Debian Project News - August 26th, 2010

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

Debian turns 17

The seventeenth birthday of the Debian Project caused quite some media echo, birthday parties and congratulations.

As a surprise present for most Debian contributors, Maintainers and Developers, users were asked to submit their thanks via the website, and birthday balloons pointing to that page were added to several of Debian's web services.

About 3000 submissions were received, ranging from plain Thanks in various forms, up to heartwarming messages in (to most of us) foreign languages. We would like to thank all users for their feedback, which really strengthened our project's morale and motivation! Thanks!

As an unrelated sidenote, the editor would also like to mention that Debian's bug submission tool reportbug supports a --kudos option, making it easy to submit thanks to package maintainers on the other 364 days of the year ;).

Screenshots at

As it is often easier to get an impression of an application by looking at screenshots, instead of just reading a descriptive text, Gerfried Fuchs has integrated the service into the package information at See for example the screenshot of the package extremetuxracer.

For packages that do not yet have a screenshot available, a placeholder image is shown. Users are encouraged to contribute by uploading their own screenshots for their favourite applications.

Some bits from ARM porters

Riku Voipio published some unofficial bits from the ARM porters in which he thanked ARM and Canonical for sponsoring new machines for the project. Besides giving Debian Contributors a three times faster machine for their development work, it has allowed the buildd infrastructure of machines automatically building new packages for specific architectures and suites to be renewed, so that experimental packages, volatile packages, non-free packages and packages from are now automatically built as well. Finally, he announced some work being done on a Hardfloat ARM port, which will work better on newer ARM processors with a hardware floating-point unit.

Join the DebConf Team

Richard Darst started a series of blog posts about the organisation of the annual Debian Conference by commenting on the recent DebConf & Debian discussion. He doesn't see a difference between the two, and invites all interested people to join the organisation team by subscribing to the DebConf team mailing list and joining the #debconf-team IRC channel on In his second post, he explained the timeline of a DebConf.

Progress of the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port

Different aspects of the port of the Debian operating system to the FreeBSD kernel have made great progress recently. The Debian installer has been upgraded to the FreeBSD kernel version 8.1, which also allows the installation system to be used in languages other than English. Also the debian-cd scripts used to create CD and DVD images now support the creation of the new architectures. Daily build images for Debian unstable are already available; daily and weekly builds for Squeeze will be made available with the next beta release of the Debian installer. However, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD related web pages are outdated, and help is needed to fix the web and wiki pages.

Bits from the MIA team

Jan Hauke Rahm sent some bits from the MIA team, which tries to identify and handle package maintainers who sadly have become inactive. He gave some advice on how package maintainers should react when they think a package has been neglected by its maintainer, and stressed that the work of the MIA team is an important aspect of quality assurance.

Other news

Valessio Brito wondered whether a webchat interface similar to the one used during the last Debian conference should be permanently available, to make it easier for users unfamiliar with IRC to join.

Martin Zobel-Helas noted that now more than 50% of Debian's hosts and public services are reachable over IPv6.

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial release-critical bug counter, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 Squeeze, is currently affected by 302 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 128 release critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

There are also more detailed statistics as well as some hints on how to interpret these numbers.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): squirrelmail, lxr-cvs, smarty (update), ghostscript, Linux 2.6.26, lvm2, and zope-ldapuserfolder. 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 576 packages are orphaned and 135 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.