Debian Project News - May 18th, 2010

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

DebConf10 update

Deadlines are looming for DebConf10 - some have already passed. For example, the last day to submit a BoF (Birds of a Feather) talk has come and gone. There is still lots you can do for DebConf10 however including volunteering time, lending equipment, and even donating money. Sponsors and donors are needed to help defray the costs of holding DebConf10 as Raphael Geissert wrote on his blog.

Joey Hess also blogged about DebConf10 saying Let us get you to DebConf -- I promise you won't regret it! There is still time (you have until the 15th of May) to contact Joey about this year's special funding to get you to DebConf10.

Squeeze freeze

Adam Barratt and the release team sent out an update on the status of transitions, Release Critical bugs and a Timeline of the Squeeze freeze. In short, we have a way to go before Squeeze is frozen and it is difficult for the release team to estimate when Squeeze will get frozen. Adam writes In order to help us keep a clearer picture of which changes still need to occur before we can freeze, we will be introducing a 'transition freeze' before the end of this month. If you have not yet discussed your transition with the Release Team, please ensure that you have done so before May 21st.

The release team is already working on some transitions now, like Qt4 and gnome-desktop, which are finished. The KDE team is working on KDE 4.4 with the goal of having as up-to-date and stable version of the KDE suite as is possible. To quote Adam: We're also close to completing the evince / totem-pl-parser transition, which means we're well on the way to have GNOME 2.30 in Squeeze.

Even though the descending slope of the RC bug graph is pretty impressive, we still have about 400 RC bugs in Squeeze. Some of them are waiting for packages to transition from unstable to testing, but there's still a large number which need working on.
On this every DD can help out by NMUing packages which are currently affected by RC bugs. Please remember that releasing is a collective effort and it is not enough to just have your own packages RC-bug free (although it's a good start) to be able to release. So, if you can help, please choose an RC bug, fix it :-) and NMU it, possibly to the DELAYED queue so that the maintainer can react if needed.

Debian-Ubuntu relationship

Being invited to the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli gathered feedback and examples about the relationship between the two projects. Most interesting where of course success stories, epic fails and requests from the Debian Project at large to the Ubuntu community. Later he posted a link to his slides (a video is also available) also containing some figures, e.g. that roughly 75% of all packages in Ubuntu are taken without further patches directly from Debian. Stefano later posted a summary of his talk and the feedback he got.

Debian installation media and non-free firmware

With Debian's Kernel Team moving firmware files (binary data needed for some hardware like network interface cards) in separate packages in Debian's non-free section, Kurt Roeckx wondered, if that approach could lead to usage problems especially during installation and if these files should be added to the installation media. Several people pointed out, that the debian installation system already supports loading firmware from a separate installation media, e.g. a USB stick. That however would still be to complicate for many users or use cases (e.g. remote installation). In the end Steve Langasek proposed to offer normal installation media without non-free firmware files and an easy to use tool, which would add the distributable non-free firmware files to the installation media image.

Other news

The 22nd issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

mips* porter Andreas Barth gave a status update about the mips and mipsel ports. While the situation for mipsel have been improved dramatically, the situation for mips remains unchanged.

Debian System Administrator Martin Zobel-Helas announced a new version of the Debian Machine Usage Policies becoming effective on July 04th, 2010. The DMUP basically covers what Debian Developers may or may not do with their accounts on hardware. The change was necessary to clarify responsibilities between the Debian System Administrators and the Debian Account Managers.

Debian New Maintainer Frontdesk Member Enrico Zini reminded Developers on how to properly advocate applicants for the new maintainer process. While advocation message don't need to be cumbersome and long, he highlights that only persons, who already have actively contributed to Debian should be advocated.

Debian System Administrator Peter Palfrader welcomed some volunteers for maintaining porter chroot environments on different architectures. He also gave some guidelines on how developers should request installation of packages in these chroot environments.

Bdale Garbee bloged about sponsored LWN subscriptions where HP sponsors the subscription fee to access for Debian Developers and · just recently introduced · for Debian Maintainers. He also noted, that currently 571 Debian Contributors use this service.

Debian System Administrator Peter Palfrader asked that all bug reports concerning the removal of undistributable packages should also be sent to the maintainers of the service.

Sune Vuorela, member of the KDE package maintenance team, wondered if distribution specific tools are missing for Debian.

Martin Michlmayr announced the availability of a Debian 5.0 Lenny installation system for Marvell's Kirkwood based systems like the SheevaPlug or the QNAP TS-11x/TS-21x.

Jan Dittberner added links to UbuntuDiff, piuparts and patch tracker to the Debian Developer Portfolio Service.

Stefano Zacchiroli co-authored a paper introducing the The Ultimate Debian Database a collection of several data sources to scientists doing data mining on software repositories.

New Developers and Maintainers

9 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers and 6 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainer since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Deepak Tripathi, Daniel Nurmi, Paul Gevers, Thomas Goirand, Pino Toscano, Johan Euphrosine, Kanru Chen, Mikhail Gusarov, Obey Arthur Liu, Thierry Soloniaina Randrianiriana, Ritesh Sarraf, Tommi Vainikainen, Thomas Weber, Hideki Yamane and Serafeim Zanikolas into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial RC-bugs count, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 Squeeze, is currently affected by 370 release critical bugs. 72 of them have already been fixed in Debian's unstable branch. Of the remaining 298 release critical bugs, 37 already have a patch (which might need testing) and 20 are marked as pending.

Ignoring these bugs as well as release critical bugs for packages in contrib or non-free, 180 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): mediawiki, iscsitarget, vlc, mplayer and phpgroupware. 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 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):

Work-needing packages

Currently 607 packages are orphaned and 120 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 Jeremiah C. Foster and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.