Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of December 29th, 2003.
1. Gentoo News
* First Anniversary of the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
* GWN Staff Profiles
First Anniversary of the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This week marks the first anniversary of the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter,
whose first issue was published on 23 December 2002. As inaugural
editor Kurt Lieber said, "the GWN was started as a way of giving the
Gentoo community one source of information about the Gentoo Linux
project." We've added, changed, and retired sections; and contributors and
translators have come and gone, but we hope to continue to provide you
with news about your favorite Linux distribution.
To celebrate the first anniversary, this week we're bringing you some
special content. First, for those of you who've wondered who we are, we
have profiles of the contributors and translators from whom we were able
to catch and force a picture and some words. In both Featured Developer
and the new semiregular Developer Interviews we're interviewing chief
architect Daniel Robbins. In the first interview you'll find out about
Daniel and his role in the project, and in the latter about new features
being considered or in development, and the future of the project.
We'd like to thank the great team of contributors and translators who make
the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter possible. As always, we're seeking volunteers
to help make the GWN better; see the end of the newsletter if you're
GWN Staff Profiles
Figure 1.1: Yuji Kosugi
Yuji Kosugi has worked on the GWN since its inception at the end of
2002, mostly on the Featured Developer section, and has been the editor
since July 2003. A freshman majoring in mathematics at Brown University in
Providence, Rhode Island, USA, he spent way too much of his first semester
there playing Cosmic Encounter, Magic:the Gathering, Dance Dance
Revolution, and other games instead of going to class. Yuji also practices
Aikido and enjoys juggling.
Figure 1.2: AJ Armstrong
AJ Armstrong (aja) is responsible for our Featured Developer and
Bugzilla sections. He is an instructor in Computer Engineering Technology
at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. He is an omnivorous
reader who practices Karate and enjoys SCUBA diving. He lives in Edmonton,
Canada with his wife, who is expecting their first child in April.
Figure 1.3: Brian Downey
Brian Downey heads up the gentoo-user mailing list summaries, and just
got married earlier this year at the age of 28. Hailing from Farmington,
Michigan, USA (just outside of Detroit) Brian enjoys jamming on drums &
guitar or working on building up the small Linux consulting start-up he
founded in 2002. He also works full-time for a large Detroit financial
company and is proud of the progress he has made transitioning servers to
Gentoo Linux in that organization. A self-admitted Apple Mac fan, he
explains it simply: "OS X rocks." His motto is unsurprisingly
Unix-influenced: "If you're going to do it, you might as well do it
Luke Giuliani (coldflame) is responsible for our -dev mailing list
update section. He is a student at the University of Melbourne, studing
Engineering (Mechatronics)/Computer Science. In his spare (and not so
spare) time he enjoys consuming copious amounts of coffee, shooting pool,
and arguing philosophy with friends. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Figure 1.4: David Narayan
David Narayan is responsible for our Tips & Tricks section. He works
as a systems administrator for a university in Georgia (United States).
When not at work he can usually be found playing pool or backpacking.
Figure 1.5: Ulrich Plate
Ulrich Plate, responsible for the weekly Forum fallout and the
International news section, has just turned 40 last month. When he joined
the GWN team at its inauguration one year ago, he was still on post in
Tokyo, representing a number of European IT companies in Japan and Asia.
Since his repatriation to Germany in May, he is Managing Director of a
small technology consultancy in the Taunus mountain range just outside
of Frankfurt am Main, focussing on open source migration strategies and IT
security. As a former journalist he's delighted to get to write stuff at
least once a week for the GWN, and could definitely use some more pressure
to fulfill his duties as a Forum moderator and press relations officer for
Gentoo Linux. His motto is borrowed from Douglas Adams: "I love deadlines.
I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
Marc Herren aka dj-submerge is 26 years old and lives in Bern
(Switzerland). He's using Linux since 1998 and Gentoo for about 2 years.
Currently he's working as a project leader in a networking company mainly
dealing with HP-UX and Linux. Besides computers he plays volleyball a lot
and spins the turntables.
