Debian Project News - December 17th, 2008

Welcome to this year's 17th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:

Release Update

Luk Claes reported about the state of the upcoming stable release Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny. While there are still a lot of release critical bugs open, he explained that there is only a short list of bugs that must absolutely be fixed for Lenny. At the moment the most important blocking issue is the missing second release candidate for the debian-installer, which is still being worked on. Christian Perrier pointed out, that the best way to help the debian-installer team is to test the so called daily builds of the installation images, which are available from the debian-installer website.

The release could also be affected by the outcome of the recently started vote on the General Resolution titled Lenny and resolving DFSG violations. The vote has been discussed controversially on the debian-vote mailing list; for the full discussion please refer to the mailing list archives.

In related news, Peter Palfrader wondered whether the PA-RISC architecture (also known as "HPPA") is currently fit to be released with Lenny, since Debian's own HPPA infrastructure is in very bad shape. When several people offered their private HPPA hardware, Martin Zobel-Helas pointed out, that the real problem is not missing hardware, but a kernel related issue, which needs to be fixed. Helge Deller reported on progress regarding that issue, but it is not yet fixed completely.

General Resolution: Project membership procedures

A recently finished General Resolution was concerned with the proposal by Debian Account Manager Jörg Jaspert about Debian membership changes, especially in regard to non technical / package-oriented contributions to the project. Lucas Nussbaum blogged about the different options, and the general meaning of this General Resolution. In the end, the second option, Invite the DAM to further discuss until vote or consensus, leading to a new proposal, won.

Better Support

Gerfried Fuchs announced two services that facilitate the tracking of what's going on on, an unofficial service offering updated packages for the current stable release. One of the new services is a security tracker, the other one is a version comparison between the different Debian releases and the package versions available on

Future of GTK 1.2

Since version 1.2 of the GTK tool kit has been orphaned by its upstream developers as well as its Debian maintainers for quite some time and has also collected a number of bugs in the meantime, it is scheduled to be removed during the releasing cycle for Debian Squeeze, the version following Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny. However, several packages are still depending on that library. Josselin Mouette created a list of the concerned packages and tried to find alternative applications.

Morten Kjeldgaard argued, that there are still a lot of useful (scientific) applications depending on GTK+ 1.2, which are still in use. Charles Plessy explained, that with nobody taking care of GTK+ 1.2, there is no other choice but to port these applications to newer versions of that tool kit, which has worked very well for other examples.

Bug Squashing Party held at MIT

Greg Price reported about a Bug Squashing Party which was held last Sunday and was hosted by the student computing group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 15 people contributed to resolutions or partial resolutions of 11 RC bugs, lowering the number of release critical bugs to 105. Greg also pointed to some scripts they found useful to create lists of relevant bugs.

Other news

The 11th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

Charles Plessy wondered if it would help the release to file properly justified 'requests for removal' bugs for packages that have a low popularity contest value, more or less inactive maintainers and generally seem to be in bad shape, maybe even orphaned upstream-wise. Christian Perrier's answer affirmed this idea.

Jörg Jaspert announced that Frank Lichtenheld has been added to the FTP team.

Junichi Uekawa announced an upcoming meeting taking place in Tokyo, Japan.

Charles Plessy proposed a peer review system for the copyright files of Debian packages.

New Maintainer

One applicant has been accepted as Debian Maintainer since the prior issue of the Debian Project News.
Please welcome Eugene V. Lyubimkin into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial RC-bugs count, the upcoming release Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny is currently affected by 112 release critical bugs. 39 of them have already been fixed in Debian's unstable branch. Of the remaining 73 release critical bugs, 30 already have a patch (which might need testing) and 7 are marked as pending.

Ignoring these bugs as well as release critical bugs for packages in contrib or non-free, 34 release critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others):

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 gcompris (an educational suite for children) and ferm (a straightforward firewall configuration tool).

Work-needing packages

Currently 492 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 Meike Reichle and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.