Biber and BibLaTeX in Debian (and Open Source)

TeX Live/DebianFinally after long time Debian got an uptodate release of Biber. Biber is a BibTeX replacement for users of BibLaTeX. In recent times, including the last release of Debian (wheezy) the Biber program is hopelessly outdated and practically cannot be used with BibLaTeX.

The reason for the delay was the usage of a Perl Module Data::Diver which was lacking a license statement. In addition, the original author of Data::Diver somehow either ignored the request for adding a license statement, or simply does not want his module to be free – nobody knows.

I first came up with a replacement for the used Dive function in the biber issue 10, and thanks to the upstream author Philip Kime a better replacement was found (autovivification module).

This shows again how much pain and disturbance code without license statement can create. If the original Data::Diver module would had a clear statement (in one or the other direction) from the very beginning, all these discussions (not only from Debian side, also OpenSuSE, and upstream TeX Live) would not be necessary.

Anyway, we now have biber 1.7 and biblatex 2.7a (contained in both the texlive-bibtex-extra and bibtex packages) in Debian. Finally.

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