Debian Project News – January 14th, 2011

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

* “Squeeze” Deep Freeze
* Debian Installer 6.0 RC1 release
* Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” to be released with completely free Linux kernel
* Machine-readable format for debian/copyright files
* Bits from the Debian Project Leader
* Further documentation on Emdebian: components and filters
* Two new Debian Women tutorials
* Further “This week in Debian” interviews
* … and much more.

“Squeeze” Deep Freeze

Neil McGovern writes in an recent email [1]: “Following the plan
outlined in theprevious release update [2], we are now in deep freeze,
which means that we’ll only be migrating to testing packages that fix
RC bugs.” A deep freeze is one of the last phases before a release of
Debian. There is lots of bug fixing and documentation still to do and
you can help. Check out theNew in [3] “Squeeze” page for example; and
if you find bugs in the installer help report and even fix them.

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Debian Installer 6.0 RC1 release

The first release candidate of the installer for Debian Squeeze was
released on January 12 [4]. Many fixes are included in this release of
the installer, along with new improvements: better OS and partition
detection, new supported hardware, etc.

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The errata [5] collects details and a full list of known issues. You
are encouraged to test the installer and report bugs; media and further
information are available on the Debian Installer pages [6].

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Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” to be released with completely free Linux kernel

As the Debian project announced, the upcoming stable release Debian 6.0
“Squeeze” will be shipped with acompletely free Linux kernel [7] – thus
achieving a long term goal which was already set for Debian 4.0 “Etch”
and 5.0″ Lenny” . Thanks to the work of theDebian Kernel team [8] and
various upstream Linux developers, non-free firmware files have been
split off; instead of being integral parts of the kernel, these files
may now be shipped separately and loaded at runtime if needed. This
provides a free system to those who wish to have one, while allowing
those who need the non-free firmware files still to use them.

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Steve McIntyre, lead of Debian’s CD team, added that unofficial CD
images [9] have been created, containing non-free but distributable
firmware files, while USB-installations have already supported loading
additional firmware files for some time. More details can be found in
the Debian wiki [10].

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Debian Project leader Stefano Zacchiroli also blogged a bit about the
background of the changes [11].

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Machine-readable format for debian/copyright files

Lars Wirzenius announced [12] that Debian Enhancement Proposal 5,
specifying a machine-readable format for the copyright information of a
Debian package [13], has reached “candidate” status, meaning that
discussion about the format has been settled and no major changes are
expected anymore: it is ready to be used.

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Debian’s policy [14] mandates that Debian software packages must come
with copyright information of the source code used, but no specific
format is mandated. Most packages come with a freeform text file,
making it hard to process this information automatically.

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Bits from the Debian Project Leader

Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli sent new bits from the DPL
[15]. Besides mentioning various talks and interviews he gave, he
announced a new contact point for participants at Debian events: [16]. An anti-harassment policy for Debian
sprints (based upon a draft for such a policy for DebConf [17]) is
about to follow soon.

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He also mentioned that he had approved two sprints, one for the Web
Team (which has already been taken place) and one for the Security Team
(which is forthcoming), as well as several cross-distribution
collaboration activities, such as organizing a cross-distro face to
face meeting to discuss the topic of integrating third party
applications [18] on top of FOSS distributions, à la Software
Center/App Store.

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Further documentation on Emdebian: components and filters

Continuing his intermittent series on Emdebian, Neil Williams described
Emdebian’s concepts of components and filters [19]. As the package data
files of Debian’s main distribution have become too large to be sanely
handled on embedded systems, Emdebian Grip therefore subdivides
Debian’s main repository to minimize cached data, so that systems not
using any Java components (for instance) don’t need to download and
cache metadata for Java-related packages. Neil also explained in
detail further filtering techniques used by Emdebian.

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Two new Debian Women tutorials

The Debian Women project published two new tutorials. In the first
tutorial Gerfried Fuchs gave an introduction to Debian’s bug tracking
system [20], including explanation of the different tags and usage of
package version information by the bug tracking system.

In the second tutorial, Enrico Zini introduced the various information
sources about Debian packages [21], ranging from data available through
Debian’s package repositories, over debtags and various package
tracking tools to the package tracking system.

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Further “This week in Debian” interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, five new issues of the
[22] “This week in Debian” podcast have been published: with Asheesh
Laroia [23], member of the Debian Mentor Community; with Dave Yates
[24], host of the Lotta Linux Links Podcast [25]; with George Castro
[26], discussing Ubuntu as a Debian derivative; with Jonathan Nadeau
[27], about the latest Debian news, and the upcoming release of
“Squeeze” ; and withRhonda [28], member of Debian’s Webmaster Team,
discussing the updated Debian Website, due for the release of “Squeeze”

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There have also been two new “people behind Debian” interviews:
withMehdi Dogguy [29], who became a member of Debian’s Release team
barely a year after first becoming a Debian Developer, and with David
Kalnischkies [30], one of the developers of APT, Debian’s package
management system. In the spirit of these interviews, there has also
been a “reverse people behind Debian [31]” interview withRaphaël
Hertzog [32].