Tobias Scherbaum aka dertobi123 is 22 and lives in Oberhausen
(Germany). He is using Gentoo for something about one and a half year.
Since december he's reponsible for german translations within the Gentoo
Steffen aka MadEagle ist 32, lives in Hamburg (Germany) and is an IT
Consultant when he is not translating the GWN. He uses Linux on and off
since 1998 but for the last two years consistently Gentoo.
Tobias aka SirSeoman is 23 and lives in Trier (Germany). Besides being
a translator for the GWN, he is a student of applied computer science at
the Trier University of Applied Sciences. He is using linux and Gentoo
permanently for 6 months and learns more daily.
Daniel aka Sputnik1969 lives in Berlin (Germany), is 34 years young
and uses Linux since 1998 and Gentoo since Spring 2002. If he doesn't
translates parts of the GWN he's looking for a new job as a Software
Developer or System Administrator.
Thomas Raschbacher aka LordVan is 21 years old and lives in Austria.
He's using Linux since 1995 and Gentoo for about 2 years. Currently he's
self employed as a Computer reseller and consultant. When he's not coding
or translating GWN he's usually listening to music, read Mangas or watch
Matthias aka haim is 21 and lives in Vienna (Austria). When he isn't
translating the GWN into German language, he is working as a freelancing
Linux IT Consultant. In his spare time, Matthias likes to party with
friends or reading an interesting book.
Figure 1.6: Marco Mascherpa
Marco Mascherpa, italian lead translator, is 24 years old and he lives
with his family in Milan, Italy. After the last exam left to pass, he's
going to get a degree in Information Engineering and now he's quite busy
studying and writing his thesis about Open Source software in the
enterprise. His interests include playing with Gentoo, watching movies,
reading books and playing strategy games.
Figure 1.7: Claudio Merloni
Claudio Merloni aka paper is 25 years old, born and living in Milan,
Italy. He is currently fighting against the last exam left to obtain a
degree in Computer Engineering at the Politecnico of Milan, while working
on his thesis on Natural Language Processing. When not trying to break his
Gentoo, he enjoys playing on his piano or listening to music, from jazz to
Christian Apolloni aka bsolar lives in Lugano, Switzerland and is studying
Computer Science at the Swiss-Italian University of Applied Science. He
likes to go to the cinema, go-karting and reading.
Figure 1.8: Stefano Lucidi
Stefano Lucidi is 23 years old and at the moment lives in Rome (italy). He
studies computer science. He loves power and progressive metal
(stratovarius, dream theater etc etc). During waste time he likes to play
the guitar, read, code in his favourite languages (C, python and java),
test open source software or update his Gentoo portal Gentoo Italia.
Sergey Galkin aka Zlodey is 26 and lives in Saratov (Russia). He uses
Linux since 2001 and Gentoo for the last year. Currently he's working as a
network administrator managing Ciscos' devices and servers running Gentoo,
Solaris and FreeBSD
Sergey Kuleshov aka svyatogor is 18 years old and lives in Cyprus.
He's been using Linux for the last 3 years and switched to Gentoo around a
year ago. Apart from being a GWN translator he's also a follow-up
translator for the Russian team and lead of the Gentoo Documentation
Internationalisation Subproject. In real life he's a student doing his
B.Sc. in "Maths Computing and Statistic"
Aleksandr Martyncev aka Aleks is 17 years old. He lives in Bryansk
(Russia) and works as a programmer for one of the enterprises. He began
using Linux in 2003 and seems to really like it When Aleksandr joined our
team he didn't use Gentoo, but now he's got strong interest in this
Alex Spirin aka asp13 (don't mix with a dozen of others :) is 26 years
old and lives in Saratov city (Russia, Volga-river). He's doing his best
in order not waste any time on his way to work/home. Alex works as a
network administrator maintaining Ciscos' devices and other "damned stuff"
and certainly uses Gentoo, especially the _very_ powerful Gentoo LiveCD.
He hopes it was him who invented (or probably stolen?) the best Gentoo's
motto - "Emerge YOUR world".
