[phpBB] phpBB now in Debian

Jeroen van Wolffelaar jeroen at wolffelaar.nl
Mon Mar 29 01:22:02 CEST 2004

Dear phpBB folks,

(I'm hoping I write to the correct adress, i.e., the developers of
phpBB. I looked at the email adress that has the copyright of phpBB, but
the 'support@' part makes me think this might not be the correct adress.
If this mail doesn't arrive at the correct people, please forward it)

First, a little intro about myself:
I'm Jeroen van Wolffelaar, living in the Netherlands, and I'm a Debian
maintainer. I also member of the support team of a phpBB forum used by
my study association. My email adress is jeroen at wolffelaar.nl, and my
GPG keyid is 0x0813569F.

I'm pleased to announce that Debian[0] now will soon support the phpBB
webforum. As of tonight, phpBB is available in the yet unreleased
'Sarge' distribution, which will become Debian 3.1[1]

That is, Debian users can simply run 'apt-get install phpbb2' now, and
have a phpBB board installed. This would of course not be possible if
you didn't make phpBB such a great peace of software - thank you for

(before you wonder and ask why it looks like Debian has 2.0.6d: actually
this is version 2.0.7, and 2.0.8a is in the queue and will be available
probably tomorrow or the day after. The apparant version number isn't
updated yet because the security fixes were fold into 2.0.6d for a very
uninteresting reason).

Authors & Copyright:

  (Sorry about this amount of nitpicking, but Debian is quite precise
  with legal issues. Because of the huge size of Debian, and our
  commitment to freeness, we want to be very sure that everything we
  distribute in our main archive is indeed free according to our
  guidelines - which requires that the copyright of everything we
  download and redistribute is properly arranged)

  The file AUTHORS in the docs directory you distribute, refers to
  However, this URL does not work: Error 502 Bad Gateway
  I've ignored that file, the copyright file I distribute can be
  obtained here:
  You might want to fix that reference or that URL (since a lot of user
  installations have that link already, fixing the website to redirect
  to about.php might be easier).
  I have also one (nitpick) remark about your 'COPYING' file. It
  contains the GPL version 2, but it lacks a statement about the
  copyright of the phpbb package. In order to properly arrange
  copyright, you might want to add a remark like this at the top of the
  'COPYING' file:
  > Copyright 2001-2004 The phpBB Group <support at phpbb.com>
  >  This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
  >  modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
  >  published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the
  >  License, or (at your option) any later version.

  Simply distributing the GPL text doesn't make a package fall under the
  GPL. Also, you don't make totally clear whether the 'COPYING' file
  applies to all files in the phpBB-....tar.gz file. Because you do
  include a copyright notice in every php file, this isn't a very big
  issue, although the non-php files are now not officially put under a
  Furthermore, I have a question about the subSilver theme. The
  subSilver SDK is not GPL, and the templates/subSilver directory lacks
  a proper copyright notice. Also, the URL mentioned in subSilver.cfg is
  not working anymore, the subsky.com domain expired
  ( www.subSky.com/phpBB2/ )
  Are the subSilver files as distributed in the phpBB2 package under the
  GPL? If not, I'll be forced to stop distributing the subSilver theme,
  because we cannot legally do so.

  Because subSky is AFAICS not a legal entity (nor a business, union,
  or organization, nor an individual), the copyright statement over
  there is doubtful. By the way, the same applies to the copyright of
  the phpBB package as a whole: only a legal entity can hold copyright,
  the phpBB group cannot unless it's an offical registered group. The
  reason is, that otherwise the definition of the group is uncertain,
  and in case of disputes, nobody can represent the 'phpBB group' in
  front of a judge unless it's an official legal entity.
Security and Debian:

  I am the maintainer for this package, which means that I take care of
  any problems reported by our users, make new phpBB versions available
  for Debian, etc.  This does include security support. As long as
  Sarge/Debian 3.1 isn't released, Debian does no official security
  support of phpBB.  Unofficially I will make sure any problems found
  will be fixed in Debian as soon as possible.
  For this to work well, especially when Sarge is released and Debian
  _does_ officially support phpbb, it would be useful if we could be
  informed in advance of security issues, so we can send an advisory
  shortly after you officially announce a problem. Please let me know
  your opinion towards this. Of course, if this is for any reason not
  possible with you, that would be no disaster, our users just won't get
  a security update as fast as might have been possible.

  If our own security team is contacted about a security issue, we will
  contact you privately about it (security at phpbb.com as per your
  request), so that a joint security announcement can be arranged.

Debian BTS:

  Debian users tend to report problems with any package to the Debian
  BTS (Bug Tracking System).  I will forward those bugs to your BTS as
  appropriate after I've confirmed them.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

I hope we will be able to cooperate productively, and again thanks for
creating this great peace of software!


[0] http://www.debian.org
[1] http://packages.debian.org/phpbb2

Jeroen van Wolffelaar
Jeroen at wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)
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