Ubuntu Traffic #24 -- 2005/02/04

Benj. Mako Hill mako at canonical.com
Thu Mar 31 16:16:58 CST 2005


Ubuntu Traffic is a newsletter summarizing the goings-on in the Ubuntu
community -- focusing on IRC and mailing list activity.

I'm still a bit behind on Ubuntu Traffic but am working to catch
up. This traffic covers the first week of February, 2005.  It is
attached to this mail and online here:


Thanks once again to everyone who pointed things out to me. Please
keep it up!


Benjamin Mako Hill
mako at canonical.com
-------------- next part --------------
                       Ubuntu Traffic #24 For 2005/02/04

                             By Benjamin Mako Hill

Table Of Contents

  ? Standard Format
  ? Text Format
  ? XML Source
  ? Introduction
  ? Threads Covered

    1.  2005/01/21?-?2005/01/30 (17 posts) Language Packs and Locales
    2.  2005/01/30?-?2005/01/31 (14 posts) Alternate Live CD Kernels
    3.  2005/01/27?-?2005/02/03 (5 posts)  Ubuntu-Devel and Split Mailing Lists
    4.  2005/01/30?-?2005/02/02 (17 posts) Autopackage
    5.  2005/01/31?-?2005/02/92            Framebuffer Activation
    6.  2005/02/03              (2 posts)  New Keyboard Selection Program
    7.  2005/02/03?-?2005/02/04 (7 posts)  Ubuntu Reviews and Press
    8.  2005/02/01?-?2005/02/04 (10 posts) Reply-to-List on Ubuntu Users
    9.  2005/02/04              (1 post)   Imminent Feature Freeze
    10. 2005/01/20?-?2005/02/04 (85 posts) Ubuntu Documentation Team Happenings
    11. 2005/02/01?-?2005/02/04 (6 posts)  Ubuntu Security Notifications


Welcome to the twenty-fourth edition of Ubuntu Traffic. This issue covers the
following week: January 29 - February 4, 2005. Ubuntu Traffic summarizes the
most important mailing list and IRC discussions involving the Ubuntu GNU/Linux

Ubuntu Traffic can be found on the web at http://people.ubuntulinux.org/~mako/
ubuntu-traffic/. You can also receive in text form over email by signing up for
the Ubuntu News mailing list at http://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/
ubuntu-news. There is now an RSS feed for traffic available as well! You can
find information on turning that on at the Ubuntu Homepage (http://
people.ubuntulinux.org/~mako/ubuntu-traffic/) .

You can sign up for any of the mailing lists summarized here at http://
lists.ubuntu.com. You can also join the IRC discussion summarized here in #
ubuntu and other channels on the Freenode network: irc.freenode.net. Please
join in and maybe you will be featured in the next traffic!

First, the following bits and pieces didn't get a full story but are worth

  ? Matt Zimmerman responded to a question by John Richard Moser and pointed
    folks to a great document on customizing the Live CD (something that came
    up a number of different places this week): http://www.ubuntulinux.org/wiki
  ? Fabio Massimo Di Nitto announced the first meeting for the new kernel
    kernel team. The meeting will be at 8th February 15:00 UTC on #
    ubuntu-meeting and will talk about a temporary team leader, procedures,
    subsystem leaders, a TODO list and any other business.


1. Language Packs and Locales
2005/01/21?-?2005/01/30 (17 posts) Subject: "Language packs vs. locales"
People: Matt Zimmerman,?Martin Pitt

Matt Zimmerman tried to put his finger on the now disconnected relationship
between language packs and system locale generation asking, "Would it be
possible to have the language packs also ensure that the appropriate locale is
generated when they are installed?"

There was some confusion in the discussion as it was unclear to people that
Matt meant generation of the locales and not both the generation and setting
the default. Martin Pitt clarified his position on this saying, "The langpacks
should generate the respective locales. However, above discussion was about
setting the default locale, which the language packs should not do on

However, not everyone thought that this was a horrible idea. People advocating
a connection between default locales and language pack installation admitted
that it would need to be asked and suggested that a one-time Debconf questions
might make sense for those people upgrading who might want to install the
language pack. Matt Zimmerman explained the situation saying:

    Michael Vogt has implemented a system for asking this type of question in a
    nice way, see InteractiveUpgradeHooks in the wiki.

