Debian Project News - October 20th, 2008

Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community.
Some of the topics covered in this issue include:

Bits from the Debian CD team

Steve McIntyre posted some bits from the Debian CD team. With the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny, Blu-ray Disc images will be available as well as CD and DVD images. For the first time in several years, users should be able to fit all of the packages for one architecture on a single disc. But due to the increased size of the Debian archive and considerations of storage and network bandwidth (especially on our mirrors) only a limited number of versions of each image will be available for direct download on our mirrors.

All images will be available via Jigdo (a tool which creates images by downloading individual .deb files and assembling them into one .iso file), and most images for the popular architectures will be available as torrents, too.

He also gave some figures about the total numbers of images that need to be created for Lenny. Summarized over all architectures it comes to 414 CD images, 64 DVD images, and 13 Blu-ray Disc images.

Debian, software patents and archive layout

A recently announced Intent To Package moonlight, an open source implementation of a patented proprietary product, caused some discussion regarding software patents. Packaging such software and distributing it via our mirror network could be a legal risk for Debian and its mirrors.

Paul Wise argued that problems caused by patented software are already addressed by unofficial archives like and Reinhard Tartler pointed out some flaws with these archives and proposed introducing a new section alongside main, contrib and non-free, with policy adapted accordingly. His proposal, however, was criticised, too, for example the regression of the section main not being self contained any more.

Statistics about usage

Since has been moved to a new host sponsored by 1&1, Jörg Jaspert took the opportunity to publish some data about the usage of this service. Since the start of this year, has already seen 5,777,672 unique visitors downloading the page 122,314,763 times (both numbers excluding bots, such as crawlers for search engines). Nearly half of the visitors went directly to, while less than a quarter came by way of a search engine.

Unofficial bug tracker and delayed queue

The unofficial tracker for Release Critical bugs now incorporates bugs fixed by uploads to the so-called delayed queue. This makes it easier to track bugs needing to be worked on. The delayed queue is used for package uploads not carried out by the regular maintainer of the package (so-called NMUs).

In related news, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl used this tool to publish some detailed and categorized numbers about the release critical bugs.

Bits from the Eee PC team

Ben Armstrong delivered a report on the status of the port of Debian for the Eee PC netbooks. A recent upload of the Linux kernel fixed some thermal problems and solved issues with ACPI. Also, the ath5k driver included with the Linux kernel 2.6.27 supports the wireless adaptors of the 701, 900, 900A and 1000HD models, which previously required a non-free driver.

Policy for backporting KDE features

Sune Vuorela wondered how to deal with features introduced in recent versions of the desktop environment KDE. Other distributions often seem to backport new features to older versions they ship in their releases. He lists some pros and cons, and wonders whether Debian should do likewise.

Listing of domains

Nico Golde reported that he has removed his list of subdomains (which can be registered by any Debian Developer) due to privacy issues. He asks developers to add their subdomains to a wiki page.

Report from Skolelinux/Debian-edu gathering

Sune Vuorela reported on the recent gathering of Skolelinux/Debian-Edu developers. He spent some time working on educational videos and KDE related education packages as well as GNASH, a free software flash player.

Slogan for Lenny

The Debian Art team is seeking a slogan for the next stable release, Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny. The discussion, as well as a poll, can be found in the archives of the debian publicity mailing list.

Systems Expo 2008

From Tuesday 21 October to Friday 24 October, the Debian Project will participate at the Systems expo 2008 in Munich, Germany. The Debian booth will be located in Area B2, Booth 315 along with other FLOSS projects. Please see the events page for further details.

Technical Dutch Open Source Event 2008

From Saturday 25 October to Sunday 26 October, the Debian Project will participate with a booth at the Technical Dutch Open Source Event (T-DOSE) in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Please see the events page for further details.

New Developers

Since the previous issue of the Debian Project News, 7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, and 3 as Debian Maintainers. Please welcome Adam Barratt, Julian Andres Klode, Jonny Lamb, Joachim Reichel, Bradley Smith, Behan Webster and Y Giridhar Appaji Nag as well as Emmanuel Bouthenot, Samuel Thibaul and David Paleino to our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): iceweasel, openldap, ruby1.8, ruby1.9, linux-2.6.18 and libxml2. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Please note that these are a selection of the more important security advisories of the last two weeks. If you need to be kept up to date about security advisories released by the Debian Security Team, please subscribe to the security mailing list for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently (among others):

Debian Package of the Day featured the packages memstat (a tool to identify what is using up virtual memory) and smartmontools (a set of tools to monitor the health of your hard disks).

Work-needing packages

Currently 441 packages are orphaned and 124 packages are up for adoption. Please take a look at the recent reports to see if there are packages you are interested in or view the complete list of packages which need your help.

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Meike Reichle and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.