Debian Weekly News - June 6th, 2006

Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Enrico Zini reported that he has increased the performance of debtags by improving the tagcoll library. Krzysztof Klincewicz analysed 500 most active projects on SourceForge and concluded that only little innovation happens in these projects.

Trustability of the Web of Trust. During the recent Debian Conference Martin Krafft conducted a keysigning experiment to raise questions about the Debian web of trust. This web consists of signatures between GnuPG keys, which verify that the signer has reason to believe that the key's owner is really the person who they claims to be. However, the signer does not confirm the validity of a government-issued form of identification, which is not possible given the wide variety of identification to be found at an international event with 140 participants.

Security Support for Woody ending. The Debian Project announced that more than one year after the release of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 alias 'sarge' the security support for the old stable distribution 3.0 will be terminated at the end of June 2006. Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 alias 'woody' has been released nearly four years ago on July 19th 2002.

Improving Debian's Publicity. Andreas Barth noted that there were somewhat suboptimal news in the press about Debian in the past. It seems that journalists did pick up postings which were primarily targeted at Debian developers and wrote articles about with misleading information. Andreas wondered how to improve this situation, probably by offering direct phone contact to our developers for the journalists.

Debian Conference 6: Hot, spicy and working hard. Robin Miller reported that this year's Debconf brought close to 300 Debian developers, package maintainers, and other interested parties to Mexico. A lot of work was aimed at making Debian more user-friendly. Holger Levsen and several others shot high definition video of most DebConf6 presentations which will be available on the meetings-archive server soon.

Automatic Debian Installation with Pre-Seeding. Carla Schroder explained how to generate a quick 'n' dirty preseed configuration file for replicating a Debian installation, and how to perform a minimal custom installation with a USB stick. She continued to explain how to start a network installation with either a new USB stick or an old CD-ROM, or an even more antique 3.5" diskette.

Debian IRC moves to OFTC. The Debian project announced that it has moved the alias to the Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC). This move was done in recognition of many discussions taking place there already. OFTC is also a sister organisation of Debian, as both are supported and represented by Software in the Public Interest, Inc. The Debian project has been using the Freenode IRC network for many years.

Failed Release Architecture Qualification. Andreas Barth reported about three architectures that were released with Debian sarge which currently do not meet the requirements for inclusion in etch. Some sub-architectures of m68k still require the 2.2 or 2.4 kernel which are not supported anymore. The s390 port lacks a sufficient number of developers. The sparc port lacks kernel support. Help for these ports is highly appreciated.

New Debian Menu Structure. Bill Allombert proposed a new Debian menu structure devised by Linas Zvirblis. Several sections have been renamed and a number of sub-sections have been created to reflect the large number of new applications. Developers should check whether their current menu files still fit into the new structure and adjust the section if not.

Delivering Mails for System Users? Andreas Metzler wondered if it would be safe to reject any mail for system accounts based on the user id unless it is redirected via /etc/aliases. Wouter Verhelst explained that other distributions start with a lower uid for real users. Stephen Samuel confirmed that this would cause problems in a hybrid environment.

Debian Light Desktop. André Luiz Rodrigues Ferreira started working on a desktop meta package for desktop machines running old hardware. He received several improvements. Joey Hess would like to add this to tasksel, so that the desktop task automatically installs it if it detects a system that is not easily capable of running KDE/GNOME.

Reforming the New-Maintainer Process. Marc Brockschmidt proposed to stiffen the requirements for prospective maintainers by adding a second advocate and increasing the amount of packaging they must have already accomplished in the past. This way the applicant is more into Debian when they apply. He also suggested to separate upload permissions, system accounts and voting rights which would mean a reform of the Debian project.

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 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. To find out which orphaned packages are installed on your system the wnpp-alert program from devscripts may be helpful.

Removed Packages. One package has 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.