Debian Weekly News


Author: JT Smith

Will that be paper or plastic? In the latest edition of Debian Weekly News, we learn that German supermarket chain Globus has converted its 400-computer cash desk system to Debian. Also: How to create Debian bootable business card images, the Debian Description Translation server, and woody for the IBM S/390.

Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - August 14th, 2001
XFree86 4.1 hits unstable.
XFree86[1] 4.1.0-1[2] hit unstable last week, with an impressive 295
line long changelog, so we won't try to summarize everything here. It
supports ATI PCI cards on SPARC and includes a VMWare
driver. Unfortunately, DRI support (except 3Dfx) was out of sync with
the kernel tree, which has been fixed in the latest revision of the
Linux kernel. Last Friday, 4.1.0-2[3] entered the archives as well,
which fixes even more bugs.

It's not just for Web serving any more!
The Debian Multimedia Distribution was announced on the debian-news
mailing list by Martin[4] "Joey" Schulze. You can find the official
DeMuDi Web page at[5].

Here's my card... 
Jim Westveer was kind enough to share a script for creating Debian
bootable[6] business card images. About 50 MB fit on such a CDROM, so
there is not much space so use. This script copies the Debian boot
floppies onto the image, so that they can be used for an easy
installation and rescue-system. Share and enjoy!

Debian on the cash desk?
It's true. The German "Lebensmittelzeitung" has reported[7] (German
only) that Globus[8], a German supermarket chain, converted about 480
computers in their cash desk system to Debian GNU/Linux. The entire
system is designed so that two cashiers can share one computer (a
486/25MHz is used most of the time). After positive experiences they
now want to shift more functions to Linux, and also want to install an
automatic installation feature in order to automatically push new
functions or other updates to their cash desk systems on a nightly

Multilingual Debian.  
Michael Bramer has announced[9] the start of the Debian Description
Translation Server, a project to translate all package descriptions
into languages other than English. Currently German, French, Italian
and Brasilian Portuguese are supported (others may follow on
demand). The project was started 11 weeks ago with only German, and
the other languages started 3-4 weeks ago. The German translation
group has already translated 20% of all package descriptions from
sid/main/binary-i386. The other language translations are in the
beginning stages and need more help.

Debian for the professional desktop?
The German site Pro-Linux has a report[10] (German only) about a thin
client Linux Desktop solution.  Produced by Natural[11] Computing GmbH
the system consists of Debian GNU/Linux which is tailored in size and
functionality in order to comply the requirements of an office
desktop. They have also added additional software like StarOffice and
other typical desktop applications. The natural[12].DESKTOP is
designed to fit the needs of an office desktop system in a
heterogeneous network for use in offices and governmental

OpenOffice for Debian.
Another effort was started[13] to get OpenOffice packaged for
Debian. Fetching a current source snapshot already eats up more than
400MB. Since it's a very large package more than one person should
work on it. Jan-Hendrik Palic is currently trying to form a group of
interested people so one day we can review a couple of openoffice*.deb
files. It is said, though, that the build system for OpenOffice is a
complete mess so there is a lot work to be done first.

S/390 update.
Stefan Gybas has posted a status[14] report about S/390 for woody. All
required and important packages are built, tested on 5 different
systems and even installed into the archive. Some packages like strace
and gdb are currently missing, however, proper patches are available
for both of them, so they should be included soon. Didn't you always
want to run XFree86 on your S/390? There are even patches for XFree86
4.1 sent to the maintainer.

News about Woody's architectures.
Alpha boot-floppies have made much progress the last few days. A major
obstacle for actually uploading them is that the ash in the archive
was severely broken, and the later one didn't build. This seems to be
fixed now. Boot-floppies for mips and mipsel also need some more days
of development and testing.  However, it looks like the porters are
ready for uploading them.  However, documentation is a serious issue
since it doesn't cover these architectures yet.

Installing Debian with only 4 MB RAM.
Jens Scheidtmann has written a mini-HOWTO[15] describing how one can
install Debian GNU/Linux on a machine with only 4 MB of RAM. Older
computers may not be suited for programming or playing games, but
still fit the requirements for a lightwind text terminal. The
bootstrapping process is a bit more complicated as a normal install of
Debian, but it is still doable.

Want to translate?
We're always looking for more volunteers to help translate DWN into
more languages. If you're interested, drop us a line and we'll put you
in the loop.

Help us out!
If you have some news you'd like to see covered in DWN, don't wait
until the issue comes out and complain that we missed it - send us an
email with your news so we'll be sure to get it in the next issue. We
try to keep up with all the happenings in the wide world of Debian,
but it's not easy. Send your news, comments and nude photos to

New packages

  apt-dpkg-ref[17] -- APT, Dpkg Quick Reference sheet
  cpuburn[18] -- a collection of programs to put heavy load on cpu
  kontour[19] -- a vector graphics tool for the KDE Office Suite
  linuxcookbook[20] -- Tips and techniques to help the busy modern
        computer user
  music123[21] -- A command-line shell for sound-file players
  nqxml[22] -- pure Ruby implementation of a non-validating XML


Debian Weekly News is edited by 
Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, Jean-Christophe Helary and Tollef Fog Heen

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