Debian Project News - December 14th, 2011

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The Debian Project
Debian Project News
December 14th, 2011

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

* Volunteers needed for publicity team
* Removal of sun-java6 from the archive
* Debian SDL packaging team revival
* Bits from the DPL
* Ubuntu appreciates Debian
* India mini-DebConf, Mangalore edition
* New mirror in El Salvador
* Debexpo maintainers call for contributions
* Bug Squashing Party marathon started
* Call for talks: FOSDEM 2012
* New s390 buildd at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
* Further interviews
* New Debian Contributors
* Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
* Important Debian Security Advisories
* New and noteworthy packages
* Work-needing packages
* Want to continue reading DPN?

Volunteers needed for publicity team

As you may have noticed, it has been quite some time since the last edition of Debian Project News. To improve the frequency of DPN and expand its other activities, the Debian Publicity team is looking for new contributors. Did you ever want to help Debian, but every piece of software you were interested in was already packaged? You don't consider yourself a "technical person"? You have basic skills in written English? Perfect! Have you considered joining the Publicity Team [1]? If you are a Debian member, the Press team is also looking for new contributors.

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Removal of sun-java6 from the archive

The release of Java update 29 from Oracle marks not only security updates, but a change to the licensing, removing Debian's ability to distribute the non-free JVM. The clause in the Java license under which we were able to distribute Java, the DLJ, has been removed. As a result, the sun-java6 package is no longer suitable for the archive, and has been removed, as documented in Debian Bug #646524 [2]. Sylvestre Ledru suggests [3] that sun-java6 installs be migrated to openjdk, the open-source alternative, using the following command:

apt-get --purge remove sun-java6-jre && apt-get install openjdk-7-jre

Kai Wasserbäch has also been pointed out elsewhere [4] that this upgrade path might not be suitable for all Java programs, and special attention should be paid to re-testing installed Java applications on OpenJDK.

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Debian SDL packaging team revival

The SDL packaging team [5] has recently been seriously revived [6], with Dominique Dumont reorganising the team and Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo joining the effort. Packaging is progressively moving to Git for easier collaboration, and developers maintaining SDL-related packages not in the team's repository have been invited to join, too. A lot of old bugs have already been fixed and new SDL 1.3 and sdl-perl packages have been uploaded to experimental. SDL 1.3 brings support for newer OpenGL APIs, input improvements like multi-touch, gestures and force feedback device support, better Unicode support and support for multiple windows and displays.

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Bits from the DPL

Stefano Zacchiroli sent his "Bits from the DPL" for October [7] and November [8]. He reminds us that the New Maintainer Process has been renamed as the New Member Process, and that a list of "easy hacks" is a very effective way of attracting contributors to teams. He notes that Ubuntu plan to deprecate their package review platform (REVU) in favour of converging on This will need some Debexpo changes and also more package sponsorship by Debian members. Stefano has approved funds for the recent DebConf video team sprint and also hardware replacements for and, which have now arrived and are in the process of being set up by DSA. He reports that Fathi Boudra represented Debian at the Software Freedom Day in Algeria. Stefano also reported on his trademark-related activities, including a contact point for inquiries related to the Debian trademark, seeking legal advice on how trademark law applies to Debian packaging activities, and starting a discussion on the relationships between the DFSG and trademark restrictions. He is also working on a statement to make explicit the position of the Debian Project on software patents. The OSI have invited the Debian Project to their upcoming affiliation programme. There is also work in progress to have the Debian Project become a member of the forums for ISC software that we distribute. Stefano also mentioned his continuing work in creating a discussion forum for companies that have a strategic interest in Debian.

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Ubuntu appreciates Debian

As part of Ubuntu's recent Community Appreciation Day [9], Michael Hall sent Debian a message of appreciation [10], stating "Without you we wouldn't be able to make the contributions we do. Ubuntu is great because Debian is great, and we appreciate all of the work that goes into making it that way." Michael will be joining [11] Canonical's Community Team, focusing on projects that are upstream for Ubuntu.

