Debian Project News - July 21st, 2015

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

Perl team sprint

The Debian Perl team had its first sprint in May, and it was a success: seven members met in Barcelona over the weekend from May 22 to May 24 to kick off Perl development for Stretch and to work on QA tasks across the more than 3000 packages that the team maintains. Find all the details in the sprint report.

New documentation guides on the Debian website

On his blog, Osamu Aoki announced some updates to Debian documentation. Having created the debmake helper script to produce Debian source packages, to take into account new packaging best practices, he has rewritten the Debian Maintainers' Guide from scratch, available in the debmake-doc package. Meanwhile, the Debian Handbook is now also available from the Debian website. This version is built automatically from the corresponding package in Debian unstable. This is also the case for the documentation from debmake-doc and more generally for other debian-doc related packages.

Bits from the DPL

Neil McGovern, Debian project leader, sent a report about his recent activities: communication (in particular an interview by Steven Ovadia, and an open questions session on Reddit), funding management, and work with trusted organisations.

Help rescuing Debian Live Rescue

Ben Armstrong sent a second call for help to revive the rescue flavour of the Debian Live image, which missed the Debian Jessie release, with a list of tasks to achieve. If you are interested in helping with the Debian Live rescue image, contact the #debian-live IRC channel on, or send an email to Debian Live mailing list.

Debian switches to FFmpeg for multimedia packages

For the Wheezy release, the Debian project moved from having FFmpeg as the provider of multimedia libraries to Libav, which is also in use in the Jessie release. The Debian Multimedia team announced that after a careful review, they have decided to switch back to FFmpeg, and will do their best to finish the transition for the next stable release, Debian Stretch.

Reproducible builds funded by the Linux Foundation

The Linux Fundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative announced that they will support two Debian Developers, Holger Levsen and Jérémy Bobbio, with $200,000 to advance their Debian work on reproducible builds and to collaborate more closely with other distributions such as Fedora, Ubuntu, and OpenWrt to benefit from this effort.

In the meantime, Jérémy Bobbio published several issues of his weekly report from the Debian reproducible builds effort: since the last issue of the Debian Project News, about 500 packages have become reproducible.

Transition to GCC5 and libstdc++6

Matthias Klose sent a message about the transition to GCC5 and libstdc++6, scheduled for the end of the month. Bugs were filed for packages failing to build from source with the new GCC version, and for those where investigation is needed, to see if the transition to the new libstdc++ affects them. Details of the transition can be found on the dedicated Debian wiki page.

Report from Google Summer of Code students

Yuru Roy Shao, mentored by Ritesh Raj Sarraf, is working on Apport integration in Debian. Yuru posted a report on the new features he implemented: uniqueness of the apport-notifyd notification daemon instance, installation of debug symbols, use of the system APT cache to avoid downloading packages twice, and Debian BTS integration. Orestis Ioannou also sent an update on the work he has done on a new web application, the copyright tracker, as part of the Debsources project.

Long Term Support reports

Guido Günther, Thorsten Alteholz, Mike Gabriel, and Ben Hutchings published their activities in Debian on their blogs, with a special emphasis on their work on Squeeze Long Term Support.

Tips and Tricks

Several members of the Debian community shared some tips: Thomasz Buchert explained how to tag emails which haven't been replied to, using notmuch. Simon Josefsson explained how to deal with SSH Host Certificates with a YubiKey NEO. Julien Danjou published on his blog an article on the need to always consider timezone information with any timestamp, and how to do that in Python. Sandro Tosi explained how to tweak the configuration of CFEngine for package upgrades, to deal with epochs in Debian versions. Michael Prokop noticed on his blog that HAProxy causes random Hash Sum mismatch errors with Debian Squeeze clients. A solution to this issue was proposed in a comment by Petter Reinholdtsen.

Other news

The 39th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

Martin Michlmayr announced that support for the D-Link DNS-323 and Conceptronic CH3SNAS has been removed in Debian Stretch, because the kernel is now too large to fit into the flash on these devices.

The technical committee published their decision about the maintainership of the aptitude package.

Niels Thykier sent an update on the status of automatically generated debug packages, with a summary of the missing pieces, hints on how people can help to improve the situation, and some answers to frequently asked questions.

He also introduced in his blog a new tool he created with the FTP masters for dak, the Debian Archive Kit. The purpose of the auto-decrufter is to identify common types of cruft (such as binary packages no longer built from any source package), and automatically remove them from unstable when nothing Depends or Build-Depends on them. Until recently that removal has been 100% manual and done by the FTP masters.

Pirate Praveen Arimbrathodiyil successfully managed to get a crowd-funding campaign to work full time for a month on the Debian packaging for the Diaspora social network. He sent a report explaining the different tasks he carried out, including packaging 23 dependencies and updating 34 existing packages.

New Debian Contributors

4 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers, and 23 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Diane Trout, Thomas Vincent, Chrysostomos Nanakos, Markus Wanner, Zhou Mo, Ilias Tsitsimpis, Daniel Dehennin, Marcel Fourné, Corey Bryant, Bertrand Neron, Thomas Calderon, Giovani Augusto Ferreira, Afif Elghraoui, Komal Dsukhani, Chris West, Senthil Kumaran S, Syam G Krishnan, Azat Khuzhin, Axel Burri, Larissa Reis, Sebastian Wouters, Gunter Königsmann, Dimitris Kalamaras, Orestis Ioannou, Sergio Durigan Junior, Roelof Berg, and Lucas de Castro Borges, into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): qemu, qemu-kvm, xen, openssl, libav, p7zip, linux, drupal7, cinder, pyjwt, wireshark, cacti, libcrypto++, unattended-upgrades, jackrabbit, stunnel4, icewease, haproxy, libwmf, cups-filter, bind9, python-django, pdns, pdns-recursor, and mysql-5.5. 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: p7zip, linux-2.6, linux-2.6 , openssl, qemu, qemu-kvm, libclamunrar, zendframework, postgresql-8.4, zendframework, libwmf, librack-ruby, cacti, t1utils, libwmf, jqueryui , shibboleth-sp2, hostapd, aptdaemon, libcrypto++, ruby1.9.1, libmodule-signature-perl, unattended-upgrades, pykerberos, libxml2, aptdaemon, virtualbox-ose, linux-ftpd-ssl, bind9, libunwind, and python-django. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Stable Release Team released update announcements for these packages: clamav, open-vm-tools, tzdata, and libdatetime-timezone-perl. 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

1633 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others are:

Work-needing packages

Currently 673 packages are orphaned and 176 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, Justin B Rye, Paul Wise and Alex Muntada.