    There will already be such a hook for the UTF-8 transition, which will
    include changing the system default locale (UTFEightMigrationTool).

    In other words, I think everything is in order, and language packs do not
    need to worry about which locale is chosen by the user. It should be simple
    and sensible, though, for them to cause the appropriate locales to be
    generated when they are installed, so that the user can select them if

Later on, Martin Pitt followed up to the thread to say, "Just for the record,
the current set of language-pack-* packages [generate locales] now."

Thanks Martin!


2. Alternate Live CD Kernels
2005/01/30?-?2005/01/31 (14 posts) Subject: "Live CD kernels"
People: John Richard Moser,?Matt Zimmerman

John Richard Moser asked the devel list about getting Live CDs with
experimental or alternative kernels: "Can we see Hoary live CDs with
experimental kernels on them? Normal users will just boot, but a submenu to
grub to supply experimental kernels would allow a longer release test cycle for
kernels even though they won't be supported until at least Hoary+1. This would
be good for QA." Matt Zimmerman replied saying:

    Sure, this is pretty simple to do.

    Assuming that the kernels are binary-compatible, just copy vmlinuz into /
    install. If you need additional modules, you can add them to the initrd.

    If the kernels are not binary-compatible, you'll also need to replace the
    module udebs on the CD with new ones, and regenerate the Packages and
    Release files, but it's still fairly straightforward.


3. Ubuntu-Devel and Split Mailing Lists
2005/01/27?-?2005/02/03 (5 posts) Subject: "CHRP support / Mailing lists"
People: Thibaut Varene,?Matt Zimmerman,?Jerry Halton,?Colin Watson

Thibaut Varene sent a message to the ubuntu-devel explaining that he thought
that the mailing list was badly in need of being split:

    Again, I think we need more mailing-lists. Ubuntu-devel has become the
    default target for almost any kind of mails, hopefully dealing with
    "something related to Ubuntu" (ranging from user-support, to real
    development issues), which ends up in a "topic mess". I tend to wonder "WTH
    is this mailing list about?" :P

    I've suggested to Mako that we need a u-private mailing-list (or call it
    u-maintainers), a la debian-private, that is to say a low traffic mailing
    list that every Ubuntu Maintainer (and only them) has to be subscribed to.

    A u-project m-l would certainly be helpful too, to discuss openings and new
    projects in Ubuntu, such as this mail requesting more mailing-lists, which
    I am sending reluctantly to u-devel, even more given the fact I'm no longer
    subscribed: I suspect that it'll be moderated :P

Thibaut also suggested port and team specific lists for many development
related tasks. Matt Zimmerman replied saying, "This mailing list only receives
about 30 messages/day; I see no purpose in isolating discussions on separate
mailing lists at this point."

In the same thread, Jerry Halton asked: "Curiously, are there hidden lists? Or
does everybody get everything done on IRC? Or the Wiki? It seems odd that such
a kick ass distribution materialized with only 30 messages a day of

In answer to his questions, are there are no hidden lists that sees discussion
of Ubuntu development although Canonical has an administrative list for it's
employees. Colin Watson gave more information:

    In practice a lot gets done on IRC; the latency is so much lower that it's
    worthwhile. A good deal has been done face-to-face at conferences, too.

    In the early days, before we went public, development took place on the
    main Canonical internal mailing list (which now sees very few mails, and
    none about Ubuntu development), but the level of mailing list traffic was a
    good deal lower then than it is now. You can get a lot done if you give
    people tasks they're interested in and the freedom to get on with them
    largely unobstructed.


4. Autopackage
2005/01/30?-?2005/02/02 (17 posts) Subject: "Autopackage for Ubuntu!"
People: Martin Alderson,?Konstantin Ryabitsev,?Mike Hearn

Martin Alderson started a thread on using autopackage for Ubuntu. Autopackage
is a multi-distribution binary packaging framework for GNU/Linux systems:

    Any plans to use autopackage (autopackage.org) which would solve most, if
    not all, Linux install problems (distro-neutral packages, automatic
    dependency resolution with no central dependency database, IIRC, beautiful
    GUI for both GTK and QT, etc etc).

