Debian Project News - November 19th, 2008

Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community.
Some of the topics covered in this issue include:

First Release Candidate for the new Debian Installer

Otavio Salvador announced the first release candidate for the installer to be shipped with Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny.

Improvements since the last beta release include:

Images are available for testing at the Debian Installer website which also contains an errata list. After testing the installer please send a report about the installation as explained in the Debian Installer manual.

Debian screenshots service started

Christoph Haas announced a new web site that serves as a public repository of screenshots of applications contained in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. It was created to help users get an impression of what a given piece of software will look like on their desktops before they install it. Anybody can take screenshots and upload them; the site admin team will review the contributions before they become publicly visible. Support for screenshots has already been built into the synaptic package manager, while integration in specialised package browsers like goplay and the general web interface are being discussed.

Open Use Logo relicensed

On the occasion of the production of a custom Debian quilt Francesco Poli noted that the license for the Open Use Logo (also known as the swirl) has been changed from a license considered to be non-free to an MIT style license granting more rights to everyone. This fixes a long standing bug.

The new license grants everyone the right to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the logo while the logo with the trademarked text Debian may still only be used to refer to the Debian project.

Tracking GCC 4.4 related build errors

Martin Michlmayr announced the results from an archive rebuild with a snapshot of the upcoming GCC 4.4. About 220 bugs were filed as part of the archive rebuild and a small number of build failures still need to be analyzed. The majority of GCC 4.4 related build failures are trivial, and are often caused because of improved preprocessor checks in GCC 4.4 or missing #include statements.

Call for Help: Debian 5.0 release notes

Martin Borgert asked for help for the release notes of the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny. Some noteworthy problems have not yet been documented, so he asks for volunteers who understand some of these issues to write about them.

His mail contains a list of open issues as well as instructions for how texts should be submitted.

Custom Debian Distributions renamed to Debian Pure Blends and new services available

Andreas Tille announced that the Custom Debian Distributions (more or less, package sets for specific needs maintained inside Debian) should now be referred to as Debian Pure Blends. The name has been changed, since the old one was misleading. Many people thought Custom Debian Distributions were something maintained outside of Debian and which added new features. After some discussion members of all these teams agreed on the new name, hoping it would clarify their status (though this was not universally seen as a success).

He also announced two web services for quality assurance: one can be used to list bugs reported against packages of Debian Pure Blends, while the second one lists packages of interest for them. URLs for the services for each of the Pure Blends are given in his mail.

Lenny Release Critical Bugs Ordered by Popularity

Enrico Zini developed a new script that shows Lenny release critical bugs ordered by popularity. For those who are looking to squash the bugs that are causing the most pain, this script lays out exactly where to look. Anyone interested in running the script will need access to where the script can be found at ~enrico/popzimmer.

Survey about the Debian Wiki

Anne Goldenberg, a PhD student in communication and sociology, who is currently studying the Debian Wiki, announced a survey aimed at gaining a better understanding of the uses and conceptions of the Debian Wiki within the Debian community. The results will be put online under a free license and announced via the mailing-lists.

A Debian Wiki page describing the survey is also available.

New Developers

3 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Giuseppe Iuculano, Thorsten Glaser and Franck Joncourt to our project!

Other news

Florian Weimer noted that the names of source packages should not be reused, even if the name has not been used for a while. Some parts of Debian's infrastructure (including the package tracking system and the security tracker) don't handle this very well.

Vincent Bernat wondered how to name system accounts used for installed services. Referring to a wiki page he asked to standardise the naming scheme. Some packages use a prefix debian-, while there is also some support for the way OpenBSD handles it by prefixing system accounts with an underscore.

Holger Levsen announced a web service showing how far DebianEdu (the Debian Pure Blend taking care of the needs of teachers and schools) is away from Debian itself.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): mysql, net-snmp 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 recently added to the unstable Debian archive (among others):

Debian Package of the Day featured the packages remind (a text based agenda and todolist manager) and apt-P2P (peer-to-peer downloading for Debian packages).

Work-needing packages

Currently 489 packages are orphaned and 118 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 Jon Evans, Justin Rye, Andre Felipe Machado, Martin Michlmayr, Christoph Haas, Jeff Richards, Meike Reichle and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.