Debian Weekly News - December 26th, 2006

Welcome to this year's 42nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. DWN is currently not being published weekly but when authors have contributed enough items because its editor can't ignore other duties while the Debian project is indirectly paying some developers. In the meantime Christian Perrier has opened the 400,000th bug report. Jonathan Oxer called for participation in the sixth Debian mini conference which will be part of Linux Conference Australia in Sydney.

20,000 Submitters for Popularity Contest. Petter Reinholdtsen reported that Debian's Popularity Contest project passed 20,000 submitters. By installing the popularity-contest package users can collect and submit the list of installed packages on their systems which helps our developers to see how popular their packages are and where a need for additional packages is.

Five Years On December, 20th the German speaking Debian discussion board is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Created in late 2001 by Sebastian Feltel was build upon the ideals and ideas that made Debian what it is now. Today the forum with more than 17,000 members is one of the largest discussion boards for Debian where beginners and advanced users help each other in a friendly and constructive manner. With booths at several Free Software events the forum is also active outside the world wide web.

ARM now third most-popular Debian Architecture. Rod Whitby reported that the Linksys NSLU2 is responsible for driving the ARM port to be the third most popular architecture among Debian Linux users who run popularity-contest. NSLU2 Debian installations are easily tracked and make up 90 % of all ARM installations reported by popcon.

Installing Debian without CD-ROM. Rainer Dorsch figured out how to install Debian on laptops with USB floppy but without bootable CD-ROM drive, such as a number of Sony Vaio laptops. Debian etch may be installed on these devices using PXE-on-a-disk, TFTP for retrieving the installation media from an TFTP server, and netbooting. The installer for sarge supported such notebooks, but the 2.6.18 kernel has grown so big that support for USB floppies had to be dropped.

Etch-CD with KDE as default Desktop. Joey Hess announced that he has created a special etch installation CD image which installs KDE as the default desktop environment. The same is possible with the original CD images when using more than one installation medium or installing using a mirror server. This is because Debian placed the GNOME packages on the first installation medium rather than the KDE ones.

Etch frozen. Andreas Barth, member of the Debian Release team, announced the freeze of the upcoming etch release. Packages contained in this distribution will only be updated after manual approval by the release team. Before etch can be released, several issues need to be addressed, especially release-critical bugs and security support.

Debian powers Australia's largest Satellite Network. Rodney Gedda reported that Australia's largest Internet via satellite network is powered by Debian GNU/Linux based routers. In the state of New South Wales 75 towns spanning upwards of 800,000 square kilometres are linked together with a combination of wireless LAN and satellite based Internet uplinks. Debian has been chosen as operating system for the network routers due to its known reliability and ease of package management.

Debian Package of the Day. Lucas Nussbaum announced that he is resurrecting Debian package a day featuring reviews of Debian packages. For the beginning the site will be updated twice a week, provided that readers contribute reviews. Interested people can subscribe to the RSS and Atom feeds. The old site from Andrew Sweger was discontinued in 2004 and finally found a successor.

New daily CD and DVD Builds. Steve McIntyre announced more types of daily built CD and DVD images, including business card and network installation images for etch and sid for all architectures except for S/390. Building these sets is triggered by the mirror pulse twice a day. The total build time for all 44 images is approximately 45 minutes. Full CD and DVD sets for all architectures are built weekly and also provide special KDE and Xfce variants of the first CD. Additionally, multi-architecture network installation CD and DVD are provided for AMD64, PowerPC and x86.

Extremadura Work Meetings Evaluation. Andreas Schuldei asked participants of Extremadura meetings held in Spain as announced at the end of 2005. The work sessions are over and he would like to gather information about the success of these. Andreas will collect impressions from Extremadura people as well and will report his findings.

FOSDEM Debian Developer's Room. Wouter Verhelst called for talks for next year's Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) that takes place on February 24th and 25th in Brussels, Belgium. The Debian project will maintain the room for the entire weekend to give talks and organise developer meetings. In addition to this room the project will staff a booth to present the new distribution to other developers present in Brussels.

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. 14 packages were orphaned last month and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 349 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.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Sebastian Feltel, Rod Whitby, Rainer Dorsch, Andre Lehovich, Felipe Augusto van de Wiel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.