win32-loader 0.3.0 has been released
on 30.03.2007, 08:38
in news, release
figlet: a totally useless, therefore essential tool
on 25.03.2007, 05:54
in packages-news
MultiTail: view multiple logfiles windowed on console
on 21.03.2007, 05:00
in packages-news
Debian Installer Etch Release Candidate 2 released
on 19.03.2007, 14:46
in news, release
wajig: Simplified Debian administration front-end
on 18.03.2007, 05:00
in packages-news
Debian to participate in Google Summer of code
on 17.03.2007, 11:57
in news
Extensive review of the Debian Installer
on 16.03.2007, 19:56
in news
MPD: The Music Player Daemon
on 14.03.2007, 05:00
in packages-news
Debian Weekly News 2007/04
on 13.03.2007, 00:00
in weekly-news
RSIBreak: a KDE utility which can help to prevent the RSI
on 11.03.2007, 05:00
in packages-news
Second Life powered by Debian
on 06.03.2007, 21:21
in news, success-stories

win32-loader 0.3.0 has been released

contributed by aba, published on Fri Mar 30 08:38:16 2007 in news, release

Today the developers announced that win32-loader 0.3.0 has been released and is available from

What's new in 0.3.0:

  • Supports compressed NTFS (by uncompressing individual files needed by GRUB).
  • Supports Windows 9x family. Some peculiarities: - Use wget as fallback since NSISdl segfaults (see - No reboot is required. It just runs grub.exe and Windows gives full power automatically.

unclutter: hide the mouse cursor after a period of inactivity

published on Tue Mar 27 05:00:31 2007 in packages-news

Entry based on submissions from Oliver Kiddle, Tore Morkemo and Gwern Branwen. Yes! Three independent readers wrote about it, it must be good :-)
Remember, DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

Do you ever find that occasionally the mouse pointer obscures just the bit of the screen with the word you’re currently reading? Having to move the mouse or guess the word under the pointer is only a minor irritation but it can be an irritation none-the-less.

Unclutter is a small but unique package for X11. What it does is very simple: if you aren’t using the mouse, it hides the mouse. This is useful simply because if you aren’t using the pointer, there’s no reason for it to be visible. This may not sound particularly useful, but making the mouse be invisible frees up screen real estate, prevents it from distracting you, and just generally makes for a much more pleasant experience, particularly when reading a document or using primarily keyboard-based applications.

Unclutter is easy to use. Just put a line like this in your .xsession, .gnomerc, “Startup Programs” or wherever you enter commands to be run at startup/login:

unclutter &

Now, if you stop moving your mouse, the cursor will disappear after 5 seconds.

Unclutter has a few nice arguments worth checking out:

  • -idle 2 : hide the mouse after 2 seconds, instead of the default (5).
  • -keystroke : tells unclutter to hide the mouse cursor when you start typing on the keyboard.
  • -not : don’t hide the cursor in windows listed as arguments.

There are more options, just check out the man page.

Unclutter is a maintained, stable & largely bug-free package which has been included in basically all versions of Debian and Ubuntu.

figlet: a totally useless, therefore essential tool

published on Sun Mar 25 05:54:50 2007 in packages-news

Entry submitted by arno. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

FIGlet is a command line tool. It’s purpose is to draw nicely formatted big characters. For example, the output of command figlet debian is:

_ _ _
__| | ___| |__ (_) __ _ _ __
/ _` |/ _ \ ‘_ \| |/ _` | ‘_ \
| (_| | __/ |_) | | (_| | | | |
\__,_|\___|_.__/|_|\__,_|_| |_|

To get more fancy outputs, FIGlet comes with a set of 18 fonts, and more than 400 fonts are available for download. For example, bubble font writes each character encircled in a bubble, and script font imitates handwriting. You can get the list of installed fonts, along with output samples, with command showfigfonts. Here is output of figlet -f script debian:

| | | o
__| _ | | __, _ _
/ | |/ |/ \_| / | / |/ |
\_/|_/|__/\_/ |_/\_/|_/ | |_/

FIGlet stands for Frank, Ian and Glenn’s LETters, because it was inspired by Frank’s email signature, written (mostly) by Glenn, and Ian helped. First version was written in spring 1991. FIGlet has since become a well known software in (and even outside) the UNIX world, and has been declined in multiple ways, like a XChat, or an Eclipse plug-in, a PHP class, and many web based FIGlets.

