Sonata: an elegant music client for MPD
on 27.04.2008, 05:00
in packages-news
Debian Weekly News 2008/01
on 21.04.2008, 00:00
in weekly-news
Sitebar: centralized bookmarking
on 20.04.2008, 05:00
in packages-news
wesnoth: a turn-based fantasy strategy game
on 13.04.2008, 05:00
in packages-news
A call for help
on 10.04.2008, 03:58
in packages-news

Sonata: an elegant music client for MPD

published on Sun Apr 27 05:00:11 2008 in packages-news

Article submitted by Fatih Altınok. Guess what? We still need you to submit good articles about software you like!

Sonata is a GTK+ music player, written in Python. Actually, it is an MPD client, which is it’s most important advantage. MPD is a daemon that plays your music at background (maybe on a different computer). It can use different front ends, you can use it even from command-line and it continues playing even if your client or X is crashes. Sonata takes advantage of MPD and serves it in a clean and user-friendly interface.

Sonata - Mini

Sonata offers a clean interface to your music. You can choose a collapsed or expanded view. You can browse around tabs to reach your queue, play lists, library, song info or streams. The interface is customizable; you can remove unwanted tabs, playback buttons, progress bar, status bar and album cover. You can hide the main window by clicking the tray icon or by entering sonata -t into the command line —which you can bind to a keyboard shortcut to make it easier. And you can see the song changes from the notification pop-ups.

Sonata - Playlist Sonata - Library Sonata - Info Sonata - Options

Sonata has lots of features you’d want from it. It can fetch song lyrics from Lyricwiki.org and saves them to the ~/.lyrics folder. It can “scrobble” your songs to Last.fm (you can use a daemon for that too, but it’s your choice.) You can view and search your music database from the library tab. You can edit your ID3 tags, one by one or batch. It can show album covers —both local or remote, depends on your decision—. If you click on the cover art; you’ll go to the song info where you can enlarge the image, see the lyrics and other song-related information. It also has support for listening to on-line streams.

You may think these features are just ordinary for an advanced music player, but there’s one more thing. Sonata’s interface is simple and user-friendly. Forget about the music players which you can’t use unless it’s full-screen. Sonata doesn’t cover more place than a sidebar. Think about music players with lots of features that makes it complicated. Sonata has what’s necessary. It makes listening to music enjoyable, not confusing.

You can install Sonata if you’re using Debian testing or unstable; or Ubuntu on all repositories. Sonata is currently being developed and pretty stable. Ready to make you enjoy your music!

19 new Debian Developers: The Debian Project improves its New Maintainer process

contributed by andremachado, published on Wed Apr 23 20:37:45 2008 in news

19 new Debian Developers this week: The Debian Project improves its New Maintainer process

At april 18th 2008, 19 new Debian Developers (DD) accounts were created.

Debian Project is a volunteer effort, and needs more skilled manpower at many human knowledge areas.

One of the bottlenecks is the Debian Accout Management (DAM), and Sam Hocevar delegated some important tasks to more people, distributing future workload. While the batch of new DD accounts were created, he issued a Debian Project Leader (DPL) announcement just before transferring position to the new elected DPL, Steve McIntyre.

This decision is a measure to quickly improve its New Maintainer process.

The added DAM and FTP Master immediately set to work and announced a number of changes to the archive software as well as outlining some more TODO items, adding a call for help for those tasks that do not require special privileges.

Last year, the Debian Maintainer status was approved as another decision to improve process, granting partial rights of a full DD.

All Applicants' progress can be tracked at every phase, by anyone.

Ongoing discussions are being held at debian-project mailing list to find a better New Maintainer process management with a more scalable and permanent solution.

Debian Project has a long history of debating its own key solutions, and the emerging ones, having the colective wisdom of many, had been proven under real situations.

About the Debian Project

Debian GNU / Linux is one of the free libre operating systems ( GNU/Linux, GNU/Hurd, GNU/NetBSD, GNU/kFreeBSD), running 18733+ officially maintained packages on 15 hardware platforms, from cell phones and network devices to mainframes and supercomputers, developed by more than two thousand volunteers from all over the world who collaborate via the internet on the Debian Project.

Debian's dedication to Free Libre Open Source Software, its constitutional non-profit nature, its open and meritocratic development model, organization and social governance make it a first among free libre operating system distributions.

