Debian Project News - May 2nd, 2011
Welcome to this year's seventh issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
- The Debian Project mourns the loss of Adrian von Bidder
- Upcoming changes for the Linux kernels on the i386 architecture
- Bits from the DPL
- Berkeley Database plans for the future
- Mono 2.10.1 now in
- Report from FAI developer meeting
- The popcon problem
- Further interviews
- Other news
- New Debian Contributors
- Important Debian Security Advisories
- New and noteworthy packages
- Work-needing packages
- Want to continue reading DPN?
The Debian Project lost Adrian von Bidder, who was involved in Debian, represented the project at numerous events and was one of the founding members and current secretary of debian.ch. He also founded the
Ben Hutchings announced some upcoming changes for the Linux kernels in the i386 architecture (aka 32-bit PC). The most notable change with the 2.6.39 kernel packages will be the drop of the 686 flavour, even so it's the most widely used. Ben explains that only a very limited set of processors are not able to use the 686-bigmem flavour, which has less limitations and supports more that 4GB of RAM (on top of some other benefits). He also points out that these processors not supported by the 686-bigmem flavour seem to gain performance with the 486 flavour. Without the 686 flavour, the 686-bigmem will be renamed to 686-pae.
He also said, that the amd64 flavour will be dropped as soon as migration from a 32-bit userland with 64-bit kernel to a 64-bit userland with 64-bit kernel is implemented and has been tested.
Before that, Ben blogged about changes introduced with 2.6.38 kernels. One change is the introduction of a user space daemon providing the kernel with country specific regulations for wireless usage from a database.
Ignoring the result of his reelection, Stefano Zacchiroli sent his last bits from the DPL, where he was glad to refer to the Debian Derivatives Exchange project recently launched and the high activity on the debian-devel and debian-project mailing lists. He enjoyed spreading the Debian verb in Bosnia, Taiwan and France; and is looking forward at the LinuxTag in Berlin, the Greek Free and Open Source Software Society conference and the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Stefano discussed the relationships with others: the GNOME Foundation invited Debian at the GNOME.Asia summit where Josselin Mouette attended on behalf of Debian, John Sullivan who become the new executive director at FSF, and Graziano Sorbaioli, the gNewSense community manager. He finally kept us posted about the upcoming DebConf preparation, sprints and other expenses.
After being reelected as Debian Project Leader, Stefano Zacchiroli sent his first bits from the DPL in this term:
Thanks! I'm flattered by the support and trust in me you
have shown. It's a honor to be confirmed as Debian Project Leader, as
well as it's a honor to represent Debian before the Debian community and
the world out there. I'll try very hard not to disappoint any of you.
Stefano described what is the DPL role and how people can help and contact him.
Ondřej Surý reported from the plans of the Berkeley DB maintainers to reduce the number of
BDB versions shipped in stable releases. Debian 5
Squeeze both contained three different versions which where
needed to supported during the release as well as during upgrades, which
was often quite difficult. In the future, each stable release should have
only one version as default as well as the tools for the previous one to
ensure smooth upgrades.
Mirco Bauer notified us about his recent upload of Mono 2.10.1 into Debian's
branch. The biggest change from a packaging point of view is making Mono
even more modular with one library per package.
This reduces the install size.
Michael Prokop blogged about the FAI developer meeting held last month in Cologne, Germany. The meeting was very fruitful: as Michael reported, during the two days were made 134 Subversion commits, regarding a new release candidate version, various website improvements, and the documentation. The team has also discussed about the release management (deciding to use 3.4.x version as long term stable release and 4.x as developer version) and has defined its future goals.
Joey Hess wrote an interesting
post about popcon where analyzes various issues regarding the use of the Debian Popularity Contest.
First of all, noticed Joey, there's a measuring problem: popcon units are
unknown and the only way to resolve this ambiguity is the use of ratios of
Also, it is deceptive to compare popcon scores of packages with different
functions and targets: in fact, some packages are installed by default on a
wide range of machines, while others are more specific.
At the end, Joey noticed that one of the most interesting aspect of Debian is that
you can find in it even uncommon and specific — but not necessarily popular or
widespread — software: so,
every removal of a
low popcon score runs the risk of silently degrading this
overall value of Debian.
There has been
People behind Debian interview with
Meike Reichle, Press Officer and member of the Debian Women project.
Alexander Reichle-Schmehl noted that repository used to draft this newsletter has just seen it's 2000th commit.
Russel Coker blogged about valid policies for Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux).
Jan Hauke Rahm called for help for Debian's presence at the upcoming LinuxTag in Berlin.
Daniel Kahn Gillmor blogged about his experience with
the new systemd packages available for Debian
experimental. While he agrees that
systemd seems to get some
things right, he's a bit concerned about the Linux-centricism of
systemd and the general
bloat of it.
It seems that Mike Hommey is already working on iceweasel 5 packages.
Bastien Roucaries asked if Debian intends to do a consolidation of cryptographic libraries similar to Fedora. In the following discussion, it was agreed to be a good idea, but it should ensured that there were no regressions.
