The newsletter for the Debian community
on 23.01.2012, 00:00
in weekly-news
The newsletter for the Debian community
on 09.01.2012, 00:00
in weekly-news

The newsletter for the Debian community

published on Mon Jan 23 00:00:00 2012 in weekly-news

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

Debian ahead on web servers

According to a recent W3Techs survey, Debian has just surpassed CentOS to become the most popular GNU/Linux distribution on web servers. The survey is based on the analysis of the top million web sites according to Alexa, in order to select a representative sample of established sites, and focused only on the technologies used for web sites (and not individual web pages or desktop installations). In fact, at the beginning of 2012, Debian was used by 29.4% of all Linux-based sites (and by 9.7% of all web sites), while CentOS was used by 29.1% of all Linux-based sites (and by 9.5% of all web sites). Debian "is also the fastest growing operating system at the moment: every day 54 of the top 1 million sites switch to Debian", said Matthias Gelbmann in the article. With regard to the geographical distribution of web sites using Debian, the most are in Europe (with 39.7% of all sites in Germany, 36.1% in Poland, 33.6% in France and 26.4% in Russia).

Dummy web server in Debian?

Thomas Goirand recently proposed to relax or even remove some dependencies of web applications on a web server package. This would help users wanting to install such web applications in chroots, while the web server is installed only outside the chroot. During the following discussion, several solutions were proposed, such as providing a dummy web server package in Debian. It was pointed out that such dummy packages are actually very easy to create with the equivs package, which deserves to be better known.

Aptitude strikes back

Christian Perrier blogged about the recent revival of the aptitude package manager. As the main maintainer had less time to dedicate to it, the number of bugs against aptitude was continually growing and reached more than 800. But last November, Daniel Harwig and Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo started working on it, triaging bugs and preparing a possible new version. If you want to help them, join the aptitude-devel mailing list on Alioth.

About donations to Debian

Stefano Zacchiroli blogged about how donations to Debian are used by the project. First of all, Stefano explained how money is used in the Debian Project: to buy hardware and hardware-related services for Debian infrastructure, to sponsor contributor sprints, or to support travel expenses in order to allow Debian Developers to represent Debian at conferences and meetings. Then, Stefano noted that almost all donations to Debian come from private citizens and not from big corporate sponsors: corporates mostly sponsor DebConf (the Debian annual conference). At the end, Stefano pointed out that it's possible to check how Debian spends donated money: by reading the minutes of SPI monthly meetings or the list of sprints, visiting the DPL wiki page and consulting the DebConf reports. Stefano also added that over the next month he will be working to further improve the transparency of Debian's budget.

Armhf status in Debian

Steve McIntyre blogged about the status of the armhf port in Debian. Since mid-2011, he has been working on armhf as a new architecture in "debian-ports"; then in December it was imported into the main Debian archive. The current state of auto-building can be viewed at the armhf buildd status page.

IGMP denial of service in Linux

Ben Hutchings wrote an interesting report on a security issue in Linux found by himself while working on bug #654876. As his laptop running Linux 3.0 or 3.1 crashed repeatedly, Simon McVittie — the bug submitter — thought it could be a driver bug. But, analysing the log of the crash, Ben noted that "a packet received through the wireless interface was being processed by IGMP, which then divided by zero." IGMP packets are used to support multicast routers: as Ben explained, "every multicast address corresponds to a dynamic set of hosts, called a multicast group". In order to know which hosts belong to which groups, the router sends packets and the computer replies at intervals. There are three different versions of the IGMP protocol used to define the Maximum Response Time (MRT) of the computer. Ben found that the crash was caused by a division by 0 of packets with an MRT of 0. The patch is included in Linux 3.0.17, 3.1.9, 3.2.1, and the Debian packaged version 3.1.8-2.
Well done, Ben!

Interviews

There has been one "People behind Debian" interview: with Steve McIntyre (Debian CD maintainer and former Debian Project Leader).

