Debian Project News - April 14th, 2014

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

Results of the DPL elections

Lucas Nussbaum has just been reelected by the Debian Developers as the Debian Project Leader. It has been a pleasure and a honor to serve as the Debian Project Leader for the past year. I am very thankful for having been given the opportunity to continue for a second term, and I hope that I will be meeting the project's expectations during the coming year, Lucas said. His opponent in these elections, Neil McGovern, [...] would like to congratulate Lucas for winning the election, and hope that Debian continues to go from strength to strength. More information about the result is available in the Debian Project Leader Elections 2014 page. The new term for the project leader will start on April 17 2014 and expire on April 17 2015.

Debsources stats: Historical overview of Debian source code

Stefano Zacchiroli wrote on his blog about the debsources statistics that he has been working on recently, announcing that they now draw on an increased statistical basis, including all historical Debian releases since Hamm, which was released in 1998. As for the usefulness of such a laborious documenting task, Stefano points out that it allows us to appreciate macro-level evolution trends in Free Software, over a period of more than 15 years, through the eyes of a distro that sits at the nice intersection of the eldest, largest, and most reputed distros. By combining information stored in the Debian archive and the debsources database, the debsources statistics provide some relevant information about Debian's evolution, such as (for example) overviews in table and graphical form of the amount of source code written in the different programming languages used over the years, thus contributing significantly to what Stefano calls a long-time preservation of digital information in general, and for the perennity of access to Free Software in the specific case of Debian.

Reports from Mini-DebConf Barcelona

According to the official stats, the Barcelona Mini-DebConf held last March was a great success, especially in terms of participation by women: of the 160 attendees, 36% were women. Tássia Camões Araújo, member of the organisation team, explains: as we didn’t collect gender information at the registration, it is hard to make a clear comparison with previous DebConfs. Since 2007, the rate of non-male participants ranged from 13% to 17%. For this Mini-DebConf, the orga team did the gender identification per name and found a non-male rate of 36%. Again, since the methods were not the same we cannot safely compare, but still, I think it’s worth it to make this info public. Various attendees wrote enthusiastic reports and the videos of the talks are already available.

CAcert removed from Debian

Unlike all other certificate authorities, CAcert is a community-driven certificate authority providing SSL/TLS certificates free of charge. Not only because of that way of functioning, similar to Debian's approach, Debian has been shipping the CAcert root certificate since 2005, even after CAcert had withdrawn its request to be included in Mozilla's trusted certificate store back in 2007, due to an ongoing internal audit. Discussion of whether to continue distributing CAcert's root certificate in Debian's trusted certificate store arose in response to a bug filed in July 2013 advocating its removal. After months of debate on the pros and cons it was on March 13 that Michael Shuler, the maintainer of the ca-certificates package, finally made public the decision to no longer ship the CAcert root certificate with Debian. For a detailed summary of the discussion please refer to the LWN article on the subject.

Discussion of a fully functional RTC/VoIP client for Jessie

Based on the assessment made by Empathy's package maintainer, Simon Vittie, that Empathy has an Instant Messaging background rather than being very suited for voice and video, Daniel Pocock has kicked off a discussion on his website about the convenience of choosing a new WebRTC-compliant RTC/VoIP client for Debian 8 Jessie. Arguing that any suitable client will need to support the open WebRTC standard that has been embedded in all Firefox/Iceweasel and Chromium/Chrome browsers for more than a year now, Daniel gives a detailed comparison of Empathy and Jitsi, concluding that in his view, the latter would be the best choice for Jessie.


There has been a DebianEdu interview with Roger Marsal (in English) who describes, among other things, how he got involved in Debian Edu and his views about it.

Other news

Tails is a Debian-derivative live system aiming at preserving the privacy and anonymity of its users by making use by default of the TOR network and cryptographic tools. There is currently a fundraising campaign for Tails and other related free software projects, so they can stay ahead of the security curve.

Exactly 16 years after the first announcement, the APT development team announced the release of version 1.0 of APT, the high level package management tool. This release now provides a /usr/bin/apt binary, intended as an end user interface.

Holger Levsen announced the creation of the Debian OTR team, maintaining various packages related to Off-the-Record messaging which provides encryption, authentication, deniability and Perfect Forward Secrecy. The team welcomes any contribution, from bug reporting and triaging, to bugfixing, packaging and backporting.

Francesca Ciceri sent some bits from the DebConf Subtitle Team. The team now provides subtitles for 10 talks from DebConf 13. Now that the videos of the Barcelona Mini-DebConf are available, the team is calling for volunteers to help subbing them. Contributions to the team are now registered in the Debian Contributors list.

Upcoming events

There is one upcoming Debian-related event:

You can find more information about Debian-related events and talks on the events section of the Debian web site, or subscribe to one of our events mailing lists for different regions: Europe, Netherlands, Hispanic America, North America.

Do you want to organise a Debian booth or a Debian install party? Are you aware of other upcoming Debian-related events? Have you delivered a Debian talk that you want to link on our talks page? Send an email to the Debian Events Team.

New Debian Contributors

10 people have started to maintain packages since the previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Denis Laxalde, Sean Davis, Helge Deller, Christoph Ender, Oliver Lindemann, Guilhem Moulin, Barry Warsaw, Matt Fischer, Steve Capper, and Matthew Pideil into our project!

Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages (among others): libspring-java, mediawiki, a2ps, openswan, openssh, prosody and lua-expat, openssl, tomcat7, imagemagick, openafs, and jbigkit. 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

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

Work-needing packages

Currently 568 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 Laura Arjona, Stephan Beck, Cédric Boutillier, Jean-Pierre Giraud, Justin B Rye and Paul Wise.