2. Featured Developer of the Week
Figure 2.1: Daniel Robbins with daughter Tzipporah
In honour of our anniversary edition, we are featuring an interview with
Daniel Robbins (drobbins), the founder of Gentoo. The interview is in
a question-and-answer format rather than our usual summary format, to give
Daniel a chance to speak directly about the distro, it's origins and where
GWN: Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Montreal, Canada, and lived there until I was eight. Then I
moved with my mom to Brookline, MA (Boston area) where I stayed until I
finished high school. I spent most of a year at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic
Institute) before dropping out near the end of my freshman year. I then
started working, including a stint at Sony Electronic Publishing. After
that, I moved out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I met and married my
wife, and where we now live with our two young daughters, Hadassah and
In Albuquerque, I've had various computer-related jobs such as serving as
a syadmin at the University of New Mexico. This is where I first started
using GNU/Linux. For the last 3 or 4 years, I've done a lot of writing for
IBM developerWorks, SAMS and Intel Developer Services, which became a
close to a full-time thing. For most of 2003, a sponsor in Germany has
been generously supporting me financially so that I can work on Gentoo
full-time. So now I'm now devoting all of my work-related efforts to
moving Gentoo forward.
GWN: Could you tell us about how Gentoo started?
I became involved in the development of Stampede Linux, but wasn't
enjoying the experience. So I decided to create my own distribution to
learn about Linux. Because I was working by myself, I had to make sure
that everything was as automated as possible, and that's when the
development of Portage began. At that time, Gentoo was called Enoch.
GWN: What do you see on the horizon for Gentoo in the near term? In the
For 2004, you'll see us move to a quarterly release schedule, and
transition to a new naming scheme -- the next release of Gentoo will be
called "Gentoo Linux 2004." Under the hood, you'll see the fruits of
several efforts to improve quality, organization and efficiency within our
thriving and rapidly-growing community project.
Organizationally, we will be moving to a not-for-profit organizational
model some time in 2004, and will continue to improve our ability to
develop and deliver innovative technologies to the public. You'll also see
portage-ng ("portage -- next generation") development begin, as we work on
a full community-driven redesign of our package manager/ports system.
Overall, you'll see Gentoo continue to grow and flourish.
Beyond this? We'll continue to have fun and focus on delivering powerful
free solutions to the public.
GWN: What role do you think Gentoo plays (or will play) in the broader
Linux and Open Source communities as they gain more market share and media
I think there is a tendency for Linux-related technologies to become
commercialized and "less free" due to the involvement of for-profit
companies, some of which tend to be more pragmatic than idealistic in
their day-to-day behavior. Their actions often end up working against the
"hacker ethos." In contrast, our efforts are focused on advancing the
hacker ethos, because we're all hackers. That's why people tend to become
quite devoted to Gentoo -- because they can see we're doing and are
excited about that vision. Having a thriving free software community is
more than just choosing the right license.
GWN: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Gentoo community?
Thank you for using Gentoo Linux and please be sure to let us know how we
can make Gentoo better for you. Gentoo is what it is today because of
3. Developer Interview
This week we're beginning a new, semiregular Developer Interview section.
Like in Featured Developer of the Week, this section will be based on an
interview of a developer, but here we'll focus more on what these
developers can tell us about Gentoo Linux and its future. As it turns out
this week we're interviewing Daniel Robbins again; here's what he had
to tell us:
GWN: Thanks for taking the time to talk a bit with us here at the GWN.
You're welcome :)
GWN: Your title is "Chief architect", but what do you actually do within
the Gentoo Linux Project?
My efforts are generally focused on "stretching" or elevating Gentoo as a
project in certain critical areas, usually technical. With a project as
large and dynamic as Gentoo, there is often a lack of focus. My job these
days is to get certain things on the agenda -- things that are important
goals, and may not otherwise happen if someone isn't pushing for them.
Because of my position on the project, I can push things forward that
others may not be able to move forward by themselves. A lot of my efforts
have to do with helping others to get their important efforts moving
forward and bearing fruit
GWN: With Gentoo currently storming on, and gaining popularity
(Distrowatch.com labels Gentoo 4th most popular distro within the last 12
months), what do you think has made Gentoo such a succes.
