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Mon, 31 Jan 2011

Getting older

33 is a nice number; it's symmetrical both in decimal in in binary!
Birthday Cake

And very tasteful!
Birthday
Cake (cut open)

Thanks!

postet at 17:02 into [Debian] permanent link


Sun, 30 Jan 2011

Host a Debian release party in $your_city

Apparently I forgot to put my initial call for release parties on planet.debian.org. Sorry, so much things to do, so little time...

As Debian Squeeze will be released next weekend, it's a good time to start preparing a release party in your city. Be it in a pub, a pizzeria, or your living room: Organizing and hosting a release party is an ideal opportunity to meet, exchange GPG fingerprints, exchange knowledge and of course be merry and celebrate :)

If there's going to be an event in your city, please add it to our wiki page so others can find it and join you :)

Oh, and the publicity got the idea to do some live commenting of the release process via Debian's official identi.ca account. Might become interesting to watch that, too, as we also plan to fill boring waiting parts with funny and interesting facts :)

Oh, and if you should know / or would be interested in an interesting facts (e.g. the the 150'000 closed bugs since Lenny got released please contact us, as we are still preparing them ;)

postet at 14:28 into [Debian] permanent link


Fri, 28 Jan 2011

Release Critical Bug report for Week 04

The bug webinterface of the Ultimate Debian Database currently knows about the following release critical bugs:

In Total:575
Affecting Squeeze:14
Squeeze only:6
Remaining to be fixed in Squeeze:8

Of these 8 bugs, the following tags are set:

Pending in Squeeze:1
Patched in Squeeze:0
Duplicates in Squeeze:0
Can be fixed in a security Update:2
Contrib or non-free in Squeeze:0
Claimed in Squeeze:0
Delayed in Squeeze:0
Otherwise fixed in Squeeze:0

Ignoring all the above (multiple tags possible) 5 bugs need to be fixed by Debian Contributors to get Debian 6.0 Squeeze released.

However, with the view of the Release Managers, 9 need to be dealt with for the release to happen.

Please see Interpreting the release critical bug statistics for an explanation of the different numbers.

postet at 13:01 into [Debian/rc-stats/6.0-squeeze] permanent link


Fri, 21 Jan 2011

Release Critical Bug report for Week 03

The bug webinterface of the Ultimate Debian Database currently knows about the following release critical bugs:

In Total:575
Affecting Squeeze:25
Squeeze only:10
Remaining to be fixed in Squeeze:15

Of these 15 bugs, the following tags are set:

Pending in Squeeze:0
Patched in Squeeze:7
Duplicates in Squeeze:2
Can be fixed in a security Update:1
Contrib or non-free in Squeeze:0
Claimed in Squeeze:0
Delayed in Squeeze:0
Otherwise fixed in Squeeze:6

Ignoring all the above (multiple tags possible) 6 bugs need to be fixed by Debian Contributors to get Debian 6.0 Squeeze released.

However, with the view of the Release Managers, 21 need to be dealt with for the release to happen.

Please see Interpreting the release critical bug statistics for an explanation of the different numbers.

postet at 13:01 into [Debian/rc-stats/6.0-squeeze] permanent link


Thu, 20 Jan 2011

Myths and Facts about Firmwares and their non-removal from Debian

Debian's announcement to release Squeeze with a completely free Linux kernel caused quite some attention, which is actually a good thing. However, it also seems to have caused quite some uncertainty and was often partially misunderstood and miss quoted. I'll try to summarize and answer some of them in this blog post:

  • Myth: Debian removed all firmware files from its kernels!
    Fact: No, it's just about the kernels, which will be shipped with the upcoming release Debian 6.0 Squeeze. The kernels in the current stable release Debian 5.0 Lenny remain as they are... Well, of course we will release security updates for them, but they will still contain the same firmware files as the present kernels.
  • Myth: Debian is ripping stuff out of it's kernels
    Fact: Debian moved some firmware files from its main archive to the non-free part of the archive. They are still there, just in the part of archive for stuff not satisfying our Free Software Guidelines.
  • Myth: Debian will be uninstallable for many users
    Fact: The non-free firmware files are still available over our infrastructure. Those, who are needed during installation (e.g. for network or storage controllers) can also be loaded during the installation (be it from CD or USB-Stick). We offer tarballs with these files (just unpack them on a usb-stick and plug it in when asked) as well as netinstall iso images already containing these non-free files. Of course these will stay there, after Squeeze has been released, too.
  • Myth: Firmware files are needed, ripping them out doesn't accomplish anything and isn't good for our users
    Fact: Firmware files are needed by some drivers for some specific hardware, yes. But not all users want them. And, as we are now able to load all these firmware files when needed (in stead of compiling them into the driver itself), we are now able so ship them separately, why not do so? That allows those, who need non-free firmware to use them, while those, who don't want them, to not install them at all.
  • Myth: Ah, those Debian freedom zealots again...
    Fact: It's not only us, actually, without the cooperation of many Linux Kernel developers, we couldn't have achieved that goal again. And it's not only us, who's interested in creating a free Linux Kernel, other major distributions see the problems, too. See for example the recent comment by a Fedora developer about changes in such a non-free firmware file. It just seems, that Debian was one of the first to realise the problem of non-free firmware files.
  • Myth: Debian is going down on it's knees before Stallman
    Fact: I haven't talked with RMS about that, but I think Debian is still not free enough for him; as far as I know, he would like to see the non-free archive vanish completely, or at least not mentioned anywhere at all.

So, one question remains: What is to bad about non-free firmware files? Aren't they just some tiny programs executed in the CPU of the device? Why care about them Good question! Let's take possible legal issues aside, and just look the practical side. The core problem is: Without source (and tool chain to use the source) firmware files are just some random numbers for us. We don't know what they are doing, we can't analyse and improve them. We can't change them, we can't support them. Maybe you already followed the link above to comment of the Fedora developer. I cite him here again, because I think he summarized the problem so well:

Updated qlogic 2400 and 2500 firmware to 5.03.13. What does 5.03.13 do? No one knows, except for QLogic, and they're not telling. I asked, and they told me that information was only available under NDA. So, I encourage you to imagine what this firmware does, and the bugs it fixes. While you're at it, imagine a world where vendors release source code for their firmware.

So, now that we established the fact, that we can't support firmware files, one could wonder, if we actually need to do so. What harm can a simple, tiny program in a peripheral device do to your computer? Well, scientist already managed to created trojaned firmwares for some network cards. So it is a problem, and can even under some circumstanced lead to security problems!

So, to summarise: Yes, Debian changed something in the Kernels. No, it will continue to work as well as usual. Some users might need to enable the non-free repository in their sources list, but those who won't, don't have to. Firmware files needed during installation are also available, and can be loaded by the installation system. So, what's all the fuss about?

BTW: Those of you, who can't remember links very well, but fear, they still might need the links to the non-free images and tarballs. just remember two things: wiki and Firmware, as you'll find all you need on the Firmware page of Debian's wiki.

postet at 16:55 into [Debian] permanent link


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About

Alexander Tolimar Reichle-Schmehl lives in Hildesheim / Germany. He's an official Debian Developer. Beside maintaining various packages, his main task is being spokesman and event organizer of the Debian project.

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