The newsletter for the Debian community
on 14.12.2011, 00:00
in weekly-news

The newsletter for the Debian community

published on Wed Dec 14 00:00:00 2011 in weekly-news

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

Volunteers needed for publicity team

As you may have noticed, it has been quite some time since the last edition of Debian Project News. To improve the frequency of DPN and expand its other activities, the Debian Publicity team is looking for new contributors. Did you ever want to help Debian, but every piece of software you were interested in was already packaged? You don't consider yourself a "technical person"? You have basic skills in written English? Perfect! Have you considered joining the Publicity Team? If you are a Debian member, the Press team is also looking for new contributors.

Removal of sun-java6 from the archive

The release of Java update 29 from Oracle marks not only security updates, but a change to the licensing, removing Debian's ability to distribute the non-free JVM. The clause in the Java license under which we were able to distribute Java, the DLJ, has been removed. As a result, the sun-java6 package is no longer suitable for the archive, and has been removed, as documented in Debian Bug #646524. Sylvestre Ledru suggests that sun-java6 installs be migrated to openjdk, the open-source alternative, using the following command: apt-get --purge remove sun-java6-jre && apt-get install openjdk-7-jre. Kai Wasserbäch has also been pointed out elsewhere that this upgrade path might not be suitable for all Java programs, and special attention should be paid to re-testing installed Java applications on OpenJDK.

Debian SDL packaging team revival

The SDL packaging team has recently been seriously revived, with Dominique Dumont reorganising the team and Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo joining the effort. Packaging is progressively moving to Git for easier collaboration, and developers maintaining SDL-related packages not in the team's repository have been invited to join, too. A lot of old bugs have already been fixed and new SDL 1.3 and sdl-perl packages have been uploaded to experimental. SDL 1.3 brings support for newer OpenGL APIs, input improvements like multi-touch, gestures and force feedback device support, better Unicode support and support for multiple windows and displays.

Bits from the DPL

Stefano Zacchiroli sent his "Bits from the DPL" for October and November. He reminds us that the New Maintainer Process has been renamed as the New Member Process, and that a list of "easy hacks" is a very effective way of attracting contributors to teams. He notes that Ubuntu plan to deprecate their package review platform (REVU) in favour of converging on This will need some Debexpo changes and also more package sponsorship by Debian members. Stefano has approved funds for the recent DebConf video team sprint and also hardware replacements for and, which have now arrived and are in the process of being set up by DSA. He reports that Fathi Boudra represented Debian at the Software Freedom Day in Algeria. Stefano also reported on his trademark-related activities, including a contact point for inquiries related to the Debian trademark, seeking legal advice on how trademark law applies to Debian packaging activities, and starting a discussion on the relationships between the DFSG and trademark restrictions. He is also working on a statement to make explicit the position of the Debian Project on software patents. The OSI have invited the Debian Project to their upcoming affiliation programme. There is also work in progress to have the Debian Project become a member of the forums for ISC software that we distribute. Stefano also mentioned his continuing work in creating a discussion forum for companies that have a strategic interest in Debian.

Ubuntu appreciates Debian

As part of Ubuntu's recent Community Appreciation Day, Michael Hall sent Debian a message of appreciation, stating "Without you we wouldn't be able to make the contributions we do. Ubuntu is great because Debian is great, and we appreciate all of the work that goes into making it that way." Michael will be joining Canonical's Community Team, focusing on projects that are upstream for Ubuntu.

India mini-DebConf, Mangalore edition

Christian Perrier reported on his participation in the mini-DebConf in Mangalore, south-west India. The conference was held at Nitte MahaLinga Adyanthaya Memorial Institute of Technology and organised by Vasudev Kamath and a team of computer-science students from the college with support from staff, including the college principal, Dr. S. Y. Kulakarni. Christian gave the opening talk, introducing Debian, how to contribute, and information about Debian internationalisation and localisation. Later Jonas Smedegaard presented a talk about Debian Pure Blends, focusing on how distributions derived from Debian can work inside Debian instead of outside of it. This was part of his trip promoting Debian and Debian Pure Blends in Asia. The talks were followed on the second day with sessions on localisation, packaging, OpenPGP keys and contributing to Debian. The event was publicised in one of the major newspapers in India, namely "The Hindu". Events such as these are vital to local communities. The participation of "international" contributors in these events often brings more attention to them and is highly appreciated by the local community.

New mirror in El Salvador

The Debian mirrors team is happy to announce the first mirror in El Salvador, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, with the help of René Mayorga and Carlos Juan Martín Pérez. Salvadorian Debian users are invited to update their /etc/apt/sources.list in order to use To quote Carlos Juan Martín Pérez "For us, the Ministry of Health, and as members of the Salvadorian Community of Free Software, is an honour to belong to the great Debian family." For other countries, the full list of mirrors is available online. There are still many countries lacking good connectivity to a Debian mirror; sponsors interested in hosting are invited to contact the mirrors team.

Debexpo maintainers call for contributions

Discussing the potential integration of packaging teams into Debexpo, the software behind the service, Arno Töll issued a call for contributions, since the current team members are busy.

Bug Squashing Party marathon started

Similarly to previous releases, a marathon of Bug Squashing Parties (BSPs) has been started with concurrent BSPs being held in Hildesheim, Germany and Portland, OR, USA. While the first one concentrated on fixing Release Critical bugs, the second concentrated on creating multiarch patches for different libraries.

Call for talks: FOSDEM 2012

Wouter Verhelst sent a call for talks for the distribution developers room at the upcoming FOSDEM 2012, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting. The FOSDEM takes place in Brussels, Belgium in early February 2012. Acceptable sessions can be any wide range of things, including talks, BoF sessions, and round tables. Two cross-distributions devrooms are intended to be for people from any participating distribution project, and may cover Debian-specific subjects, or indeed targeted at Debian developers only.

New s390 buildd at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Philipp Kern announced that zemlinsky, a new Debian buildd hosted at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, is now available to support the s390(x) ports. Thanks to this new host, s390x is progressing pretty quickly: this new fast builder is one of the reasons why the slope is so steep.