Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of March 10th, 2003.
1. Gentoo News
* distcc in a nutshell
* Remarkable response to our call for developers
distcc in a nutshell
A question often asked by our readers is, "What is distcc?". In a
nutshell, distcc allows you to distribute compilation of C or C++ code
across several machines on a network. For home users with multiple
computers, this means you can distribute the load of compiling KDE 3.1
across all your Gentoo machines. For embedded devices or older computers,
it means you can build packages on a faster machine (or group of machines)
to take advantage of the increased processing power. distcc works closely
with gcc to ensure that distcc distributed compiles produce the same
result as using gcc directly.
distcc 1.2.3 was recently marked as stable in the Portage tree, so users
are encouraged to try it out and discover the wonders of distributed
compiling. Obviously, there's a lot more to distcc than is described here.
Users interested in learning more should check out the following
* distcc home page
* Using distcc with Portage
* Accelerating compilation, Part 2: distcc
Remarkable response to our call for developers
In last week's GWN, we posted a number of open positions in the
Gentoo Linux project. The response to this posting was remarkable, with
nearly 75 responses received. As a result, Gentoo Linux now has the
assistance of two new documentation editors and a new kernel developer.
We're still sorting through the respondents to the Web Developer position
and will be contacting folks with regards to that in the coming days.
Where possible, we've tried to send individual responses to each of the
respondents. If you haven't received a response, we apologize and thank
you for offering to help Gentoo Linux. We'll continue to post open
positions in future editions of the GWN, so keep an eye out for them.
2. Gentoo Security
* GLSA: tcpdump
* GLSA: snort
* GLSA: mysqlcc
* New Security Bug Reports
A recently discovered vulnerability in sendmail could permit a remote user
to gain root privileges on the server with a carefully crafted email
message. A proof-of-concept exploit has been demonstrated, but no exploits
in the wild have been reported.
* Severity: Critical - Remote Root Exploit
* Packages Affected: net-mail/sendmail versions prior to sendmail-8.12.8
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge -u sendmail, emerge clean.
* GLSA Announcement
Snort contains a buffer overflow that may be exploited to run arbitrary
code with the privileges of the Snort IDS process, potentially root.
* Severity: Critical - Remote Execution of Code
* Packages Affected: net-analyzer/snort versions prior to snort-1.9.1
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge -u snort, emerge clean.
* GLSA Announcement
TCPDump contains a vulnerability in the way it parses certain UDP packets
that allows a carefully crafted packet to provoke an infinite loop.
* Severity: High - Remote DOS
* Packages Affected: net-analyzer/tcpdump versions prior to tcpdump-3.7.2
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge -u tcpdump, emerge clean.
* GLSA Announcement
MySQLcc has its configuration and connection files set as world-readable.
* Severity: Moderate - Local Information Exposure
* Packages Affected: dev-db/mysqlcc versions prior to mysqlcc-0.8.10-r1
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge -u mysqlcc, emerge clean.
New Security Bug Reports
The following new security bugs were posted this week:
Arthur Britto started a persistent thread on the gentoo-security list by
posting a message complaining about GLSAs (Gentoo-Linux Security
Announcements) being cross-posted to gentoo-security and gentoo-announce.
The discussion quickly split into two camps - those arguing that
redundancy in important messages was valuable and those insisting that a
clearly defined single channel for GLSAs was more important. The
conversation occasionally evolved into discussions about whether using
filters and procmail to strip redundant messages was the right way to
resolve it, and even included suggestions for setting up a third,
dedicated, list for GLSAs. The thread finally concluded with a plea
for it to stop along with the official pronouncement that all GLSAs will
in the future be posted only to gentoo-announce, and that gentoo-security
should be confined to discussions about security issues rather than
3. Featured Developer of the Week
Jared H. Hudson
Figure 3.1: Jared H. Hudson
Jared H. Hudson, whom we feature this week, is the x86 QA Coordintor
and the x86 stages/GRPs Coordinator as of Gentoo Linux's latest 1.4_rc3
release candidate. This means he's responsible for making sure that the
stages and GRPs work properly so that users can install Gentoo Linux.
Jared's involvement with Gentoo (which happens to be the first OSS project
he has worked on) began with his fixing a bug in a Gentoo package,
impressing a senior developer. Accepting a subsequent invitation to join
the team, Jared has been handling bug reports like the other developers,
especially in PHP, DNS, emacs, and vim - his areas of expertise. He also
created use.desc (located in /usr/portage/profiles/), which lists what the
use flags in Gentoo do.
