Debian Project News - January 9th, 2012

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

Debian Edu/Skolelinux 6.0.3 beta2 released

Petter Reinholdtsen announced the release of Debian Edu Squeeze 6.0.3 beta2: download and installation instructions are available on the wiki, and in particular a useful Getting Started chapter in which you can find explanations of how to log in for the first time. Feedback and installation reports can be sent to the Debian Edu mailing list.

Debian Edu is a project aiming to make a Debian Pure Blend for educational purposes, which can be used in schools and other educational institutions. The Debian Edu project develops and maintains Skolelinux, a complete and free out of the box software solution for schools. For more information about Debian Edu, please visit the related wiki page.

Bits from the DPL

Stefano Zacchiroli sent some bits from the DPL in which he reported about the work done by Martin Michlmayr as Auditor, in order to reconstruct Debian's expenses and budgets. Stefano also sent a call for help for Wheezy artwork organisation, and announced that Gunnar Wolf has volunteered to monitor the discussion regarding the Creative Commons process for revision 4.0 on behalf of Debian.

Forthcoming new release of the X server

Cyril Brulebois blogged about the forthcoming X server release 1.12: one major change is the addition of XI2.2 patches, which are related to multitouch support. Another significant change is the addition of support for Intel's Sandy Bridge New Acceleration in the Debian packages.

Scientific article on Debian in PNAS

Michael Hanke noted that the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) of the United States of America has a paper on the evolution of software in Debian.

If you know other studies about Debian and its software, you can add it to our related wiki page.

New Debian Infographic

Claudio Filho has published a beautiful infographic about Debian. The main motivation was, as Claudio said, to "draw" for final users how Debian can be good for them.
Similar efforts have been made by Stéphane Blondon and Chris Lamb, who created the Debian Timeline website and the related Debian package.

New interface for Debtags website

Enrico Zini announced a new interface for the Debtags website. Debtags is a project to classify Debian packages by adding tags to them: Debtags attaches categories (we call them tags) to packages, creating a new set of useful structured metadata that can be used to implement more advanced ways of presenting, searching, maintaining and navigating the package archive, Enrico said while presenting the project in 2005. Using the new interface, it is possible to search packages, take a look at statistics about Debtags and, obviously, help with the tagging effort. For more information about Debtags, you can visit the related wiki page.

apt-get purge defoma

Paul Wise reported that the transition from defoma to fontconfig is finally complete. Defoma is the Debian-specific font manager, long unmaintained, while the replacement (fontconfig) is cross-distribution and also has wide support from upstreams. In the past three years the Debian Fonts Task Force has worked a lot in order to gain this result, thanks especially to the work of Christian Perrier and Paul Wise. Please note that the transition is not completely smooth: Xorg does not yet support fontconfig so for now programs relying on server-side fonts will only be able to use the xfonts- packages shipping their fonts in the directories known by the X server and in addition there are some issues with Ghostscript and CJK, Paul said.

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 the Northeast GNU/Linux Fest; and with Raphaël Hertzog, about the Debian handbook.

There has also been a People behind Debian interview with Ben Hutchings, member of the kernel team.

In addition the NeuroDebian team was interviewed by the INCF.

Other news

The 27th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

Uwe Hermann published a useful quick howto on using OpenVPN on Debian GNU/Linux.

Jonas Smedegaard reported that the Indonesian newspaper Serambi dedicated an article to his Debian involvement after his presence at a radio talkshow in Aceh, Indonesia. Jonas was travelling Asia in order to deliver a series of talks dedicated to Debian Pure Blends. More information about his trip are available on a related wiki page.

The web team is pleased to announce that all languages have finished their migration to UTF-8, so the Debian website is now available for everyone in UTF-8, thanks to all the translators who worked on this issue.

Asheesh Laroia wrote an interesting article about short key IDs with OpenPGP and GNU Privacy Guard, arguing that using them is fundamentally insecure as it's easy to generate collisions for short key IDs.

The Debian Project was mentioned in an article by Bruce Byfield on Datamation titled 2011: The Year of Linux Disappointments. According to the author, in fact, while various Open Source projects saw a decline in 2011, the Debian project spent much of 2011 reinventing itself. In the past few twelve months, it has — among other things — tried to encourage cooperation among its derivatives, revamped its new member process, and experimented with IRC training sessions.

Martin Zobel-Helas announced that he has applied the main theme of Debian website to, the internal LDAP directory of Debian Developers. In the previous days, thanks to Cristoph Berg, the Debian Quality Assurance website had also switched to the main theme.

Russ Allbery wrote an interesting blog post about Debian and popularity.

Upcoming events

There are several upcoming Debian related events:

You can find more information about Debian-related events and talks on the events section of the Debian web site, or subscribe to one of our events mailing lists for different regions: Europe, Netherlands, Hispanic America, North America.

Do you want to organise a Debian booth or a Debian install party? Are you aware of other upcoming Debian-related events? Have you delivered a Debian talk that you want to link on our talks page? Send an email to the Debian Events Team.

New Debian Contributors

Fifteen people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Werner Detter, Fredrik Thulin, Eleanor Chen, Sergiusz Pawlowicz, Brian Thomason, Mike Gabriel, Ko van der Sloot, Paul Boddie, Mark Vejvoda, Patrick Ulbrich, Lucia Prado, Jon Ludlam, Kamil Ignacak, Mike McClurg, and Leo Iannacone 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 7.0 Wheezy, is currently affected by 797 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 532 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.

Status of Debian Installer localisation

In his last report on Debian Installer localisation, Christian Perrier noted that eighteen languages are currently up to date for D-I's core files; ten (Czech, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Kazakh, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and Slovak) are 100% complete for the moment.

Christian informed us previously that A very important and critical fix to partman-zfs broke a string in sublevel 4. That explains why the results are lower than the last time we relayed the translation status, but translators are quickly working to make the Debian Installer completely available in many languages.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): tor, xorg, dtc, mediawiki, asterisk, lighttpd, libsoup2.4, unbound, jasper, heimdal, inetutils, openswan, krb5, krb5-appl, ipmitool, cyrus-imapd-2.2, ffmpeg, krb5, foomatic-filters, squid3, ecryptfs-utils and super. 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

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 203 packages are orphaned and 111 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 Cédric Boutillier, Francesca Ciceri, David Prévot, Justin B Rye and Paul Wise.