Related software

People who like to write fun stuff may also be interested in command banner from package bsdmainutils. It also outputs large characters, but unlike FIGlet, draws them vertically. It was not designed as a fun stuff, but as a way to separate printings documents from each other. Other tools have been designed specifically to write fun stuff. Among them, Cowsay is one of the most worthwhile. Toilet is very similar to FIGlet for Unicode systems. It comes with many new features, such as colour fonts, or HTML and SVG output.


So, FIGlet is a really nice software that will make your emails cool and pleasant. But please, do not overuse it in mailing lists!

FIGlet is available in both Debian and Ubuntu in all distributions.

MultiTail: view multiple logfiles windowed on console

published on Wed Mar 21 05:00:21 2007 in packages-news

MultiTail is an extremely configurable monitoring tool. With it one can monitor not only logfiles but also output of other commands as well (like rsstail, wtmptail (see users login and logout), nagtail (for nagios status).

MultiTail is a tool for the console. One can also run it, of course, in a terminal window.

When it runs, it can splitup the terminal in multiple smaller windows:

Lots of windows in Multitail

It can not only display in seperate windows but merge as well. So you can display the apache error logging merged with the access logging and if you like you can merge the output of, say, ping and rsstail as well. There are no limits to the number of windows or number of files/commands you merge.

Merging multiple outputs

A powerful feature is that it can apply colorschemes:

Color-schemes selection

Multitail in action inside a gnome-terminal:

Multitail inside Gnome Terminal

Colorschemes are available for all major applications (postfix, apache, sendmail, tcpdump, squid, etc), and adding new ones can be done easily.

Of course it can also filter out lines (or parts of lines) like with grep and sed but it can also convert parts of lines. E.g. in squid and qmail logging the timestamp can be converted to something more readable. It can also convert ip-addresses, errno-numbers and lots more. And if you would like to extend the conversions, you can let MultiTail invoke external scripts (perl, bash, python, etc.) for these conversions. Those external scripts can be used for the coloring as well.

Everything MultiTail can do can be configured in the configuration-file or via the commandline. As the number of options it has are quite large, it has on-line help as well. Also, if one doesn’t like commandline parameters then everything can be setup via interactive menus. When that is finished, MultiTail can write a shell-script to disk with which MultiTail can be started exactly like it ran previously.

It has too many features to list here, but they’re all listed here.

MultiTail is available in Debian stable (3.4.8), testing/unstable (4.2.0) and experimental (4.3.1) and in Ubuntu since Warty. The latest upstream version is 4.3.3. MultiTail is actively maintained. Requests for new functionality are very welcome and most of the time implemented in a few days. Bugreports too, of course.

Target users: everyone who uses the ‘tail’ command


Debian Installer Etch Release Candidate 2 released

contributed by Frans Pop, published on Mon Mar 19 14:46:00 2007 in news, release

The Debian Installer team is proud to announce the second release candidate (RC2) of the installer for Debian GNU/Linux Etch. Unless release critical issues are discovered, this will be the version of the installer that will be included in the release of Etch.

There are no real major changes in this release, but we have been able to use the time since RC1 to fix quite a few important and minor issues.

