Debian Traffic #24 For 22 Feb 2001

Editor: Zack Brown

By Prashanth Mundkur  and  Zack Brown

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Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 562 posts in 1942K.

There were 223 different contributors. 104 posted more than once. 0 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. 2.4.x Kernel packages for Potato

7 Feb 2001 - 17 Feb 2001 (27 posts) Archive Link: "Packages for using kernel 2.4.x with potato"

Summary By Prashanth Mundkur

People: Adrian Bunk

A couple of weeks after an earlier thread on the 2.4.0 kernel in potato, Adrian Bunk announced that he would " set up an apt-able archive with _all_ the packages someone might need when upgrading the kernel to 2.4.x" , with the following upgraded packages: modutils, util-linux, e2fsprogs, ppp, pcmcia-cs, and the following new packages: kernel sources and perhaps images, devfsd, iptables, reiserfsprogs, usbview and usbutils, perhaps linux-ntfs.

He eventually provided the apt lines:

deb potato main
deb-src potato main

but added the following warnings:

2. General Woody Troubles; Abiword Lagging Behind Upstream Sources

9 Feb 2001 - 12 Feb 2001 (19 posts) Archive Link: "Packages removed from testing"

Summary By Prashanth Mundkur

People: Ben CollinsDaniel KobrasAnthony TownsDavid StarnerAaron LehmannJoe DrewJosip RodinAaron Lehmann

Anthony Towns posted a long list of packages that would be removed from testing, including some crucial ones that caught Ben Collin's attention: base-config and lilo. Ben commented, " Without these, it pretty much makes testing uninstallable using current boot-floppies. Is that really the intention of testing? Does removing these really help anything other than your numbers? " Daniel Kobras replied, " disks-<arch> is empty in testing, so the 'official' way of getting testing will be via upgrading. Unfortunately, the lilo in testing will wreck your configuration and very probably leave you with a system that doesn't boot unless you manually repair the damage. So, yes, removing lilo indeed helps." Anthony added, " The real fault here is that the testing scripts seem to have ignored the RC bug list at some point and let (at least) a buggy updated lilo in and a buggy smail in, neither of which should have happened."

Anthony mentioned among other problems: all the packages using the latest debconf which depended on a broken perl 5.6.

David Starner also noticed, "That seems like one of the catchs of testing: the slower build demons (i386, m68k and maybe arm, from a glance through update_excuses) are frequently delaying the entrance of programs into testing, because they don't build packages within 10 days."

Elsewhere, Aaron Lehmann mentioned:

The abiword packages have been replaced with abiword-xml and abiword-expat, which unfortunately do not Provide abiword.

It's unfortunate that the maintainer (gecko) is not active, since there is a much newer version of abiword out again. I would love to maintain the package but he hasn't conceded to giving me the package.

Joe Drew replied, "Has he said 'no' or have you had no response? In the latter case, please just take it over (and be willing to give it back to gecko if he asks for it). I would take over abiword myself if you don't - I use it and want it to be a much better package." Aaron explained that "He said no a few months ago, but has fallen into inactivity again. I'm not greedy for the packages, I'm just an AbiWord developer who is embarassed by the current state of the Debian packages and would be satisfied if someone keeps them up to date." He added that the Abiword developers maintained .deb packages as part of normal development, so there was really no excuse not to keep it uptodate in Debian. Joe suggested, "post to debian-devel and gecko's email address saying your plans, wait a little bit, NMU a few times, and if he still doesn't show up, make the packages better for everyone. Gecko's had long enough to show up again." Josip Rodin had a similar suggestion, and the subthread ended.

3. Security timeliness

10 Feb 2001 - 12 Feb 2001 (13 posts) Archive Link: "Food for thought - SECURITY (design flaw?)"

Summary By Prashanth Mundkur

People: Andrea GloriosoAnthony Towns

Lazarus Long, while pleased with security handling in stable/potato, and the immediate updates in unstable/sid, worried about lags in security updates to testing/woody, due to the two week waiting period before packages trickle in from unstable into testing. Andrea Glorioso replied, " I was under the impression that woody was safer than sid from a "apt-get upgrade won't crash my system" point of view rather than from a security perspective. If you want security, stick with potato. Bleeding-edge software (or near bleeding-edge software) rarely can give you the kind of security assurance that you need if you put a line in your /etc/apt/sources.list."

Anthony Towns clarified about testing: " It does include security fixes, it merely doesn't include them in as timely a manner as security.d.o provides for stable. This is fine for release purposes, but possibly not so fine for people actually running testing." He contrasted the timeliness of security updates of the various distributions:

If you're using stable, you can just point apt at security.d.o and not have to worry about anything much. You also get a single list to monitor for security issues. In principle.

If you're using testing, you can watch out for security updates, and only have to worry about occassional problems and inconsistencies: you don't end up with perl broken, eg (at least so far :). You have to get some of these updates from unstable, or build them yourself, which is difficult (at least while apt 0.4 is unreleased).

If you're using unstable, you don't get any assurances at all, but fixes generally come out fairly quickly.

4. Typo In The Constitution (*gasp*)

11 Feb 2001 - 13 Feb 2001 (9 posts) Archive Link: "typo in constitution."

Summary By Zack Brown

People: Brian Russo

Brian Russo found an amusing typo in the Debian Constitution, in "Section A.1. Discussion and Amendment, 6." He added, "Kind of ironic considering this bit is dealing with how to handle typographical errors." He quoted from the Constitution:

6.The proposer of a resolution may make changes to correct minor errors (for example, typographical errors or inconsistencies) or changes which do not alter the meaning, providing noone objects within 24 hours. In this case the mininum discussion period is not restarted."

The misspelled word was "mininum". Roland Mas felt it was a joke on the part of the original author, and Malcolm Parsons pointed out that in the same paragraph, "noone" should have been "no one". By KC Debian press time, "mininum" has been fixed; "noone" has not.







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.