    I don't want to argue on apt-get. It's a nice solution... for now.

    I'll just cover some brief points why apt-get ain't no good for 'big market
    share use':

     1. There will be too much software for a central repo to handle and test
        it. You'd need a petabyte just to store games from the last few years,
        on Windows at least.
     2. Software makers could have their own repos, but that has more problems
        - the fact you have loads of conflicting repos in your sources.list and
        you are distro-specific.

    So basically, for commercial (or even 'easy' non-commercial) software
    installation, apt-get is a 'sorta-works-but-will-break-in-the-future'
    solution. If you say that 'we' don't need commercial software, you are
    kidding yourself. Games for example could never be IMO non-commercial,
    unless we all paid a $35/mo subscription fee to play them but the original
    game is free. Or something. Just think that in a game it's probably 10%
    useful-to-other-projects code and 90% artwork, modeling, sounds which is
    going to be almost always 'game specific'

    Anyway, any chance we could have autopackage soon? They are API stable now
    and they have some great packages for very hard to install stuff.

Konstantin Ryabitsev pointed Martin to the Autopackage FAQ at http://

    Q: Can I use autopackage for my new distro?

    A: No, see the question below for more details, but essentially autopackage
    is not a tool for building distributions. It's a tool for 3rd party
    software developers to produce packages for their website that any Linux
    user can use.

Mike Hearn, the autopackage maintainer and an active Ubuntu mailing list
participant of late, posted a follow up that clarified things quite a bit:

    I'm the autopackage maintainer. Just in case things get out of hand, let's
    clear up a few points:

      ? autopackage will not solve all Linux software install problems. Sorry.
        Popular misconception, even though we try hard to avoid people getting
        that impression on the website. It is only one component of a much
        larger set of work needed for that.
      ? Right now we don't have a 1.0 release, I think it'd make sense to wait
        until we do before trying to get the base release into any
      ? autopackage isn't just for proprietary software, in fact right now it's
        being used primarily by GTK+ based open source projects like GAIM and
      ? Yes, it does make sense to have the runtime in distributions by
        default, because otherwise when you first use a .package file you have
        to jump through hoops to switch on the +x bit, wait while the runtime
        is downloaded and so on. Having it all in the base distro avoids that
        (until we release a new version that packages start relying on that is

    There is a more comprehensive discussion of the pros/cons of centralised
    packaging here: http://autopackage.org/NOTES

    We don't see it as a replacement for apt, rather it's complementary to it.
    Apt works great for managing the core of a distribution. It works rather
    less well when you try and scale it up to "everything you might ever want".
    It's been attempted many times before, with Debian, Gentoo and Fedora most
    notably, and it's inevitably ended up in a quagmire.

    In my most humble opinion, the Ubuntu project would be better off
    concentrating resources and manpower on building a great operating system
    rather than a big collection of packages.


5. Framebuffer Activation
2005/01/31?-?2005/02/92?Subject: "Framebuffer activation"
People: Matt Zimmerman,?Paul Sladen

Matt Zimmerman posted a message to the devel list and to a number or developers
involved with kernels and the framebuffer about activating the kernel
framebuffer by default:

    As a basis for USplash, we will need to start enabling the kernel
    framebuffer in the initrd, if (and only if) the 'splash' option is passed
    on the kernel command line (it is by default).

    In the long term, this should probably be done by an initrd hook in the
    usplash package, but in order to weed out any hardware difficulties early,
    we should start doing this now, even before USplash proper has entered

    The installer has been activating the framebuffer by default for some time
    now, so we should use its approach as a starting point (see rootskel).
    There are machines where this is known to fail (some laptops especially),
    and we'll need to do something about those. In order for Ubuntu to be
    installed on such systems currently, the user must pass debian-installer/
    framebuffer=false, so we should have a way for that setting to propagate to
    the installed system (specifically, omitting the 'splash' parameter).