Jared's last job was as a Linux sysadmin for a web hosting company that
went bankrupt; now he's seeking employment. He lives in Fayetteville,
Arkansas (though he would like to move to Europe) with two cats: Script
(she's a script kitty) and Frankie, and a dual Athlon 1200 box running
Waimea, and often xmms, emacs, gcc, mozilla, and gaim. Jared loves reading
and has been playing Magic: the Gathering lately.
4. Heard In The Community
1.4-rc3-triggered Newbie Influx
Even the oldest hands seem to wear a badge saying "I'm friendly to
newbies" these days, setting aside an extraordinary amount of patience and
helpful advice for the many newcomers attracted by the third release
candidate. Is it safe to use? Will it do what my <insert prior Linux
distribution> could do? Will it change my life, water the plants, walk the
dog? Just ask, somebody will answer without patronizing or spitting
gratuitous flames at you:
* Is 1.4 rc3 okay to use?
* major probs with rc3
* Gentoo 1.4rc3 and problems with Realtek 8139too driver
* Install on a7n8x, network problem, rc3
New Dutch Forum Moderator Needed
The Dutch forum is in need of someone to crack the whip from time to time.
Don't worry, they usually behave exceptionally well. It's all about
spotting the occasional duplicate thread, making important announcements
sticky and looking over the forum's well-being in general. Post
applications to this thread or send a personal message to the site admin
who originated the call:
* New moderator needed
Gentoo and the LSB
A hot discussion took place recently regarding Gentoo's compliance
with the LSB. Currently there are two issues holding Gentoo from being an
"LSB Compliant" distribution. The first being that LSB requires the
ability to install RPMs on a system. The second offender is that KDE and
Gonome are in different directories, and that the LSB standard can easily
be scrutinized ATM. A few suggestions on handling the directory
hiearchy of the GUI desktops made their way into the thread, which lead to
worthwhile explanations of the different parts of a *nix file system.
Remembering that both Gentoo and the LSB are new and developing projects,
hopes of a brighter future will come. For now, the LSB experiences mixed
attitudes within the Gentoo-user community, from enthusiasts to claims
that the LSB is, and will always be a " straight jacket".
CFLAGS... Get your CFLAGS...
As long as there is Gentoo, there will be questions about CFLAGS and
compiler optimizations. Due to the fact that Gentoo is a source based
distribution, and that these sources are likely to be compiled under the
direction of a tweaked out penguin, a lot of emphasis is placed on
choosing the best set of options for the system's hardware. For most of us
the decision is made quickly by using one of the many examples available
for all sorts of hardware. To delve further into the subject, and make
sense of what these flags actually mean provides a very insightful read.
Jason Giangrande's thread not only surfaced many examples , but
provided some links to great explanatory resources.
Cruft detecting script
Andy Arbon proposed the creation of a cruft detecting script, i.e. a
script that would detect all the files that Portage has lost track of and
therefore will lay in the filesystem as long as we do not do something
about it. A quick hack was posted by Evan Powers but more tuning and
exploring seems to be needed with this useful utility.
Open Gentoo Linux Development Positions
John P. Davis posted an announcement saying that Gentoo Linux is
recruiting new developers.
man vs. man-db
James H. Cloos Jr. mentioned that Gentoo is currently using man
which seems quite outdated and that man-db seems a better alternative
and it is being used by popular GNU/Linux distributions like Debian and
5. Gentoo International
Vienna Meeting Report
Fortunately, improvisation is second nature for Gentoo users: If you don't
know how to solve a problem, you're not worthy of having one in the first
place. Last week, the Vienna Gentoo user crowd had to change the venue for
their meeting on the fly because the original location's staff,
("presumably blonde"), had managed to misplace the reservation. As it
turned out, the neighboring Community Center of the Austrian Communist
Party, Cafe 7Stern, was more hospitable, featuring a waitress with strong
beliefs ("Better take a beer like everyone else, laddie") and a wacko lady
occasionally visiting the Gentoo table asking why the show on stage wasn't
about to begin. Latecomers missed the fun because of the location change,
but everybody else was visibly enjoying the meeting, and they're already
discussing follow-ups. The full account (in German) is posted here.
