Debian Project News 2010/12
on 21.09.2010, 00:00
in weekly-news
Debian Project News 2010/11
on 08.09.2010, 00:00
in weekly-news

Debian Project News 2010/12

published on Tue Sep 21 00:00:00 2010 in weekly-news

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

Linux Mint Debian Edition

Linux Mint, a Linux distribution whose purpose is to "produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use", has released an edition based on Debian. This new Linux Mint distribution will track Debian testing, as a more reliable upstream base. Linux Mint appears to be a popular Linux distribution ranking highly at as well as other non-scientific measures. Certainly they received a large number of comments to their blog post regarding their new distribution. Anecdotal evidence seems to point to this Debian-based edition as a popular move.

"Grave" software bugs

Andreas Tille began a short discussion regarding bugs which are not grave software bugs per se, but could cause grave harm to life or property under certain conditions. As an example, the bug in question involved improper data handling that could lead to a medical patient being prescribed medicine which could lead to a possibly fatal reaction. Responses from developers indicated that despite such bugs not being explicitly mentioned in the bug guidelines, they should already fall under release-critical severity and thus should have freeze exceptions and possible Debian Security Advisories if needed. The fix for the bug in question was approved for testing within the day.

"This week in Debian" interviews Stefano Zacchiroli

Jonathan Nadeau published the first issue of the "This week in Debian" podcast! The podcast is available in Ogg Vorbis format as well as MP3. In this issue he interviewed Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli about Debian influence in the Linux universe and its link with upstream and derivative developers. Stefano also spoke about the Debian Project and its organisation, and more specifically the Debian Project Leader tasks.

etch-backports gone

Alexander Wirt announced that the backports for Debian "Etch" have finally been removed from the servers. Over the lifetime of etch-backports there accumulated a total of 508 different backports, resulting in more than 2250 binary packages for all Debian architectures offered to users. Altogether the available backports and their source occupied 13Gb of disk space on the mirrors. The backports team would like to thank every contributor and mirror administrator for their work and their help which made this possible.

Release-critical bugs in stable release

Gerfried Fuchs noticed that recently the number of release-critical bugs in the stable release Debian 5.0 "Lenny" has dropped below the 900 mark, and thanks all who helped keeping that number down. It should be noted that the high number of open release-critical bugs for the stable release contains a fair amount of false positives (e.g. serious "fails to build from source" bugs with newer compiler versions that aren't shipped in the stable release). Previously Gerfried blogged about usage of the Bug Tracking System. If you would like to join the efforts of keeping the bug tracking system clean, please read this post and contact Gerfried should any questions arise.

Debian Women Mentoring rebooting

Helen Faulkner noted that the Debian Women mentoring project has been restarted. People interested in being a mentor or getting a mentor should contact the coordinators.

Mythbusting Ruby packaging

After hearing some myths about how Ruby is packaged in Debian, Lucas Nussbaum wrote about some of the Ruby myths in his blog. It ranges from general version culture and API stability, over the necessity of package splits, performance issues and porting issues up to communication with the upstream developers and motivation issues. He also noted that due to these problems it's difficult to find new people to join the Ruby packaging teams, and that they are quite understaffed.

Debian to welcome non-packaging contributors

In coordination with Debian's Account Managers, Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli proposed a general resolution to welcome non-packaging contributors as full project members. While the Debian Account Managers already are empowered to do so, and while it is already possible to become an official Debian Developer without doing packaging work, this procedure has rarely been used. So Stefano wants to make a clear sign from the entire project that Debian does welcome and honour non-packaging contributions. This goal has already been achieved partly, as Stefano's proposal got a lot of support in quite a short time-frame. However, the naming of non-packaging contributors as well as possible upload rights are under discussion.

Other news

Stephan Gran posted some notes from the meeting of Debian System Administrators in early September in Munich. Besides some internal discussion (e.g. monitoring and configuration management), this also led to a procedure for the handling of guest accounts on machines.

New Debian Contributors

1 applicant has been accepted as a Debian Developer and 1 person started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Luke Faraone and Andreas Beckmann into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial release-critical bug counter, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", is currently affected by 317 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 126 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

Debian Project News 2010/11

published on Wed Sep 8 00:00:00 2010 in weekly-news

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

The Debian Project lost Frans Pop, 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 members of the Debian community already expressed their sadness. The team behind the Debian Project News would like to do so too: Frans, you will be missed!

Bits from the Debian Women project

The Debian Women project 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.

DebConf10 DPL report

The Debian Project Leader (DPL), Stefano Zacchiroli, provided a report after the recent DebConf in New York City. 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) which has prizes!

Backports service becoming official

The, offering updated packages from Debian's testing branch for Debian's stable (and oldstable) releases, has now been integrated as an official Debian service available from 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. The backports team also published some information for package maintainers.

Updated Debian GNU/Linux: 5.0.6 released

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

Release update

A new release update 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 the release-notes pseudo-package, while new and noteworthy things should be collected in the wiki. Finally he announced the codename of Debian 7.0: Wheezy, the rubber toy penguin with a red bow tie.

Changelogs for testing available

Jörg Jaspert announced a new service for users of Debian's "testing" branch: the changelogs of packages migrated to the testing branch 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 the dists/testing directory, and are rotated on a daily basis, being kept about two days. There's also always a symlink to the latest one.

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. To his astonishment Debian's "unstable" branch has grown from about 20,000 packages to over 30,000 within three years!

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?", "The DebConf selection process", "How DebConf manages money", "DebConf budgeting for a single conference", "The DebConf registration process", and "DebConf Fund-raising".

New signing key for the Debian Archive created

FTP-Master Jörg Jaspert announced details of the new signing key for the Debian archive. The new key has already been added to the debian-archive-keyring 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.

Other news

Following the "unofficial" bits from the ARM porters mentioned in last issue, Hector Oron posted official bits. 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.

New Debian Contributors

7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainer and 6 people started to maintain packages 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!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial release-critical bug counter, 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.