Debian Weekly News - January 3rd, 2006

Welcome to this year's 1st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Mohammed Adnène Trojette summarised all major Debian events in 2005 in the timeline for 2005. Philip Charles reported that he has uploaded the latest CD images for Debian GNU/Hurd. Manoj Srivastava announced that the debian-private list is only private for three years after the general resolution on the declassification procedure has passed.

Reducing the Archive Size. Gürkan Sengün summarised the effect of different compression algorithms on the total size of the archive. Raphaël Hertzog noticed that the support of 7-zip archives in dpkg is evaluated in order to reduce Debian's archive overall size. Steinar H. Gunderson added that CPU power is also a major point to take in account.

Debian Packages via BitTorrent. George Danchev mentioned apt-torrent in order to download packages upon an upgrade in parallel. The packages is composed of an apt proxy and a BitTorrent package fetcher, i.e. a seeder and a tracker. It runs as a system daemon.

Report from FOSS.IN 2005. Kartik Mistry reported about this year's FOSS.IN conference that was formerly known as Linux Bangalore and where two Debian related talks were held. Jaldhar Vyas also reported about meetings with other Indian Debian developers he met during the conference.

Archive Architecture Qualification. Anthony Towns started that decision process about the architectures that should be handled by the official Debian archive. The main limitation on accepting new architectures is their space requirement on the servers. Architectures will need to demonstrate that the effort to support them isn't a complete waste of time. Strategies for non-release architectures are also needed so that they could do snapshot releases.

Promoting VIM as default. Joey Hess proposed to use a special vim package as default vi. Its maintainer has managed to create a vim-tiny package that is only marginally larger than nvi, which is the standard vi included in the base system. Some default settings are not appreciated, though.

/var/run versus /run. Thomas Hood wondered whether the Debian system should use /var/run or /run. Anthony Towns summarised the arguments pro and contra certain directories and concluded that each of the solutions has a degree of ugliness.

Thoughts on the Quality of Debian. Lars Wirzenius thought about ways to make Debian better from a technical point of view. He summarised several areas where the quality of the Debian distribution is improved, including using tools with higher levels of abstraction, reporting and fixing bugs, bug squashing parties, automated testing and quality assurance.

Using a moving License. Florent Bayle wondered how to treat a package whose license links to a web page instead of including it. This license could be altered after the package has been included in Debian. Decklin Foster explained that Debian may redistribute it under the license which it has received and that the license text must be distributed along with the software.

General Resolution: GNU Free Documentation License. Anthony Towns proposed an official statement with regards to the GNU Free Documentation License. It's been six months after the editorial changes of the social contract that forbid non-free documentation to be distributed with Debian.

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

Orphaned Packages. 1 package was orphaned this week and requires a new maintainer. This makes a total of 171 orphaned packages. Many thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list, and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you plan to take over a package.

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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Mohammed Adnène Trojette and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.