Debian Project News - February 6th, 2012

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

Update for Debian 6.0: 6.0.4 released

The fourth update for Debian 6.0 (codenamed Squeeze) has been released. This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with some adjustments for serious problems.

Bits from the Release Team

Niels Thykier sent some bits from the Release Team where he announced various bits of news: the addition of armhf and s390x to testing (though these architectures may be temporarily out of sync with the others), the acceptance of a new release goal (security hardening build flags), and the completion of more than fourteen transitions to testing (including GNOME 3, Perl 5.14, Python 2.7, etc.). Niels also issued a reminder that the freeze is due in June, even if an exact freeze date has not been selected.

In addition, Niels announced that Cyril Brulebois joined the Release Team, becoming Release Assistant: congratulations Cyril!

Bits from the piuparts maintainers

Holger Levsen sent some bits from the piuparts maintainers announcing that piuparts is again maintained by a team and they're receiving various patches and other contributions. piuparts is an important tool for Quality Assurance within Debian as it runs various tests in order to verify that packages can be installed, upgraded and removed without problems. Tests results are publicly available on the piuparts website, where they are updated on a daily basis. Holger urged maintainers to regularly check their personal status pages on piuparts in order to fix issues related to their packages. In addition to their regular tests, since December 2011, the piuparts maintainers have been testing the upgrade of individual packages from Squeeze to Wheezy: 158 packages failed the test (and another 130 failed it due to dependencies) while 33,708 passed it.

Report from Debian Med sprint

Andreas Tille sent a report from the Debian Med sprint held in Southport, UK on 27-29 January. Among other activities, the Debian Med team fixed some bugs, mentored new members and students (consolidating the effort made via the Mentoring of the Month initiative) and packaged new software.
For more information on Debian Med activity, you can check their real time activity page.

Setting up a new school with Debian Edu/Squeeze

Petter Reinholdtsen announced on his blog that the next version of Debian Edu/Squeeze will contain a new tool, called sitesummary2ldapdhcp, which allows all the computers of a school to be quickly set up with a minimal number of manual steps. Once the central server is installed, this tool collects data from the network to generate system objects in the LDAP database. After a few modifications of the configuration from a GUI, the network of computers is ready to use.
A third beta version of Debian Edu based on Squeeze and containing this tool has just been released.

Answering Debian users' questions

Raphaël Hertzog wrote a useful blogpost about how to answer the questions of Debian users and, in general, how to support new users. There are many places for helping users (mailing lists, IRC channels, questions & answers websites, etc.) each with different characteristics, but the golden rule for every support channel is to be respectful and courteous (as stated in the Debian Community Guidelines).

Debian/Ubuntu games screenshot party

Paul Wise announced a Debian/Ubuntu games screenshot party to be held on 25 and 26 February and organised by the Games Team. The idea is to create screenshots for as many games in Debian/Ubuntu as possible and upload them to in order to have them available to goplay (a games package browser).
For more information, you can visit the related wiki page.

GNOME Shell 3.2 in Wheezy: a retrospective

Jordi Mallach wrote an article on the transition from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 in Debian from the Debian GNOME Team point of view. When you’re dealing with dozens of GNOME source packages at the same time, many of which introduce new libraries, or worse, introduce incompatible APIs that affect many more unrelated packages, things get hairy, and you need a plan Jordi said. But even with a plan for a smooth transition, they encountered a lot of difficulties, such as failures to build from source on various architectures and incompatibilities with other packages. Finally GNOME Shell 3.2 has transitioned to Debian's testing suite and Jordi thanks not only all Debian GNOME Team members, but also Release Team members Julien Cristau and Cyril Brulebois and FTP assistant Luca Falavigna, who helped in reaching this goal.


There has been a People behind Debian interview with Josselin Mouette, founder of the Debian GNOME team.

Other news

The 28th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

The Debian website is now also optimised for handheld devices.

Didier Raboud announced the birth of a new mailing list dedicated to everyone interested in discussing mobile inferfaces in Debian. The debian-mobile mailing list is intended as a place for discussions around packaging suitable mobile interfaces for Debian. For more information about running Debian on mobile devices, you can visit the mobile and smartphone wiki pages.

Micheal Gilbert wrote an article on a recent security flaw (CVE-2012-0064) and how it was handled by distributions. Thanks also to the detailed research by the discoverer of the issue, Debian reacted really fast and the issue was already fixed in Debian unstable less than six hours after the disclosure.

Andrew Pollock wrote some bits from the ISC DHCP Maintainer: during a meeting with upstream, he gave them an overview of his packages on Debian advocating GNU/Hurd patches. A nice example of good distribution maintainer practices.

Ben Hutchings announced that Debian 7.0 Wheezy will include Linux 3.2, which is currently in unstable and will soon enter testing.

Lior Kaplan blogged about the upcoming PHP 5.4.0 release, a pre-release version is already available in the experimental repository. Lior worked in particular on PHP extensions in order to make them compatible with PHP 5.4.

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

Six applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainer, and nine people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Neutron Soutmun, Boris Pek, Christian M. Amsüss, Alexandre Mestiashvili, Emmanuel Kasper Kasprzyk, Aleksey Kravchenko, Dan Stowell, Adam Michal Ziaja, Sebastian Boehm, Cyril Lavier, Phillip Susi, Jose Ernesto Davila Pantoja, Peter Drysdale, Dominique Lasserre and Antono Vasiljev 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 695 Release-Critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 482 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.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): rails (update), cacti (update), openssl, bip, libxml2, wireshark, qemu-kvm, icu, curl, php5, iceweasel, tomcat6, iceape, php5 and xen-qemu-dm-4.0. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Stable Release Team released an update announcement for the package clive. 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 list, for Lenny, the oldstable distribution) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

1008 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others are:

Work-needing packages

Currently 390 packages are orphaned and 148 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.