Debian Project News - July 7th, 2008

Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community.
Some of the topics covered in this issue:

Debian Day 2008 around the Globe

16 August 2008 will mark the 15th birthday of the Debian project since its first announcement by founder Ian Murdock on comp.os.linux.development on 16 August 1993. A coordination page for local Debian User Groups organizing and announcing birthday events is already available at the Debian Wiki.

DPL-initiated teams survey finished

Debian Project Leader Steve McIntyre has published the summary of the results of his teams survey. The survey yielded 116 replies, which covered a total of 77 teams. The overall result of the survey is that the vast majority of the respondents are very happy working within their respective teams, and most think that their teams are working well. Concerning negative aspects of their team work the respondents mainly named personal lack of time, the need for more team members, and a lack of communication between teams.

Steve McIntyre further noticed that many of Debian's longest-standing developers are very overworked but most are still happy about their Debian work. Considering individual teams the Perl team turned out to be the one with the most positive feedback, while internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) teams tend to be rather informally organized, but are still working well. The porter teams are especially short of manpower and are urgently looking for skilled people.

Bits from the Testing Security Team

Nico Golde sent bits from the testing security team. He summarized the security status of the current testing branch Lenny as very good and also added that even if it may appear to be so, the testing security team does not support the unstable branch Sid. He also invited volunteers to join the team, especially to offer support for Lenny's kernel packages which are currently unsupported.

In related news, Enrico Zini announced that a set of security-related tags are now acquired automatically from the security team, making it easy to spot non-supported packages.

New members for two core teams

Christoph Berg announced that Wouter Verhelst and Michael Koch have been added to the New Maintainer Front Desk, while Joerg Jaspert announced that Mark Hymers has been added as new FTP Assistant.

Desktop environments and menu policy

Daniel Dickinson initiated a discussion about the behavior of the three major desktop environments (KDE, GNOME and Xfce) regarding their application menu. They, as well as other desktop environments, use .desktop files supplied by applications to create their menu, while the Debian policy only requires .menu files to be supplied by Debian packages. While some people judged the .menu files to be obsoleted by .desktop files, Bernhard Link and others pointed out some disadvantages. In the end Russ Allbery proposed to start by extending the existing standard for desktop files to fit Debian's needs before changing the policy.

Call for talks: DebianDay Argentinia

The organizers of this year's DebianDay, a general information event taking place during the annual Debian Conference, are still searching for talks. This year's DebianDay will take place on 18 August 2008 in Buenos Aires. Attendees of this year's Debian Conference, who'll be staying in Argentina a few more days after the conference, are invited to give a talk on Debian related topics: e.g., Debian in Latin America, Internationalization in Debian, How to help Debian, Debian Live, Making a Debian derivative distribution, Packaging for Debian or other general Debian topics.

Ideas for improved diversions and alternatives handling

Goswin von Brederlow proposed some changes regarding the Debian package management system's handling of diversions and alternatives. Steve Langasek found some flaws in the initial proposal, which proposed adding new control files to the packages. However, the general consensus seems to be that declaring diversions explicitly is superior to the current approach of handling diversions as alternatives in the maintainer scripts of packages.

dpkg triggers and user experience

Franklin Piat voiced his concern that users might take the recent introduction of dpkg triggers (which are a mechanism for registering required actions such as man page database updates) as something negative. User's might just notice that something called triggers is now additionally called after packages have already been installed, without noticing that the triggers do actually save computing time during a package's installation. Charles Plessy argued that the problem might be solved by changing the text displayed to the user to something more transparent.

Meike Reichle and Alexander Schmehl married

After getting to know each other three years ago through their Debian work Debian Developers Meike Reichle and Alexander Schmehl were married on Saturday, 28 June 2008, at Lake Constance in Germany. This marks the first time two Debian Developers were joined in marriage. Several other DDs, one of whom served as the groom's best man, were present to celebrate with Meike's and Alexander's friends and families. As a wedding gift they presented a cookbook including the favourite recipes of many members of the Debian community. VersionĀ 1.1 of the book is already in the works, hopefully with a clarified license and maybe also incorporating changes required by FTBFS bugs if any are filed by the newlyweds in time. The Debian project's congratulations go out to the happy couple, and we hope this may be the start of a very joyful time in both their lives.

Other news

The 9th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics: advice on quilt usage and compatibility with new source format; update-grub's switch to using UUIDs by default; the wxwidgets2.8 upload to unstable; and volunteers needed to handle the updating of the release notes.

Dann Frazier asked for reviews of the release notes of the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0r4. Since this point release will optionally support newer versions of the Linux Kernel, additional care is needed for them.

Johannes Wiedersich wondered what to do with bug reports closed by spam e-mails. Lars Wirzenius pointed out that spam mails should be reported (e.g. via the web interface) so they can be removed, and the bugs should be reopened (and unarchived if necessary) using the mail interface.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team released among others advisories for the packages dbus, wordpress and pcre3. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Please note that those are only the most important security advisories of the last two weeks. If you would like to kept up to date about the security advisories released by the Debian Security Team, please subscribe to our mailing list for security announcements.

Work-needing packages

Currently 497 packages are orphaned and 110 packages are up for adoption. Please take a look at the recent reports if there are packages you are interested in or view the complete archive of packages requesting help.

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Raphael Hertzog, Sebastian, Justin Rye, Jon Evans, Andre Felipe Machado, Wouter Verhelst, Meike Reichle and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.