the task of creating different layouts, like multi-arch or combined binary/source.

Debian GNU/Hurd Status Update. Michael Banck reported that Debian GNU/Hurd is alive and kicking, though it could do with some more help. About 40 % of all Debian packages are built for the Hurd and a buildd is waiting for inclusion into the archive system. The core packages are maintained by a team and coordination of this port is organised via Alioth.

Library Updates for the C++ ABI Change. Steve Langasek explained that C++ libraries have to be renamed without a soname change during the transition to GCC 4.0 with a different application binary interface (ABI). He also warned developers not to upload libraries before the C++ libraries they depend on have successfully made the transition and are built on all architectures.

Expanding the Release Team. Andreas Barth is looking for new release assistants to better distribute the workload during the development cycle for etch that just started. Applicants need to be Debian developers, have a lot of spare time to dedicate, worked on QA and understand general programming and scripting languages as well as Debian packaging. He also emphasised that this is a grunt work position.

Tracking Distributions and Versions. Colin Watson announced a large-scale modification of the bug tracking system that allows to track versions and distributions that are affected by particular bugs. Reporters can now add particular version to which a bug applies and close bugs with regards to specific versions. As a result, the meaning of distribution-specific tags has changed.

Maintaining orphaned Packages. Raphaël Hertzog proposed to maintain orphaned packages with a small user base on Alioth and to hand out write access to those interested in them, even when they don't want to become their official maintainers. Basically he would like to start a QA task force that actively maintains such packages with a lot of external input.

Debian Printing Group. Roger Leigh proposed to form a printing group inside Debian in order to coordinate the various printing packages. Due to the numerous ways of setting up a working printing system, bugs in one package are often in interdependent packages. As a result, the debian-printing list has been created.

SSH Default Setting changed. Marco d'Itri noticed that the default setting of HashKnownHosts has been set to yes in sid which results in all new host addresses to be hashed. They are not human-readable anymore. Florian Weimer added that this setting reduces the chance for worms to abuse the known_hosts file. Colin Watson quoted the documentation of ssh-keygen that will help remove old entries.

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.

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