Alexander Reichle-Schmehl | 8 Sep 14:26 2010

Debian Project News - September 8th, 2010

The Debian Project                      
Debian Project News                    debian-publicity <at>
September 8th, 2010     

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

  * Debian Project mourns the loss of Frans Pop
  * Bits from the Debian Women project
  * DebConf10 DPL report
  * Backports service becoming official
  * Updated Debian GNU/Linux: 5.0.6 released
  * Release update
  * Changelogs for testing available
  * Debian growth over the releases
  * Organising the annual Debian Conference
  * New signing key for the Debian Archive created
  * ... and much more.

Debian Project mourns the loss of Frans Pop

The Debian Project lost Frans Pop [1], who was involved in many ways in
Debian: as a maintainer of several packages, a supporter of the S/390
port, and one of the most involved members of the Debian Installer
team. He was a Debian Listmaster, editor and release manager of the
Installation Guide and the release notes, as well as a Dutch
translator. Many [2] members [3] of [4] the [5] Debian [6] community
[7] already expressed their sadness. The team behind the Debian Project
News would like to do so too: Frans, you will be missed!

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Bits from the Debian Women project

The Debian Women project [8] aims at getting more women to participate
in Debian, as packagers, bug reporters, technical documentation
writers, bug fixers, translators, artists and in any other area that
helps the development of Debian. These goals are achieved through IRC
tutorials, a mentoring program, a mailing list and an IRC channel.

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The Mentoring Program [9] allows men and women who want to contribute
to Debian, but aren't sure where or how to start, to get some help with
their first steps.

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There have been at least 38 women that have contributed in packaging
software for Debian, and there are currently 11 female Debian
Developers and 1 Debian Maintainer. The group would like to raise those
numbers to 50 packagers by the end of 2011, and 20 Debian Developers by
the end of 2012. There are also some other interesting statistics [10]
about the current female participation in Debian.

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The project is also interested in getting more women to translate
debconf templates or package descriptions and contribute to the release
notes, as well as participate in any other areas of the Debian project.
In order to do this, we will be holding some IRC training sessions [11]
in the near future, in order to help people get started. We are
currently making the list of subjects and trainers, we'll publish more
news about this once the first sessions are scheduled.

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For more information you can join the IRC channel #debian-women on, or subscribe to the debian-women mailing list [12]. If
you are a Spanish speaker, you can also join the #debian-mujeres IRC
channel on

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DebConf10 DPL report

The Debian Project Leader (DPL), Stefano Zacchiroli, provided a report
after the recent DebConf in New York City [13]. In the report he
discusses his recent activity speaking with academics in the Social
Sciences, as well as some other Debian developments. He also mentions
Joey Hess's CUT proposal, a proposal that would help users understand
that Debian testing is actually quite usable and work to polish it even
more so that this becomes apparent. Our beloved DPL mentions the
Release Critical Bug squashing Contest (RCBC) [14] which has prizes!

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In addition to those subjects he also added some details on Debian
Derivatives, the relationship between DebConf and Debian, and on init
systems. As always, a wealth of important information from the DPL.

Backports service becoming official

The [15], offering updated packages from Debian's testing
branch for Debian's stable (and oldstable) releases, has now been
integrated as an official Debian service [16] available from [17] and various mirrors. Current users of the old service should change their sources.list file, as the
directory structure has also changed (but compatibility symlinks are
available for now). More details for users are available on the web
page [18]. The backports team [19] also published some information for
package maintainers [20].

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Updated Debian GNU/Linux: 5.0.6 released

A new update release for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 [21] "Lenny" has been
released.  All recent security updates have been added as well as some
fixes for critical issues. The linux-2.6 [22] package was also updated
for increased hardware support. New CD and DVD images as well as update
CDs and DVDs will be available soon.

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Release update

A new release update [23] has been sent out by Neil McGovern. He gave
an overview of the status of different transitions, which are mostly
done, and informed package maintainers of a stronger policy for unblock
requests for packages which should migrate to Debian's "testing"
branch. He also noted that packages with release critical bugs will be
removed from the release, should there be no progress made on their
issues. Work on the release notes is on its way. Anything that should
be documented in the release notes should be reported as a bug report
against therelease-notes pseudo-package, while new and noteworthy
things [24] should be collected in the wiki. Finally he announced the
codename of Debian 7.0: Wheezy, the rubber toy penguin with a red bow

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Changelogs for testing available

Jörg Jaspert announced a new service for users of Debian's "testing"
branch: thechangelogs of packages migrated to the testing branch [25]
are now aggregated and available in a single file. This makes it easier
for "testing" users to review changes in specific packages before they
install them. The files are available from all mirrors in
thedists/testing directory, and are rotated on a daily basis, being
kept about two days. There's also always a symlink to the latest one

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Debian growth over the releases

While analyzing md5sum usage for internal package integrity checks,
Romain Francoise also published some numbers about the growth of
Debian's archive [27]. To his astonishment Debian's "unstable" branch
has grown from about 20,000 packages to over 30,000 within three years!