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India mini-DebConf, Mangalore edition

Christian Perrier reported [12] on his participation in the mini-DebConf in Mangalore, south-west India [13]. The conference was held at Nitte MahaLinga Adyanthaya Memorial Institute of Technology and organised by Vasudev Kamath and a team of computer-science students from the college with support from staff, including the college principal, Dr. S. Y. Kulakarni. Christian gave the opening talk, introducing Debian, how to contribute, and information about Debian internationalisation and localisation. Later Jonas Smedegaard presented a talk about Debian Pure Blends, focusing on how distributions derived from Debian can work inside Debian instead of outside of it. This was part of his trip [14] promoting Debian and Debian Pure Blends in Asia. The talks were followed on the second day with sessions on localisation, packaging, OpenPGP keys and contributing to Debian. The event was publicised in one of the major newspapers in India, namely "The Hindu". Events such as these are vital to local communities. The participation of "international" contributors in these events often brings more attention to them and is highly appreciated by the local community.

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New mirror in El Salvador

The Debian mirrors team is happy to announce the first mirror in El Salvador [15], sponsored by the Ministry of Health [16], with the help of René Mayorga and Carlos Juan Martín Pérez. Salvadorian Debian users are invited to update their /etc/apt/sources.list in order to use To quote Carlos Juan Martín Pérez "For us, the Ministry of Health, and as members of the Salvadorian Community of Free Software, is an honour to belong to the great Debian family." For other countries, the full list of mirrors [17] is available online. There are still many countries lacking good connectivity to a Debian mirror; sponsors interested in hosting are invited to contact the mirrors team.

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Debexpo maintainers call for contributions

Discussing the potential integration of packaging teams into Debexpo, the software behind the [18] service, Arno Töll issued a call for contributions [19], since the current team members are busy.

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Debexpo [20] is maintained as an Alioth project [21].

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Bug Squashing Party marathon started

Similarly to previous releases [22,23,24,25], a marathon of Bug Squashing Parties (BSPs) has been started with concurrent BSPs being held in Hildesheim [26], Germany and Portland [27], OR, USA. While the first one concentrated on fixing Release Critical bugs, the second concentrated on creating multiarch patches for different libraries.

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Both BSPs were quite successful. In Hildesheim 60 Release Critical bugs were addressed [28] and several improvements to the archive software [29] introduced, while in Portland 14 multiarch patches [30] were created! They also noted down how to prepare cloud instances [31] in preparation for Bug Squashing Parties.

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The next Bug Squashing Parties in Mönchengladbach, Germany (January or February) and Paris, France (17 to 19 February) are already being organised [32]. The Debian Wiki has more information about organising a BSP [33], should you consider organising your own.

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Debian would like to thank Pengutronix [34] (in Hildesheim) and PuppetsLabs [35] (in Portland) for their support in organising these two events.

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Call for talks: FOSDEM 2012

Wouter Verhelst sent a call for talks for the distribution developers room [36] at the upcoming FOSDEM 2012 [37], the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting. The FOSDEM takes place in Brussels, Belgium in early February 2012. Acceptable sessions can be any wide range of things, including talks, BoF sessions, and round tables. Two cross-distributions devrooms are intended to be for people from any participating distribution project, and may cover Debian-specific subjects, or indeed targeted at Debian developers only.

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New s390 buildd at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Philipp Kern announced [38] that zemlinsky [39], a new Debian buildd hosted at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology [40], is now available to support the s390(x) ports [41]. Thanks to this new host, s390x is progressing pretty quickly [42]: this new fast builder is one of the reasons why the slope is so steep.

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Further interviews

There have been three further "People behind Debian" interviews: with Raphaël Hertzog [43], dpkg maintainer, book author; with Mark Shuttleworth [44], Ubuntu's founder; and with Stefano Zacchiroli [45], Debian Project Leader.