Improvements in this release of the installer

  • This new version of the installer uses and installs the 2.6.18 kernel.
  • Resizing Windows Vista NTFS partitions is now supported.
  • Both the regular (newt frontend) and graphical (gtk frontend) installer now offer a theme using high-contrast colors and increased font size for visually impaired people. This theme can be activated by adding the parameter theme=dark when booting the installer.
  • There have been several important bug fixes and usability improvements in the graphical installer. Most importantly, it is now possible to switch consoles on amd64.
    Information about the graphical installer and the most important differences between the graphical and regular installer has been added in an appendix in the installation guide.
  • In expert mode or by using preseeding it is possible to select the FTP protocol instead of HTTP to access a Debian mirror. The hostname of an FTP mirror can only be entered manually, selection from a list is not supported.
  • The time-out when searching for a security mirror has been reduced significantly. This may mean that a security mirror will not be found if the network connection is bad, but it also means that the time spent waiting if no security mirror is available at all is now acceptable.
  • It is now possible to blacklist a (driver) module by setting a special parameter when the installer is booted. This may help to work around buggy or conflicting kernel modules. See the installation guide for details.
  • Architecture specific:
    • arm: there have been several improvements for the NSLU2:
      • the kernel now uses the Ethernet driver developed by Christian Hohnstaedt
      • the kernel also adds LED support and fixes real time clock support
      • selection of the correct timezone during installation
    • powerpc: RAID installation with macintosh partition tables should now work
    • s390: most usability issues from RC1 have been fixed
  • The following additional languages are now supported: Belarusian, Kurdish; and only in the graphical installer: Georgian, Malayalam.

No longer supported as of this release

  • The boot parameter to enable the auto mode for preseeding has been changed from auto-install/enabled to auto-install/enable for consistency with rescue mode. The auto alias and boot option remain valid.

Known issues in this release

  • The installer is currently not able to resize ext3 partitions that have the dir_index and/or resize_inode features enabled. This includes ext3 partitions created with the Etch installer.
    It is possible to manually resize ext3 partitions from a shell during the installation.
  • The sky2 network driver is known to be broken in kernel version 2.6.18.dfsg.1-11 and may cause kernel panics.
  • There are still a few issues for some PowerPC subarchitectures.
  • For sparc32 CD-ROM support is broken in the esp kernel driver; use the netboot installation method instead.
  • Known issues for the graphical installer:
    • some non-US keymaps are not fully supported (deadkeys and combining characters do not work);
    • touchpads should work, but support may not be optimal; if you experience problems, you should use an external mouse instead;
    • limited support for creating encrypted partitions;
    • should work on almost all PowerPC systems that have an ATI graphics card, but is unlikely to work on other PowerPC systems.

See the errata for details and a full list of known issues.

New CD/DVD images

With this release of the installer, Debian also offers some new types of CD/DVD images:
  • a full CD that installs a KDE desktop environment by default
  • a full CD that installs an Xfce desktop environment by default
  • a multi-architecture CD for i386/amd64/powerpc and one for alpha/hppa/ia64 that effectively behave like a netinst CD (the images contain the base system for all three architectures)
  • a multi-architecture DVD for i386/amd64/powerpc which also includes source packages; this makes the image ideal for promotion purposes at trade shows and other events

Our thanks to everybody who has contributed to this release. Special thanks to Attilio Fiandrotti, the lead developer behind the graphical installer.

Installation CDs, other media, errata and everything else you'll need are available from our web site.

wajig: Simplified Debian administration front-end

published on Sun Mar 18 05:00:22 2007 in packages-news

Entry submitted by Chris Lamb. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

Wajig is a simplified command line administrator for Debian written by Graham Williams.

It merges apt, apt-cache, dpkg and the start and stop scripts (among many, many others) into a single command, centralising typical Debian administration tasks and making commands easier to remember. Some commands are even overloaded to give them extra functionality.

For example, wajig install will accept the name of the package as an argument á la apt-get and aptitude:

$ wajig install lighttpd

But it will also accept a path to a local file:

$ wajig install ./lighttpd_1.4.13-9_i386.deb - install local package

Other useful commands that Wajig provides:

Do an update followed by a download of all updated packages
Check reported bugs in package using the Debian Bug Tacker
Retrieve/unpack sources and build .deb for the named packages
Retrieve latest changelog for the package
List of packages which depend on the specified package
Install package and associated suggested packages
Install package and associated recommended packages
Install package and recommended and suggested packages
Install packages from specified distribution
List size of all large (>10MB) installed packages
Identify when an update was last performed
Remove package and those it depend on and not required by others
Trace the steps that a dist-upgrade would perform
Trace the steps that an upgrade would perform
Start or stop a service

A full list is available from the Wajig homepage, and also running wajig list-commands.

