Fine software projects, news and thoughts from the Linux world.

Debian wheezy: Iceweasel 4 final, LibreOffice 3.3.2, GTK+ 2.24

Lots of nice upgrades have landed in sid in the last week. GTK+ 2.24.3 has been packaged. At some point in time this created quite a dependency hell, but it was resolved only a few hours later. GMP library has been upgraded to 5.0.1, everything OK. There are new minor upgrades of gcc, qt4, php5, apache2, postfix, policykit and lots of other stuff, too numerous to mention. LibreOffice is up to 3.3.2, and has been working very well since the switch from OpenOffice.org. xserver-xorg-core is at 1.9.5.

I also noticed that iceweasel 4.0 final has landed in experimental, and that finally prompted me to add experimental (and remove mozilla.debian.net) to /etc/apt/source.list. Iceweasel 4.0 is great, much faster than 3.5 and except some minor plugin instability, very robust. I still keep flash plugin at 10.1.102.64 to make it stable. I also noticed that Adobe's PDF plugin (nppdf from mozilla-acroread 9.4.2 package) silently crashes from time to time, but simple page reload solves that most of the time. Other than that, Iceweasel 4.0 really shines, Mozilla has done a great work on the new version of their browser.

Debian wheezy: dpkg/dselect 1.15.8.10

Been a long time since last report. And there are some good reasons for that. Debian wheezy has progressed at a slower pace, with mostly incremental updates. On the bright side, there has not been any real breakage in the last two weeks. Iceweasel 4 (still from mozilla.debian.net) is up to RC1, and it has been running great. Openoffice.org packages are no longer packaged. Actually, they have been converted to empty transitional packages to ease the upgrade to LibreOffice. And more than 60 new Perl modules have found a way to wheezy, Perl packaging team is certainly doing a great job.

After almost two years, I bit the bullet and upgraded my dpkg/dselect to the newest version 1.15.8.10. It is no longer forcing me to install two dozens of packages that i don't want, and that was the mandatory requirement for me to allow upgrade. Together with new dpkg/dselect, I've now been able to unhold a few other packages, like ntp, cron etc... I currently have no packages at hold, which is great.

Other improvements I noticed after the upgrade are much faster "Reading database..." stage during upgrades. That may or may not have been the result of smaller files in /var/lib/dpkg directory (available and status textual databases). Obviously the format changed somewhat.

Debian wheezy: GCC 4.5.2, Berkeley DB 5.1, GMP 5.0.1

Here's just a short notice that GCC/G++ 4.5.2 is now the default compiler in Wheezy. To test it, I've just recompiled the kernel (Linus' 2.6.37), and it's working great. Berkeley DB libdb-dev now depends on libdb5.1-dev instead of libdb4.8-dev. And finally, GMP (GNU multiprecision arithmetic library) is up to 5.0.1.

All those upgrades have broken numerous development libraries, so if you're into heavy development, watch out! The list of development libraries I'd like to have installed, but are broken right now includes: libsvn-dev, libaprutil1-dev, libserf-0-0-dev, apache2-prefork-dev, libmpc-dev, libmpfr-dev, libcloog-ppl-dev, librasqal3-dev, librdf0-dev, libslv2-dev and nettle-dev. But, in some cases you can force some of those, but only if you sacrifice some other stuff.

Debian wheezy: Iceweasel 4 beta 12

Iceweasel 4 betas are still not in the unstable repository, but as I've seen that people of mozila.debian.net do a fine job packaging Firefox betas, I decided to switch from official Firefox betas to Iceweasel Debian package. Although still at beta stage, Firefox 4 does work stable and is also quite faster than Iceweasel 3. IMHO.

Installing Iceweasel 4 beta 12 involves some preparation tasks. First, I added deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ experimental iceweasel-4.0 to my /etc/apt/sources.list as instructed on mozilla.debian.net. I also imported their GPG key, so that package manager doesn't complain that packages are unverified. At the first attempt to install new Iceweasel, I noticed that mozilla.debian.net provides all needed packages to install Iceweasel 4 except libnss3-{1d,dev,tools} set of packages. Those are present in unstable, but have lower version that can't satisfy Iceweasel 4 dependencies. Soon I found the needed packages (3.12.9-1) in experimental, downloaded and installed them manually. I don't like putting link to experimental repository in my /etc/apt/sources.list, although I admire people that have the courage to do that. :)

Your favorite desktop environment?