Figure 5.1: Gentoo users meet in Vienna
New: Romanian IRC Channel
On Thursday last week, Panzerboy announced the creation of a channel
for Romanian Gentoo users on the same IRC network as the others:
#gentoo-ro on irc.freenode.net. Feel free to /join...
6. Portage Watch
The following stable packages were added to portage this week
* app-emulation/goosnes : A GTK+ frontend for Snes9X
* app-emulation/qmamecat : mame catalog and frontend
* app-emulation/visualboyadvance : gameboy, gameboy color, and gameboy
advance emulator http://vboy.emuhq.com/
* app-games/poopmup : You are now free to fly around the city and poop on
* app-games/zoom : A fast, clean, modern Z-code interpreter for X
* app-games/toppler : reimplemention of Nebulus using SDL
* app-games/adonthell : roleplaying game engine
* app-games/fbg : A tetris-clone written in OpenGL
* app-games/fortune-mod-kernelcookies : A collection of funny lines from
the Linux kernel http://unattached.i-no.de/software-misc.shtml
* app-games/geki3-KXL : 2D length scroll shooting game http://kxl.hn.org/
* app-games/gnocatan : A clone of the popular board game The Settlers of
* app-games/gnubg : GNU BackGammon
* app-games/grande-KXL : It is a ZANAC type game http://kxl.hn.org/
* app-games/pyddr : Dance Dance Revolution! You need this game more than
Frozen Bubble http://www.icculus.org/pyddr/
* app-games/pyddr-songs : Music for the pyDDR game
* app-games/tuxmathscrabble : math-version of the popular board game for
children 4-10 http://sourceforge.net/projects/tuxmathscrabble/
* app-games/wastesedge : role playing game to showcase the adonthell
* app-games/wtf : translates acronyms for you http://www.mu.org/~mux/wtf/
* app-games/wumpus : Classic Hunt the Wumpus Adventure Game
* app-games/crimson : tactical war game in the tradition of Battle Isle
* app-games/groundhog : Kids card/puzzle game
* app-games/matritsa : Kids card/puzzle game
* app-i18n/imhangul : Gtk+-2.0 Hangul Input Modules
* app-i18n/imhangul_status_applet : Status Applet for imhangul
* app-misc/banner : The well known banner program for linux
* app-misc/cdctl : Utility to control your cd/dvd drive
* dev-db/mysqlcc : a MySQL GUI Client http://www.mysql.com/
* dev-libs/dvacm4 : dvacm4 provides autoconf macros used by the dv* C++
* dev-libs/dvcgi : dvcgi provides a C++ interface for C++ cgi programs
* dev-libs/dvenv : dvenv provides polymorphic tree-structured
environments, generalizing the Dv::Util::Props class
* dev-libs/dvmysql : dvmysql provides a C++ interface to mysql
* dev-libs/dvnet : dvnet provides an interface wrapping sockets into
* dev-libs/dvssl : dvssl provides a simple interface to openssl
* dev-libs/dvthread : dvthread provides classes for threads and monitors,
wrapped around the posix thread library
* dev-libs/dvutil : dvutil provides some general C++ utility classes for
files, directories, dates, property lists, reference counted pointers,
number conversion etc.
* dev-tcltk/tclgpgme : Tcl/Tk libraries to gpgme.
* dev-tcltk/tcllib : Tcl Standard Library.
* dev-tcltk/tclxml-expat : Tcl wrapper libraries for expat XML parser.
* dev-tcltk/tkTheme : Tcl/Tk Theming library.
* dev-tcltk/tkXwin : Tcl/Tk library to detect idle periods of an X
* dev-tcltk/tls : TLS OpenSSL extension to Tcl.
* media-libs/fmod : music and sound effects library, and a sound
processing system http://www.fmod.org/
* gnome-extra/fontilus : Fontviewer for Nautilus http://www.gnome.org/
* net-im/tkabber : Featurefull Jabber client for tcl/tk.
* net-irc/konversation : A user friendly IRC Client for KDE3.x
* net-news/knews : A threaded newsreader for X.
* net-www/mini_httpd : Small forking webserver with optional ssl and ipv6
* net-www/monkeyd : fast, efficient, (REALLY) small, and easy to
configure web server http://monkeyd.sourceforge.net/
* sys-kernel/gaming-sources : Full sources for the Gentoo
gaming-optimized kernel http://members.optusnet.com.au/ckolivas/kernel/
* x11-terms/kuake : A Quake-style terminal emulator
* media-sound/id3ed : id3ed is an ID3 tag editor for mp3 files. You can
set tags interactively or from the command line, or a combination of both.
id3ed can set genre by name or number. You can also remove or view tags.