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He also calculated the growth rate of the releases, and estimates that
with the upcoming Debian 6.0  "Squeeze" about 29,000 packages will be
released, which is a growth compared to Debian 5.0 "Lenny" of 29.6%.

Organising the annual Debian Conference

Richard Darst continued his blog post on how to organise the annual
Debian Conference. He covers the topics  "What is the DebConf team?
[28]", "The DebConf selection process [29]", "How DebConf manages money
[30]", "DebConf budgeting for a single conference [31]", "The DebConf
registration process [32]", and "DebConf Fund-raising [33]".

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New signing key for the Debian Archive created

FTP-Master Jörg Jaspert announced details of the new signing key for
the Debian archive [34]. The new key has already been added to the
debian-archive-keyring [35] package, which was also updated in the
recent Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.6 "Lenny" release. The new key will be used
once Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" is released or the old key is expired (by the
end of 2012). Whichever comes first.

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Other news

Following the "unofficial" bits from the ARM porters mentioned in last
issue, Hector Oron postedofficial bits [36]. He gave more details about
the work in the Hardfloat ARM port, and also listed various supporters
of the ARM port, including Linaro, which is a not-for-profit
organisation sponsored by engineers and manufacturers with an interest
in ARM.

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Colin Watson called for help debugging a GRUB2 [37] problem with some
Windows applications. Apparently some proprietary software overwrites
some parts of GRUB to store some licensing information. Colin asks
affected users for some data and gave instructions on how to obtain it.

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Robert Millan announced the availability of experimental Debian
Installer images with ZFS support [38].

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The Emdebian Team released Emdebian Grip 1.0.1 [39], which is a binary
compatible distribution with smaller packages (e.g. with documentation
stripped) based upon Debian 5.0.6, targeting embedded devices.

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Christian Perrier was pleased to find out that for Debian 6.0 "Squeeze"
six languages [40] might be able to achieve the goal of having 100% of
debconf messages translated: Swedish, Russian, French, German,
Portuguese, and Czech [41]. For Debian 5.0	"Lenny" only French and
German made the 100%.

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New Debian Contributors

7 applicants have been accepted [42] as Debian Maintainer and 6 people
started to maintain packages [43] since the previous issue of the
Debian Project News. Please welcome Javier Merino Cacho, Kurashiki
Satoru, Sebastien Noel, Maia Kozheva, Tanguy Ortolo, Thierry Carrez,
Ulrich Dangel, Douglas Kirkland, Alice Ferrazzi, Nicolas Valcárcel
Scerpella, Tássia Camões Araújo, Ryan Tandy and Marco Rodrigues into
our project!

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Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial release-critical bug counter [44], the
upcoming release, Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", is currently affected by 226
release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the
way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 129 release critical bugs
remain to be solved for the release to happen.

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There are also more detailed statistics [45] as well as some hints on
how to interpret [46] these numbers.

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Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): phpmyadmin [47], typo3-src [48], [49],
openssl [50], wireshark [51], barnowl [52], smbind [53], quagga [54],
and freetype [55].
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 [56] for announcements.

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New and noteworthy packages

The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive
recently (among others [57]):

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  * ejabberd-mod-shared-roster-ldap -- shared roster via LDAP for ejabberd [58]
  * fai-setup-storage -- automatically prepare storage devices [59]
  * openttd-openmsx -- free music set for use with the OpenTTD game [60]
  * sugar-turtleart-activity -- LOGO-like tool for teaching programming - Sugar activity [61]
  * system-config-printer-udev -- utilities to detect and configure printers automatically [62]
  * turtleart -- LOGO-like tool for teaching programming [63]

Please note that due to the freeze of the upcoming Debian 6.0 [64]
"Squeeze" acceptance of new packages has almost ceased.

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Work-needing packages

Currently 564 packages are orphaned and 133 packages are up for
adoption. Please take a look at the recent [65] reports [66] to see if
there are packages you are interested in or view the complete list of
packages which need your help [67].

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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 [68] 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 Margarita Manterola,
Jeremiah C. Foster and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl [70].

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