The Debian project's key strengths are its volunteer base, its dedication to the Debian Social Contract and the Debian Constitution, and its commitment to provide the best operating systems attainable, following a strict quality policy, working with an established QA Team and helpful users reporting bugs, suggestions, exchanging ideas, and registering experiences.

You can help Debian Project without joining it and even not being a programmer, or being a development and or service partner company or institution at the Debian Partner Program, or simply making various donations to the Debian Project.

Debian Project news, press releases and press coverage can be found from the official Debian wiki page. PR contact at debian-publicity list.

Debian Weekly News 2008/01

published on Mon Apr 21 00:00:00 2008 in weekly-news

Welcome to the first issue of the Debian Project News, the newsletter for the Debian community! From now on we'll keep you informed about recent events and interesting developments in and around the Debian Community on a biweekly basis. But we could still use some help, so feel free to take a look at our wiki.

New Debian Project Leader elected

After 12 years of working on Debian as a developer Steve McIntyre was elected as the new Debian project leader. Within short hours of taking the job Steve had his first interview with iTWire about his plans during his term. The interview highlights Steve's hopes to improve communication between the core teams, get Lenny out in the second half of 2008 and encourage greater participation in the project.

Surveying the Debian community

In the spirit of the bits from mails send by various officers and groups within Debian, Paul Wise prepares a bits from the users of Debian mail, in which he tries to summarize feedback he got and gets from various users of the Debian operating system and send it to the development community around Debian. Users are asked to send him via email what they are using Debian for, what gripes they see and similar.

Release Update

Martin Zobel-Helas, member of the release team, send an update about the next Debian release. While there are still to many release critical bugs open there has been great progress during the last bug squashing parties (BSP). So the current BSP marathon will go on.

Debian to participate again in Google's Summer of Code

Erich Schubert reports, that Debian will again participate in Google's Summer of Code campaign allowing students to do paid work for free software projects during the summer.

Scientific study about Debian Project governance and social organization

How did a big non-commercial, non-paying community evolve into one that produces some of the most respectable Operating Systems and applications packages available?

Debian makes progress regarding reliability

According to a recently published study by the Institute for Advanced Professional Studies Yankee group Debian made great improvements regarding reliability compared to the last study from 2006. The average downtime of a Debian server has fallen by 41% while 24% of the respondents reported to have at least one Debian server in their network compared to 15% who had it installed in the 2006 timeframe.

Call for contributions on Debian development infrastructure

For the upcoming Libre Software Meeting to be held in early July in France Olivier Berger is calling for contributions about Debian development infrastructure for a session about session on communautary development.

Debian feature requests wanted

For the upcoming Hackcontest in Switzerland Martin Krafft is looking for more Debian related feature requests. During the contest it's the task of random teams to implement these features. Of course they'll need to be working with the projects to accomplish their task, and so even if a team should not win, Debian would profit.

Debian GNU/Linux FAQ to be improved with Lenny

Jost van Baal reported about his ongoing efforts to improve the official Debian GNU/Linux FAQ. Since the version shipped with Sarge and even Etch weren't in a good shape (and partly outdated) he added new services and tools and rewrote some parts of the FAQ. The updated FAQ will feature several translations and will be shipped in a separate debian-faq package instead of being part of the doc-debian package.

Planet Debian as mailing list?

Jörg Jaspert wondered, if Planet Debian, a service collecting Weblogs of Debian Developers and contributors to one place, should be available as a mailing list, too. Some people don't like the mixed private and technical content available there, and having it as a mailing list might be easier to sort interesting posts out.

Co-operative Breathes New Life into Old Machines with Debian

Bristol Wireless is a co-operative set up to develop a free-to-access broadband intranet using radio, with the emphasis on supplying ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) that are relevant, permanent and affordable to communities that find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide. The group is working together with Voscur and Byteback Computing to provide access to computers built on Debian to the people of Bristol. Byteback provide the wiped machines to Bristol Wireless; we install Debian Linux on them and use the machines in our grant-funded projects in deprived inner city areas.

Other News

Christian Perrier noticed that in the last batch of people becoming official Debian Developers, 10% are female. He hopes that the Debian Women Project, which tries to encourage women to become more involved with Debian, will keep the pace.

