Debian Weekly News - April 18th, 2006

Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. We congratulate the new project leader (DPL), Anthony Towns. Holger Levsen announced updated videos from the last Skolelinux meeting as Ogg theoras. For the first time the videos themselves contain a copyright and author note.

Debian Project Leader Election. Manoj Srivastava announced Anthony Towns as the winner of this year's project leader election whose term started on April 17th. In total 421 developers have casted a ballot. Anthony stated afterwards that the general philosophy he is aiming to follow is that there's very little you can do as DPL that you can't do as a regular developer.

Experimental Autobuilder. Wouter Verhelst explained that automatically building packages in the experimental distribution is a bit of a special case, which means that our experimental autobuilders act slightly differently compared to other distributions. Only properly versioned build-dependencies will be pulled in from experimental and taken from unstable otherwise.

Debian Python Modules Team. Raphaël Hertzog reported that the Debian Python Modules Team has been created to collaboratively maintain packages of Python modules. They have prepared a policy already and invite all maintainers of Python modules to join the team.

X11 Release 7 Transition. Steve Langasek reported that X.Org 7.0 alias X11R7 has been uploaded into unstable and that it brought a few bugs with it. As a result the X11R6 hierarchy is going away and new programs are installed in /usr/bin instead. Static library packages have also been dropped.

Reforming the New Maintainer Process. Marc Brockschmidt summarised his experiences of the current process. Some problems and delays are caused by the lack of interested people working as application managers. He proposed to raise the requirements before applying and to separate upload permissions, system accounts and voting rights.

On Generating Revenue. Annamalai Gurusami wondered why the Debian project doesn't sell CDs and generate revenue. Don Armstrong explained that the Debian project is a non-profit organisation and that other entities are more used to the complications of taxes and the economics of making and selling CDs and DVDs. Paul Johnson added that it's better to donate to Debian directly instead of purchasing a product of which only a fraction of the price goes to the project.

Package Removal Problems. Lars Wirzenius summarised the top 10 problems he discovered in Debian packages using the piuparts utility that performs automatic installation and de-installation of packages. Gustavo Franco suggested to add checks to linda and lintian that could detect some of these problems earlier.

License Meta Information. Jari Aalto proposed to add a new field to the control file that contains the abbreviation of the used license. Martin Würtele pointed out that this information is already available on without the need to download the entire package. Jörg Jaspert stated that such a field would not even ease NEW processing.

Marking BTS SPAM. Shaun Jackman wondered if it would be possible to mark spam sent via the bug tracking system (BTS). Don Armstrong pointed out that a button with a similar functionality already exists on the web pages for bug reports. Additionally, Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña provided a Mutt configuration snippet for reporting list spam via mail.

Changes to the unofficial AMD64 Archive. Jörg Jaspert informed about a functional change on, which maintains an unofficial port of Debian for the AMD64 platform. Since the recent inclusion of AMD64 as an officially supported platform there is no need for an unofficial AMD64 build daemon anymore. Users of testing or unstable should switch over to an official mirror, users of sarge, the current stable release, are not affected by this change.

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. 11 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 292 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 Sebastian Feltel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.