Debian Project News - September 8th, 2010

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

The Debian Project mourns the loss of Frans Pop

The Debian Project lost Frans Pop, who was involved in many ways in Debian: as a maintainer of several packages, a supporter of the S/390 port, and one of the most involved members of the Debian Installer team. He was a Debian Listmaster, editor and release manager of the Installation Guide and the release notes, as well as a Dutch translator. Many members of the Debian community already expressed their sadness. The team behind the Debian Project News would like to do so too: Frans, you will be missed!

Bits from the Debian Women project

The Debian Women project aims at getting more women to participate in Debian, as packagers, bug reporters, technical documentation writers, bug fixers, translators, artists and in any other area that helps the development of Debian. These goals are achieved through IRC tutorials, a mentoring program, a mailing list and an IRC channel.

The Mentoring Program allows men and women who want to contribute to Debian, but aren't sure where or how to start, to get some help with their first steps.

There have been at least 38 women that have contributed in packaging software for Debian, and there are currently 11 female Debian Developers and 1 Debian Maintainer. The group would like to raise those numbers to 50 packagers by the end of 2011, and 20 Debian Developers by the end of 2012. There are also some other interesting statistics about the current female participation in Debian.

The project is also interested in getting more women to translate debconf templates or package descriptions and contribute to the release notes, as well as participate in any other areas of the Debian project. In order to do this, we will be holding some IRC training sessions in the near future, in order to help people get started. We are currently making the list of subjects and trainers, we'll publish more news about this once the first sessions are scheduled.

For more information you can join the IRC channel #debian-women on, or subscribe to the debian-women mailing list. If you are a Spanish speaker, you can also join the #debian-mujeres IRC channel on

DebConf10 DPL report

The Debian Project Leader (DPL), Stefano Zacchiroli, provided a report after the recent DebConf in New York City. In the report he discusses his recent activity speaking with academics in the Social Sciences, as well as some other Debian developments. He also mentions Joey Hess's CUT proposal, a proposal that would help users understand that Debian testing is actually quite usable and work to polish it even more so that this becomes apparent. Our beloved DPL mentions the Release Critical Bug squashing Contest (RCBC) which has prizes!

In addition to those subjects he also added some details on Debian Derivatives, the relationship between DebConf and Debian, and on init systems. As always, a wealth of important information from the DPL.

Backports service becoming official

The, offering updated packages from Debian's testing branch for Debian's stable (and oldstable) releases, has now been integrated as an official Debian service available from and various mirrors. Current users of the old service should change their sources.list file, as the directory structure has also changed (but compatibility symlinks are available for now). More details for users are available on the web page. The backports team also published some information for package maintainers.

Updated Debian GNU/Linux: 5.0.6 released

A new update release for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny has been released. All recent security updates have been added as well as some fixes for critical issues. The linux-2.6 package was also updated for increased hardware support. New CD and DVD images as well as update CDs and DVDs will be available soon.

Release update

A new release update has been sent out by Neil McGovern. He gave an overview of the status of different transitions, which are mostly done, and informed package maintainers of a stronger policy for unblock requests for packages which should migrate to Debian's testing branch. He also noted that packages with release critical bugs will be removed from the release, should there be no progress made on their issues. Work on the release notes is on its way. Anything that should be documented in the release notes should be reported as a bug report against the release-notes pseudo-package, while new and noteworthy things should be collected in the wiki. Finally he announced the codename of Debian 7.0: Wheezy, the rubber toy penguin with a red bow tie.

Changelogs for testing available

Jörg Jaspert announced a new service for users of Debian's testing branch: the changelogs of packages migrated to the testing branch are now aggregated and available in a single file. This makes it easier for testing users to review changes in specific packages before they install them. The files are available from all mirrors in the dists/testing directory, and are rotated on a daily basis, being kept about two days. There's also always a symlink to the latest one.

Debian growth over the releases

While analyzing md5sum usage for internal package integrity checks, Romain Francoise also published some numbers about the growth of Debian's archive. To his astonishment Debian's unstable branch has grown from about 20,000 packages to over 30,000 within three years!

He also calculated the growth rate of the releases, and estimates that with the upcoming Debian 6.0 Squeeze about 29,000 packages will be released, which is a growth compared to Debian 5.0 Lenny of 29.6%.

Organising the annual Debian Conference

Richard Darst continued his blog post on how to organise the annual Debian Conference. He covers the topics What is the DebConf team?, The DebConf selection process, How DebConf manages money, DebConf budgeting for a single conference, The DebConf registration process, and DebConf Fund-raising.

New signing key for the Debian Archive created

FTP-Master Jörg Jaspert announced details of the new signing key for the Debian archive. The new key has already been added to the debian-archive-keyring package, which was also updated in the recent Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.6 Lenny release. The new key will be used once Debian 6.0 Squeeze is released or the old key is expired (by the end of 2012). Whichever comes first.

Other news

Following the unofficial bits from the ARM porters mentioned in last issue, Hector Oron posted official bits. He gave more details about the work in the Hardfloat ARM port, and also listed various supporters of the ARM port, including Linaro, which is a not-for-profit organisation sponsored by engineers and manufacturers with an interest in ARM.

Colin Watson called for help debugging a GRUB2 problem with some Windows applications. Apparently some proprietary software overwrites some parts of GRUB to store some licensing information. Colin asks affected users for some data and gave instructions on how to obtain it.

Robert Millan announced the availability of experimental Debian Installer images with ZFS support.

The Emdebian Team released Emdebian Grip 1.0.1, which is a binary compatible distribution with smaller packages (e.g. with documentation stripped) based upon Debian 5.0.6, targeting embedded devices.

Christian Perrier was pleased to find out that for Debian 6.0 Squeeze six languages might be able to achieve the goal of having 100% of debconf messages translated: Swedish, Russian, French, German, Portuguese, and Czech. For Debian 5.0 Lenny only French and German made the 100%.

New Debian Contributors

7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainer and 6 people started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Javier Merino Cacho, Kurashiki Satoru, Sebastien Noel, Maia Kozheva, Tanguy Ortolo, Thierry Carrez, Ulrich Dangel, Douglas Kirkland, Alice Ferrazzi, Nicolas Valcárcel Scerpella, Tássia Camões Araújo, Ryan Tandy and Marco Rodrigues into our project!

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 226 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 129 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): phpmyadmin, typo3-src,, openssl, wireshark, barnowl, smbind, quagga, and freetype. 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):

Please note that due to the freeze of the upcoming Debian 6.0 Squeeze acceptance of new packages has almost ceased.

Work-needing packages

Currently 564 packages are orphaned and 133 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 Margarita Manterola, Jeremiah C. Foster and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.