A lot of things. From its inception, I made a very concerted effort to
make Gentoo the ideal distribution for true Linux power users and
developers. This allowed us to attract a lot of talented people rather
quickly. We had a very liberal developer recruitment policy, which allowed
us to grow rapidly.
When we had a lot of skilled developers who were making Gentoo better, a
user community started to form. Our development team did a lot of good
things to nourish this user community and be responsive to its needs.
Because we took care of Gentoo users, a lot of Gentoo users seemed to get
rather excited and started helping out newcomers to Gentoo as well.
Then we had another level of growth, where things like the forums really
flourished. Users were helping other users, and this created a really
healthy ecosystem for Gentoo, and this is something that we continue to
GWN: Speaking of the current succes, you recently announced the start of
103.xml). You outlined as a goal that portage-ng should be "beyond
peoples' wildest expectations. Would you care to elaborate a bit on what
we can expect.
You can expect all planning, goal-setting and development to be done
publicly, with full accountability and involvement of our user and
developer community. This is the only way we can approach a project as
significant as portage-ng.
By making the community the key part of this process, and collecting their
ideas and requirements for portage-ng, the result will indeed be beyond
what any of us could have thought up all by ourselves.
GWN: Gentoo 1.4 was released a while ago, what can we expect from the
upcoming Gentoo release?
We're moving to a new year-based versioning scheme, so the next release of
Gentoo will be called Gentoo Linux 2004. We're also moving to a quarterly
release schedule, and all our releases will be built with the new catalyst
build tool. Users will be able to rebuild the entire release using a
stage1 and a portage snapshot. Our LiveCDs will be user-rebuildable and
tweakable, thanks to catalyst. You can learn more about our plans at the
release engineering project page.
GWN: When can we expect the change to kernel 2.6?
Kernel 2.6 will be supported as an option in Gentoo Linux 2004. We will
continue to support 2.4 for as long as people need it. When the driver
support in 2.6 begins to surpass 2.4 in breadth and quality, then we'll
look into making a 2.6 kernel the "default" kernel. This may happen sooner
rather than later, because the 2.6 kernel series seems to be off to a fine
GWN: Could we expect a GUI installer to be developed for an upcoming
I think this is likely to happen in late 2004. In the past, we've had
several developer-led installer projects start, fizzle, and then die.
Generally, this was because these installer efforts were pet projects of
one or two developers and never really got support or interest from the
rest of the project. People who work on installers have historically
tended to be "lone ranger"-style developers, and a fair number of our
developers don't really care about having a graphical installer.
Before we start another installer project, we really need to create some
consensus about what our goals for the installer should be. Once we have a
clear and inspiring vision for how the Gentoo installer should operate, it
can be accepted project-wide. Then we can get a project organized and
finally get a cutting-edge installer done for Gentoo that everyone can be
GWN: Everyone cares about security these days, many distros now ship with
a firewall enabled per default, Microsoft even started to compile their
software with a compiler with stack protective measures (like ProPolice).
What can we expect Gentoo to do in terms of encouraging safe computing in
the near future?
The fundamentals include more use of GPG in critical areas of Gentoo and
Portage and more organization and focus in regard to our GLSAs (Gentoo
Linux Security Advisories.) But the key work in this area is happening
thanks to several ambitious efforts being pursued by our hardened
project, led by Joshua Brindle (Method)
There seems to be some indication that there will be a "hardened" version
of Gentoo available some time in 2004, thanks to the efforts of this
GWN: What current development in the Linux community are you most looking
My focus is unbashedly on Gentoo. Technically, I am most looking forward
to Gentoo Linux 2004, catalyst and especially portage-ng. From a larger
perspective, I'm looking forward to seeing our development team and user
community continue to create, innovate and inspire. As a project manager,
I'm most looking forward to watching Gentoo become more "professional" by
adopting software development practices that allow us to drastically
improve quality and user involvement throughout the entire project.
