Debian Project News - December 1st, 2014

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

DebConf15 welcomes its first eleven sponsors!

Each year for the past 14 years, Debian has held an annual conference for developers and users. Next year, DebConf15 will take place in Heidelberg, Germany in August of 2015. Nine companies had already committed to sponsoring the event by mid-November, and two more have joined since: credativ, sipgate, Matanel Foundation, Google, Farsight Security, Martin Alfke / Buero 2.0, Ubuntu, Mirantis, Logilab, Netways, and Hetzner. Should you know of an organisation that would like to become a sponsor for the event, the DebConf team invites you to please have a look at the sponsorship brochure which has all of the details. Looking forward to a great conference!

Debian running on a graphing calculator

Of interest out on the web was a post from about Debian in use and running on a graphing calculator. The build was done using available open-source tools and an ARM emulator then uploaded to the device. Ivoah of the omnimaga forums shares the details and a how-to in greater depth along with a video in a blog post.

Votes on the General Resolution on init system coupling

The Debian Developer community voted and decided that no General Resolution was needed on init system coupling. The General Resolution init system coupling vote was proposed in response to a Technical Committee decision choosing systemd as the default init system for Linux architectures. Of the 5 available options for voting, option #4 “General Resolution is not required" won the vote.

Bits from the Debian Med team

The version number of the debian-med metapackages was bumped to 1.99 as a signal of the plan to release version 2.0 with Jessie. This release contains for the first time some support for Hospital Information Systems (HIS).

The team worked hard to enable DFSG free licenses and get packages moved from non-free into main; they were in continuous discussion with Joe Felsenstein, the author of PHYLIP, who happily decided to move to a free license, with PHYLIP being released in September under a BSD-2-clause license. The team's efforts on license change show that it is possible to get positive change in licensing that benefits everyone, and they hope their approach can be used in similar situations.

The team is also involved in a paper which will be at BioMed Central. The title will be Community-driven development for computational biology at Sprints, Hackathons and Codefests.

Lastly, the Debian Med team will have a Bug Squashing Advent Calendar. Feel free to join them in their bug squashing effort where they (and you!) will be closing bugs.

Freexian's third report about Debian Long Term Support

Debian Long Term Support (LTS) is a joint effort of paid contributors and sponsors to continue the release cycle for oldstable (Squeeze). The month of October in 2014 had 13.75 hours allotted across three contributors: Thorsten Alteholz, Raphaël Hertzog, and Holger Levsen. The effort gained two new sponsors, Daevel and FOSSter, and now has 45.5 hours of paid LTS work to spend each month. Great news and progress but still far from the minimal goal of funding the equivalent of a half-time position. Should the backlog grow further, they will look for more paid contributors to share the workload.

Overall, the dla-needed.txt file lists 33 packages awaiting an update, down six from last month. The list of open vulnerabilities in Squeeze showed about 60 affected packages in total, which is explained by CVE triaging for Squeeze which had not been done the past few days, and the POODLE issues with SSLv3 affecting a very large number of packages.

It's never too late to join the growing list of sponsors. LTS asks users and interested parties to please check with their company and managers to help with the effort via sponsorship. If that is not possible this year, please consider including this work and the effort in your budgets for next year.

Newcomer tag in BTS

Don Armstrong updates us with a new BTS tag: newcomer. You may already be aware of the gift tag, which has been used for a while to indicate bugs which are suitable for new contributors to use as an entry point to working on specific packages. The newcomer tag has been added as a more appropriately named equivalent and has been added to the BTS documentation.

All of the previously tagged gift bugs have been tagged with the new newcomer tag.

If you have bugs in your package which you think are ideal for new contributors to Debian, or you have a package that needs to be fixed, please tag them newcomer. If you're getting started in Debian, and working on bugs to fix, please search for the newcomer tag, grab the helm, and contribute to Debian.

FOSS Outreach program for women

Stefano Zacchiroli and Don Armstrong announced Virginia King and Jingie Jiang as two of the three intern placements as part of Debian's participation in the FOSS Outreach Program for women.

Starting December 9 through March 9 Virginia will be working on improving the documentation of the Debian bug tracking system, and Jinjie will be working on Debsources. Welcome aboard!

Release Team Sprint Results

Jonathan Wiltshire updates us with the results of the Release Team Sprint. Four days after the November 5, 2014 freeze date, they processed 162 unblock requests. Of those, 17 required further information from the submitters.

The team is seeking patches and editors for the release notes, particularly: init system changes; how to choose before upgrading; pros and cons of upgrading; and the dropping of i486 support.

The codenames have been chosen for the next future releases: Debian 9 Stretch and Debian 10 Buster.

Cyril Brulebois is co-ordinating artwork for Jessie, and expects that it will be ready before the holiday season. Jessie's artwork is available for viewing, with thanks to all the many contributors who contributed artwork.

The team asks that you please carry out upgrade tests from Wheezy to Jessie, and file your experiences against the upgrade-reports pseudo-package. They would also appreciate tests of fresh installations, with reports against installation-reports.

arm64 and ppc64el have made enough progress to be release architectures for Jessie. Regressions for arm64 and ppc64el are now release critical, but non-regressions are not.