* media-sound/liteamp : Liteamp - yet another light-weight ogg and mp3
player for gnome http://liteamp.kldp.net
* media-sound/takcd : Command line CD player http://bard.sytes.net/takcd/
* media-sound/timidity++ : A handy MIDI to WAV converter with OSS and
ALSA output support http://www.goice.co.jp/member/mo/timidity/
* media-sound/waif : Why Another Infernal Frontend -- console front end
for various media-players http://eds.org/~straycat
* media-video/filmgimp : motion picture editing tool used for painting
and retouching of movies http://filmgimp.org/
* media-video/gxine : GTK+ Front-End for libxine
* media-video/kmplayer : MPlayer frontend for KDE
Updates to notable packages
* sys-apps/portage - portage-2.0.47-r8.ebuild;
* sys-devel/gcc - gcc-3.2.2-r3.ebuild;
* sys-libs/glibc - glibc-2.3.2.ebuild;
* x11-base/xfree - xfree-4.3.0.ebuild;
* sys-kernel/* - ac-sources-2.4.21_pre5-r1.ebuild;
* dev-db/mysql - mysql-3.23.54a-r1.ebuild; mysql-4.0.11a.ebuild;
* sys-devel/perl - perl-5.8.0-r10.ebuild;
* dev-db/postgresql - postgresql-7.3.2.ebuild;
* app-admin/gentoolkit - gentoolkit-0.1.19-r1.ebuild;
New USE variables
* dvb - Enables support for Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) cable/satelite
* Closed Bug Ranking
* New Bug Rankings
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and
track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the
development team. In the last 7 days, activity on the site has resulted in:
* 263 new bugs this week
* 459 bugs closed or resolved this week
* 7 previously closed bugs were reopened this week.
* 1971 total bugs currently marked 'new'
* 485 total bugs currently assigned to developers
There are currently 2517 bugs open in bugzilla. Of these: 60 are labeled
'blocker', 92 are labelled 'critical', and 174 are labelled 'major'.
Closed Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs this week are:
* The Games Team, with 44 closed bugs
* The Sparc Team, with 20 closed bugs
* The Gnome Team, with 19 closed bugs
* Martin Schlemmer, with 12 closed bugs
* Arcady Genkin, with 11 closed bugs
New Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs this
* The x86 Kernel Team, with 64 new bugs
* Martin Schlemmer, with 19 new bugs
* Jay Pfeifer, with 18 new bugs
* Nicholas Jones, with 16 new bugs
* Seemant Kulleen, with 11 new bugs
8. Tips and Tricks
Creating a Certificate Authority (CA)
This week's tip shows you how to create your own Certificate Authority
used for signing SSL certificates.
The first step is to create your new CA certificate.
| Code Listing 8.1: |
| Establishing CA certificates |
|# cd /etc/ssl |
|# ./misc/CA.pl -newca |
|CA certificate filename (or enter to create) |
|Making CA certificate ... |
|Using configuration from /etc/ssl/openssl.cnf |
|Generating a 1024 bit RSA private key |
|writing new private key to './demoCA/private/cakey.pem' |
|Enter PEM pass phrase:<your password> |
|Verifying password - Enter PEM pass phrase:<your password (again)> |
|You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated |
|into your certificate request. |
|What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a |
|There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank |
|For some fields there will be a default value, |
|If you enter '.', the field will be left blank. |
|Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:<your country> |
|State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:<your state/province> |
|Locality Name (eg, city) :<your city> |
|Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgets Pty Ltd]:<your company |
|Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) :<your department> |
|Common Name (eg, YOUR name) :<your name> |
|Email Address :<your email> |
You now have your own CA with which to sign certificates. Your CA public
key is /etc/ssl/demoCA/cacert.pem and your private key is
When using a certificate signed by your CA, you may get an error about
an untrusted CA. In this case, you'll need to publish your CA public key
to the client.
9. Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
* none this week
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
* Jay Pfeifer (pfeifer) -- core system/kernel
* Lars Weiler (pylon) -- Gentoo/PPC
* Carl Anderson (carl) -- Gentoo Documentation
* Jorge Paulo (peesh) -- Gentoo Documentation
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux
* none this week
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12. Other Languages
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* Portuguese (Brazil)
* Portuguese (Portugal)
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