Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Graham Williams has written a book entitled Debian GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide which is intended to deliver a fun and productive environment. It guides you through the many different regions of a GNU/Linux system with a focus on getting your desktop environment to do what you want it to do.
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - September 14th, 2004
Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Graham Williams has written a book entitled
Debian GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide which is intended to deliver a
fun and productive environment. It guides you through the many
different regions of a GNU/Linux system with a focus on getting your
desktop environment to do what you want it to do.
Preparation of Sarge CD and DVD Images. Steve McIntyre explained
how dual layer DVD discs work and mentioned the types of CD and DVD he
would like to see supported for the upcoming sarge release. This
includes business card and network installation ISO images as well as
full 13 or 15 CD image sets for each architecture. He also mentioned
two 4.7 GB size DVD images and one 8.5 GB size double layer DVD image
for each architecture. The latter should only be provided via
Using Debian in commercial Environments. Somebody asked on
Slashdot about experience shoe-horning Debian into a commercial
scenario when the third-party vendor (IBM) doesn't officially support
this distribution. He also mentioned about anecdotal evidence that
most of such software can be persuaded to work on Debian as well.
GNOME 2.6 Transition complete. Jordi Mallach reported that the
transition of GNOME 2.6 into sarge is finished. The last missing
package from the GNOME meta package, Eye of GNOME has finally
entered testing. The only missing package is gdm 2.6 which will
allow GNOME users to shutdown the computer directly when they close
Debian.net Web Forums in Beta. Jeroen van Wolffelaar announced
that since many people like web-based forums for discussion and
support, he would try providing a web forum for the Debian community.
The web forums are still in beta, so any suggestions for
improvements or problem reports should be sent to
email@example.com. Of course, like all *.debian.net sites,
the forums are not an official Debian service, and it's been
merged with debianplaza.
Partman needs testing. Joey Hess pointed out that recent changes
to partman have introduced a lot of bugs, including problems with
reiserfs and xfs. He doesn't know at this point if the new partman is
suitable to be in the next debian-installer release. To help fix
the problem, he has called for volunteers to test partman in the daily
builds to not only do automated partitioning tests, but manual
partitioning to try all the strange combinations that are not often
used and make sure it works at least as well as it did in rc1.
New legal Counsel for SPI. The Board of Directors of Software in
the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI), Debian's umbrella organisation,
announced the appointment of new legal counsel after the former
one, Chris Rourk, had resigned. The firm of Cleary, Gottlieb,
Steen & Hamilton, represented by Greg Pomerantz, was willing to serve
as SPI's pro bono legal counsel and was duly appointed as such by the
UserLinux releases first beta CD. Slashdot discussed the beta
release of UserLinux, a new Debian-based distribution. Bruce
Perens explained that UserLinux is closely based on Debian and aims to
provide businesses with freely available, high quality GNU/Linux
operating systems accompanied by certifications, service, and support
options. Their i386 install CD is only 4.5 MB large, with the
remainder downloaded directly from Debian mirrors and they want to do
all of their Free Software development within Debian.
Testing Debian-Installer Improvements. Joey Hess reported about
the techniques he uses for installer tests. The first and
preferred method includes creating a new netboot image to boot a
test-laptop. The second method refers to writing it on a USB stick to
boot from. He also reported that he managed to pre-seed the
debian-installer so that the first stage installer runs with only
one single keystroke.
Using Auto* Tools for Building Packages? Jesus Gonzalez-Barahona
wondered if he should run automake at build-time instead of
just using configure provided by upstream. Andrew Suffield
asserted that this would render the package unbuildable once
automake changes. Marcelo Magallon added that automake versions
are not compatible at source level and asked to keep the amount of
included cruft as small as possible.
Patent Lawsuit Prohibition. Matthew Garrett had a look at licenses
that are designed to discourage patent lawsuits. He noted that both
Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative appear
to consider those licenses free, but the compatibility with the
Debian Free Software Guidelines seems to be unclear. If Debian
decides to consider these (or some) licenses non-free, the project
needs to make it clear precisely why it holds this opinion, and then
set about trying to change other people's minds.
System Binaries linked against unreachable Libraries. Fabrice Lorrain
noticed that several programs in /sbin are linked against
libraries located in /usr/lib. These programs won't work unless /usr/
is mounted. Hence they should either be moved into /usr/sbin or the
libraries need to be moved into /lib instead. Jeroen van Wolffelaar
explained that lintian cannot warn about this currently.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* webmin -- insecure temporary directory.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* blam -- RSS aggregator for GNOME.
* clamsmtp -- SMTP virus-scanning proxy.
* f-spot -- Personal photo management application.
* flobopuyo -- Clone of the PuyoPuyo game.
* gimp-dcraw -- GIMP plug-in for loading RAW digital photos.
* ifrit -- Powerful tool for visualizing 3-dimensional data
* php4-lasso -- Liberty ID-FF library - PHP 4 bindings.
* somaplayer -- Player audio for the soma suite.
* somaplayer-doc -- Documentation for somaplayer.
* wpasupplicant -- Client support for WPA and WPA2 (IEEE
Debian Packages introduced last Week. Every day, a different Debian
package is featured from the testing distribution. If you know
about an obscure package you think others should also know about, send
it to Andrew Sweger. Debian package a day introduced the following
packages last week.
* splitvt -- Run two programs in a split screen.
* ddrescue -- Copies data from one file or block device to
* mmv -- Move/Copy/Append/Link multiple files.
* slocate -- Secure replacement of findutil's locate.
* zssh -- Interactive file transfers over ssh.
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