Debian Project News - March 31st, 2014

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

Debian Installer Jessie Alpha 1 released

On March 19, Cyril Brulebois, member of the Debian Installer team, announced the Debian Installer Jessie Alpha 1 release: the first alpha version of the installer for Debian 8 Jessie. Several improvements have been introduced, among which are a bug-fix in the apt-setup package and the fact that the grub-installer now supports selecting the GRUB boot disk via a menu. Further, the default desktop environment for the time being is Xfce, though this will be re-evaluated in August. As far as hardware support changes are concerned, a few architectures are no longer supported, and there will be no installer support for sparc systems due to the failure to build the package for that platform; the Release Team are evaluating the future of sparc as an official port. The Linux kernel has been updated from 3.2 to 3.13 and the FreeBSD kernel from 9.0 to 9.2. Finally, Cyril's message calls on all Debian members and supporters to assist with the release process by finding and submitting bugs against the installer. The CDs and other resources needed for testing it are available on the web page. The team in charge of the Debian installer can also be contacted via the Debian-boot mailing list and the #debian-boot IRC channel on

Indian federal state of Tamil Nadu adopts Debian derivative BOSS GNU/Linux as official OS

It was as far back as July 2011 when the federal government of India decided to launch a new ICT policy based on the mandatory usage of open source operating systems rather than proprietary software, as a reaction to Microsoft's announcement that they would no longer support Windows XP after April 8, 2014. Later that year, in November 2011, the federal state of Tamil Nadu, located in the very south of the Indian subcontinent, released Government Order No. 15, introducing the Debian derivative BOSS (Bharat Operating Systems Solutions) GNU/Linux as a mandatory operating system to be installed and used on all governmental computer systems, particularly on those of the Department of Information Technology. BOSS GNU/Linux, developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), has support for all Indian languages, bio-sensing devices, and digital signatures, and can be customised for local environments, as the Indian newspaper The Hindu points out in a recent article. Besides the cost saving effects of switching to BOSS GNU/Linux, it was the reduced risk of being infected by viruses or affected by hacking or phishing attacks that led the Indian Government to implement the new operating system. Despite the order issued in November 2011, many Tamil Nadu governmental offices had been continuing to use Windows XP, but the recent Microsoft announcement stating that support would not be continued beyond April 8 made the Tamil Nadu government advise its departments to install BOSS GNU/Linux mandatorily on all their systems, issuing another order some weeks ago.

Rebuild of the Debian archive with Clang

Sylvestre Ledru published on his blog the results of a complete rebuild of the Debian archive with Clang 3.4, which he ran together with David Suárez. Currently, 2193 packages in the archive are failing to build from source. Although this is about the same number of failing builds as with Clang 3.3 more than a year ago, it is good news because the number of packages in the archive has increased (meaning that the percentage of failures decreased), and Clang 3.4 also has more checks and error detection. Results and statistics are available on a dedicated website.

BeagleBoard shifts to Debian

The BeagleBone Black is a community-supported development platform combining the power of an ARM development board with the hobby potential of two 32-bit microcontrollers. In an interview, Jason Kridner, co-founder of indicates that the default operating system on those BeagleBone Black boards, as well as for other boards, is being shifted to Debian.

Other news

David Moreno announced on his blog that a new mailing list, debian-astro, has been set up to create a discussion space for astronomy in Debian, both for professionals and amateurs, and in general for talk about packaging and development of astronomy-related tools in Debian.

Lucas Nussbaum, Debian Project Leader, updated the delegation for the New Member Front Desk team, which welcomes two new members: Jan Dittberner and Mike Gabriel.

The voting period for the Debian Project Leader Elections 2014 is open until April 13. The new term for the project leader starts on April 17.

Adam D. Barratt announced that the Wheezy 7.5 point release is scheduled for April 26. The NEW queue for the stable distribution will be frozen one week before the actual release date.

New Debian Contributors

2 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Gunnar Hjalmarsson, and Akira Mitsui into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): python2.7, iceweasel, extplorer, chromium-browser, libyaml, libyaml-libyaml-perl, libxalan2-java, ruby-actionmailer-3.2, ruby-actionpack-3.2, and postfixadmin. Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Debian's Stable Release Team released update announcements for these packages: tzdata (for Squeeze and Wheezy) and clamav (for Squeeze and Wheezy). Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

Please note that these are a selection of the more important security advisories of the last weeks. If you need to be kept up to date about security advisories released by the Debian Security Team, please subscribe to the security mailing list (and the separate backports list, and stable updates list) for announcements.

New and noteworthy packages

216 packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently. Among many others are:

Work-needing packages

Currently 567 packages are orphaned and 134 packages are up for adoption: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help.

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Stephan Beck, Cédric Boutillier and Justin B Rye.