Debian Project News - April 2nd, 2012

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

Bits from Debian Med team

Andreas Tille sent some bits from the Debian Med team, where he talked about recent initiatives of the team including the Debian Med Bug Squashing Advent Calendar 2011 and the Mentoring of the Month (MoM) project. Andreas also reminded us that in January the Debian Med project reached 10: in ten years, Debian Med has grown from a one man project to a strong team maintaining a set of over 200 highly specialised packages with a high quality standard, as Andreas said in a related blogpost. The Debian Med project not only provides and maintains specialised packages for biology and medicine, but is — like other Debian Blends — a nice entry point for people to join Debian because newcomers can identify themselves with a known topic (the scope of the Blend — in this case medicine and bioinformatics) first and learn Debian rules in a team with common interest, added Andreas in the mail. This idea was confirmed by the results of a survey focused on why Debian Med team members became Debian Developers.

Debian joins the OSI

The Debian project announced that it is joining the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as an affiliate. The OSI was founded in 1998 with the aim of explaining, advocating, and protecting the term open source. For many years now, the OSI has helped the Open Source trademark gain recognition, particularly in the corporate world.

Report from DSA Team sprint

Luca Filipozzi wrote a report from the Debian System Administrators (DSA) team's sprint held over the weekend of 16-18 March in Oslo, Norway. During the meeting the team discussed a long-term plan for Debian's infrastructure, reviewing the machines currently administrated, and formulating procedures regarding account and group management. One of the main points discussed at the meeting was the necessity to renew the set of machines — which are now old and long out of warranty — and how to do it. While in the past Debian's hardware requirements were met by donations of new and used hardware from individuals and organizations, this is no longer true. The team elaborated a Five Year Plan for a hardware refresh cycle to avoid to having machines more than five years old. A clear outcome of our work on the Five Year Plan is an understanding that hardware has now become one of the biggest expense categories for Debian, said Luca. Various machines are also needed in order to support the whole set of architectures for which Debian is shipped. For more information on how to donate equipment to the Debian Project, please contact the hardware donations team.
The DSA sprint was made possible by donations to Debian and by Varnish Software who hosted it and provided food and drink. Thank you!

Fascinating: a Debian based tricorder

Peter Jansen, a cognitive science researcher, brought to life Spock's tricorder from the popular Star Trek television series. Peter, in fact, developed a handheld device able — thanks to its embedded sensors — to measure various environmental parameters (like temperature, humidity, magnetic fields, etc.). The device runs Debian GNU/Linux on an ARM920T-based Atmel microcontroller: the hardware specifications and schematics, and the software are licensed respectively under TAPR non-commercial and GPL 3 and are available on the project website.

So long, and thanks for all the news

The year was 2006. The place: Oaxtepec, Mexico. The event: DebConf6. This is how the Publicity team was born, during a BoF titled Representing Debian. And among others there were two Debian contributors (who later became Debian Developers), Alexander Schmehl and Meike Reichle. If you are a regular reader of Debian Project News, or a contributor to the Publicity Team, you'll surely recognize their names: they worked every day for the last six years to bring us news about the Debian world and to announce important changes inside the project. Alexander and Meike have now decided to step down from the Press and Publicity team and start another, different adventure. The Publicity Team would like to thank them for their tireless effort, their creativity and their inspiring work.
So long, and thanks for all the news!


Raphaël Hertzog published a People behind Debian interview with Jörg Jaspert (FTPmaster, Debian Account Manager, and more), while Petter Reinholdtsen interviewed John Ingleby for his Debian Edu interviews series.

In addition, Chris Woolfrey interviewed Guido Günther. Zlatan Todorić interviewed Joey Hess about his participation at DebConf11, held last August in Banja Luka.

Other news

Stefan Fritsch posted some bits from the Apache Maintainers announcing some changes — a new set of packaging guidelines, a recent major Apache HTTPD upgrade, and an upcoming package transition.

Axel Beckert recently wrote about the (perhaps temporary) disappearance of aptitude-gtk. The new team is currently focusing on the internal code and the native ncurses user interface, but anyone who wants to contribute to the GUI is welcome to join the Aptitude team.

Kurt Roeckx announced that the DPL candidates' rebuttals have been published and are now available as part of their platforms, and also sent out the call for votes. Voting closes on Saturday 14 April.

Stefano Zacchiroli announced that the LDAP dnsZoneEntry attribute for * domains will be made publicly accessible in two weeks. The intention is to provide an easier way to view the data, which is currently only available via a DNS query.

Jan Hauke Rahm wrote a report from the Front Desk and DAM sprint that was recently held in Mönchengladbach, Germany. During the meeting, the members of both teams worked on the New Members web interface, as well as on long-outstanding cases of NM applicants. The meeting turned out to be a great chance to discuss face-to-face and in person delicate cases and to work on the pending requests. Both teams would like to thank Credativ who hosted the meeting.

New Debian Contributors

Eleven applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, six applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers, and six people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Arno Töll, Mathieu Malaterre, Johann Felix Soden, Roland Dreier, Dmitrijs Ledkovs, Ana Carolina Comandulli, Michael Gilbert, Carl Chenet, Mònica Ramírez Arceda, Michael Stapelberg, Alessandro Ghedini, David Steele, Khalid El Fathi, Rodolfo García Peñas, Dmitry Smirnov, Sven Joachim, Simon Josefsson, Guo Yixuan, Emile Joubert, Jonathan Steinert, Benjamin J. Scott, Melissa Draper and Lennart Weller 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 Wheezy, is currently affected by 742 Release-Critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 536 Release-Critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

There are also some hints on how to interpret these numbers.

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): libapache2-mod-fcgid, nginx, gnash, icedove, raptor, libpng, libtasn1-3, gnutls26, openarena, linux-2.6, tryton-server, typo3-src and curl (updated announce). Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Backports Team released advisories for these packages: gnash, puppet, nginx and freetype. 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) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 432 packages are orphaned and 152 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 Moray Allan, Cédric Boutillier, Francesca Ciceri and David Prévot.