Debian Project News 2010/14
on 18.10.2010, 00:00
in weekly-news
Debian Project News 2010/13
on 04.10.2010, 00:00
in weekly-news

Debian Project News 2010/14

published on Mon Oct 18 00:00:00 2010 in weekly-news

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

State of Debian 6.0 "Squeeze"

After the release team recently met in Paris they published meeting minutes and gave a release update. Aside from updating the documentation for point releases and deciding about the future of the volatile archive, a major topic was the progress of the upcoming release of Debian 6.0 "Squeeze". They called for content for the Release Notes, which should document all potential problems during an upgrade. They also noted that all transitions have been done, and named the current blockers of the release: a bug in udev which might cause problems during upgrades (a patch has been proposed in the meantime); a problem in the preinstallation script of dash (a patch has been proposed and is currently being investigated); the need for debian-installer to reach its final release; the lack of proper documentation in the Release Notes for "Squeeze" installs and upgrades; and finally the requirement for the security archive to support the new source format 3.0.

New question and answer service at ask.debian.net

With the help of the Shapado Project, members of the Debian project started a new user oriented service at ask.debian.net. It lets users ask specific questions and find answers, while also providing rating systems and badges for users. It allows Debian Developers and other contributors to easily stay in touch with the community.

Updated DebianEdu released

The DebianEdu Project has released an updated version of its Debian Pure Blend targeting schools and similar environments. This update includes an updated installer to support new hardware as well as various bug fixes and documentation improvements. Other notable changes are improvements of site summary where several Nagios checks have been added to monitor system health as well as a fix for shutdown-at-night.

New "sloppy" backports suite for stable Debian "Lenny"

Gerfried Fuchs from Debian's backports team announced a new suite on backports for Debian "Lenny": "lenny-backports-sloppy". Its usage is similar to the regular backports suite, but there's a major difference in the contents of the suites: while users of the normal backports suite can expect to update without major problems to the next Debian stable release (as it only contains backports of the next following distribution), users of the newly created backports-sloppy suite may need to take special precautions, as the backports of the sloppy suite are not restricted to coming from the next distribution, but may come from the second-next. The new suite thus may also contain newer packages (e.g. during the freeze already from the "unstable" branch). It therefore allows users to easily access newer versions of packages; but users can not just upgrade to the following stable release. They will at least need to upgrade to using the backports suite for the next release.

General resolution about Debian project membership

After Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli proposed a general resolution about non-packaging Debian project members, this resolution is currently being voted on. If it passes it would invite Debian's Account Managers to establish procedures to evaluate and accept non-packaging contributors to the project including full voting rights. Non-packaging contributors include for example documentation writers and translators.

Hybrid installer image for optical and USB devices

Joey Hess blogged about a hybrid debian-installer for USB and optical discs. While it has been possible to boot debian-installer from USB sticks for quite some time, the procedure to make such a bootable USB stick has been quite difficult. The new hybrid ISO image can be burned to CDs as well as simply copied raw (with cat) to USB devices. It is also very easy to add additional firmware. Joey also mentions that due to problems with the jigdo templates, currently only a minimal hybrid image is created, but he points out that it is very easy to make the existing ISO images suitable for USB sticks by using the isohybrid command from the syslinux package.

About the non-news of package removals in Debian's testing branch

Is it newsworthy if packages, even popular ones like the Chromium web browser, get removed or added to Debian's testing branch? Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli doesn't think so and points out that Chromium is a good example for the non-newsworthiness of these things. It had been removed from Debian's testing branch, causing a media fuss and some criticism, as it appeared that Chromium would not be part of the next stable release. However, as the release critical bugs have been fixed, the package was allowed back again. Which is - according to Stefano - actually not newsworthy either.

Following Debian Mailing lists via micro-blogging services

Valessio Brito announced the beta version of a new service allowing users of micro-blogging services to follow the topics of various Debian mailing lists. It is possible to search for particular tags, bugs, meetings, or specific work.