Wajig is ideal for users who simply wish to administer their system with a minimal amount of fuss, but is perhaps even more useful for users wishing to learn more about Debian’s package system with a hands-on approach. For example, the –teaching/-t command line option toggles the display of the underlying commands being executed. Even power users may also find a use for Wajig when performing less common tasks, or when they are simply feeling lazy.

Wajig is run as a normal user, but will invoke sudo when necessary. Tab completion of commands inside a Bash shell is available too.

Wajig has been available for ages in both Debian and Ubuntu.

Debian popularity-contest reaches new milestone - 30 000 submissions

contributed by Petter Reinholdtsen, published on Sat Mar 17 12:32:21 2007 in news

On Thursday, popularity-contest the Debian system allowing users to tell the developers which packages are in use, reached another milestone. The number of submissions passed 30 000 machines, after months of steady climbing. The results are available from

The information collected is used to make sure the most popular Debian packages are on the installation CDs, to prioritize translation work, and other aspects of the distribution work where package usage is interesting to know.

popcon can also to some degree show package usage. For example, to display the relative popularity of three often user GUI packages:

  1. gnome-session (used last week by 30%)
  2. kdebase-bin (used last week by 20%)
  3. xfce4-mcs-manager (used last week by 4%)

Not surprising, gnome is slightly more popular than KDE, as it is the default desktop installed by the debian installer.

It also show the architectures in use. As the 30000 mark was passed, this was the relative use of various architectures:


Popularity-contest sets up a cron job that will periodically anonymously submit to the Debian developers statistics about the most used Debian packages on this system.

Users who want to participate and make the statistic even more accurate, should install the popularity-contest package and answer yes when asked if they want the machine participate.

Debian to participate in Google Summer of code

published on Sat Mar 17 11:57:34 2007 in news

Debian has just been informed that it has again been accepted as a mentoring organization during this year's Google Summer of Code. In the Google summer of Code program students can work on a specific project while being paid by Google and being mentored by a Debian Developer.

Students interested in doing a Debian related project need to register and should get in contact with us as soon as possible either via the debian-project mailing list or via irc (server:, channel: #debian-soc).

While there exists a list of projects Debian would like to see worked on during the summer of code, students may propose their own projects as well.

Extensive review of the Debian Installer

published on Fri Mar 16 19:56:16 2007 in news

LXer recently published a quite extensive review of the new version of the Debian Installer which will be used in the upcoming stable release Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 Etch. Don Parris – author of the review – found it to not yet perfect but concludes: Still, it is a fantastic, simple installer that is adaptable to a wide range of installation scenarios. If you have about an hour and can read, you really should consider giving Debian Etch a whirl.

MPD: The Music Player Daemon

published on Wed Mar 14 05:00:01 2007 in packages-news

Entry submitted by Igor Stirbu. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

Music Player Daemon is a server that plays sound files and streams and can be controlled through remote clients. MPD supports Ogg-Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Wave and AIFF for sound files and Ogg-Vorbis and MP3 for streams. Also has support for cross-fade.

MPD is a very flexible media player due to it’s client/server nature. MPD can be configured to use your sound card or interact with an icecast server and send the stream over the network. It can be controlled with clients that may reside on the same machine or all over the network.

When MPD starts, it reads first ~/.mpd.conf and then /etc/mpd.conf, if the former can’t be read. So it may be configured to run at startup or be started by any user. Here is the content of my .mpd.conf file:

# ~/.mpdconf
music_directory     "/home/igor/media/mp3"
playlist_directory  "/home/igor/.mpd"

state_file      "/home/igor/.mpd/state_file"
db_file         "/home/igor/.mpd/tag_cache"
error_file      "/home/igor/.mpd/error_file"
log_file        "/home/igor/.mpd/log_file"
pid_file        "/home/igor/.mpd/pid_file"

mixer_type      "alsa"
mixer_device    "default"
mixer_control   "PCM" 

filesystem_charset  "UTF-8"

audio_output {
    type        "alsa"
    name        "Local sound card"

audio_output {
    type        "shout"
    name        "Icecast2 stream ( http://keo:8000/stream.ogg)"
    host        "keo"
    port        "8000"
    mount       "/stream.ogg"
    password    "hackme"
    # quality     "7.0"
    bitrate     "128"
    format      "44100:16:1"
    # Optional Paramters
    user        "source"
    description "All your music are belong to us"
    genre       "rock"

This setup allows me to directly use my sound card when working on the computer where MPD runs or enable the icecast stream and listen over the network when using the laptop.

