Debian Project News - March 17th, 2014

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

The Supercomputing and Visualization Center of Madrid provides a Debian VPS service

The Supercomputing and Visualization Center of Madrid (CeSViMa), which is part of the Technical University of Madrid and houses Magerit, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Spain, has chosen Debian as host and guest operating system for its new service of Virtual Private Servers (VPS), for the research community and public.

DebConf, past and future

While the local DebConf team is well into the preparation of DebConf14 which will take place in Portland, Oregon, USA during 23–31 August 2014, the DebConf committee decided during their last meeting that DebConf15, the 16th annual Debian Conference, will be hosted in Germany. Details about location and date will be announced in the coming months. A dedicated mailing list has been created for the organisation and those interested are welcome to subscribe and join the discussion. Furthermore, the 32-page final report for DebConf13 in Vaumarcus, Switzerland, is now available. It provides interesting facts about the organisation of the event and the experiences of participants.

Upcoming votes in the Debian Project: DPL elections and a code of conduct

Kurt Roeckx, Debian project secretary, opened the project leader elections. This year, two candidates have nominated themselves: Lucas Nussbaum, current DPL, and Neil McGovern. During the campaign candidates will answer questions on the debian-vote mailing list until March 30, after which Debian Members will have two weeks to send their votes.

Kurt also announced that a general resolution has been started about a code of conduct, initiated by Wouter Verhelst. The debate about the text proposed can be followed on the debian-vote mailing list. More information is available on the web page of this vote.

The Debian project uses the Condorcet method for its elections.

Bits from the DPL

Lucas Nussbaum sent his monthly report of DPL activities for the end of January and February 2014. Lucas mentioned the ongoing work by Stefano Zacchiroli, the Software Freedom Conservancy and SPI to offer Debian contributors the possibility to transfer the copyright of their contributions to a trusted organisation. Lucas also forwarded to Debian France, and FFIS the list of evaluation criteria to become a trusted organisation, authorised to accept and hold assets for Debian. In another message, Lucas appointed Nicolas Dandrimont and Sylvestre Ledru as admins for Debian participation in the Google Summer of Code 2014.

Bits from the Security Team

Moritz Muehlenhoff sent some bits from the Security Team. The Security Team met on the first weekend of February at the Linux Hotel in Essen. They discussed several improvements for the Debian security tracker and the security release workflow, as well as changes in the security archive, such as the possibility to allow maintainers not part of the Security Team to release security updates on their own through a mechanism similar to the procedure to grant upload privileges to Debian Maintainers. Distribution hardening was also mentioned: currently, more than 95% of security-sensitive packages and packages with priority standard or above are hardened using dpkg-buildflags. Last but not least, the Security Team considers that at the moment it seems likely that an extended security support timespan for Squeeze is possible. The plan is to go ahead, and provide updates for a long term support for Squeeze in a separate suite where everyone in the Debian keyring can upload in order to minimise bottlenecks and allow contributions by all interested parties. The team needs help to make this effort sustainable. Anyone interested in helping with an extended security support is invited to contact the Security Team.

Other news

Stefano Zacchiroli blogged about the how-can-i-help package and how useful it can be for Debian contributors searching for opportunities to help the project.

Bill Allombert and Stéphane Blondon have improved the website, presenting the gathered results of Debian's popularity contest. In particular it now uses a style matching the main Debian website.

Enrico Zini announced that the Debian Single SignOn service can now use not only the credentials of official Debian Members, but also those from Alioth, the Debian sourceforge. At the moment, contributors with an Alioth account are able to log in to with their Alioth password, and have access to detailed information about their contributions. This will be extended to other Debian web services in the future.

Gunnar Wolf announced that the Debian keyring maintainers no longer consider 1024 bit long DSA cryptographic keys to be trustable. They are asking Debian Members and Maintainers still using this kind of key to move to a stronger key (4096 bit RSA keys are recommended) as soon as possible.

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

1 applicant has been accepted as Debian Developer, 7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers, and 1 person has started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome IOhannes m zmölnig, Giulio Paci, Tobias Hamp, Klee Dienes, Victor Seva, Oleg Moskalenko, Philip Rinn, Simon Kainz, and Joseph Herlant into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): php5, gnutls26, libyaml-libyaml-perl, wireshark, udisks, file, mutt, cups-filters, cups, lighttpd, virtualbox, and libssh. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Backports Team released an advisory for the package gnutls28. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Stable Release Team released update announcements for these packages: debian-edu-archive-keyring and clamav (for Squeeze and Wheezy). 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

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 564 packages are orphaned and 140 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 Laura Arjona, Carl J Mannino, Cédric Boutillier and Justin B Rye.