Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of May 19th, 2003.
1. Gentoo News
* Announcing Gentoo Games, Inc.
* Gentoo Linux attends E3
Announcing Gentoo Games, Inc.
On May 15th, Daniel Robbins and several other Gentoo Linux developers
announced the creation of a new company called Gentoo Games, Inc.
The mission of Gentoo Games is to advance Linux gaming. The initial
efforts of Gentoo Games will be focused around the Gentoo GameCD
technology, which allows anyone with a modern PC to put a CD in their
computer, turn it on, and have the GameCD boot directly into the game. The
game runs from the GameCD, and the GameCD handles the auto-detection and
configuration of all hardware.
By doing this, the Gentoo GameCD transforms any PC with an NVIDIA or ATI
graphics card into a console-like system. And because the GameCD can be
used by anyone -- even Windows users -- it expands the reach of
Linux-based gaming technologies tremendously. The goal of this effort is
to cause Linux gaming to rise to a new level of prominence that will
result in wonderful things for Linux gamers, Linux game developers and
publishers, Linux adoption as a whole, and of course GameCD users who can
now have a console-like experience on any modern PC thanks to the
flexibility and power of free software.
Gentoo Games, Inc. is a separate, independent entity from the Gentoo Linux
free software project. This was done to ensure that the commercial nature
of Gentoo Games will not impact the integrity of the Gentoo Linux social
contract. Funds generated by Gentoo Games, Inc. will be used to fund
future development of Gentoo Linux as well as GNU/Linux in general. In
addition, Gentoo Games hopes to provide exciting opportunities for capable
developers who would like to help us transform Linux gaming.
One of the first benefits to be realized from the creation of Gentoo
Games, Inc. (even before Gentoo Games, Inc. officially existed) was last
week's announcement that Gentoo Linux will soon support full 64-bit
functionality on the AMD Opteron platform.
Gentoo Linux attends E3
Gentoo Linux was present at the recent Electronic Entertainment Exposition
in Los Angeles to announce the creation of Gentoo Games and the America's
Army GameCD. The show was a huge success, with many companies expressing
interest in Gentoo Games' GameCD technology. In between meetings, the
Gentoo Linux folks were able to see at least part of the rest of the show,
including some very impressive booths by NVIDIA and the US Army.
2. Gentoo Security
* GLSA: kopete
* GLSA: gnupg
* GLSA: shadow
* New Security Bug Reports
The GnuPG plugin in kopete does not properly cleanse the command-line when
executing gpg, which could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary
* Severity: Critical - Cryptographic compromise, remote execution of
* Packages Affected: net-im/kopete prior to kopete-0.6.2
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge kopete, emerge clean.
* GLSA Announcement
There is a bug in GnuPG's validation code that permits keys with more than
one user to cause all user IDs on that key to be treated as though they
are as valid as the most valid key.
* Severity: High - Cryptographic compromise.
* Packages Affected: app-crypt/gnupg prior to gnupg-1.2.2
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge gnupg, emerge clean.
* GLSA Announcement
An upgrade is available for the shadow utility to mitigate a bug in
OpenSSH that permits remote attackers to identify the account names for
valid users on the system (see last week's GWN).
* Severity: High - Information exposure.
* Packages Affected: sys-apps/shadow prior to shadow-4.0.3-r5
* Rectification: Synchronize and emerge shadow, emerge clean.
* GLSA Announcement
New Security Bug Reports
The following new security bugs were posted this week:
3. User stories
Kenneth and how he switched his school to Gentoo Linux
Currently a high-school senior, Kenneth does some work on the school's
computers during his free time. One day a member of the computer staff
asked him to install Linux on six of the lab's 44 computers after being
not too happy with what using Office XP would cost the school. So Kenneth
decided to make an image containing KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla,
Samba, CUPS, distcc, gaim (what a nice school! ;), MPlayer, Flash, Java
and GNUPlot. And of course he was using Gentoo Linux for his efforts!
As the school uses a Windows network, Kenneth had to assure to make logons
work without knowing the administrator password. Furthermore students have
to be able to access their server space located on machines running
windows. And of course you have to convice people that Linux is not evil...
In oder to get logins to work, Kenneth patched the GDM source to run a
script which creates a UID if it doesn't already exist. smb_auth is used
for PAM and creates home directories according to a template Kenneth made.
There were problems with a few programs that recorded the home directory
in their configs (e.g. OpenOffice.org), so he made a symlink for it which
the template account uses as home directory. To mount Samba shares on
login and unmount them on logout he uses smb_authtoken and wrote a C
program that manages the mounts by calling smbmount and smbumount.
For easier updates Kenneth gets some stuff from /usr/portage from NFS
shares, uses distcc on the boxes and set up a local rsync mirror. When
administrating his machines, he uses a special konsole profile which runs
ssh to each of them and uses "send input to all".
KDE is used as the standard desktop environment, CUPS handles the network
printers and KDE has shortcuts to the various file servers.