The modifications to icecast.xml are these:


Nice features for MPD are available due to it’s configuration files. If you specify a pid_file you can use mpd --kill to stop the daemon. The state_file saves the state of the player (i.e. the playlist, the time and the name of the current song, the enabled outputs, etc.) If stopped gracefully, it writes the state_file and when started, resumes playback and restores the playlist.

Visit MPD’s home page for more information regarding releases, clients, FAQ. Packages for MPD are available in Debian since Sarge, and in Ubuntu since Hoary.


In Debian a few clients are available for MPD and more of them listed on the MPD web page. The one I use is Gmpc. It supports notification area integration, pop-up notification, playlist manager, server settings panel. There are ncurses, command line, web and other types of clients.

In the following screenshot, you can see a bunch of clients connected to the same mpd daemon: gmpc, pympd, ncmpc (ncurses), and phpMp2 (web).

MPD clients screenshot

Debian Weekly News 2007/04

published on Tue Mar 13 00:00:00 2007 in weekly-news

Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DWN, the newsletter for the Debian community. The Debian listmaster determined as part of the spring cleaning effort several unused and obsolete lists that will be closed down. Tony Mobily noted that the last GIF patent has finally expired. Gustavo Franco reported that Second Life runs on Debian servers because it is suited to scaling massively with a small IT staff.

Directory for Web Applications

Paul Cager wondered what directory should be used as document root for a small web server he is packaging. Luis Matos noted that packages like phpsysinfo use /usr/share/<packagename> and symbolic links to /var/www/<packagename>. Sean Finney explained that the proper way to include web applications is via an alias in the web server configuration and pointed to the Webapps Policy Manual written by the Debian Webapps Team.

Release Status of the Motorola 680x0 Port

Bill Allombert reported that the last remaining showstopper for the m68k port has been fixed since etch contains GCC 4.1.1-21 for all architectures. Stephen Marenka added that the inclusion may be considered when the number of uninstallable packages in the testing distribution is as low as for other architectures.

Handling of inactive Debian Accounts

Jörg Jaspert announced that the account managers will lock unused accounts based on the ongoing Debian Project Leader election and other sources to measure developers activities and project participation. Depending on the elapsed time the developer will have to go through a reduced new maintainer process to reactivate their account.

One Laptop per Child Software on Debian

The human interface for the One Laptop per Child initiative is Free Software and can be installed on Debian unstable. sugar-jhbuild provides one of the easiest ways to install Sugar. All packages required for building are available in unstable and experimental.

Google's Summer of Code 2007

Anthony Towns reported that Google is running a Summer of Code again this year, seeking project applications until March 12th. Stefano Zacchiroli referred to the Wiki page coordinating Debian's participation which already lists several tasks. Students will work on accepted projects from end of May to end of August.

Offline Key for stable Updates of Etch

Goswin von Brederlow asked if the etch release will be signed with an offline key. Martin Zobel-Helas added that etch and every point release will be signed with both keys (online and offline) and explained that the key is already created and Andreas Barth is working to integrate it into debian-archive-keyring.

Better Internationalisation Support in Installer Manual

Frans Pop announced support for translated entities in the installation guide of the Debian-Installer, using a patch proposed by Miroslav Kure. Christian Perrier formerly noticed that the manual contained several custom entities that couldn't be translated into other languages.

Bharat Operating System Solutions GNU/Linux 1.0

Chandan M C announced that the Indian distribution BOSS GNU/Linux 1.0 is based on Debian GNU/Linux 4.0. It consists of a pleasing desktop environment coupled with Indian languages support and packages relevant for use in the government. The long-term goal is to localise the system into all 22 official Indian languages to support people who don't understand English and are thus denied Free Software's benefits. The National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software chose Debian for its high versatility and reliability as well as the guarantee to always remain 100 % Free Software.

