Debian Project News - October 4th, 2010

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

An update on Constantly Usable Testing (CUT)

Raphaël Hertzog wrote a detailed article on the recent activity surrounding the Constantly Usable Testing (CUT) proposal. CUT would be a Debian distribution based on testing, but with significant differences that make it more usable, i.e. more polished and stable. In the article he talks about the potential value of a rolling release and how it might work.

A quote from the article: The global proposal is certainly appealing: it would address the concerns of obsolescence of Debian's stable release by making intermediary releases. Anyone needing something more recent for hardware support can start by installing a CUT and follow the subsequent releases until the next stable version. And users who always want the latest version of all software could use rolling after having installed a CUT.

CUT seems to represent an innovative evolution of Debian distributions. While it holds much promise, it is a lot of work especially since there is already so much work getting a stable release actually released. There always seems to be a tension between having a rock solid stable release, which many people rely on Debian to provide, and a developer's toolkit with cutting edge programming languages and libraries. Perhaps CUT can address this.

Please see also the current discussion on the CUT team mailing list.

Bits from the FTPMasters

The FTP Team met two weekends ago in Fulda, Germany. While there appeared to be a shortage of baklava, there was no shortage of Debian related work and discussion. Jörg Jaspert in the meeting minutes made a call for volunteers. Being an FTPMaster is a hard job and one that many people inside and outside of Debian take for granted. Thanks very much for the hard work, FTPMasters.

He also announced that starting with Squeeze, the volatile suite will be integrated into the normal mirror tree. This weekend we enabled squeeze-volatile on ftp-master and setup the needed scripts so that the volatile team can fill it with packages whenever needed. Please note that the general handling of volatile starting with Squeeze is now different to the way volatile worked in the past. All packages now have to pass stable's proposed-updates queue before going into volatile.

Jörg went on to discuss a number of important topics - his mail is quite detailed and has lots of valuable information - including the discussion of using a version control system to push entire repositories to the ftp-master host.

Report about this year's Google Summer of Code

Obey Arthur Liu wrote a report about Debian's participation in this year's Google Summer of Code, where Google pays students to work on and with specific FLOSS projects. Debian was accepted as a mentoring organisation for the fifth time in a row. Again it was a great success with eight students completing their projects successfully. He also quoted some of the students' project reports.

The projects ranged from Hurd port and de-Linux-isation of Debian-Installer through debbugs bug reporting and manipulation API and Aptitude Qt up to Debian-Installer on Neo FreeRunner and handheld devices. You can find more details in the Debian wiki.

Bits from the Publicity Team

Debian's Publicity Team posted some bits informing Debian Developers, Contributors and the Community how best to make contact with them and especially how to help. Helping the team may range from assisting with the Debian Project News (you do want to continue reading it, don't you?), proposing dents for Debian's official account, or being available for a This Week in Debian podcast.

Other news

Joey Hess was quite pleased to see some of his tools being referenced in a recent movie.

Russell Coker created a package repository for packages fixing SELinux related bugs for Debian Squeeze.

The PA-RISC (aka hppa) architecture has been dropped as a release architecture for Debian 6.0 Squeeze. It will still be available in Debian's unstable suite.

Thomas Lange announced the FAI project (Fully Automated Install) has received its own domain name at and all services (wiki, repositories) have been migrated to use the new domain.

Release Assistant Mehdi Dogguy announced the agenda of the past weekend meeting of the Release Team. One point on their agenda: Check the state of Squeeze.

Continuing his blogs about how the annual Debian Conference is organised, Richards Darst recently covered the topics The DebConf travel sponsorship process and How DebCamp relates to DebConf. Joey Hess gave some historical background in his DebCamp origin story.

Luca Bruno posted a report from the Debian/Ubuntu Community Conference, ITA 2010. As this was the first Italian event organised by both communities, he highlights: This new kind of collaboration between our communities was found to be really positive and more events have already been drafted for the next year, including a translation sprint and a contributors meeting.

Holger Levsen announced the availability of the first release candidate of an updated Debian Edu Lenny version. One of the most important features is an update of the installer based upon the debian-installer used in Debian 5.0.6 Lenny adding newer hardware support.

New Debian Contributors

3 people started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Dimitrios Eftaxiopoulos, Pierre-Louis Bonicoli, and Hector Romojaro into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the Bugs Search interface of the Ultimate Debian Database, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 Squeeze, is currently affected by 301 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 177 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.

These statistics have recently been moved to a new data source, and are not comparable with the statistics of the last issue. Please read Alexander's blog for more details.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): git-core, moodle. 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 492 packages are orphaned and 129 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.