Other news

Gerfried Fuchs wrote an interesting article about a Release Critical bug-squashing effort for Stable. Stable RC bugs are often not noted, as people usually concentrate on Unstable RC bugs, but - as Gerfried noted - "it is one of our supported releases and thus should receive quite some attention, at least by the corresponding package maintainers themself."

Upcoming events

You can find more information about Debian-related events and talks on the events section of the Debian web site, or subscribe to one of our events mailing lists for different regions: Europe, Netherlands, Hispanic America, North America.

Status of Debian Installer localisation

In his last report on Debian Installer localisation, Christian Perrier noted that twenty-two languages are currently up to date for D-I's core files; ten (Czech, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Kazakh, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and Slovak) are 100% complete for the moment.

The newsletter for the Debian community

published on Mon Jan 9 00:00:00 2012 in weekly-news

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

Debian Edu/Skolelinux 6.0.3 beta2 released

Petter Reinholdtsen announced the release of Debian Edu Squeeze 6.0.3 beta2: download and installation instructions are available on the wiki, and in particular a useful "Getting Started" chapter in which you can find explanations of how to log in for the first time. Feedback and installation reports can be sent to the Debian Edu mailing list.

Bits from the DPL

Stefano Zacchiroli sent some bits from the DPL in which he reported about the work done by Martin Michlmayr as Auditor, in order to reconstruct Debian's expenses and budgets. Stefano also sent a call for help for Wheezy artwork organisation, and announced that Gunnar Wolf has volunteered to monitor the discussion regarding the Creative Commons process for revision 4.0 on behalf of Debian.

Forthcoming new release of the X server

Cyril Brulebois blogged about the forthcoming X server release 1.12: one major change is the addition of XI2.2 patches, which are related to multitouch support. Another significant change is the addition of support for Intel's Sandy Bridge New Acceleration in the Debian packages.

Scientific article on Debian in PNAS

Michael Hanke noted that the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science ("PNAS") of the United States of America has a paper on the evolution of software in Debian.

New Debian Infographic

Claudio Filho has published a beautiful infographic about Debian. The main motivation was, as Claudio said, "to "draw" for final users how Debian can be good for them".
Similar efforts have been made by Stéphane Blondon and Chris Lamb, who created the Debian Timeline website and the related Debian package.

New interface for Debtags website

Enrico Zini announced a new interface for the Debtags website. Debtags is a project to classify Debian packages by adding tags to them: "Debtags attaches categories (we call them tags) to packages, creating a new set of useful structured metadata that can be used to implement more advanced ways of presenting, searching, maintaining and navigating the package archive", Enrico said while presenting the project in 2005. Using the new interface, it is possible to search packages, take a look at statistics about Debtags and, obviously, help with the tagging effort. For more information about Debtags, you can visit the related wiki page.

apt-get purge defoma

Paul Wise reported that the transition from defoma to fontconfig is finally complete. Defoma is the Debian-specific font manager, long unmaintained, while the replacement (fontconfig) is cross-distribution and also has wide support from upstreams. In the past three years the Debian Fonts Task Force has worked a lot in order to gain this result, thanks especially to the work of Christian Perrier and Paul Wise. Please note that the transition is not completely smooth: "Xorg does not yet support fontconfig so for now programs relying on server-side fonts will only be able to use the xfonts- packages shipping their fonts in the directories known by the X server" and in addition "there are some issues with Ghostscript and CJK", Paul said.

Further interviews

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, two new issues of the "This week in Debian" podcast have been published: with Jonathan Nadeau, about the Northeast GNU/Linux Fest; and with Raphaël Hertzog, about the Debian handbook.

Other news

The 27th issue of the miscellaneous news for developers has been released and covers the following topics:

Upcoming events

You can find more information about Debian related events and talks on the events section of the Debian web site, or subscribe to one of our events mailing lists for different regions: Europe, Netherlands, Hispanic America, North America.

Status of Debian Installer localisation

In his last report on Debian Installer localisation, Christian Perrier noted that eighteen languages are currently up to date for D-I's core files; ten (Czech, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Kazakh, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and Slovak) are 100% complete for the moment.