Binary Upload Restrictions

James Troup explained that reproducibility and logging of automatic package builds together with build effort coordination caused binary-only uploads to be denied for several architectures and suites. Emulated or cross-compiled package builds are still considered potentially harmful and are thus not encouraged. He added implementation details and illustrated the events that lead to these restrictions.

Closing unreproducible Bugs

Julien Valroff wondered when a maintainer may close an unreproducible bug report. Neil Willians added that it should be taken into account whether the submitter is responsive and whether the bug report includes sufficient information. He asserted that the unreproducible tag has a similar meaning as moreinfo, i.e. the report should stay open, especially if it indicates a crash.

Babelbox with Etch Support

Frans Pop announced that he has updated babelbox to support the upcoming etch release. Babelbox is a set of scripts and tools to set up a machine that will continuously run fully automated installations in different languages using both the graphical and the textual installer. Between each installation it will boot into the installed system and log into GNOME for a short period of time.

Debian Project Leader Election

Manoj Srivastava announced that Wouter Verhelst, Aigars Mahinovs, Gustavo Franco, Sam Hocevar, Steve McIntyre, Raphael Hertzog, Anthony Towns and Simon Richter have nominated themselves for the upcoming Debian Project Leader election. On February 25th, right after the nomination phase, the campaigning phase begun during which the candidates will answer questions regarding their plans and ideas. Sven Luther who was also a project leader candidate withdrew his candidacy.

French Debconf Translation of Debian completed

Christian Perrier announced that Debian's Debconf templates in unstable are now fully translated into the French language thanks to the continuous work of the French localisation team and the whole internationalisation community. A similar effort is also ongoing for several other languages with a steady progress.

RSIBreak: a KDE utility which can help to prevent the RSI

published on Sun Mar 11 05:00:33 2007 in packages-news

Entry submitted by Frederik Schwarzer. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury, ask Wikipedia for details) is an illness which can occur as a result of working with a mouse and keyboard.

RSIBreak forces you to suspend your working process for short periods of time, so that your muscles and nerves can relax every once in a while.
Once you have started RSIBreak, it settles down in the system tray and immediately starts its timers. Per default there are tiny breaks of 20 seconds after every 10 minutes and big breaks of one minute every hour. I configured the tiny breaks to be 3 minutes every 20 minutes and the big breaks to be 10 minutes every hour, so it better meets my laziness. :o)

RSIBreak is configurable over a context menu from the system tray icon to start automatically at KDE startup. You can also adjust how to handle short breaks (no keyboard or mouse activity) within the work cycle and what to do within the scheduled breaks. For instance RSIBreak can show a slideshow of pictures found in a given directory, darken the screen and disable normal keyboard and mouse functions or only show a notification popup besides the system tray icon. Anyway, if RSIBreak asks you for a break at a bad time, you can postpone the break by simply hitting the Escape key or pressing the Skip button. This can be disabled in the configuration dialog, so if you find youself cancelling four out of five breaks, this would probably be good for you. :)

The screenshot shows the statistics page reachable over the context menu, which holds a permanently updated summary of overall usage.

Statistics (click in the image to get a larger image)

For Gnome there is a similar application called Workrave that offers some additional features like showing excercises which you can make during the breaks (someone should definitely review workrave for DPOTD).

RSIBreak is not available for the current stable release (named Sarge), but for testing (currently Etch) and Sid. Also you can find the latest version in ubuntu feisty. You can also download the source code and get links to several packages from the RSIBreak Homepage.

gnome-main-menu: a new attractive menu for the GNOME environment

published on Wed Mar 7 05:00:40 2007 in packages-news

Entry submitted by Yann Benigot. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute by sending us original, high quality entries !

Look at your GNOME application menu. It’s simple, but has got one big problem: it doesn’t really allow you quick access to your favorite applications. Of course, you can make little icons on the panel to get a fast way to launch your programs, but this only scales so far. Finding an icon on a long bar with really small icons can be really annoying.

