Debian Weekly News - September 6th, 2005

Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Christoph Berg created a Debian quiz where you can test your knowledge about Debian's distribution, people, mailing lists, etc. So far, about 1600 people have participated. After their summer holidays 16,000 pupils in northern Italy (south Tyrol) will find their 2,460 classroom computers migrated to a customised, multi-language derivative of Debian GNU/Linux.

KDE Transition Status. Adeodato Simó reported that the archive now contains versions of qt-x11-free, aRts, and kdelibs for all architectures that depend on the new C++ library. Therefore he asked developers to update the packages that depend on one of these libraries and enclosed a list of maintainers and packages.

License for Wiki Content. Geert Stappers wondered which license should be used for the content of a Wiki system, which is intended to be modified and improved by others. Nathanael Nerode explained that Debian is working with the Creative Commons people on a draft of a new version of their license that should be DFSG-free, since the current one isn't. Andrew Suffield proposed to use the MIT license unless there is a really good reason not to do so.

Using the PHP License for Packages. Charles Fry noticed that the current version of the PHP license (version 3.0) contains several clauses which are specific to the PHP language, and either inapplicable or even problematic for applications written in PHP. Francesco Poli suggested to use the 2-clause BSD license and use the PHP license only for PHP itself.

Curl reverts to OpenSSL. Domenico Andreoli announced that he has paused the plan to link curl library against GNU TLS instead of OpenSSL which he considered after license concerns. The upstream developer was not happy to restrict the binary packages to either library since their implementations contain partially different features.

Purging Database Data? Philipp Kern wondered under which circumstances user-supplied data should be removed upon package removal. Joey Hess confirmed that using debconf during postrm purge is fine as long as the script checks whether debconf is installed and falls back to reasonable behaviour if it isn't.

New Runlevel Design. Timo Aaltonen wondered if there were plans to change the runlevel concept more into the direction of the Linux Standard Base. John Hasler asserted that most probably there won't be a change into supporting multiple multi-user runlevels. Hamish Moffatt explained the emergency mode which is what several people expect as single-user mode.

Notification on API Changes. Marc Brockschmidt asked developers to notify others when the application program interface (API) is changed in a new version. Ron Johnson pointed out that apt-rdepends works fine for normal reverse dependencies. Kurt Roeckx added a means to discover the reverse build-dependencies of a package.

Quality of the README File. Wolfgang Borgert gave several examples of confusing, irrelevant, redundant, or useless README files distributed in Debian packages. He asked maintainers to not include the upstream README file in the binary package, if it's not really important to the user and strip irrelevant information otherwise.

Differing Library Memory Consumption. Stephane Chauveau noticed that a self-compiled GTK library consumes less (140 kB) memory for non-static data than the one provided by Debian. Thiemo Seufer explained that this does not matter due to copy-on-write done by the kernel. The reason for this is still unknown.

Debian QA Meeting. Martin Zobel-Helas reported about the Debian QA meeting that will take place at the Technical University of Darmstadt from the 9th to the 11th of September. The attendants will give talks on various topics such as portability issues, the installer, lintian, autotools, new maintainer, collaborative maintenance and others.

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 203 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. 8 packages have been removed from the Debian archive during the past week:

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