16 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Robin Sheat, Gabriel de Perthuis, Andriy Beregovenko, Koichi Akabe, Denis Roio, Arno Töll, Onur Aslan, Keith Lawson, Shravan Aras, Swapnil Kulkarni, Sana Khan, Bill Cox, Luciana Fujii Pontello, Geoffroy Youri Berret, Sebastian Bator, and Luboš Novák into our project!
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): xmlsec1, request-tracker3.6 and request-tracker3.8, libmojolicious-perl, tinyproxy, doctrine, openjdk-6, asterisk, libmodplug, iceape, iceweasel, spip, and qemu-kvm. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.
Debian's Backports Team released an update announcement for the package: request-tracker3.8. Please read it 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
Lenny, the oldstable distribution) for announcements.
402 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others are:
- 7kaa — Seven Kingdoms Ancient Adversaries -- real-time strategy game
- abacas — Algorithm Based Automatic Contiguation of Assembled Sequences
- aglfn — Adobe Glyph List For New Fonts
- apparmor — User-space parser utility for AppArmor
- apparmor-notify — AppArmor notification system
- apparmor-profiles — Profiles for AppArmor Security policies
- apparmor-utils — Utilities for controlling AppArmor
- aspcud — CUDF solver based on Answer Set Programming
- asterisk-dahdi — DAHDI devices support for the Asterisk PBX
- asterisk-ooh323 — H.323 protocol support for the Asterisk PBX - ooH323c
- asterisk-voicemail — simple voicemail support for the Asterisk PBX
- ckport — portability analysis and security checking tool
- crtmpserver — High performance RTMP/RTSP streaming server
- d-push — an implementation of the ActiveSync protocol
- darktable — virtual light table and darkroom for photographers
- db5.1-sql-util — Berkeley v5.1 SQL Database Utilities
- etoolbox — Toolbox for LaTeX class and package authors
- expeyes — hardware & software framework for developing science experiments
- figtree — graphical phylogenetic tree viewer
- freegish — a physics based arcade game
- fs2ram — manage post-mount/pre-unmount scripts for tmpfs across reboot
- gbrowse — The GMOD Generic Genome Browser
- gofigure2 — Tool for visualizing, processing and analysing of bioimages
- gpick — advanced GTK+ color picker
- herculesstudio — Hercules GUI front-end
- hg-fast-export — mercurial to git converter using git-fast-import
- ideviceinstaller — Utility to manage installed applications on an iDevice
- ikiwiki-hosting-dns — ikiwiki hosting -- dns server
- ikiwiki-hosting-web — ikiwiki hosting -- web server
- imhangul-common — Common files for imhangul
- kdocker — lets you dock any application into the system tray
- keepass2 — Password manager
- lcrt — graphic linux remote login tool
- logreq — LaTeX compiling helper
- mana — opensource 2D MMORPG platform client
- maqview — graphical read alignment viewer for short gene sequences
- mediathekview — View streams from German public television stations
- minitunes — Simple but sophisticated graphical music player
- modsecurity-crs — modsecurity's Core Rule Set
- mothur — sequence analysis suite for research on microbiota
- mpd-sima — Automagically add title to mpd playlist
- mpikmeans-tools — Standalone applications for MPIKmeans
- msgpack-python — Python implementation of MessagePack format
- nigiri — D-Bus-based IRC suite (terminal client)
- nwchem — High-performance computational chemistry software
- oasis — Architecture for building OCaml libraries and applications
- openbabel-gui — Chemical toolbox utilities (graphical user interface)
- passwordmaker-cli — creates unique, secure passwords - cli version
- polygraph — performance testing tool for caching proxies and more
- postler — desktop mail client built in vala
- proftpd-mod-vroot — ProFTPD module mod_vroot
- racket — extensible programming language in the Scheme family
- runlim — tool for sampling time and memory usage
- rygel-preferences — GNOME UPnP/DLNA services - preferences tool
- scrypt — File encryption utility using scrypt for key derivation
- serdi — lightweight RDF syntax library - serdi tool
- showq — MIDI controllable audio player
- snappy — Powerful media player with a minimalistic interface
- sonic — Simple utility to speed up or slow down speech
- spark — SPARK programming language toolset
- spek — acoustic spectrum analyser
- squizz — Sequence/alignment converter
- tekka — D-Bus-based IRC suite (graphical client)
- tetraproc — Tetrahedral Microphone Processor for Ambisonic Recording
- torchat — decentralized instant messenger built on top of the Tor Network
- tumbler — D-Bus thumbnailing service
- twittering-mode — a Twitter client for Emacs
- ultracopier — Advanced graphical file copy system
- unhide.rb — Forensic tool to find processes hidden by rootkits
- uxlaunch — quick X and user desktop starter
- xul-ext-compactheader — Icedove extension to reduce header size to one or two lines
- yade — Platform for discrete element modeling
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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Justin B. Rye, Francesca Ciceri, Jeremiah C. Foster, David Prévot and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.