Debian Weekly News - August 15th, 2006

Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for the Debian community. Debian turns 13 this week, so make sure you find a party nearby. With enough time compose a melody before the new release Julien Danjou published his etch song. David Sugar wondered if the Free Software community should learn to write more buggy code and invent reasons to reboot the system all the time after a change has been made in order to be more attractive for the desktop.

Distribution-wide Tracker Tool. Arnaud Fontaine reported about the status of Wotomae, the distribution-wide tracker tool. The DWTT is a tool to easily track changes affecting packages, like a library transition, a switch of the default Python version or a policy change. It is written during Google's Summer of Code. A demo website is also available with most of the features up for testing.

New Version Naming for Pre-Releases. Martin F. Krafft announced that the archive software finally supports the use of the tilde ('~') in version numbers. This special character is intended to be used to denote pre-releases of software. It is sorted before the zero-length string, so that version 1.0~rc4-1 will be superseded by the final version 1.0-1. The build daemon software can't cope with this new character yet, though.

Release Update: First Packages frozen. Andreas Barth announced that the essential toolchain has been frozen. He is also seeking input for the release notes and asks library maintainers to talk to the release team before uploading new packages that may require other packages to be rebuilt. They are still seeing many uncoordinated uploads to unstable.

Status of the Python Transition. Matthias Klose reported that the default version of Python will soon be changed to version 2.4. He reported that 90 % of the first batch of bug reports are solved and that another batch has been filed against all remaining packages that contain private Python modules, which mostly need to be byte-compiled again. The preliminary documentation explains the scripts running during this change.

Debian turns 13. On August 16th, 1993 Ian Murdock announced a new type of distribution and listed the goals he wanted to achieve. 13 years later the Debian community will celebrate this birthday around the world. A lot has happened since Ian's first mail: The project is lead by its ninth leader and more than a thousand developers are registered to work voluntarily on one of the largest distributions of Free Software.

Project Leader Report. Anthony Towns published a new report in which he resumes the past. Steve McIntyre has been added to the leader alias and helps managing the project. He reported about two women who became developers recently, thanked the organisers of this year's Debian conference, explained delays for the next stable update, and reported on a meeting with the Australian Attorney-General's department regarding the drafting of changes to the Australian copyright act.

Debian-Installer Etch Beta 3 Released. Frans Pop announced the release of the third beta release of the installer for Debian GNU/Linux etch. It is the first release to install the AMD64 architecture from official Debian mirrors and to use and install the 2.6.16 kernel. 2.6 is now the default kernel for the Sparc, MIPS, little endian MIPS and S/390 architectures. Installation CDs, other media and detailed errata are available. All changes are documented in the development version of the installation guide.

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

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

Orphaned Packages. 13 packages were orphaned this week and require a new maintainer. This makes a total of 338 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. To find out which orphaned packages are installed on your system the wnpp-alert program from devscripts may be helpful.

Removed Packages. 15 packages have been removed from the Debian archive during the past week:

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