Debian Weekly News - January 30th, 2007

Welcome to this year's 2nd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Anthony Towns was interviewed by Liz Tay on whether Dunc Tank was a failure or success. Joey Schulze reported that the alpha port has caught up and is fitter than before since it now has two working build daemon.

Dealing with personal Configuration and Data. Aigars Mahinovs proposed a standard for applications to organise data and configuration files stored in the user's home directory as an extension to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. It should first implemented in Debian and then passed upstream. Mark Hymers pointed out that the XDG Base Directory Specification from Waldo Bastian addresses configuration files already.

Social Committee for Debian? Josip Rodin proposed to found a social committee that will deal with social problems within the Debian project, similar to the technical committee handling technical issues. It would have its own charter and would delegate communications coordinators to particular teams and mailing lists to observe and ensure that no complaints go unnoticed.

Request for Translation Updates. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña asked maintainers to take the chance to upload packages with only translation updates. Such modification have a good chance to be granted a freeze exception by the release team. Even after the NMU Campaign aimed to fix pending localisation bugs in the bug tracking system, there are still many packages with open bugs. Maintainers are encouraged to sent a message to debian-i18n asking for translation updates.

Debian-Installer Loader. Robert Millan announced the availability of a Debian-Installer Loader for win32. The program, inspired by Ubuntu's similar project, features 64-bit CPU auto-detection, download of kernel and initrd netboot images, and chain-loading into Debian-Installer via grub4dos. Graphical installations are supported as well. The frontend site has been setup for advocacy purposes.

New UTF-8 Migration Wizard. Martin-Éric Racine announced that a new GTK2-based migration tool for UTF-8 has been uploaded into the unstable distribution. It allows an easy migration to UTF-8 for both locale settings and user file encodings. Martin-Éric Racine recently took over the development of this tool which was previously developed for Ubuntu.

Proposal for an official Screenshot Repository. Roberto C. Sanchez requested comments about the idea of having an official archive of screenshots that would allow users to browse through images of GUI packages, a service similar to for descriptions. Nico Golde pointed a similar discussion in 2006.

Debian at the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2007. The Debian project will maintain a booth at the this years' Chemnitzer Linux-Tage taking place from March, 3rd to 4th at the Technical University of Chemnitz. Torsten Werner will give a talk about advanced Debian packaging and Jörg Jaspert will discuss virtualisation using Xen on Debian.

Debian Conference Deadline. Jörg Jaspert announced that participants need to register on Pentabarf until Wednesday January 31st, 2007 if they would like to apply for sponsored accommodation, food or travel, or if they are planning to submit a talk or event proposal. This years' Debian Conference will take place in Edinburgh from June 17th to 23rd, 2007.

Keeping virtual Disks clean. Aleksandr Koltsoff announced zerotools, a set of tools to aid keeping virtual disks clean by filling binary zero to those regions which are no longer in use. These tools should not be used to make data retrieval close to impossible. The author also noticed that no Debian packages were available. Amaya Rodrigo Sastre added information about zum, a similar tool that is part of perforate, a package maintained by her.

Updates during the Etch Life Cycle. Luis Matos proposed to add kernel updates on stable point releases in order to support more hardware and to keep using volatile and backports for other programs. Moritz Mühlenhoff added that there are plans for a second set of kernels (and probably X servers) nine months after the release of etch, which will also have security support. However, nothing is fixed yet, as the current focus is on getting etch ready for release.

Architecture Release Requirements? Thomas Bushnell wondered why alpha is a release architecture since it doesn't fulfil the architecture requirements of having build daemon redundancy, since the main alpha machine has been offline for more than ten days. Martin Schulze added that the machine was being moved to a new location. Steve Langasek answered that this requirement has been waived as a hard requirement for release qualification so that this particular outage doesn't affect the release status of alpha port.

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. 4 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 371 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. 1 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 Felipe Augusto van de Wiel, Robert Millan, Sebastian Feltel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.