Debian Project News – March 14th, 2011

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

* The Debian project wins awards at CeBIT
* Debian named the most important GNU/Linux distribution
* Report from CeBIT 2011
* Bits from the Debian Project Leader
* Happy birthday, FSFE!
* Upcoming election for the Debian Project Leader
* Geographical mirror selection as default?
* New version of Cupt coming up
* Bits from ARM and embedded sprint
* More graphs for the Debian Bug Tracking System
* Further “This week in Debian” interviews
* … and much more.

The Debian project wins awards at CeBIT

The Debian project won the Linux New Media award in two categories [1]
at the recent CeBIT conference in Hanover, Germany. Not only was Debian
named as the “Best Open Source Server Distribution” for its “pioneering
work” both in the technical field and in the definition of free software
standards and processes, but it also won the prestigious award for
“Outstanding contribution to Open Source/Linux/Free Software”, presented
by Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe,
who donned a snazzy Debian tie just for the occasion.

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The full text of his speech [2] has been made available, including a
short explanation of why this award is so important: the jury consists
of over 300 FLOSS community members, developers, journalists, and
companies, selected through secret ballot. The award is not awarded by a
publisher, but by the representatives of the entire Free Software

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Debian named the most important GNU/Linux distribution

IT journalist Bruce Byfield published an article analyzing in detail the
[3] “market share” and influence of the Debian distribution. Gathering
various data (e.g. the number of active Debian derivatives [4] according
to DistroWatch [5]; 63% of these are directly or indirectly based upon
Debian) he also lists various specialties of Debian and its derivatives.
His conclusion: “It’s not quite true to say that, if you can think of a
specialty, then there is at least one Debian or Ubuntu derivative is
designed for it. However, it is not much of an exaggeration, either.”
This was also mentioned on Slashdot [6] under the title “Debian is the
most important Linux [7]”.

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Report from CeBIT 2011

Alexander Reichle-Schmehl sent a report [8] of this year’s CeBIT [9]
where he and other Debian Contributors has represented Debian joining
the booth of Univention, a company which bases its product on Debian. In
three days nearly two hundred people had visited the Debian booth,
mostly asking how to help and join the Debian Project or asking more
specific questions regarding, for example, Debian’s stance on
LibreOffice or the internal structure of the project and its governance.
Many people also visited the booth simply to express their appreciation
for the release of “Squeeze”, the new website layout, and the new
spacefun theme. At the booth a Debian GNU/kFreeBSD box was also present,
as a technological preview, which attracted some interest from visitors.
Alexander wants to thank our sponsors Univention [10] and Deutsche Messe
AG, as well as the Debian folks who help with the booth.

8 : http://lists.debian.orgt/2011/03/msg00020.html
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Bits from the Debian Project Leader

Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli sent an email describing the
aftermath of the [11] “Squeeze” release. One of the important points in
his email is the discussions between Debian and the Free Software
Foundation. The discussions touch on the different areas of focus of the
two projects even though both projects are working to develop Free
Software. Stefano also lists a number of interviews in various places
regarding the “Squeeze” release. There are also some links in the email
to talks given and clearly he’s been quite busy.

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Happy birthday, FSFE!

The Free Software Foundation Europe [12] is celebrating its 10th
birthday [13]! Congratulations! To celebrate this important date, it is
planned to highlight important events in FSFE’s history [14].

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Upcoming elections for the Debian Project Leader

Debian Project Secretary Kurt Roeckx published the time line for this
year’s Debian project leader elections [15]. The Nomination period has
already ended on Friday, March 11. The current Debian Project Leader
Stefano Zacchiroli will again be a candidate [16]. From Saturday, March
12 until April 1, candidates will campaign and discuss, followed by the
actual voting period from Saturday, April 2, 2011 until Friday, April 15

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Geographical mirror selection as default?

The topic of using some kind of GeoMirror for new installations has been
brought up on the debian-boot [17] mailing list, and later also on the
general debian-devel [18] list. Various pros and cons were exchanged
including possible problems with DNSSEC and different approaches based
upon apt-spy [19] or netselect-apt [20], or DNS based approaches. APT
developer Michael Vogt posted some hints that apt recently had a useful
feature [21] added for a similar purpose, allowing general deb
mirrors:// lines to be specified as apt sources. Just the server side
[22] is missing, but that’s already being worked on [23].