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Other news

Luca Capello announced that the annual general meeting [33] of [34], the official representation of the Debian project in
Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein, will take place
on January 31 in Aareheim in the center of Bern.

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Sjoerd Simons asked for help [35] in PulseAudio Debian packaging [36].

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Richard Darst reported about the successful first Debian-NYC Novice
Night [37], which is a meeting for everyone who would like to install
or configure Debian for their own needs. The next session will probably
be in January or February [38]; some planning hints [39] are also in

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Alexander Wirt reported on his blog that six new mailing lists are now
available on [40]:

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* debian-gis [41]
* debian-dug-in [42]
* debian-user-tamil [43]
* debian-l10n-vietnamese [44]
* debian-l10n-indonesian [45]
* debian-stable-announce [46]

Kumar Appaiah noted [47] that the Duck Duck Go search engine [48] has
set up some shortcuts (the so-called !bangs) for searching in various
Debian sites: !dpkg goes to [49], !dpts goes to [50], and !dbugs goes to [51].

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Sandro Tosi mentioned on his blog that bts-link has a new home [52].
Several weeks ago, in fact, bts-link [53] was migrated from to

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Christian Perrier noticed that German and French localization reached
100% for po-debconf [54]. Russian, Swedish, Portuguese, and Czech
localization may also be able to make it, while Spanish probably won’t
this time.

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Stefano Zacchiroli collected various existing pieces of documentation
in order to answer the question “how to contribute to Debian? [55]” ,
and pointed to theofficial contribution page of the website [56], and
its equivalent on the wiki [57] and in the FAQ [58]. He also
highlighted less documented “cultural” aspects of Debian technical
life such as coordination over IRC or interacting with package
maintainers via the BTS.

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Raphael Geissert announced [59] the [60] “Debian Automated Code
Analysis” (DACA) project, which runs various source code quality tools
over all Debian source packages available.

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New Debian Contributors

5 applicants have been accepted [61] as Debian Developers, 1 applicant
has been accepted [62] as Debian Maintainer, and 12 people have started
to maintain packages [63] since the previous issue of the Debian
Project News. Please welcome Didier Raboud, Benjamin Drung, Kåre Thor
Olsen, Scott James Remnant, Jerome Marant, Gregor Jasny, Gildardo
Adrian Maravilla Jacome, Cristian Henzel, Colin Darie, Anton Gladky,
Lukas Gaertner, Yask Gupta, Michael Lustfield, Pjotr Prins, Monica
Ramirez Arceda, Tim Weippert, Milan Kupcevic, and Sven Eckelmann into
our project!

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It is our special pleasure to welcome Kåre Thor Olsen, who is our first
official non-packaging Debian Developer [64]!

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Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the Bugs Search interface of the Ultimate Debian Database
[65], the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, is currently
affected by 46 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily
solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 20
release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

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There are also more detailed statistics [66] as well as some hints on
how to interpret [67] these numbers.

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Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian’s Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): exim4 [68]; bind9 [69]; xulrunner [70]; collectd [71];
xpdf [72]; tor [73]; libxml2 [74]; wordpress [75]; phpmyadmin [76];
libapache2-mod-fcgid [77]; openssl, nss, apache2, and lighttpd [78];
dpkg [79]; glibc [80] (updated advisory); and mysql-dfsg-5.0 [81].
Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

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Debian’s Backports Team released advisories for these packages: tor
[82], iceweasel [83], wordpress [84], exim4 [85], and subversion [86].
Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

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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 [87] (and the separate backports
list [88] and volatile list [89]) for announcements.

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New and noteworthy packages

The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive
recently (among others [90]):

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* clzip — data compressor based on the LZMA algorithm (C version) [91]
* debian-reference-pt — Debian system administration guide, Portuguese translation [92]
* gjacktransport — access to the JACK’s transport mechanism as touchable slider [93]
* ir-keytable — alter keymaps of remote controller devices [94]
* k8temp — AMD K8 thermal diode reader for BSD system [95]
* nginx-full — small, but very powerful and efficient web server and mail proxy [96]
* nginx-light — small, but very powerful and efficient web server – light [97]
* nodau — simple console based note taking program [98]
* plzip — parallel data compressor based on the LZMA algorithm [99]
* pyppd — CUPS PostScript Printer Description’s compressor and generator [100]
* surf — simple web browser [101]
* telepathy-ring — GSM and 3G UMTS Telepathy connection manager [102]
* transgui — front-end to remotely control Transmission [103]
* whyteboard — overlay painting and annotation application [104]
* wraplinux — utility to wrap a Linux kernel and initrd into an ELF or NBI file [105]
* xul-ext-quickproxy — statusbar button to turn the proxy on and off with a single click [106]
* zita-at1 — JACK autotuner [107]
* zutils — utilities for dealing with compressed files transparently [108]

Please note that due to the freeze of the upcoming Debian 6.0 [109]
“Squeeze” acceptance of new packages has almost ceased.

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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 [110] to find out how to help.
We’re looking forward to receiving your mail at [111].

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Francesca Ciceri,
Jeremiah Foster, David Prévot and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl [112].

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