Debian wheezy: Postfix 2.8.0, LibreOffice 3.3.1

Once again, things have slowed down. But, the news are mostly good, most if not all of the breakage reported 5 days ago has now been fixed. libpackage-stash-perl does not make trouble anymore. In fact, libnamespace-clean-perl was the one that had to be upgraded to fix the situation (#614597). Also, all the GNOME components that depended on (already removed) old evolution libraries have been fixed, so the GNOME is now in good shape. Except pidgin, which through various gstreamer and other dependencies still needs librasqal2 and libsoundtouch1c2 libraries (both not in the repository anymore). But those two packages are the only one that I have to keep right now.

Debian wheezy: python 3.2, codeblocks and some breakage

My, oh, my, how things have changed in just 2 days. In contrast to my last blog entry where I stated that things have calmed down, today the picture is quite different.

But, let's start with the good stuff. The brand new Python 3.2 has found it's way to the repository, it looks like only hours after the official announcement. That's why we all love this distro, it's freaking fast sometimes. Also, a nice IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which I never heard of before, has also been included. It's called Code::Blocks and it really looks neat. I installed it in case I find some time to check it out more thoroughly.

LibreOffice is up to 3.3.1~rc2, new ClamAV release 0.97 is also in. There's also a new version of PHP which now includes php5-fpm package, the fast process manager which will simplify things for server administrators. The package includes everything needed to start a pool of PHP processes used in FastCGI environments, including proper init.d support and a carefully crafted initial www pool configuration. Good job, Debian PHP team!

Debian wheezy: new kernel 2.6.37, evince and audacious fixed

Debian Wheezy is getting in a better shape every day, evince and audacious are installable again. For those of you who use Debian official kernel, probably the biggest news is new 2.6.37 kernel with accompanying modules. I compile my own kernels, so can't really comment on features and stability of the official kernel.

For AMD Radeon users, new version of xserver-xorg-video-radeon 6.14.0-1 could be interesting. Unfortunately, I don't own any Radeon card at the moment, though it might change in the near future.

I also noticed that Jörg Schilling's dvdrecord (dvdrtools package) has been dropped from the repository. The reasoning behind that move: low popcon, orphaned for nine months, dead upstream, last release from 2005, no reverse deps in the archive by existing burning apps. I'll have to agree, I don't remember when I run dvdrecord last time, growisofs worked great for me in the last few years.

Debian wheezy: java security update, gnome-open problem workaround

After the initial rush of packages, things have slowed down a bit on the wheezy/sid front. The only notable update in the meantime has been new sun-java6-jdk 6.24 which fixes no less than 21 security bugs! You'll definitely want to pull that one and patch the numerous security holes.

Xorg set of packages is getting cleanup up (dependencies and stuff). libmaypole-perl has been dropped (before I even got a chance to play with it). Audacious is uninstallable right now, unless you decide to keep libavutil49 package (which got pushed out of the archive). I'm the CLI type of guy, so mplayer will do in the meantime, until audacity is installable again. BTW, I also use and endorse debian-multimedia packages, so please don't be mad if I accidentally comment on some package that is not even in the official repository. I've been using debian-multimedia so long, I don't even know which packages I get from them and which from the official repository.

I've also noticed slight instability with nVidia binary drivers (Xid errors in kernel log), probably connected to the recent Xorg upgrade (or new flash plugin?). So, today I installed their brand new 270.26 beta driver, we'll see if it fixes the regression. Although I would prefer to run open source graphics card driver, it seems I don't really have a choice at this time with my GeForce 9500 GT, at least until Nouveau adds support for nVidia 9xxx generation of cards. BTW, I still keep libcairo2 downgraded (for performance reasons).

Living on the bleeding edge: Debian wheezy/sid

Hello world!

I've decided to start this blog and share my experience with Debian sid/unstable, the development version of Debian GNU/Linux. It's the leading edge, but sometimes also the bleeding edge of Debian development. The stuff that enters this fast developing repository spends anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years in it before average Linux user sees it in form of a polished stable release (Debian, Ubuntu or some other Debian Pure Blend).

So, with Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" released exactly 7 days ago, there has been an avalanche of new software in sid, all the stuff that has been patiently waiting for the stable release to happen before it's pushed to the new unstable branch that will become Debian wheezy in about 2 years. Ubuntu users will no doubt see the software slightly sooner, but for the adventurous of us, even that would be too late. ;)

Most notable additions in sid at the time of this writing are LibreOffice 3.3.1~rc1, Ghostscript 9.01, Xorg 7.6, but also many other applications and libraries got upgraded to newer versions. Right now, I have no outright broken/uninstallable packages (of about 5200 installed on this desktop system). But, of course, there are some bugs that lurk in this heavy developmental distribution, which is the exact reason that prompted me to start this blog. To share my experience with others, and sometimes even ask for help from fellow Debian unstable users.

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