Debian Project News - July 25th, 2011

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The Debian Project
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 on

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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 project!

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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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