Debian Project News - April 1st, 2013

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

Bits from the Release Team

Julien Cristau sent an update on Release Team activities, announcing the start of the final stage of the freeze. This basically means that from now on, there will be an even stricter policy on the changes that can be uploaded (only fixes for release critical bugs will be accepted) and that the Release Team will start to apply a specific usertag (wheezy-will-remove) to mark packages that will be removed from the upcoming stable release if their RC bugs aren't fixed. In addition, Julien gave a reminder that help is needed to finalise the Release Notes: all users and contributors are invited to check the work in progress and help with the current issues.

Bits from the DSA team

Martin Zobel-Helas sent some bits from the Debian Systems Administration team (DSA) in which he reported on the recent activities of the team. In recent months, they have focused on the virtualisation of a number of physical machines, creating some ganeti clusters to manage the various virtual machines. In addition to that, the team has begun a rewrite of its account management code base using the Django framework.
The mail ends with the thanks of the DSA team to all the donors and hosting partners (and especially Eaton and Brainfood) as well as the ganeti package maintainers, Iustin Pop and Guido Trotter.

DebConf13 matching fund

Didier Raboud announced matching funding for donations to DebConf13. As part of the DebConf13 fundraising effort, a generous sponsor, Brandorr Group, has proposed to match USD donations to DebConf13 until 30 April explained Didier. Through this mechanism, for each dollar donated by an individual to DebConf13, Brandorr Group will donate another dollar. Individual donations will be matched only up to 100 USD each; only donations in USD will be matched, and Brandorr Group will match the donated funds up to a maximum total of 5,000 USD.
This initiative will continue until Tuesday 30 April; spread the word! For further details, you can check the donations webpage.

New Maintainer process

Enrico Zini blogged about the gender imbalance in the New Maintainer process. Enrico noted that we still have very few women applicants, despite previous efforts to encourage them to apply, including by the Debian Women project. He therefore proposed that we adopt an affirmative action approach, and only allow one male candidate to apply for every female one. Since the goal is to have an equal gender perception in Debian, we can just decide to only approve one obviously-male-named DD for every obviously-female-named one, said Enrico. That's right: no new obviously-male-named DD unless an obviously-female-named DD has just been approved.

Editorial changes to the constitution

Francesca Ciceri proposed a constitutional amendment about changing our election system. She pointed out the large amount of time wasted in election discussions each year, and the problems in tricking other project members into running. The proposed amendment would cancel the current election process, and instead make Stefano Zacchiroli DPL for life. Democratic processes are one of Debian distinguishing traits, but over the years we have learned not to abuse them, in particular when they risk getting in the way of decision efficiency, commented Stefano Zacchiroli, current Debian Project Leader. I'm flattered of being proposed as "DPL for life" and, if the resolution will pass, I'll do my best to always listen to suggestions from Debian project members in spite of the lack of elections.


The newly launched official Debian blog has interviewed the three candidates for this year's DPL election: Moray Allan, Gergely Nagy and Lucas Nussbaum.

Other news

Stefano Zacchiroli published his monthly report of DPL activities.

Jan Wagner published a detailed report on the Debian presence at Chemnitzer Linuxtage 2013.

Following the recent announcement encouraging use of Debian's trademarks, some of the first new merchandising products featuring Debian branding have been announced. These range from a new version of the famous Debian umbrellas designed for pets and plush toys of your favourite Debian developers to Debian-branded bug squashing spray (fully approved for use with organic crops) and Debian Flame-Away™ calming drugs.

Masayuki Hatta wrote some tips on how to package Haskell software.

Rhonda announced the integration of the backport services into the main archive.

New Debian Contributors

9 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, and 2 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Dmitry Smirnov, Jérémy Lal, Matthias Klumpp, Stephen Kitt, Ivo De Decker, Mike Gabriel, Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo, Andrew Shadura, Florian Schlichting, Vamsee Kanakala, and Sebastian Geiger 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 50 Release-Critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 24 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): smokeping, libxml2, icinga, rails and bind9. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Stable Release Team released an update announcement for the package: clamav. 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) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 491 packages are orphaned and 145 packages are up for adoption: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help.

Want to continue reading DPN?

Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer writers to watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. Please see the contributing page to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

To receive this newsletter in your mailbox, subscribe to the debian-news mailing list.

Back issues of this newsletter are available.

This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Moray Allan, Cédric Boutillier, Francesca Ciceri, Victor Nițu, Rhonda, Justin B Rye and Thomas Vincent.