Debian Project News – July 25th, 2011

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

* Happy Birthday, Linux!
* Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ
* Bits from the DPL
* Bits from the Debian GNU/Hurd porters
* Call for DebConf13 bids
* 33094 spam messages removed from Debian Mailing Lists archives
* Bits from the Release Team
* Debian hardware certification
* Multiarch in Debian “unstable”
* Further interviews
* Other news
* New Debian Contributors
* Important Debian Security Advisories
* New and noteworthy packages
* Work-needing packages
* Want to continue reading DPN?

Happy Birthday, Linux!

Twenty years ago a Finnish student mentioned that he was “doing a (free)
operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu)
[1]” thus marking the birth of the Linux kernel. A lothas happened [2]
since then. But since it was the base of the Debian operating system, we
would like to join the birthday celebrations [3].

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Dear Linux developers, many thanks for a stable, portable and powerful
kernel to base our work on! Keep up your good work!

Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ

The Debian Project has just published [4] the Community Distribution
Patent Policy FAQ [5], a document meant to educate Free Software
developers, and especially distribution editors, about software patent
risks. It has been prepared by lawyers at the Software Freedom Law Center
[6] (SFLC) at the request of and with input from the Debian Project.

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Bits from the DPL

Stefano Zacchiroli sent some bits from the DPL [7] in which he covered a
lot of interesting topics such as the request for help from the Debbugs
Team [8], the completion of the first DEX initiatives [9], the sprints
approved (one for the Release Team and one for Debian Edu) and various
interviews given. Another exciting news item reported by Stefano is that
he has finally filed the application to extend the Debian trademark to
the United Kingdom, Europe, China and Japan.

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In a previous mail, Stefano officially appointed Alexander Wirt and
Gerfried Fuchs as members of the Backports Team [10].

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Bits from the Debian GNU/Hurd porters

Samuel Thibault sent some bits from the Debian GNU/Hurd porters [11] in
which he summarized some interesting news about the Hurd port. First of
all, thanks to Jeremie Koenig, a working CD set is now available for
installing Debian GNU/Hurd. Samuel also wrote about the “Wheezy” release
goal: since hurd-i386 is “in not-bad shape”, it is now included in the
archive, and the idea is to officially release the port in “Wheezy” as at
least a technical preview. Meanwhile, the percentage of packages built
for Debian GNU/Hurd is reaching about 68%; the remaining packages are
either waiting for other packages to become available (agraph of these
relationships [12] is also available) or failing for some reason. Also
the hardware support for current hardware is becoming more complete.

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Call for DebConf13 bids

Moray Allan made a call for DebConf13 bids [13]. As he says: “there will
be a chance to describe your bid to the rest of the DebConf attendees
during a special session at DebConf11, probably on 30 July.” Even if you
can’t participate in this event you can send some slides to present your
bid. If you want to organize DebConf in your city, please make a page for
your bid in theDebConf wiki [14], and add a link to the DebConf13 page
[15]. Before this don’t forget to read the location checklist page [16].
You can also look at this year’s [17] and next year’s [18] bids as
examples. You can get additional information in the #debconf-team channel

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33094 spam messages removed from Debian Mailing Lists archives

Christian Perrier blogged about the results of the Spam Cleaning Campaign
[19]. Since 2009 the Debian Listmasters have created a working toolset
[20] to remove spam from mailing list archives in a three step process:

* report spam in the archives through the “Report as spam” button (when
browsing archives via the web) or by bouncing the mail to;
* review nominated spam: Debian Developers canask for an account [21] and
process through the nominated posts;
* posts confirmed as spam by at least three reviewers were removed from the

There have also been coordinated efforts in reporting and reviewing spam
for some mailing lists:

* debian-boot [22];
* French lists (debian-devel-french, debian-l10n-french, debian-user-french) [23];
* Italian lists (debian-devel-italian, debian-italian, debian-l10n-italian) [24];
* debian-publicity [25];
* KDE lists (debian-kde and debian-qt-kde) [26];
* debian-www [27].

As a result of this initiative, over thirty-three thousand messages were
classified as spam and removed from the archives [28].

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Bits from the Release Team

Neil McGovern sent a report on the recent sprint [29] the Release Team
had in Antwerp, along with some more information. He prepared a
retrospective [30] of the “Squeeze” release, referencing good points
(e.g. high quality release, unblock handling, good communications) and
bad points (e.g. freeze announcements, clarity of process, manpower in
the team). Pierre Habouzit chose to leave the team due to other
commitments and was thanked for his hard work, while Niels Thykier was
welcomed to the team. A time-based freeze will be tried for the “Wheezy”
release, withJune 2012 picked as the proposed freeze date. They are also
preparing a move to britney2, a new generation script to migrate packages
from “unstable” to “testing”, and are preparing another update where
various subjects will be presented, among them the release goals, 0-day
NMU policy, CUT/Rolling and the package removal process.

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Debian hardware certification

Thomas Goirand asked about the possibility for some companies to have
their hardware certified as compatible with Debian [31]. Stefano
Zacchiroli asked for volunteers [32] to provide a wrapper around Kenshi
Muto’s Debian GNU/Linux device driver check & report [33] web interface
as an initial step in that direction.

