Debian Project News - April 18th, 2011

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

Bits from the Release Team — Kicking off Wheezy

Neil McGovern sent some bits from the Release Team calling for feedback on the recent release. He also addresses various subjects that are currently under discussion: time-based freezes, transitions, release goals, sprint organisation and 0-day NMU policy.

Luk Claes proposed (amongst other ideas) continuing the removal of obsolete libraries. Josselin Mouette suggested starting with HAL and gnome-vfs. Although there has been some progress towards getting rid of HAL (still used by xserver-xorg on kFreeBSD), Cyril Brulebois pointed out that this effort is stalled for now. Christian Perrier also proposed to drop defoma.

Limitations in ifupdown led to calls for an overhaul of Debian's default network management infrastructure. network-manager could be adopted to this end, though this proposal has provoked a great many objections, whether rational or less so.

Among other release goal proposals (such as read-only root file system and C.UTF-8 provided by default), Roger Leigh started a discussion about supporting /run for Wheezy.

Stefano Zacchiroli proposed some further release goals relating to package quality, and relaunched the time based freezes proposal. He argued that fixed freeze dates would allow Debian's developer base to improve planning and coordination with upstream developers, and underlined that the first part of the Squeeze freeze (blocking library transitions while being lax about general migration of new packages) was quite successful, and that it should be done similarly in the future. While the time frame for such freezes (and how they should be announced) is still being discussed, there generally seems to be a consensus in favour.

Registration now open for DebConf11 and call for contributions

Gunnar Wolf announced the opening of DebConf11 registration. Registration instructions are available and the deadline for sponsored food and accommodation is 8 May 2011. A call for contributions has also been sent, and the organisers welcome all sort of submissions: performances, art installations, debates, or anything else can be proposed as well as traditional talks. There will be a poster session this year. More information on submissions of events or posters is available on the DebConf11 website and the deadline for submissions is also 8 May 2011.

Report from the FTP Master meeting

Jörg Jaspert sent a report from the FTP Master meeting which was held at Linux Hotel in Essen, 21–27 March. During the meeting a lot of work was done, in various areas:

Meanwhile, in a discussion with the Debian GNU/Hurd porters it was decided that the Hurd port will stay on until Wheezy is released, while the alpha port will be completely removed from Debian and the hppa port will move over to As a side note, Jörg added that during the meeting Ansgar Burchardt was appointed to the post of FTP Assistant; congratulations, Ansgar!

The Canterbury Project: an amazing example of cross-distro collaboration

Gerfried Fuchs blogged from behind the scenes of one of the most hilarious — and well orchestrated — April Fools' pranks of this year: the Canterbury Project. As you probably noticed, on the morning of April the first, the homepages of Arch Linux, Debian, Gentoo, Grml and OpenSUSE were replaced by a placeholder announcing the merging of all these distributions into one new one. In the posting, Gerfried said that the initial idea was to simply do a sort of exchange of homepages between participants. Then the thing happened which the Free Software community is so well known for: additional ideas came in, two people independently addressed me whether it wouldn't be better that instead of a circle replacement of the frontpage, why not display the same page on all of them. And one of them added that a corresponding news item might make sense. said Gerfried. Another example of new ideas coming up during the whole Canterbury Project was the introduction of the cant package manager (see also Alexander's blog for details). Gerfried revealed also the reason behind the name Canterbury: it was adopted when Alexander Reichle-Schmehl noticed that, according to the relevant Wikipedia page, the earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392). As a final note, Gerfried added that even if the all-in-one distribution was only a joke, the cross-distro collaboration was real and exciting, and thanked all the participants for their efforts.

Report from Med@Tel

Andreas Tille sent a report from the Med@Tel conference held in Luxembourg and dedicated to medicine informatics. This year, Andreas delivered a talk titled Benefits of Free/Libre Open Source Software in Health Care (FLOSS-HC): Communities, Collaboration, Development Issues, Technology Transfer, based on a paper written by the Debian Med team. As Andreas reported, the talk was well received and the main impression is that the Debian Med Blend itself is considered as a really helpful and needed thing. It also seems that Debian Med and other important — and very useful — Blends are little known by the wider public. For this reason, Andreas proposed to use microblogging to better promote the existence of Debian Med and — in the following thread — many other ways to improve the visibility of Debian Blends.

Further interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, two new issues of the This week in Debian podcast have been published: with Jonathan Nadeau, about current Debian news; and with Roberto Sanchez, who gave a talk at the Northeast GNU/Linux Fest.

There have also been two further People behind Debian interviews: with Bdale Garbee, chair of the technical committee; and with Adam D. Barratt, release manager.

Other news

Steve McIntyre made available online a new cdimage search tool that has knowledge of just about all the Debian CDs and DVDs produced by Debian since the Woody release, covering all the official releases (both older archived releases and the current stable release) and the current sets of daily and weekly testing builds.

Stefano Zacchiroli has just been reelected as Debian Project Leader, supported by 98% of valid voters. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

Guido Günther sent some bits from the fourth Debian Groupware Meeting, held at the Linux Hotel in Essen, Germany. During the weekend the group has fixed various issues (mostly related to gnome-shell in iceowl), and has been able to push new versions of icedove and iceowl to unstable and to resurrect the iceowl-l10n language packs. Some work was also done on Citadel, Z-Push and SOGo.

Raj Mathur sent a report about a large Debian installation in India: the installation involved about 2,500 desktops and 40 servers, on which were installed Squeeze and Wheezy. The installation was done in six different locations in India for a large call-out business headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Well done!

Cyril Brulebois published the eighth, ninth and tenth issues of his Debian XSF News.

Raphaël Hertzog blogged about his journey of a new GNOME 3 Debian packager.

New Debian Contributors

Seven applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Pau Garcia i Quiles, Andrew O. Shadoura, Ignace Mouzannar, Hans-Christoph Steiner, Timo Juhani Lindfors, Jaromir Mikes, and Asias He into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): gdm3, mahara, tomcat5.5, bind9, tgt, tiff, vlc, tmux, x11-xserver-utils, ikiwiki, gitolite, isc-dhcp, dhcp3, and vlc. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Backports Team released advisories for these packages: iceweasel, nss, squid3, and tmux. 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 (and the separate backports list, and stable updates list or volatile list, for Lenny, the oldstable distribution) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

1244 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others are:

Work-needing packages

Currently 314 packages are orphaned and 154 packages are up for adoption: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help.

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Justin B. Rye, Jeremiah C. Foster, Francesca Ciceri, David Prévot and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.