Want to continue reading DPN?

Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer writers who watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. Please see our HOWTO contribute page to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at debian-publicity@lists.debian.org.

Sitebar: centralized bookmarking

published on Sun Apr 20 05:00:56 2008 in packages-news

Article submitted by Arve Seljebu. Guess what? We still need you to submit good articles about software you like!

Like many people nowadays, I use many different computers. You use your computer at work, home, school and in public places. Maybe you also got several computers at home? One thing that easy comes to annoyance is bookmarking. With different bookmarks on every computer, I’ve long searched for a good way to sync my bookmarks between browsers and operating systems. Maybe you’ve used Google bookmarks, del.icio.us or similar social bookmarking. I’ve been using Google bookmarks, and my problem arrived when I wanted a good way to view my bookmarks in the Opera web browser. The solution was to add a speed dial to http://google.com/bookmarks, which to me wasn’t very appealing to me.

Sitebar is an easy way store your bookmarks in one place. It has support for many browsers and platforms. It comes both as a service, or self installed software. The latter is my preference. The great news is that sitebar comes as a package in Debian. All you need is apache, mysql and php. Installing is as easy as apt-get install sitebar, set up a mysql database through the install wizard and then browse over to http://yourserver/sitebar/ and set up your preferences.

To get started, sitebar includes ways to import and export your bookmarks in many formats. It’s as simple as right clicking inside the bookmark area and choose Import Bookmarks. Sitebar can import the following input formats: Atom, OPML Link Type, OPML RSS Type, Opera Hotlist, Netscape Bookmark File, RDF/RSS, and XBEL. You can also select Auto, which is the easiest way.

The use of Sitebar may vary some between different browsers. For example, in Firefox several add-ons are available, and in Opera the side panel is used. That’s why the sitebar-menu will show up when right clicking the bookmarks under Firefox, but in Opera you will need to use CTRL left-click to get the same menu. As for use in Opera, I prefer getting Opera’s menu when right-clicking, which means you can open bookmarks in new tabs and such.

Adding bookmarks is simple too. You can make yourself a short cut to adding bookmarks in your browser. You could also right-click/CTRL-left-click where you want your new bookmark and then choose “Add Link”. And here comes the beauty, under “Add Link” you’ve got a button called “Retrieve Link Information” which gets title, description and icon from the web page you are adding.

After a link is added, you can email, copy, delete or edit it. There is also security features that lets you choose rights for trees and folders. User management and groups are available too. All of these functions are easy understandable.

Screenshots

Full screen shot of Sitebar in Firefox/Iceweasel
Sitebar in Firefox/Iceweasel
Sitebar menu
Sitebar menu
Importing bookmarks
Importing bookmarks
Adding a bookmark
Adding a bookmark
Creating a folder
Creating a folder

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Easy installed
  • Integrated into many browsers
  • Your own private bookmarks, no need for signing up some service
  • No need to synchronize between browsers

Cons:

  • Use vary between browsers

Sitebar has been available in Debian since at least Sarge, and in Ubuntu since Dapper.

Steve McIntyre elected Debian Project Leader 2008

contributed by andremachado, published on Wed Apr 16 11:17:45 2008 in news

Steve McIntyre elected Debian Project Leader 2008

The winner of the Debian Project Leader (DPL) 2008 election is Steve McIntyre, His term as DPL will extend for one year starting on April 17th, 2008.

The full Debian Project Leader Election 2008 results are available at this page. The Debian Project Secretary announced the results at this email. You can read all three DPL 2008 candidate platforms at the election page.

This year, over 49% of developers eligible to vote sent their votes to the Condorcet system.

The Debian Project's Constitution specifies the roles and duties of the DPL and the voting method used to select them. Elections are held annually for the position which carries a one year term.

The Debian Project community designed and evolved a solid governance system since 1993, having established shared conceptions of formal authority, leadership and meritocracy, limited by defined democratic adaptative mechanisms.

The Debian Project Leader 2008 election is another confirmation of the suitability of the framework to the Project objectives, defined by the Debian Social Contract, the Debian Constitution, ratified at Debian Policy, and one of the reasons why its developers are so committed.