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Multiarch in Debian “unstable”

Steve Langasek announced the start of multiarch support on Debian [34]
“unstable”, which provides a policy for combining library packages from
an arbitrary number of architectures on a single filesystem. The next
steps towards providing full multiarch support in Debian will be:

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* conversion of shared library packages to multiarch;
* package manager support – so far it is hasn’t been possible to install
copies of a package for multiple architectures side by side.

This second step is already being worked on: a preliminary implementation
of multiarch support for dpkg is available from the pu/multiarch/full
branch of git://

Further interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, a new issue of the [35]
“This week in Debian” podcast has been published, with Jonathan Nadeau
[36], who gives an update on Frostbite Media.

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There has also been a further “People behind Debian” interview,
with Martin Michlmayr [37], former Debian Project Leader.

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Other news

Kenshi Muto announced an update of the backported debian-installer for
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 [38] “Squeeze”. Updated images are available on his
images archive page [39]. These images are based on Debian and
contain kernel version 2.6.38 with firmware and a modified DHCP client
for buggy Mac OS X DHCP servers. The i386 architecture is now also
supported. Please note that these are unofficial images and you should
use them only if you really need this.

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Richard Darst sent an accounting summary [40] about the DebConfs of the
last two years: they balanced each other out surprisingly well. He also
gave some input about DebConf8, and a preview for the ongoing DebConf11.

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Michael Tautshnig sent a request for help [41] in reviewing packages
seeking sponsorship and new to the archive. Michael’s request is also
open to those who are not yet Debian Developers.

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Raphael Hertzog blogged some useful tips about bug reporting [42] and
about fixing release critical bugs [43].

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New Debian Contributors

6 applicants have been accepted [44] as Debian Developers, 11 applicants
have been accepted [45] as Debian Maintainer, and 15 people have started
to maintain packages [46] since the previous issue of the Debian Project
News. Please welcome Dominique Dumont, Pino Toscano, Michael Tokarev,
Andres Mejia, Antonio Terceiro, Nicholas Bamber, Arno Töll, Andreas
Beckmann, Felix Geyer, Julien Lavergne, Jameson Graef Rollins, Cristian
Henzel, Hsin-Yi Chen, Philippe Le Brouster, Thomas Preud’homme, Sebastian
Ramacher, Tim Weippert, Alex Morega, Dmitry Shachnev, Roger A. Light,
Grzegorz Kolorz, Michele Gastaldo, Damien Caliste, Eshat Cakar, Andrew
Gainer, Petr Baranov, Florian Schlichting, Sebastian Holtermann, Luis
Henriques, Evan Broder, John Paulett and Hendrik Rittich into our

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Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian’s Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): php5 [47], perl [48], iceweasel [49], iceape [50],
qemu-kvm [51], curl [52], bind [53], icedove [54], wireshark [55], [56], asterisk [57], xml-security-c [58], horde3 [59],
libapache2-mod-authnz-external [60], libvirt [61] and opie [62]. Please
read them carefully and take the proper measures.

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Debian’s Backports Team released advisories for these packages: icedove
[63], iceweasel [64], qemu-kvm [65] and subversion [66]. Please read
them carefully and take the proper measures.

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Debian’s Stable Release Team released update announcements for these
packages: postgresql-8.4 [67], dput [68] and clamav [69]. Please read it
carefully and take the proper measures.

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Debian’s Volatile Team released an update announcement for the package:
clamav [70]. Please read it 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 [71] (and the separate backports
list [72], and stable updates list [73] or volatile list [74], for
“Lenny”, the oldstable distribution) for announcements.

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New and noteworthy packages

1099 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among
many others [75] are:

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* bashburn — simplify CD and DVD burning at the command line [76]
* confclerk — offline conference schedule application [77]
* darkplaces — game engine for Quake and similar 3D first person shooter games [78]
* dehydra — scriptable static analysis tool for C and C++ [79]
* developers-reference-de — guidelines and information for Debian developers, in German [80]
* dockbarx — task bar with grouping and group manipulation [81]
* freebsd-nfs-server — FreeBSD server utilities needed for NFS on GNU/kFreeBSD [82]
* garden-of-coloured-lights — abstract vertical shooter with music elements [83]
* git-flow — Git extension to provide a high-level branching model [84]
* gtk-vector-screenshot — screenshots of applications as PDF or SVG files [85]
* hotot — lightweight microbloging client [86]
* k9copy — KDE tool to backup DVDs [87]
* kpartsplugin — Netscape-compatible plugin to embed KDE file-viewers into browser [88]
* partclone — utility to clone and restore a partition [89]
* pidgin-latex — Pidgin plugin to display LaTeX formulas [90]
* qasmixer — ALSA sound mixer with a size adaptive QT4 GUI [91]
* s3ql — full-featured file system for online data storage [92]
* sipwitch — secure peer-to-peer VoIP server for the SIP protocol [93]
* supercollider — real time audio synthesis programming language [94]
* xxxterm — minimalist web browser [95]

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Work-needing packages

Currently 267 packages are orphaned [96] and 135 packages are up for
adoption [97]: please visit the complete list of packages which need your
help [98].

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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 [99] to find out how to help. We’re
looking forward to receiving your mail at [100].

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Rui Branco, Francesca
Ciceri, Jeremiah C. Foster, David Prevot, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl,
Alexander Reshetov and Justin B Rye [101].

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