Debian Project News - March 12th, 2015

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


Andreas Tille posted the DebianMed Sprint report, detailing the fifth sprint collaboration between the DebianMed team, BioLinux, developers, and users. The event was a great showcase for the Blends concept which also attracted new team members. Several packages were uploaded and accepted immediately at the sprint, thanks to the ftpmaster team, which meant work could continue on chains of dependencies without interruption. More reports and information about the work by M. Crusoe on screed, S. Steinbiss on barrnap, Tim Booth on khmer, and other contributors is available on the DebianMed 2015 Sprint Wiki.

Debian LTS work continues with Raphaël Hertzog working 14.5 hours on the project. His highlights include a helper script to generate emails to package maintainers. Michael Banck worked under sponsorship to keep PostgreSQL updated for LTS, Ben Hutchings uploaded packages for cups and sudo, and Thorsten Alteholz worked 14.5 hours uploading new versions of php5, krb5, and e2fsprogs.

Raphaël Hertzog is reducing his non-work related involvement in Debian. This is partially to change his focus and partially due to recognising he was being distracted inside the project with mailing lists, RSS feeds, etc. He has recently been working with a local political party and the handling of their digital infrastructure, and specifically voting software.

Thorsten Alteholz marked 154 packages for acceptance in his role as an FTP Assistant. He also gives his opinions on some emails about interpretations of upstream licenses.

A delegation for the Trademark Team

We welcome the announcement of an official delegation for the Trademark team. The team worked previously in an unofficial capacity as volunteers under the DPL and were responsible for Debian trademark requests and for reporting violations. Recently the team has completed the process of registering Debian's swirl in the U.S. They are now moving forward to international marks. Although the team will still work closely with the Debian Project Leader and Software in the Public Interest, the delegation means the team now functions on its own in its responsibility for trademark use requests, new registrations, updates, and extensions of Debian trademarks.

Calls for help: Debian Partners Program

Lucas Nussbaum put out a call for help for the Debian Partners program which thanks and advertises organisations that support and help our project. The present team has not been able to keep up with recent requests and additions. Lucas is looking to build a small group in charge of the program that would be responsible for setting up contribution levels, maintaining records, and benchmarking the program.

Debian Project Leader Elections 2015

The call for nominations has started for the next Debian Project Leader election. The DPL term starts on Friday 17 April 2015. Our Constitution states the elections should begin six weeks before the post becomes vacant. The process allows interested developers to nominate themselves and announce their platforms in the first week. This is followed with a three week period of the nominees campaigning for the office, after which the last two weeks are reserved for Debian Developers to cast their votes in the election. The process started on 4 March 2015.

The nominees are: Mehdi Dogguy, Gergely Nagy, and Neil McGovern.


The announcement has been made that registration is now open for DebConf15, taking place in Heidelberg, Germany, from Saturday, August 15, 2015 through Sunday, August 22, 2015. Debconf15 will be preceded by one week of DebCamp, Sunday, August 9, 2015 through Friday, August 14, 2015. If you would like to attend DebConf15, please fill out the registration form.

The DebConf Organisation team is happy to announce that they can host team sprints and take care of any logistics for working space, food, and accommodation for said teams. Interested teams should contact them and plan on having their sprints take place during DebCamp, 10 - 14 August. This is a great opportunity for teams to attract other interested people, motivate contributors, and reach the larger Debian community.

DebConf16 will take place in Cape Town, South Africa.

Other news

Stefano Zacchiroli pointed out that Debian now has an entry in the Internet Movie Database, thanks to the movie Citizenfour. Debian is given Special Thanks at the end of the film credits.

DPN asks: DSA, 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.

We reached out to the DSA team with the question: What do you do?

Paul Wise responds:

The Debian System Administration (DSA) team is delegated to manage the infrastructure of the Debian project, including machines, core services and relationships with donors of equipment, services and hosting.

In practice, a nine person team gets to work through a deluge of email, cron output, monitoring notifications, bouncing Debian member mail, hoster/vendor notifications, spam, weird mail, misdirected questions, hardware that fails to reboot, dying hardware, sick hardware, serial consoles, disk replacements, hardware donations, hardware purchasing, hardware sponsors, hosting sponsors, guest account requests, group member changes, inter-release compatibility issues, service admin prodding, security updates, inter-team co-ordination and much more.

Our tools of the trade include Debian stable (and some backports), hardware capable of running amd64 VMs, entropy keys, ganeti, puppet, icinga, munin, ikiwiki, git, postgresql, apache, openldap, gnupg, openssh, bacula, ferm, sudo and a bunch of homegrown scripts.

We are interested in automation, reliability, speed, privacy, security, resilience, longevity and try to balance these for the benefit of the Debian project, members, users, derivatives and the wider world.

As we have a lot to deal with, we mostly leave the actual running of services to service admins but provide general guidance as well as specific guidance on a case-by-case basis.

Our most recent achievement was modifying the update-ca-certificates code to allow for multiple X.509 certificate stores and adding puppet bits to ensure the 3 certificate stores we wanted are consistent between hosts.

An ongoing project is to replace our current old LDAP web/mail frontend with a new one based on Django.

If anyone would like to help out, please take a look at and feel free to fix the various bugs that we have filed.

For more information or to contact the team, visit their web page: DSA Team.


Zlatan Todorić is conducting a series of interviews with FLOSS developers, starting with Joey Hess. This interview touches on the life and lifestyle of one of the prime movers in the Free Software Community. Joey speaks about his life after Debian, programming, and living modestly.

Next in the series is an interview with Paul Wise, a constant source of information, member of DSA, and a member of our very own Publicity team. Paul shares some of his history, his thoughts on FLOSS, and the future.

New Debian Contributors

3 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, 3 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers, and 4 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Jonas Genannt, Tomasz Buchert, Federicco Ceratto, Nicolaus Rath, Balasankar C, Olof Johansson, Rebecca N. Palmer, Thomas Klute, Luca Boccassi, and Carlos Alberto Silombria Ibarra 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 112 Release-Critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 67 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): bind9, libreoffice, typo3-src, xdg-utils, e2fsprogs, sudo, ruby-redcloth, eglibc, linux, samba, cups, libgtk2-perl, iceweasel, kfreebsd-9, request-tracker4, unace, icedove, and libarchive. 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: e2fsprogs, nss, linux-2.6, samba, openjdk-6, request-tracker3.8, cups, sudo, libgtk2-perl, e2fsprogs, bind9, unace, and eglibc.

Debian's Stable Release Team released an update announcement for the packages: spamassassin, policyd-weight, and 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, stable updates list, and long term support security updates list) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 664 packages are orphaned and 146 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, Jean-Pierre Giraud, Donald Norwood, Justin B Rye and Paul Wise.