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New version of Cupt coming up

Eugene Lyubimkin blogged about an upcoming release of Cupt [24], an
alternative front-end for the dpkg package manager. The most notable
feature: if there’s no solution to satisfy the actions requested by a
user, Cupt will not only show an error message, but also show why the
dependencies couldn’t be resolved.

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Bits from ARM and embedded sprint

The ARM and embedded Debian teams had the opportunity to meet up at ARM
offices in Cambridge for a Debian Sprint [25]. There are lots of things
happening on ARM and in embedded land. There is an ongoing effort to
build a new Debian port (named armhf [26]) which will provide a more
efficient userland, suitable for modern ARM chips (v7), as found in
recent netbooks, tablets, nettops, and smartphones.

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There have also been great improvements in support for “multiarch”.
This will make it possible to cross-install libraries from a foreign
userland, and thus run things like i386 non-free Flash on amd64 systems.
Cross-building support is also being integrated into Debian itself, so
developers should soon be able to easily create applications on their
desktops to run on their ARM devices running Debian.

Inspired by Eben Moglen’s vision of a small, cheap, and simple computer
that serves freedom in the home, the teams are building a Debian based
platform for distributed applications which could help replace
centralized services provided by the cloud. FreedomBox is about privacy,
control, ease of use, and decentralization.

More graphs for the Debian Bug Tracking System

Mike Hommey added several new features to the graphs of Debian’s Bug
Tracking System [27]. Besides having per package graphs, it’s now also
possible to have data for multiple packages consolidated into a single
graph, or graphs per maintainer [28].

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Further “This week in Debian” interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, three new issues of the
[29] “This week in Debian” podcast have been published: with Stefano
Zacchiroli [30], Debian Project Leader; with Jon [31] “Maddog” Hall,
about Project Cauã; and with Adnan Hodzic [32], about Debconf 2011 in

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There has also been one further “People behind Debian” interview:
with Christian Perrier [33], translation coordinator.

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Other news

The 26th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers [34] has been
released and covers the following topics:

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* DebConf news
* Multiarch support
* win32-loader.exe available from the mirrors network
* Team-specific NM questions
* Debian games team meeting

Yves-Alexis Perez gave an update on Xfce 4.8 [35]. The packages for the
new upstream release of the desktop environment have been assembled in
Debian’s “experimental” branch and he’s now synchronizing with the
release team over when an upload to Debian’s “unstable” branch will be

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Cyril Brulebois published the seventh issue of the [36] “Debian XSF
News”. He mentions various events concerning Debian’s packages,
and closes with an impressive statistic: the number of open bug reports
for packages has dropped from 880 in November down to 540

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Holger Levsen, Moray Allan, and Gunnar Wolf have been delegated as [37]
“DebConf Chairs”. While the organization of the yearly Debian
Conference remains unchanged, the three will now act as liaison between
the Debian Project and the DebConf project.

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FTP-Master Jörg Jaspert announced an upcoming meeting of the FTP-Team
[38] from the 21st to the 27th of March in the LinuxHotel [39] in Essen,
Germany. He also announced the current agenda for the meeting (ranging
from internal stuff like “buildd autosigning” up to end-user-oriented

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Tollef Fog Heen wondered if it would be useful to harmonize the naming
of flags to enable and disable services [40] via their configuration
snippets in /etc/default. Others added in the thread that there could
also be better (UI-)tools to do so, or to customize runlevels. It was
also pointed out that the interface has been complicated by the
introduction of insserv [41].

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New Debian Contributors

1 applicant has been accepted [42] as a Debian Developer, 5 applicants
have been accepted [43] as Debian Maintainers, and 4 people have started
to maintain packages [44] since the previous issue of the Debian Project
News. Please welcome Frédéric-Emmanuel Picca, Stephen Kitt, Higuchi
Daisuke, Alberto Garcia, Sergey B Kirpichev, Roland Dreier, Miguel
Colonn, Pietro Monteiro, Boris Dušek, and Mahyuddin Susanto into our

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Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian’s Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): samba [45], cups [46], pywebdav [47], pango1.0 [48], dtc
[49], iceape [50], subversion [51], logwatch [52], nbd [53], isc-dhcp
[54], proftp-dfsg [55], iceweasel [56], icedove [57], webkit [58],
chromium-browser [59], and wordpress [60]. Please read them carefully
and take the proper measures.

