Debian Project News - May 17th, 2011

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

DebConf10 Final Report is out

The DebConf organization team released the final report of the 2010 Debian Conference, which was held in New York City, USA, at Columbia University. According to the DebConf blog entry, It's a 46-page document which gives the reader an idea about the conference as a whole. It includes descriptions of talks, DebCamp and Debian Day activities, personal impressions, attendee and budgeting numbers, the work of various teams, social events, funny pictures and so on. There are two PDF versions of the final report available, which can be downloaded from the DebConf Media website.

DNS security extensions now available for Debian's zone entries

The Debian Project's and domains are now secured by the DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). This enables users with security aware DNS resolvers to securely retrieve information from the domain name system.

Build it event report

Margarita Manterola sent a report of the Build it event organized by the Debian Women project in collaboration with the Open Hatch project and held on the #debian-women IRC channel on Saturday May 7. Both the sessions — scheduled at 11:00 UTC and 22:00 UTC to fit different timezones — went very well with an audience of at least ten to fifteen attendees. A log is available for those who couldn't be present at the event, as well as a Building Tutorial based on the log and already translated into Spanish — volunteers welcome for further translations!

Debian group reaches 10,000

As noted by Kipngetich Ibrahim Ngeno, the Debian group on has reached 10,000 members. Beside the Debian group, founded on January 2009, there is also an official Debian account (from which various news items and announcements are broadcast) and some accounts and groups for specific teams.

The latest official Debian team account is the Debian Women account.

Removal of alpha and hppa ports from

Jörg Jaspert announced the removal of the alpha and hppa ports from Users of either of these two architectures should ensure that their sources.list entries point to the new location of alpha and hppa ports, except for Lenny users, since these architectures will still be officially supported until its End Of Life.

Why attend DebConf

Stefano Zacchiroli wrote an interesting post about DebConf11 that explains why it is a truly FOSS event: there is no event organizer company behind DebConf — all the work is done by volunteers (the DebConf Team). Also, a major part of the value of DebConf itself derives from the program which is created by all DebConf participants by submitting proposals for talks, BoFs, contests, and so on. To quote Stefano: Are you going to DebConf and willing to attend a conference with a great program? Great, then start submitting a great event yourself!.

In addition, this year the Debian Project is inviting newbies and non-regular attendees to come to DebConf. For these two categories of participants an extra travel fund will be available. Any Debian Developer or Maintainer who has never been to DebConf, or who last participated in 2007 or before, can apply for this special funding. To put forward your request, or to recommend other members of the Project, send an email to the DebConf Newbies Team before June 18, including an estimate of travel costs, where you are leaving from, the amount you will not be able to fund yourself, and the dates of arrival and leaving. If you plan to participate in DebConf, don't forget to register via the DebConf registration system.

Making testing user-oriented

After the CUT proposal, a new word popped up in the discussion aiming to make testing user-oriented: rolling. Even though some people objected or even laughed at first, others tried to gather the main ideas and began to propose serious mechanisms for implementing them. The various proposals are still up for discussion. One of the main interesting goals would be to provide more up to date software to our users, allowing them to provide earlier feedback before stable is released; and one of the biggest perceived risks is that developers may lose focus on the stable release itself. There actually could be some solutions to provide rolling as a pseudo-suite, avoiding disruption to the release process and allowing developers to bypass the testing migration process to provide fixes in rolling directly.

Further interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, a new issue of the This week in Debian podcast has been published: with Phillip Newborough, from the CrunchBang distribution.

There has also been one further People behind Debian interview: with Steve Langasek, release wizard and member of the technical committee.

Other news

Ana Guerrero mentioned that Qt3 is looking for new maintainers. You're invited to step up to adopt it or help to figure out what to do with packages depending on Qt3.

Fernando González de Requena Redondo, who has spent the last two years carrying out an ethnographic survey of Debian, presented a master thesis on the subject: The spaces of community: a preliminary ethnographic study on the Debian Project. His more than 150-page report (in Spanish) is available from the institutional repository of the UNED.

Florian Weimer noted that people no longer use corporate accounts to send mails to the Debian project mailing list, as they did in the past, wondering if it results from corporate pressure or mailing list policy. Russ Allbery replied that it is probably a matter of the ease of getting a personal mailbox and of the increased awareness — compared to ten years ago — of on-line identity. Tony Travis added that he prefers to use a private email address to have the freedom to express opinions which could be in conflict with corporate policy.

Martin Zobel-Helas wondered if Debian should implement RFC4941 as default for the next stable release, Wheezy. RFC4941 describes an extension to IPv6 stateless address autoconfiguration for interfaces whose interface identifier is derived from an IEEE identifier; without this, IPv6 configured via router advertisement uses the hardware address of the Ethernet card to determine the IPv6 address, raising privacy issues as users could be tracked via their devices.

New Debian Contributors

7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers and 11 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Liang Guo, Nicolas Boulenguez, Nicolas Lopez de Lerma Aymerich, Olivier Sallou, Sven Eckelmann, Thomas Krennwallner, YunQiang Su, Alexander Holupirek, Vsevolod Velichko, Emilien Klein, Ming-Ting Yao Wei, Tobias Hansen, Torquil Macdonald Sørensen, Madhu Donepudi, Stephan Gerhard, Stefan Tomanek, Vladimir Kotov and Tobias Winchen into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): otrs2, exim4, postfix, zodb, icedove, exim4, and apr. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Backports Team released advisories for these packages: iceweasel and exim4 (twice). Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Stable Release Team released advisories for these packages: clive and pianobar. 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

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 301 packages are orphaned and 145 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 Tiago Bortoletto Vaz, Mark Caglienzi, Francesca Ciceri, Jeremiah C. Foster, David Prévot, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl, Alexander Reshetov and Justin B. Rye.