The evolution of the Debian Project's system of governance was thoroughly studied by Siobhán O'Mahony, Assistant Professor at the University of California's Graduate School of Management, and Fabrizio Ferraro, General Management Professor at IESE. You can read more about it at this page , which includes a link to the complete scientific study with detailed research data and analysis.

About the Debian Project

Debian GNU / Linux is one of the free libre operating systems ( GNU/Linux, GNU/Hurd, GNU/NetBSD, GNU/kFreeBSD), running 18733+ officially maintained packages on 15 hardware platforms, from cell phones and network devices to mainframes and supercomputers, developed by more than two thousand volunteers from all over the world who collaborate via the internet on the Debian Project.

Debian's dedication to Free Libre Open Source Software, its constitutional non-profit nature, its open and meritocratic development model, organization and social governance make it a first among free libre operating system distributions.

The Debian project's key strengths are its volunteer base, its dedication to the Debian Social Contract and the Debian Constitution, and its commitment to provide the best operating systems attainable, following a strict quality policy, working with an established QA Team and helpful users reporting bugs, suggestions, exchanging ideas, and registering experiences.

You can help Debian Project without joining it and even not being a programmer, or being a development and or service partner company or institution at the Debian Partner Program, or simply making various donations to the Debian Project.

Debian Project news, press releases and press coverage can be found from the official Debian wiki page. PR contact at debian-publicity list.

wesnoth: a turn-based fantasy strategy game

published on Sun Apr 13 05:00:29 2008 in packages-news

Article submitted by Vasiliy Faronov. Guess what? We still need you to submit good articles about software you like!

The free software community makes games, too. Among the more well-known ones is the Battle for Wesnoth — a turn-based strategy game with a fantasy setting. It doesn’t have shiny 3D graphics or cut-scenes, but it is an interesting and original game and is fun to play.

This game is often simply called “Wesnoth”, and the package name is “wesnoth”.

A typical Wesnoth action
A typical Wesnoth action.

Wesnoth is played on a map divided into small hexagons. Each player controls a number of units which move over the map and attack enemy units. Different units possess different abilities and weapons. An important tactical element in Wesnoth is terrain: it determines the defensive ability of the units. For example, an Elvish Fighter can defend himself better in the forest than on open grassland, so enemies are less likely to harm him in the forest. As you kill more and more of your foes, your followers advance to higher levels, improving their skills and other characteristics. Careful positioning, movement and advancement of units is the key to victory.

The game’s interface is quite nice and usable. Among other things, Wesnoth ships with a complete in-game help reference where you can find detailed information as well as general overviews.

Wesnoth help
The in-game help, complete with pictures and hyperlinks.

The game ships with a number of campaigns that pit you against an artificial intelligence (AI). Of course, you can also play against other people. There is a dedicated multiplayer server where you can compete with your friends or strangers (note that direct connectivity with your opponent is not necessary, so you can play even from behind a NAT router or similar obstructions). For users of the stable Debian distribution, there is a server at wesnoth.debian.net — it lets you play with the Debian’s version of the game even after the developers release a newer one.

The virtual “lobby” of the multiplayer server
The virtual “lobby” of the multiplayer server.

Wesnoth can also be expanded: you may create your own campaigns, maps, units and all other sorts of things. A special add-on service has been developed to make it easy for players to find and install such enhancements. Just connect to it, pick what you like, click a button, and you are ready to go.

The add-on installation dialog
The add-on installation dialog.

The game is actively developed, has a well-maintained web site and a thriving community on the forums. Wesnoth has been available in Debian since release 3.1 “sarge”, and in Ubuntu since release 6.06 “Dapper Drake”.

A call for help

published on Thu Apr 10 03:58:11 2008 in packages-news

Hi there,

Once again, we urge you to help us keep this site up and running. Since February we only had three posts, far from the twice a week intended publishing rate (the one article per day idea was dropped long time ago). We desesperately need new articles to publish, remember that this site is made from the material our readers contribute, so it’s up to you to keep it running! We also need help editing articles, but that’s void if we don’t get articles to edit.

Now, we have a only couple of articles to publish, on Sunday you’ll be able to enjoy one and for now we’ll switch to a weekly rate. If things go better, we could go back to twice a week. If things don’t go better, it will be time to end the project.

Thanks for your attention, Tincho.