Paul Sladen responded to Matt saying:

    I'm happy for 'splash=' to stay on the default kernel command-line (it's
    not on the recovery line); usplash will do something pretty and equivalent
    and as best it can in text-mode.

    [x86/amd64] The VESA video mode can only be set by passing 'video=' and/or
    'vga='. This should also only be on the default kernel commandline [and not
    '(recovery)']. These just need to be dropped if 'debian-installer/
    framebuffer=false' was used at install time.

    IIRC, the mode is set by the 16-bit pre-main code in the kernel; the FB can
    then be /accessed/ by loading 'vesafb'. I'm not sure what is hooking '/
    framebuffer=false' and where.

    The even bigger challenge is appending those 'vga=' parameters in the first


6. New Keyboard Selection Program
2005/02/03 (2 posts) Subject: "New keyboard selection code"
People: Matthias Urlichs

Matthias Urlichs did some great work to help create a program to help people
automatically select a keyboard layout. He announced the initial product of his
work on ubuntu-devel saying:

    ftp://netz.smurf.noris.de/{initrd.gz,vmlinuz} has my new keyboard selection
    code. Please test / try to break -- I'd like to get some confidence that
    this is actually working for >1 person before I upload the stuff to Hoary.

    What the code does: Instead of displaying a list of languages, I ask the
    user to press a few specific keys. By evaluating the keycodes, I can
    determine which variety of $STRANGE_KEYBOARD you have.

    (NB: I know the new parts don't have translations yet. That's next.)

He followed up in a separate message to explain that there were a few known

      ? Console switching is broken. This will get fixed tomorrow.
      ? The mapping table may have bugs. In that case, either the normal
        selector pops up automatically, or you get a "Keycode 12 was not
        expected" message. If you run into this, please tell me which keys you
        pressed to get there, and their keycodes (you can get these with


7. Ubuntu Reviews and Press
2005/02/03?-?2005/02/04 (7 posts) Subject: "LinuxPlanet reviews Ubuntu"
People: Jeff Waugh

Jeff Waugh posted to the sounder list pointing people to a great review of
Ubuntu over on LinuxPlanet. The choice quotes included:

    "The goal of the Ubuntu folks is to provide a more up-to-date Debian than
    Debian, while eliminating many of the potentially confusing installation
    options and permutations encountered when installing many Linux
    distributions. They accomplish these goals extremely well, with an
    easy-to-use installation process, a great system update and enhancement
    mechanism, and a distribution that makes a great starter--or permanent
    home--for Linux users who'd just like to use their computer to get work

    "Commercial support for Ubuntu is available directly from Canonical, LTD (
    http://www.canonical.com/), which is the company that sponsors the Ubuntu
    project. Canonical's support offerings are listed on the Ubuntu site at 
    http://www.ubuntulinux.org/support/paidsupport/. A substantial number of
    firms all over the world that provide support for Ubuntu are also listed in
    the Ubuntu Marketplace site at http://www.ubuntulinux.org/support/
    marketplace. The latter is an incredible testimonial to the wide-spread and
    well-established nature of Ubuntu after a relatively short time in Linux

You can read the whole thing for yourself here: http://www.linuxplanet.com/

Jad Madi pointed folks to a few more morsels of press at OSNews here:

  ? Ubuntu Linux 4.10 Preview: http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=8407
  ? Fedora Core 3 Vs Ubuntu Warty Warhog: http://www.osnews.com/story.php?

Jeff Waugh made a suggestion for people that want to read press about Ubuntu
and that want to report press on Ubuntu that they've found:

    If you see an article about Ubuntu in the community, trade or popular
    press, please let the Sounder know <sounder at lists.ubuntu.com (
    mailto:sounder at lists.ubuntu.com) >. Many of these will be put up on our "In
    The Press" webpage, which is receiving more love as of this year. ;-)



8. Reply-to-List on Ubuntu Users
2005/02/01?-?2005/02/04 (10 posts) Subject: "Ubuntu-Users and Reply-to-List"
People: Benjamin Mako Hill,?Ben Novack

Benjamin Mako Hill announced the decision in regards to reply-to-list and the
ubuntu-users mailing list that was summarized in the CC meeting mentioned in
last week's traffic:

    For those of you that read the ubuntu-news list (http://lists.ubuntu.com/
    mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-news) , you may have seen that due to a request,
    the Ubuntu Community Council discussed the status of the reply-to header at
    the meeting last week (http://people.ubuntulinux.org/~mako/
    cc-summary-20050125.html) .