Organizationally, I'm looking forward to seeing Gentoo transition to a
not-for-profit entity or entities some time in 2004, which will mark a new
level of maturity for Gentoo as an organization.
4. Gentoo Security
There were no new security announcements or bugs this week.
5. Heard in the Community
Flash For PPC
Slow week for most of the Forums (except for a particularly untimely
flurry of gratuitious flamemongering in the Off the Wall section). Among
the more useful things to be posted was g-rem's howto for getting
Macromedia's flash player to work in Linux on Macintosh - so useful, in
fact, that it got replicated into the Italian forum right away:
* Macromedia Flash Player 6 on Linux PPC with Qemu
* finalmente flash per ppc .....(Italian)
Downtime and Upstream
With people cheering wildly at the reinstatement of the gentoo-user
mailing list after four days of downtime, they seem to have encountered
mostly non-Gentoo-specific development problems further up the stream,
specifically concerning the odd Christmas install of a freshly minted 2.6
* We live!
* devfs and udev (kernel 2.6 and beyond)
A move of development sources.
As some people may be aware, the linux kernel recently reached version
2.6.0. As this is technically a stable release, the question was asked
whether vanilla-sources in the portage tree should now point to these
sources. Have a look here for the full discussion, including arguments
for and against.
6. Gentoo International
Italy: Major Revamp of GECHI Website Under Way
Two stickies in the Italian Gentoo forum talk about the redistribution of
tasks for the GECHI (GEntoo CHannel Italia) website. If you feel like
helping out with the technical administration workload or with content
creation, kindly respond to these two threads.
7. Bugzilla - Annual Closed Bug Rankings
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and
track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the
development team. Over the year following the first publication of the
GWN, the developers and teams who closed the most bugs are:
* Gentoo Games, with 686 closed bugs
* Gentoo Gnome Desktop Team, with 653 closed bugs
* Gentoo KDE Team, with 598 closed bugs
* Martin Schlemmer, with 576 closed bugs
* Martin Holzer, with 559 closed bugs
* Nick Hadaway, with 376 closed bugs
* Nicholas Jones, with 342 closed bugs
8. Tips and Tricks
Linux Magic System Request Key Hacks
This week's tip is about the 'magic' SysRq key that can be used to send
events to the kernel in Linux.
To enable the SysRq key, compile CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ into the kernel. To
disable it during runtime, use echo "0" > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq.
To use the SysRq key, use ALT-SysRq-<commmand key>. This allows you to
send commands straight to the kernel that will be executed immediately
unless the machine is completely locked up.
Some of the many uses of SysRq are:
* Kill all programs on the current virtual console
* Immediately reboot the system
* Sync all filesystems
* Dump memory info to the console
* Kill all processes except init
* Set the console log level
For more detailed information on using SysRq see the kernel documentation
9. Moves, Adds, and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
* none this week
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux
* none this week
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The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter is also available in the following languages:
* Portuguese (Brazil)
* Portuguese (Portugal)
Yuji Carlos Kosugi <firstname.lastname@example.org> - Editor
AJ Armstrong <aja@...> - Contributor
Brian Downey <bdowney@...> - Contributor
Luke Giuliani <cold_flame@...> - Contributor
Kurt Lieber <email@example.com> - Contributor
Rafael Cordones Marcos <rcm@...> - Contributor