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Debian’s Stable Release Team released advisories for these packages:
clive [61] and tzdata [62]. Please read them carefully and take the
proper measures.

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Debian’s Volatile Team released update announcements for the packages:
tzdata [63] and clamav [64]. 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 [65] (and the separate backports
list [66], and stable updates list [67] or volatile list [68], for
“Lenny”, the oldstable distribution) for announcements.

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New and noteworthy packages

The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive
recently (among many others [69]):

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* banshee-extension-ampache — Ampache extension for Banshee [70]
* banshee-extension-clutterflow — CoverFlow functionality for Banshee [71]
* banshee-extension-jamendo — Jamendo extension for Banshee [72]
* banshee-extension-lastfmfingerprint — Last.FM fingerprinting extension for Banshee [73]
* banshee-extension-openvp — visualizations extension for Banshee [74]
* banshee-extension-randombylastfm — random by Last.FM extension for Banshee [75]
* banshee-extension-zeitgeistdataprovider — Zeitgeist data provider extension for Banshee [76]
* classads — Condor’s classad utilities [77]
* comixcursors-lefthanded — X11 mouse pointer themes with a comic art feeling (LH, translucent) [78]
* comixcursors-lefthanded-opaque — X11 mouse pointer themes with a comic art feeling (LH, opaque) [79]
* comixcursors-righthanded — X11 mouse pointer themes with a comic art feeling (RH, translucent) [80]
* comixcursors-righthanded-opaque — X11 mouse pointer themes with a comic art feeling (RH, opaque) [81]
* cpm — curses based password manager using PGP-encryption [82]
* doxygen-latex — documentation system for C, C++, Java, Python and other languages [83]
* drupal6-mod-views-charts — views_charts modules for Drupal 6 [84]
* drupal6-mod-views-groupby — views_groupby modules for Drupal 6 [85]
* eq10q — LV2 equalizer [86]
* failmalloc — memory allocation failure crash-test tool [87]
* git-el — fast, scalable, distributed revision control system (Emacs support) [88]
* grub-imageboot — boot ISO and floppy images with GRUB 2 and Syslinux MEMDISK [89]
* gscanbus — scan IEEE1394 (FireWire/i.Link) bus [90]
* ibus-sunpinyin — SunPinyin engine for IBus [91]
* kdesrc-build — tool for building KDE from its source repositories [92]
* live-config-systemd — Debian Live – system configuration scripts (systemd backend) [93]
* live-tools — Debian Live – system support scripts [94]
* miniupnpc — UPnP IGD client lightweight library client [95]
* nagircbot — IRC bot that announces Nagios status [96]
* pd-hcs — Pd library of experiments in UNIX, the Pd GUI, and more [97]
* python2.7 — interactive high-level object-oriented language (version 2.7) [98]
* qt-assistant-compat — Qt Assistant compatibility binary (legacy) [99]
* qt4-qmlviewer — Qt 4 QML viewer [100]
* qtmobility-examples — Qt Mobility examples [101]
* ranger — file manager with an ncurses frontend written in Python [102]
* rgbpaint — simple pixel-based painting program [103]
* rhythmbox-ampache — play audio streams from an Ampache server [104]
* scim-sunpinyin — SunPinyin engine for SCIM [105]
* servicefw — Qt Mobility Service Framework tool [106]
* sunpinyin-utils — simplified Chinese input method from Sun (utilities) [107]
* termit — simple terminal emulator based on VTE library, embedded Lua [108]
* tryton-proteus — Tryton application platform (Proteus) [109]
* xsunpinyin — standalone XIM server for SunPinyin [110]
* xul-ext-firetray — system tray extension for thunderbird/firefox alike apps [111]
* xul-ext-ubiquity — browser interface based on natural language input [112]

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Work-needing packages

Currently 329 packages are orphaned and 144 packages are up for
adoption: please visit the complete list of packages which need your
help [113].

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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 [114] to find out how to help. We’re
looking forward to receiving your mail at [115].

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Hector Oron, Francesca
Ciceri, Jeremiah C. Foster and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl [116].

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