Debian Project News - August 31st, 2018

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

Welcome to the Debian Project News!

We hope that you enjoy this edition of DPN.

For other news, please read the official Debian blog Bits from Debian, and follow which feeds (via RSS) the @debian profile on several social networks too.

Debian's Security Team releases current advisories on a daily basis (Security Advisories 2018). Please read them carefully and subscribe to the security mailing list.

At the end of this Project News we've added a Quick Links section which links to a selection of the posts made through our other media streams.

Internal News/Happenings

Happy 25th Anniversary Debian!

This year's annual Debian birthday celebration, known as DebianDay, was an even more special occasion as it marked a quarter century of excellence, development, contributions, translations, software creation, advocacy, and all things Debian. Celebrations were held all over the world and several Debian designers created some amazing artwork, logos, posters, and images which we shared online.

Debian 25 Years by Angelo Rosa

Anniversary Logo by Mark Billings

Happy Birthday by Petrusko

Artwork by Daniel Lenharo

Posters by Valessio Brito

Thank you Debian Developers and Contributors for all that you do!

Updated Debian 9 and Debian 8: 9.5 and 8.11 released

The Debian project announced the fifth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename Stretch) on 14 July 2018 to point release 9.5.

The Debian project also announced the eleventh and final update of its oldstable distribution Debian 8 (codename Jessie) on 23 June 2018 to point release 8.11.

These point releases added corrections for security issues along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. Upgrading an existing installation to either revision can be achieved by pointing the package management system at one of Debian's many HTTP mirrors. A comprehensive list of mirrors is available at:

Alioth Migration to Salsa

Alexander Wirt announced that Alioth is gone after the archiving of the last remaining VCS repositories. Alioth, which ran on Fusionforge, served as the repository for collaborative maintenance of packages in Debian from 2003 through 2018. After some discussion and a dedicated sprint about future options, Alioth was replaced with a GitLab instance at which came out of beta testing in early 2018.

Debian Developers and projects should have already migrated over to the new system; additional information on the migration is available.

Debian Data Protection Team announced

Chris Lamb announced the creation and delegation of the Debian Data Protection team. The team will serve as the centralized point for queries regarding Debian's use and care of personal information across the project and guidance on data protection principles.

Latest team features of Debian Package Tracker

Raphael Hertzog shared the latest team features of the Debian Package Tracker. New to the tracker are helpful attributes for email address team identification, discussion subscriptions, and automatic maintainer and uploader fields along with many other features.

vmdebootstrap to be removed September 2018

Lars Wirzenius encouraged users of the vmdebootstrap package to switch to other available tools prior to its removal from the archive September 2018. The package, used for automatically building system images, is somewhat difficult to modify and test due to its architecture. As other tools are available users are advised to change now.

Debian Policy released

Sean Whitton announced Debian Policy being released and uploaded to sid. The announcement details the changes from Policy 4.1.5. The Debian Policy Manual deals with the structure and contents of the Debian archive, technical requirements each package must satisfy to be included in the archive, and the package management system developers have to be conversant with.

DebConf18 Videos are available

Video recordings from DebConf18 are available; special thanks to the DebConf Video Team for their amazing work covering this event. Wouter Verhelst wrote about the software used for the transcoding and the different formats available for download. The schedule page on the DebConf18 website now also includes the recordings in each talk page using HTML5 video.

New and noteworthy packages

Among many other packages that were added to the unstable Debian archive in the past weeks, we can find:

Events: Upcoming and Reports

Upcoming events

Debian/Xen microsprint, Cambridge, 10 September

There will be a microsprint held on 10 September in Cambridge, UK, to work on Debian Xen packages for Buster.

Debian Bug Squashing Party, Chemnitz, Germany 28th-30th September

There will be a Bug Squashing Party on 28–30 September 2018 in Chemnitz, Germany.

DebConf18 in Hsinshu

The annual Debian Project's Developer Conference, which includes technical, social and policy talks and is known as DebConf, was held this year in Hsinchu, Taiwan from 29 July through 5 August. DebConf18 was the very first Debian Conference held in Asia. We welcomed over 306 attendees from around the world, and held 137 events, 100 talks, 25 Birds of a Feather discussion sessions, 5 workshops and many other activities.

The schedule of events and talks were continually updated and shared on Debian micronews, and are still available.

DebConf19 in Curitiba

DebConf19 will be held in Curitiba, Brazil, from 21 to 28 July, 2019, and will be the second DebConf held in Brazil.


LTS Freexian Monthly Reports

Freexian issues monthly reports about the work of paid contributors to Debian Long Term Support.

Reproducible Builds status update

Follow the Reproducible Builds blog to get the weekly reports on their work in the Buster cycle.

Help needed

Teams needing help

The NM Front Desk has put out a call for help with Application Managers. Application Managers are responsible for starting a conversation with a prospective Debian Developer and recommending whether they should go forward to become Debian Developers.

Packages needing help:

Currently 1298 packages are orphaned and 173 packages are up for adoption: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help.

Newcomer bugs

Debian has a newcomer bug tag, used to indicate bugs which are suitable for new contributors to use as an entry point to working on specific packages. There are currently 203 bugs available tagged newcomer.

More than just code

Jonathan McDowell shared a write-up entitled Hooking up Home Assistant to Alexa and Google Assistant which details how to set up home automation and required authentication, with a few critical security steps to avoid being another insecure device on the IoT.

Benjamin Mako Hill blogged on How markets coopted free software's most powerful weapon which highlights the methodology of current business development models which use the same tools that enabled the large scale development of free culture and free software. The talk was also the keynote at LibrePlanet 2018.

Ana Guerrero Lopez introduced us to debos, a versatile image generator. The tool, used to build software images, makes the task easy by using recipe files in YAML to create highly customized images.


1,484 people and 19 teams are currently listed on the Debian Contributors page for 2018.


From the Debian-user mailing list serveral interesting questions were asked:

HP Garcia asked about Verifying Digital Signatures. Fellow Debian users contributed to the discussion with pointers on how to check and keep keys and signatures current.

Pierre Couderc asked How to apt update from an USB key? Readers can learn about other tried and proven methods to update sources and packages for computer systems with limited access.

Martin Drecher asked about use of su vs sudo? Always a hot topic for administrators, this question introduces best practices and includes some of a history of how/when passwords are used during the initial Debian system installation and the effects on the system afterward.

Richard Owlett asked about Installing package NOT in repository. This longer discussion talks about the installation of .deb files, install pathname arguments, dependency checking, dpkg, apt, and cached personal survival notes.

Tips and Tricks

Petter Reinholdtsen shared a tip on doing a Debian APT upgrade without enough free space on the disk. The blog post includes a script and other methods for upgrades when storage space is limited.

Arturo Borrero Gonz√°lez highlights Things you can do with Debian, Multimedia editing. He covers many of the FLOSS software packages and tools available in Debian for multimedia editing and production.

Once upon a time in Debian:

Quick Links from Debian Social Media

This is an extract from the feed, in which we have removed the topics already commented on in this DPN issue. You can skip this section if you already follow or the @debian profile in a social network (, GNU Social, Mastodon or Twitter). The items are provided unformatted in descending order by date (recent news at the top).





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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by The Publicity Team with contributions from Jean-Pierre Giraud, Chris Lamb and Justin B Rye.