David Narayan <david@...> - Contributor
David Nielsen <Lovechild@...> - Contributor
Ulrich Plate <firstname.lastname@example.org> - Contributor
Hendrik Eeckhaut <Hendrik.Eeckhaut@...> - Dutch Translation
Jorn Eilander <sephiroth@...> - Dutch Translation
Bernard Kerckenaere <bernieke@...> - Dutch Translation
Peter ter Borg <peter@...> - Dutch Translation
Jochen Maes <linux@...> - Dutch Translation
Roderick Goessen <rgoessen@...> - Dutch Translation
Gerard van den Berg <gerard@...> - Dutch Translation
Matthieu Montaudouin <mat@...> - French Translation
Xavier Neys <email@example.com> - French Translation
Martin Prieto <riverdale@...> - French Translation
Antoine Raillon <cabec2@...> - French Translation
Sebastien Cevey <seb@...> - French Translation
Jean-Christophe Choisy <mabouya@...> - French Translation
Thomas Raschbacher <firstname.lastname@example.org> - German Translation
Steffen Lassahn <email@example.com> - German Translation
Matthias F. Brandstetter <firstname.lastname@example.org> - German Translation
Lukas Domagala <Cyrik@g.o> - German Translation
Tobias Scherbaum <email@example.com> - German Translation
Daniel Gerholdt <Sputnik1969@g.o> - German Translation
Marc Herren <firstname.lastname@example.org> - German Translation
Tobias Matzat <SirSeoman@g.o> - German Translation
Marco Mascherpa <mush@...> - Italian Translation
Claudio Merloni <paper@...> - Italian Translation
Christian Apolloni <bsolar@...> - Italian Translation
Stefano Lucidi <stefano.lucidi@...> - Italian Translation
Yoshiaki Hagihara <hagi@...> - Japanese Translation
Katsuyuki Konno <katuyuki@...> - Japanese Translation
Yuji Carlos Kosugi <email@example.com> - Japanese Translation
Yasunori Fukudome <yasunori@...> - Japanese Translation
Takashi Ota <088@...> - Japanese Translation
Radoslaw Janeczko <sototh@...> - Polish Translation
Lukasz Strzygowski <lucass.home@...> - Polish Translation
Michal Drobek <veng@...> - Polish Translation
Adam Lyjak <apo@...> - Polish Translation
Krzysztof Klimonda <cthulhu@...> - Polish Translation
Atila "Jedi" Bohlke Vasconcelos <bohlke@...> - Portuguese
Eduardo Belloti <dudu@...> - Portuguese (Brazil) Translation
Jo達o Rafael Moraes Nicola <joaoraf@...> - Portuguese (Brazil)
Marcelo Gon巽alves de Azambuja <mgazambuja@...> - Portuguese
Otavio Rodolfo Piske <angusy@...> - Portuguese (Brazil)
Pablo N. Hess -- NatuNobilis <natunobilis@...> - Portuguese
Pedro de Medeiros <pzilla@...> - Portuguese (Brazil) Translation
Ventura Barbeiro <venturasbarbeiro@...> - Portuguese (Brazil)
Bruno Ferreira <blueroom@...> - Portuguese (Portugal)
Gustavo Felisberto <humpback@...> - Portuguese (Portugal)
Jos辿 Costa <jose_costa@...> - Portuguese (Portugal) Translation
Luis Medina <metalgodin@...> - Portuguese (Portugal) Translation
Ricardo Loureiro <rjlouro@...> - Portuguese (Portugal) Translation
Aleksandr Martyncev <amncorp@...> - Russian Translator
Sergey Galkin <gals_home@...> - Russian Translator
Sergey Kuleshov <firstname.lastname@example.org> - Russian Translator
Alex Spirin <asp13@...> - Russian Translator
Denis Zaletov <dzaletov@...> - Russian Translator
Lanark <lanark@...> - Spanish Translation
Fernando J. Pereda <ferdy@...> - Spanish Translation
Lluis Peinado Cifuentes <lpeinado@...> - Spanish Translation
Zephryn Xirdal T <ZEPHRYNXIRDAL@...> - Spanish Translation
Guillermo Juarez <katossi@...> - Spanish Translation
Jes炭s Garc鱈a Crespo <correo@...> - Spanish Translation
Carlos Castillo <carlos@...> - Spanish Translation
Julio Castillo <julio@...> - Spanish Translation
Sergio G坦mez <s3r@...> - Spanish Translation
Aycan Irican <aycan@...> - Turkish Translation
Bugra Cakir <bugra@...> - Turkish Translation
Cagil Seker <cagils@...> - Turkish Translation
Emre Kazdagli <emre@...> - Turkish Translation
Evrim Ulu <evrim@...> - Turkish Translation
Gursel Kaynak <gurcell@...> - Turkish Translation