Gnome-main-menu is an easy and beautiful solution to that problem. It’s an applet to add to the desktop bar which offers you two-click access to your favorites applications, and also to your last documents and places. Additionaly, it allows easy access to disk usage levels, network connection information and the ability to add new applications to the base menu.

Adding an application Gnome Main Menu GMM menu

Not simply a new menu, it also offers an application browser with search. This enables you to quickly drill down to your selected application with a short description of the app, something of particular use to long time debaday addicts.

other apps Searching for other apps

You might also be pining for the new 2.18 version of GNOME and the all in one control panel. Well, pine no more as all control applets also have their own search in GMM!

GMM control panel

Gnome Main Menu is available in Debian testing/unstable and in Ubuntu Edgy/Feisty in the package gnome-main-menu.

Second Life powered by Debian

published on Tue Mar 6 21:21:46 2007 in news, success-stories

Linden Lab, the creators of the Second Life MMORPG (wich grows subscription base 20% monthly), chose Debian GNU/Linux because of its massive horizontal scalability (in March 2007 there were 2000 servers, expected to grow up to 10000 servers) and easy manageability, allowing a small IT staff. They already opened the source of the game clientand ported it to Linux.

All Debian package installations prompts translated to French

published on Mon Mar 5 18:55:48 2007 in news

The Debian Project is proud to announce the translation of all debconf templates to French. Debconf templates are used during the installation and configuration of Debian packages to display important facts about the package and ask for configuration options.

Combined with the translation of the Debian Installer this achievement guarantees that installation of a full Debian system can be done entirely in French.

Localization has been ongoing ever since the Debian project created new software to ease management of translated Debconf templates. This allowed package maintainers to integrate the work of hundreds of volunteers translating these templates into dozens of languages. The Debian internationalisation community has provided an invaluable service in the past few years.

Several other language teams have almost completed their effort.

Credit for the achievement of the French localization is due to the French translators as well as all Debian package maintainers who have regularly fixed the dozens of bug reports sent by translators over the years.

Since newly translated packages are uploaded to Debian's unstable branch sid a last effort will now target the integration of all translations in the testing branch, the upcoming Debian stable release etch.

Yakuake: a Quake-style terminal emulator based on KDE Konsole technology

published on Sun Mar 4 05:00:59 2007 in packages-news

Entry submitted by Sam Mirshafie. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

Maybe, you are a novice Linux user that do not yet understand the convenience of the command terminal, or you are an experienced user that always have some console windows sitting idly in the task bar. In order to do many tasks really efficiently, you should use the console, and in order to use the console effectively, you should use a terminal application such as Yakuake.

Whenever you need to use the terminal, just hit F12 (or any key that you’ve assigned) and Yakuake will slide down from the top of your screen. Since it is based on Konsole, it has got tabs and background transparency.


Yakuake’s design is quite different from other KDE applications. The tab bar is designed for transparency, and if you click on an active tab, you get a rename field. However, right-clicking on a tab has no effect. Yakuake relies much more on keyboard shortcuts (which I like but others might find disturbing).

Under the tab bar, there’s a special title bar. In the right corner, there are three buttons. Yakuake can be configured to go away whenever it loses focus, which many users find clever (not me!). So, the first button, the one with the + sign, controls the retract behavior. If the + button is pressed, Yakuake will stay on top until you hit the activation key (F12). The middle button has a downward pointing arrow, which gives you a quick configuration menu, and next to it, there’s the X button, which quits Yakuake.

Yakuake in action (click in the image to get a larger image)

Configuring Yakuake

One thing that users may find confusing is that Yakuake do not have a single configure dialog. The middle titlebar button gives you some of the options; such as terminal proportions, animation duration, and access and control keys. (Tip: make sure to check the control key dialog so you know all the keyboard shortcuts.). If you right click on the terminal body, you get a context menu with terminal-related options, such as appearence, history and character encoding.

Get it now

Yakuake is in the Ubuntu Edgy/Dapper and Debian repositories.
Yakuake is inspired by Kuake, and there is a similar Gnome application called Tilda, both are in the repositories as well.