    The issue at stake is more complex than many people, on both sides of the
    issue, have argued. Clearly, the lack of a reply-to-list function in at
    least one the major email clients that Ubuntu ships (Thunderbird) makes the
    lack of a reply-to a headache for many users. That said, setting a reply-to
    will break existing reply-to headers for some users of the list. For these
    and many other reasons, people feel very strongly both ways.

    Additionally, the council expressed some hesitation at moving forward with
    any change specifically because the tone of recent discussion on the topic
    on this list has degenerated into disrespectful attacks and an unhelpful
    "us versus them" attitude. We're looking to a policy of enforcing the code
    of conduct (http://www.ubuntulinux.org/community/conduct) more rigorously
    in the future.

    With all that said, I'm happy to announce that the council has listened to
    arguments made by many who were respectful and constructive in their
    complaints and is going to switch the ubuntu-users mailing list (and only
    that list) to "reply-to-list" for a trial period. The topic will be
    discussed again at the next community council meeting.

    Additionally, Canonical is looking into bountying reply-to-list
    functionality for Thunderbird in Ubuntu.

    If you have strong feelings about the change, either way, please read up on
    the background of the decision and feel free to reply to this list or to
    email <ubuntu-users-owner at lists.ubuntu.com (
    mailto:ubuntu-users-owner at lists.ubuntu.com) >.

    On the lighter, but no less important side of the issue, you might want to
    be careful when you hit reply from now on. The messages will be public by
    default. ;)

Some people on the list followed up to say that they thought that the pursuing
the long-term solution with expanding the functionality of Thunderbird and
others was the best idea. Ben Novack pointed out that this would solve things
for everyone saying, "I'm especially grateful as I use gmail's interface, so
any feature-adds to Thunderbird won't help me at all."


9. Imminent Feature Freeze
2005/02/04 (1 post) Subject: "5 days(!) until feature freeze for Ubuntu 5.04/
People: Matt Zimmerman

Matt Zimmerman announced the imminent "feature freeze" of hoary hedgehog in a
message sent to the Ubuntu development list:

    Feature freeze is coming up very soon, and so this is a good time to take
    stock of what we've done, and how far we have to go.

    First, if you're working on Hoary features, please go to http://
    www.ubuntu.com/wiki/HoaryGoals and update the status column for your
    project(s). There is a lot of work in progress, and we need to know where
    we stand overall. It's clear that we've achieved a great deal already, but
    many features are in need of status updates.

    By feature freeze, goals which involve development work on packages in
    'main' should meet the following criteria:

      ? Primary and Secondary goals should have initial code in Hoary, and
        ongoing development should be taking place in Hoary
      ? Targets of Opportunity should have essentially feature-complete code in
        Hoary, with only bug fixing and fine-tuning remaining

    If you are working on one of these projects and are not uploading your
    development code to Hoary yet, then the project is at risk of falling
    behind schedule and being excluded from the release. Features which are not
    on this list will not be included in the release without a justifiable
    exception to the release process. New code needs to receive widespread
    testing as soon as possible so that it has time to stabilize for the final

    So, if your work does not meet the conditions above, please follow up to
    this message with details of your situation (blocking items, outlook for
    the project, help needed, etc.) so that we can discuss how to proceed.


10. Ubuntu Documentation Team Happenings
2005/01/20?-?2005/02/04 (85 posts) Subject: "Automated Status Reports"
People: Sean Wheller,?Matt Zimmerman

Sean Wheller, one of the most active people on the documentation team was
frustrated with several aspects of the way of the documentation team was
working and with the way that Canonical seemed to be treating documentation
writing. He said:

    To whoever may care at Canonical, I seriously wonder if you are serious
    about having Ubuntu Documentation or not.

