Debian Weekly News - March 13th, 2007

Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DWN, the newsletter for the Debian community. The Debian listmaster determined as part of the spring cleaning effort several unused and obsolete lists that will be closed down. Tony Mobily noted that the last GIF patent has finally expired. Gustavo Franco reported that Second Life runs on Debian servers because it is suited to scaling massively with a small IT staff.

Directory for Web Applications. Paul Cager wondered what directory should be used as document root for a small web server he is packaging. Luis Matos noted that packages like phpsysinfo use /usr/share/<packagename> and symbolic links to /var/www/<packagename>. Sean Finney explained that the proper way to include web applications is via an alias in the web server configuration and pointed to the Webapps Policy Manual written by the Debian Webapps Team.

Release Status of the Motorola 680x0 Port. Bill Allombert reported that the last remaining showstopper for the m68k port has been fixed since etch contains GCC 4.1.1-21 for all architectures. Stephen Marenka added that the inclusion may be considered when the number of uninstallable packages in the testing distribution is as low as for other architectures.

Handling of inactive Debian Accounts. Jörg Jaspert announced that the account managers will lock unused accounts based on the ongoing Debian Project Leader election and other sources to measure developers activities and project participation. Depending on the elapsed time the developer will have to go through a reduced new maintainer process to reactivate their account.

One Laptop per Child Software on Debian. The human interface for the One Laptop per Child initiative is Free Software and can be installed on Debian unstable. sugar-jhbuild provides one of the easiest ways to install Sugar. All packages required for building are available in unstable and experimental.

Google's Summer of Code 2007. Anthony Towns reported that Google is running a Summer of Code again this year, seeking project applications until March 12th. Stefano Zacchiroli referred to the Wiki page coordinating Debian's participation which already lists several tasks. Students will work on accepted projects from end of May to end of August.

Offline Key for stable Updates of Etch. Goswin von Brederlow asked if the etch release will be signed with an offline key. Martin Zobel-Helas added that etch and every point release will be signed with both keys (online and offline) and explained that the key is already created and Andreas Barth is working to integrate it into debian-archive-keyring.

Better Internationalisation Support in Installer Manual. Frans Pop announced support for translated entities in the installation guide of the Debian-Installer, using a patch proposed by Miroslav Kure. Christian Perrier formerly noticed that the manual contained several custom entities that couldn't be translated into other languages.

Bharat Operating System Solutions GNU/Linux 1.0. Chandan M C announced that the Indian distribution BOSS GNU/Linux 1.0 is based on Debian GNU/Linux 4.0. It consists of a pleasing desktop environment coupled with Indian languages support and packages relevant for use in the government. The long-term goal is to localise the system into all 22 official Indian languages to support people who don't understand English and are thus denied Free Software's benefits. The National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software chose Debian for its high versatility and reliability as well as the guarantee to always remain 100 % Free Software.

Binary Upload Restrictions. James Troup explained that reproducibility and logging of automatic package builds together with build effort coordination caused binary-only uploads to be denied for several architectures and suites. Emulated or cross-compiled package builds are still considered potentially harmful and are thus not encouraged. He added implementation details and illustrated the events that lead to these restrictions.

Closing unreproducible Bugs. Julien Valroff wondered when a maintainer may close an unreproducible bug report. Neil Williams added that it should be taken into account whether the submitter is responsive and whether the bug report includes sufficient information. He asserted that the unreproducible tag has a similar meaning as moreinfo, i.e. the report should stay open, especially if it indicates a crash.

Babelbox with Etch Support. Frans Pop announced that he has updated babelbox to support the upcoming etch release. Babelbox is a set of scripts and tools to set up a machine that will continuously run fully automated installations in different languages using both the graphical and the textual installer. Between each installation it will boot into the installed system and log into GNOME for a short period of time.

Debian Project Leader Election. Manoj Srivastava announced that Wouter Verhelst, Aigars Mahinovs, Gustavo Franco, Sam Hocevar, Steve McIntyre, Raphael Hertzog, Anthony Towns and Simon Richter have nominated themselves for the upcoming Debian Project Leader election. On February 25th, right after the nomination phase, the campaigning phase begun during which the candidates will answer questions regarding their plans and ideas. Sven Luther who was also a project leader candidate withdrew his candidacy.

French Debconf Translation of Debian completed. Christian Perrier announced that Debian's Debconf templates in unstable are now fully translated into the French language thanks to the continuous work of the French localisation team and the whole internationalisation community. A similar effort is also ongoing for several other languages with a steady progress.

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. 27 packages were orphaned since the last issue and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 369 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. 19 packages have been removed from the Debian archive since the last issue:

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Felipe Augusto van de Wiel, Sebastian Feltel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.