The team discussed kfreebsd at length, but were not satisfied that a release with Jessie would be of sufficient quality. As a result, they are dropping it as an official release architecture. They hope that the porters will be able to make a simultaneous unofficial release.

Fun and Sanity in Debian

Enrico Zini was asked, is there anything happening in Debian besides systemd? Of course there is, he thought! We froze on time and with a very low RC bug count and there is a lot going on. To prove it, and to honestly answer the question he created a gobby document about Fun and Sanity in Debian then passed the link around in IRC and at the 2014 Cambridge Miniconf. He shared some of the great responses.

Notes on the Cambridge Mini-DebConf

Steve McIntyre posted about the second Mini-DebConf in Cambridge, UK at the ARM offices. Sprint work was scheduled for Thursday and Friday on a range of Debian topics: installer, admin, ARM arch support, etc. Several volunteers from the DebConf video team were on hand, so the talks were recorded and are online.

The Mini-DebConf went well, and feedback from attendees was universally positive. He states they may run it again next year, but more importantly, confirms that they are definitely planning on bidding to host a full DebConf in Cambridge in the summer of 2017.

DebConf14 final report

The final report for DebConf14 has been released, here are a few excerpts:

DebConf talks and discussions are important opportunities to raise new proposals for development, to inform other contributors about technical advances they can build on in their own work, and, last but not least, to manage the wide cooperation required for each new Debian release.

DebConf is an oasis for those who need to find uninterrupted time to work on Debian in their regular schedule.

Highlights included the keynote by Prof. Gabriella Coleman, a Q&A session with Linus Torvalds, plenary talks by former Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli, hacking time, ad-hoc sessions, and BOF meetings. Teams in the background are brought to the forefront with information and introductions of the video team who capture and make available many of the talks online.

Debian Description Translation Project

Laura Arjona presents a detailed walkthrough on how to translate package descriptions as part of the Debian Description Translation Project (DDTP). It is something that anyone can do without having to have great knowledge of translation tools. The guide has hints, tips, advice, and a pictorial on how to use the web interface.

How to get new packages into stable

Ever wonder how to get new packages into stable? Neil Williams details in a blog posting a very useful guide that he had intended to be a talk at the Mini-DebConf in Cambridge, but instead decided to share as a useful reference tool for the future. He starts off with some background on LAVA and tells how he was able to get it into Jessie through uploads, working with other Debian Developers, team support, and patience.

LiMux Munich Bug Squashing Party

A Bug Squashing Party (BSP) took place in Munich, Germany, November 21 to 23, sponsored annually by the LiMux project. Several teams were represented from Debian, KDE PIM, Kubuntu, Kolab, and LibreOffice. Ovidiu-Florin Bogdan blogged and Jonathan Riddell posted about major changes coming to Akonadi, framework changes to KDE, and Qt4 theming with Plasma 5.

DPN asks: Hams, What do you do?

Debian is a large and global community of a lot of small actors, projects, and teams. This month as part of a special feature we'd like to share with you something about a project or a team that is working in Debian that you may not be aware of.

Starting this off, we reached out to the Debian Ham-Radio Team with the question: Hams, What do you do?

Ian Learmonth responds: The Debian Hamradio Maintainers team collaborates on maintenance of amateur-radio related packages for Debian. This includes packaging, writing documentation, providing description translations and more for amateur-radio related packages.

The team plans to release a Debian Pure Blend for amateur-radio with the release of Stretch. This will make it easier for end users to explore the software that is available to them for amateur-radio and will also allow us to easily provide a live CD with all the amateur-radio software installed to help people who want to try out Debian but are not yet ready to install it to their hard drive.

We've recently had a number of new additions to the team, and these new additions are being mentored for Debian packaging work by the team. Packaging teams can be a great place for newcomers to find help with packaging and you know that the person mentoring you will be interested in the package too.

Other news

The 37th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

New Debian Contributors

2 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, 9 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainer, and 9 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Matteo F. Vescovi, Tássia Camões Araújo, Andrew Bartlett, Andreas Moog, Andriy Grytsenko, Fabian Greffrath, Hugo Lefeuvre, James Cowgill, Jordan Justen, Pierre Blanc, Ross Gammon, Rejah Rehim, Vincent Hourdin, Victor Fayvel, Shawn Sörbom, Darryl L. Pierce, Herbert Parentes Fortes Neto, Andreas Stührk, Dmitry Bogatov, and Christopher Reichert 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 Jessie, is currently affected by 274 Release-Critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 132 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): file, libgcrypt11, php5, drupal7, wireshark, openjdk-6, libksba, ppp, openjdk-7, libvncserver, flac, and mutt. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

The Debian team in charge of Squeeze Long Term Support released security update announcements for these packages: file, dbus, ruby1.8, nss, imagemagick, tomcat6, tomcat-native, libgcrypt11, php5, openjdk-6, and eglibc. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Backports Team released advisories for the package libreoffice. 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, stable updates list, and long term support security updates list) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 621 packages are orphaned and 148 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 Cédric Boutillier, Jean-Pierre Giraud, Donald Norwood and Justin B Rye.