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Stefano Zacchiroli was also interviewed by Karen Sandler on the FaiF oggcast [46], by Amber Granger during the Ubuntu Developer Summit [47] and by [48] (original in Italian [49]). In addition the NeuroDebian team [50] were interviewed [51] by FLOSS for Science.

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New Debian Contributors

Four applicants have been accepted [52] as Debian Developers, thirteen applicants [53,54] have been accepted as Debian Maintainer, and twenty-five people have started to maintain packages [55] since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Nicholas Breen, Vincent Legout, Antoine Beaupré, Gergely Nagy, Wolodja Wentland, Vasudev Kamath, Matthias Klumpp, José Manuel Santamaría Lema, Floris Bruynooghe, Cédric Boutillier, Christophe Trophime, Tobias Hansen, Nicolas Dandrimont, Simone Rosetto, Jonas Genannt, Laszlo Kajan, James Page, Mikolaj Izdebski, Félix Arreola Rodríguez, Henry Velez, Gastón Ramos, Stephen M. Webb, Miguel de Val Borro, Simon Chopin, Paolo Greppi, B. Clausius, Mateusz Kijowski, José Luis Segura Lucas, Marcin Kulisz (kuLa), Teus Benschop, Ole Streicher, Paolo Rotolo, Martin Erik Werner, Raoul Gunnar Borenius, Geoffrey Thomas, Alkis Georgopoulos, Jerome Kieffer, Christopher Gervais, Håkon Nessjøen, David Stone, Nicolas Bourdaud and Mathias Ertl into our project!

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Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the Bugs Search interface of the Ultimate Debian Database [56], the upcoming release, Debian 7.0 "Wheezy", is currently affected by 1005 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 849 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

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There are also more detailed statistics [57] as well as some hints on how to interpret [58] these numbers.

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Important Debian Security Advisories

Moritz Muehlenhoff reminded users that security support [59] for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 "Lenny" will end on 6 February 2012.

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Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): moodle [60], nss [61], ffmpeg [62], postgresql [63], iceweasel [64], iceape [65], openssl [66], python-django-piston [67], icedove [68], proftpd-dfsg [69], bind9 [70], spip [71], freetype [72], systemtap [73], wireshark [74], puppet [75], ldns [76], cups [77], clearsilver [78], openjdk-6 [79], evince [80], openjdk-6 [81] (for "Lenny"), mojarra [82], chasen [83] and acpid [84]. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

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Debian's Backports Team released advisories for these packages: libvirt [85], libreoffice [86], puppet [87], iceweasel [88], openssl [89], apache2 [90], libsndfile [91] and nss [92]. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

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Debian's Stable Release Team released an update announcement for the package: linux-2.6 [93]. 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 [94] (and the separate backports list [95], and stable updates list [96] or volatile list [97], for "Lenny" , the oldstable distribution) for announcements.

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New and noteworthy packages

761 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others [98] are:

* 4digits -- guess-the-number game, aka Bulls and Cows [99]
* guacamole -- HTML5 web application for accessing remote desktops [100]
* knot -- authoritative domain name server [101]
* mgen -- packet generator for IP network performance tests [102]
* minetest -- InfiniMiner/Minecraft-inspired open game world [103]
* musique -- simple but sophisticated graphical music player [104]
* pinpoint -- hacker-friendly presentation program [105]
* r8168-dkms -- dkms source for the r8168 network driver [106]
* redsocks -- redirect any TCP connection to a SOCKS or HTTPS proxy server [107]
* uhub -- high performance Advanced Direct Connect p2p hub [108]

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Work-needing packages

Currently 392 packages are orphaned [109] and 143 packages are up for adoption [110]: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help [111].

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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 [112] to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Simon Chopin, Sam Hocevar, Simon Paillard, David Prévot, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl, Alexander Reshetov, Paul Tagliamonte, Justin B Rye and Paul Wise.