    In the short time I have been with the project we have managed to achieve
    much on our own, but there are things on which we do need your support. All
    I can say is that getting that support has been slow to non-existent.

Many of his issues were connected to the need to get Subversion up and running
for the documentation team to start using. Matt Zimmerman replied saying:

    Understand that this is a very rapidly growing operation, with many
    projects involved and expanding as well. There are bound to be growing
    pains. The best that we can expect is that problems are addressed as they
    come up, and not before.

    Again, I am available as a point of contact on Canonical-related issues. I
    can't promise to monitor every message on ubuntu-doc, but if you address me
    personally, I will generally respond.

Elsewhere, Sean and Enrico Zini also talked a bit about refining the scope of
the Quickguide.

In other great news, Enrico announced that there were finally Bugzilla products
and packages created! Those include a new Documentation product and the final

  ? "Installation Guide"
  ? "User Guide"
  ? "FAQ Guide"
  ? "Quick Guide"
  ? "Admin Guide"
  ? "About page"
  ? "Release notes"

Matt Zimmerman also added the "Ubuntu 5.04" milestone so that the group can
mark bugs which must be fixed before the release.

The group made great progress on the quick guide. On February 1st, Sean Wheller
announced, "This morning I finished my screen capture tour of Hoary. Thanks to
Enrico for the commit on Dictionary :-) Count down to Hoary has begun. At this
point I really feel that the Quick guide is do able for the freeze date."


11. Ubuntu Security Notifications
2005/02/01?-?2005/02/04 (6 posts) Subject: "[USN-71-1] PostgreSQL

Martin Pitt posted another weeks worth of Ubuntu Security Notification to the
list notifying folks of another rash of bugs and pointing to their fixes. These
included the following:

postgresql vulnerability

Ubuntu Security Notice USN-71-1 (http://archives.postgresql.org/pgsql-bugs/

Affected Release: Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

Affected Packages Are: postgresql

Fix: The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to version
7.4.5-3ubuntu0.2. In general, a standard system upgrade is sufficient to effect
the necessary changes.

More Information: http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-security-announce/

perl vulnerabilities

Ubuntu Security Notice USN-72-1 (CAN-2005-0155, CAN-2005-0156)

Affected Release: Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

Affected Packages Are: perl

Fix: The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to version
5.8.4-2ubuntu0.3. In general, a standard system upgrade is sufficient to effect
the necessary changes.

More Information: http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-security-announce/

python2.2, python2.3 vulnerability

Ubuntu Security Notice USN-73-1 (CAN-2005-0089)

Affected Release: Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

Affected Packages Are:

  ? python2.2
  ? python2.3

Fix: The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to version
2.2.3-10ubuntu0.1 (python2.2) and 2.3.4-2ubuntu0.1 (python2.3). After a
standard system upgrade you must restart all running Python server applications
that use XML-RPC to effect the necessary changes.

More Information: http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-security-announce/

postfix vulnerability

Ubuntu Security Notice USN-74-1 (http://bugs.debian.org/267837)

Affected Release: Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

Affected Packages Are: postfix

Fix: The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to version
2.1.3-1ubuntu17.1. In general, a standard system upgrade is sufficient to
effect the necessary changes.

More Information: http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-security-announce/

cpio vulnerability

Ubuntu Security Notice USN-75-1 (CAN-1999-1572)

Affected Release: Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

Affected Packages Are: cpio

Fix: The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to version
2.5-1.1ubuntu0.1. In general, a standard system upgrade is sufficient to effect
the necessary changes.

More Information: http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-security-announce/

postfix vulnerability

Ubuntu Security Notice USN-74-2 (http://bugs.debian.org/267837)

Affected Release: Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

Affected Packages Are: postfix

Fix: The problem can be corrected by upgrading the affected package to version
2.1.3-1ubuntu17.2. In general, a standard system upgrade is sufficient to
effect the necessary changes.

More Information: http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-security-announce/







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