"Four days" promise for Debian Mentees

The current approach of mentoring new package maintainers who can't upload packages themselves is far from perfect as it doesn't ensure mentees get feedback. Asheesh Laroia and Niels Thykier tried to come up with a solution. As a first step they started a campaign promising to ensure that all mails on the debian-mentors list get an answer within four days. The second step is a rewrite of the mentors.debian.net service allowing mentees to upload packages to a central location. "debexpo" will not only allow mentees to upload their packages and run some limited tests, but will also allow mentors and other people to check and comment on the packages. However, some help is still needed before the new service can go online.

Who's using Debian?

Are you interested to know why other people use Debian? No problem! Debian maintains a list of Debian users ranging from governmental or educational institutions up to dozens of companies, of which surprisingly not all are IT related. Fernando C. Estrada summarised some of the entries and their reasons. You can send us new submissions via e-mail.

Why do people contribute to Debian?

Why do people contribute to Debian? Long-term Debian Developer Raphaël Hertzog tried to answer that often asked question by summarising what motivates him personally in his contributions to Debian: technical excellence, inspiring goals, high impact work, working with great people, and recognition of work.

Further "This week in Debian" interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, three new issues of the "This week in Debian" podcast have been published: with Ben Hutchings, member of Debian's kernel maintenance team; with Margarita Manterola about the Debian Women Project; and with Neil McGovern, member of Debian's release team.

Other news

Arnt Ove Gregersen created a female version of the DebianEdu/Skolelinux mascot.

New Debian Contributors

5 applicants have been accepted as Debian Developers and 7 applicants have been accepted as Debian Maintainers, while 13 people started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Salvatore Bonaccorso, Jeffrey Ratcliffe, Deepak Tripathi, Michael Schutte, Ansgar Burchardt, Federico Ceratto, Tanguy Ortolo, Jonathan Yu, Mats Erik Andersson, Ryan Kavanagh, Stefan Bauer, Stuart Prescott, Andreas Noteng, Gustavo Panizzo, Julien Jehannet, Kevin Roy, Marek Brudka, Richard Holland, David Hannequin, John Feuerstein, Hans-Christoph Steiner, James Goppert, John Stumpo, Nicolas Bonnefon and Mònica Ramírez Arceda into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the bug-tracking web interface of the Ultimate Debian Database, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", is currently affected by 327 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 130 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

Debian Project News 2010/13

published on Mon Oct 4 00:00:00 2010 in weekly-news

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

An update on Constantly Usable Testing (CUT)

Raphaël Hertzog wrote a detailed article on the recent activity surrounding the Constantly Usable Testing (CUT) proposal. CUT would be a Debian distribution based on testing, but with significant differences that make it more usable, i.e. more polished and stable. In the article he talks about the potential value of a "rolling" release and how it might work.

Bits from the FTPMasters

The FTP Team met two weekends ago in Fulda, Germany. While there appeared to be a shortage of baklava, there was no shortage of Debian related work and discussion. Jörg Jaspert in the meeting minutes made a call for volunteers. Being an FTPMaster is a hard job and one that many people inside and outside of Debian take for granted. Thanks very much for the hard work, FTPMasters.

Report about this year's "Google Summer of Code"

Obey Arthur Liu wrote a report about Debian's participation in this year's "Google Summer of Code", where Google pays students to work on and with specific FLOSS projects. Debian was accepted as a mentoring organisation for the fifth time in a row. Again it was a great success with eight students completing their projects successfully. He also quoted some of the students' project reports.

Bits from the Publicity Team

Debian's Publicity Team posted some bits informing Debian Developers, Contributors and the Community how best to make contact with them and especially how to help. Helping the team may range from assisting with the Debian Project News (you do want to continue reading it, don't you?), proposing "dents" for Debian's official identi.ca account, or being available for a This Week in Debian podcast.

Other news

Joey Hess was quite pleased to see some of his tools being referenced in a recent movie.

New Debian Contributors

3 people started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Dimitrios Eftaxiopoulos, Pierre-Louis Bonicoli, and Hector Romojaro into our project!

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the Bugs Search interface of the Ultimate Debian Database, the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", is currently affected by 301 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 177 release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.