Debian Weekly News - August 3rd, 1999

Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian developer community. This is a combined two-week edition of Debian Weekly News.

Ian Jackson's first reaction to the post of the DpkgV2 spec was extreme: "One of the main reasons that dpkg is unapproachable by poor to mediocre programmers is that it must perform a complex task with a very high level of reliability". After some time to think it over though, he concluded that "it's probably a good thing for both my dpkg and yours that both projects exist. Maybe we'll spur each other on." And indeed, this week Ian uploaded to experimental his first release of dpkg in a very long time.

Yet another Debian book will soon be published: Debian Gnu/Linux 2.2 Unleashed. This brings the count of Debian books in English up to three; Debian GNU/Linux; Guide to Installation and Usage is now for sale on, and The Debian Linux User's Guide has been around for a while now. Of course the amusing and disturbing thing about this newest title is it is due to be published in September and claims to include a Debian 2.2 CD. Will Debian 2.2 even be released by then?

Josip Rodin has been working on the release critical bug list. He mailed each maintainer with a release critical bug asking what their plans are to deal with it. This had immediate results -- soon after his mailing, the number of critical bugs dropped drastically (although 230 remain open).

In security news, samba has a number of security holes that have been fixed in the latest release.

Becoming a developer is taking increasingly long, to judge by tales of woe like this, and this. People who are very motivated to work on Debian have been stuck in the new-maintainer queue for months, and have lately been looking for ways to contribute even though they cannot upload packages. Raphaƫl Hertzog has a workaround for this problem: registered developers could "sponsor" the work of a non-developer, make sure it's okay and upload it. The idea is catching on, though it doesn't address the real problem with the queue.

We lost a developer this week. Leon Breedt resigned from the project, citing several problems with Debian that we should take very seriously.

On a brighter note, Debian is one of two finalists for LinuxWorld's editors choice award for "Distribution/Server". And the Associated Press in Germany released two news items about Debian.

Marc A. Volovic updated his Debian Alpha HOWTO. It's work in progress but it's already a good source of information if you plan to install Debian on an Alpha box.

We have two weeks' worth of Debian-JP news summaries. One thing they mention is two new simplified Japanese Debian installs, Dice Linux and Debimaru.

Unofficial .debs of XFree86 3.3.4 are available for testing. Branden Robinson and Adam Heath put these together and made them available less than 48 hours after the release of the upstream source files. So far, there seem to be no significant issues for i386 users, but m68k is having compile-time problems. Official XFree86 3.3.4 packages will be available soon. In the meantime, the unofficial ones are available from the X Strike Force.

New packages added to Debian this week include the following and 8 more:

Followups to previous news items:

Thanks to Randolph Chung, Katsura S. Yoshio, and Christian Meder for contributing. Also, a special thanks to Jason Gunthorpe, Christoph Lameter, and especially Sean Perry for making this edition of DWN possible as I battled with DNS troubles, moving, and dead motherboards.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.