published on Mon Apr 12 00:00:00 2010
Welcome to this year's first issue of DPN, the newsletter for the
Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
Upcoming elections for the Debian Project Leader
Four Debian Developers are nominated in the currently running election
for the Debian Project Leader: <a
and <a href="http://www.debian.org/vote/2010/platforms/marga">Margarita
<q>marga</q> Manterola</a> — the first woman ever nominated for this
position. The voting period ends on Thursday, April 15th.
Bits from the Release Team
Release manager Adam Barratt sent <a
from the release team</a> which gave an overview of the state of the
upcoming release, Debian 6.0 <q>Squeeze</q>. Adam admits that the
situation is not as good as the release team hoped, but that it is possible
to release <q>Squeeze</q> in a few months. He also gave a list of known
transitions and asked people to inform the release team about missing items.
Regarding the timeline, he asked all involved people to work hard, so a
freeze in late May or June would be possible. He concludes with some hints
on how to help. Most important is to fix release critical bugs or
organise face-to-face meetings to fix these. Andreas Barth later
<a href="http://blogs.turmzimmer.net/2010/04/04#squeeze-9">blogged</a> a
more detailed list on how to help with the release.
Estimates of the number of Debian users
In the discussion about the upcoming elections for the Debian Project
Leader, <a href="http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2010/03/msg00205.html">Anthony
Towns</a> wondered how many users Debian has. Several people discussed
who is a <q>Debian user</q> and if users of Debian derivatives would count,
too. Another topic was how accurate <a
href="http://popcon.debian.org/">popcon.debian.org</a> (a service where
Debian users can report anonymously what packages they have installed)
reflects the number of installations. Mike Hommey <a
the installations reported for <a href="http://packages.debian.org/xulrunner-1.9.1">xulrunner</a>
(the rendering engine used by the Iceweasel browser) and compared them to the
hits of the page displayed after an upgrade. He came to the conclusion
that for every one of the 13,000 Iceweasel installations reported to
popcon, there are at least 7.7 additional Iceweasel installations, which
do not have have popcon installed or activated, while Simon Paillard found
1.5 million unique IP addresses in the access logs of security.debian.org.
Bits from the DPL
Shortly before the end of his term Debian Project Leader Steve McIntyre
sent a <q><a href="http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2010/04/msg00000.html">(Final)
Bits from (this) DPL</a></q>. He announced personnel changes in several
teams and mentioned some press contacts and their outcome. He also
announced the availability of <q>Debian Certification</q> for official
Developers: <q>It seems that more and more companies are keen to hire
Debian folks, so it can be useful to have this kind of documentation
available.</q> Steve also talked about suggestions made in the last few
months for ways to productively spend Debian money, including funding of
needed hardware and a large number of developer meetings, as well as
funding for the Debian Edu subproject, to help them to continue their
developer meetings into the future. He closed by wishing the candidates of
the current election good luck and is looking forwards to having more time
for some hacking.
New archive snapshot service available
A new service called <a
href="http://snapshot.debian.org/">http://snapshot.debian.org/</a> has just
been <a href="http://www.debian.org/News/2010/20100412">announced</a>.
snapshot.debian.org is a wayback machine that allows access to old packages
based on dates and version numbers. The ability to install packages and
view source code from any given date can be very helpful to developers and
users alike. It provides a valuable resource for tracking down when
regressions were introduced, or for providing a specific environment that a
particular application may require to run. The snapshot archive is
accessible like any normal apt repository, allowing it to be easily used by
MiniDebConf held in Panama
More than 50 people participated recently in a MiniDebConf in Panama.
Starting March 20th and lasting two full days, the MiniDebConf touched on a
variety of subjects involving Debian with the participants sharing their experiences
with both Debian and Free Software. As <a href="http://alerios-en.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html">Alejandro Rios
said</a>: <q>All this is possible thanks to several sponsors from Panama and SPI, and
the hard work from many people, specially Anto Recio, Mauro Rosero, Carolina
Flores, Gunnar Wolf and the local team.</q> SPI is
<a href="http://www.spi-inc.org/">Software in the Public Interest</a>, a
non-profit organisation which was founded to help organisations develop and
distribute open hardware and software.
First German Debian Mini Conference
The Debian Project announced the first <a
href="http://www.debian.org/News/2010/20100408">German Debian Mini
Conference</a> to be held on the 10th and 11th of June in Berlin. Embedded
into <a href="http://www.linuxtag.org/">LinuxTag</a>, one of the most
important Open Source events in Europe, it will feature two days of talks,
workshops and panel discussions for Debian Developers and Maintainers to
contributors, users and otherwise interested persons. In parallel to the
conference, in a neighbouring hacking area a Bug Squashing Party will be
held. Details are available in the <a
Graphical Installer for ARM-Based netbooks
Frans Pop <a href="http://alioth.debian.org/~fjp/log/posts/Debianizing_an_ARM-based_netbook.html">blogged</a>
about his work on porting Debian and the debian-installer to ARM-based
netbooks from ChiTech. After solving some problems due to the limitations
of the bootloader, he even managed to get the X11 based graphical installer
running on that device.
QEMU image for SH4 port available
To make debugging of problems with the (unofficial) port to the <a
href="http://wiki.debian.org/SH4">SH4 architecture</a> easier, Aurelien
Jarno <a href="http://blog.aurel32.net/?p=55">provides</a> SH4 images to be
used with <a href="http://packages.debian.org/qemu">qemu</a>. The images
have some limitations as they can only use 64MB and need the current <a
href="http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/qemu.git">development version of
The role of the Debian ftpmasters
<a href="http://lwn.net/">lwn.net</a> published a lengthy article about
<a href="https://lwn.net/Articles/381667/">the role of the Debian
ftpmasters</a> (article will be freely available from 15th April) and their kind of unique position compared to other
distributions. Based upon explanations and a recent <a
for volunteers</a> from ftp-master JÃ¶rg Jaspert, the article explains the
duties and problems the ftp-team is facing.
The Atlantic Canada Open Source Showcase published an
with Ben Armstrong</a> about his work on the
<a href="http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEeePC">Debian Eee PC project</a>.
New Developers and Maintainers
Seven applicants have <a href="http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2010/04/msg00016.html">been</A>
as Debian Maintainer in the last two weeks. Please welcome Joachim
Wiedorn, Kai Wasserbaech, Gabriele Giacone, Ahmed El-Mahmoudy, Niels
Thykier, Stephen Leake and Daiki Ueno into our project!
Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
According to the <a href="http://bts.turmzimmer.net/details.php">unofficial
RC-bugs count</a>, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0
<q>Squeeze</q>, is currently affected by 445 release critical bugs. 108 of them
have already been fixed in Debian's <q>unstable</q> branch. Of the remaining
337 release critical bugs, 53 already have a patch (which might need
testing) and 21 are marked as pending.
Important Debian Security Advisories
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
<a href="http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2016">drupal6</a>, <a
href="http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2027">xulrunner</a> and <a
Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.
New and noteworthy packages
The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive
recently (<a href="http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/newpkg">among
Currently 594 packages are orphaned and 139 packages are up for adoption.
Please take a look at the
to see if there are packages you are interested in or view the complete list of
<a href="http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/help_requested">packages which need
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