On the first day, Kenneth registered over 57 new users. Some people,
including a teacher, really liked it. Kenneth put explanations on each
icon, so people didn't have a hard time figuring out what they did, but
some people just kept looking for Internet Explorer and didn't quite get
why it's not there. Other problems included mounting floppies or just
plain refusal to use anything else than Windows. However, Kenneth noticed
that some students only use "his" computers, even though they have no clue
at all what a kernel is. But his greatest day came when the NT print
servers went down and everybody who wanted to print had to use the Gentoo
boxes for this task. Even the chemistry teacher (who was previously mad
about different software) had to admit that he "played the linux game and
it printed fine.".
4. Featured Developer of the Week
Chad Huneycutt works on laptop stuff. Busy in real life, he claims to
be relatively inactive as a Gentoo developer, but currently he's working
on getting profiles(so that configuration for several different network
environments can be stored and chosen from) and automatic network
configuration going. While pcmcia-cs already supports 'schemes', Chad
is looking for an alternative that will integrate with Gentoo's current
configuration system, and thinks that the ultimate solution will require
enhancement of Gentoo's init scripts and a little hacking of pcmcia-cs to
make it all work together. And as for automatic network hacking, Chad is
working with Peter Johanson on adding wireless AP detection to the
existing mix of good utilities that are already out there.
Chad began using Gentoo about two years ago when he read drobbins' IBM
Developerworks articles, and like most developers joined the team by
submitting ebuilds, hanging out on IRC (Chad's first time on IRC), and
making a nuisance of himself. While he has a Sourceforge project
(hodgepodge), he says that it's a library of some Java code he wrote a
long time ago and that he hasn't done much OSS work outside of Gentoo.
Chad says that if he finishes the network profile stuff described above,
it'll be his greatest achievement yet.
A Ph.D student in Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of technology,
Chad studies computer architecture, working in particular on a project
called SoftCache, an amalgamation of compiler, cache, and embedded systems
concepts. Chad uses Evolution, Mozilla, Xchat, and Gabber everyday, while
his tools of the trade are vim, gcc, and gdb (in that order), all running
under GNOME currently, although he also uses KDE regularly. Chad, 28,
lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife of almost seven years and his two
year-old son. While he'd love to play tennis and bridge if he had time,
what he usually does is spend time with his son and play (mostly German)
5. Heard In The Community
Gamers in Seventh Heaven
The only other news so far this year responsible for an equally generous
amount of excitement and controversial debate in the Gentoo Forums was the
April fool's joke... The strong gamers and players community in Gentoo
(complete with a forum of their own) has greeted the creation of Gentoo
Games Inc. with the utmost gratitude and exploded in speculation as to
what exactly the new company will be doing, aside from the America's Army
CD that served as a kickoff to the new legal entity. While some people
prefer to discuss whether it's politically wise to move into this
direction to begin with, others tried to alleviate the burden on
Supercomputing's server bandwidth by hosting the iso image -- only to see
their FTP servers crash almost instantly...
* Good luck to Gentoo Games Inc. !!
* America's Army: politically sensitive?
* Gentoo Games !!?!!?
* YEAH America's Army GameCD is out !!
Ahead of Their Times
Strangely enough, Gentoo's much less controversial announcement of teaming
up with Super Computer Inc. for porting Linux to the Opteron platform went
without mention in this thread, but it seems as if people are already busy
optimizing compiler settings for systems with AMD's new 64-bit CPU:
* Gentoo on the Opteron (x86-64)
John Whitney aka jjw has developed an application that promises to
reduce download times when upgrading software, by fetching only
differentials between old and new versions of the respective source code,
and applying them as patches to the version already locally available.
Here's the discussion thread that greets his ebuild submission:
* Deltup will update packages and reduce download time
Learning the Gentoo Ways
Where is xinetd? An innocent question by a Redhat user who went to look
for the missing daemon in Gentoo triggered an interesting debate on open
ports, enhancing security and the virtues of a minimal default
* ports and services
One of those pesky error messages recorded during bootup, the "spurious
8259A interrupt", is sufficiently widespread to cause uncertainty
among Gentoo users. The long and the short of it: If it hurts when you do
that, don't do that. Mark Knecht explains how this error message may
sometimes only appear when a system is powered up, but not if it's simply
being rebooted. And unless there appears to be something seriously wrong
with a system as a result of it, there's no need to worry, says hardware
buff Joe Stone:
* spurious 8259A interrupt: IRQ7.
System health and portage diagnostics
Dhruba Bandopadhyay thinks that a lot of the problems user's have when
intalling new ebuilds can be solved by issuing ldconfig, env-update,
source /etc/profile or revdep-rebuild (from the gentoolkit package). So he
proposes "that all tools that are scattered around the various packages
intended for diagnosing and maintaining system health be integrated into
one and included in portage". He has received no feedback so far!
Weeve timidly asked about the changes to the format of ChangeLogs.
Gentoo developer Dan Armak explained the reasons behind this
"change".. and how it was that there was no change at all!
Improved JDBC support
Gentoo developer Dylan Carlson posted to gentoo-dev to announce the
availability of six new packages added to the "dev-java" category that
will bring JDBC connectivity support to Gentoo.
[WIP] GCC 3.3
Gentoo developer Spider announced an initial ebuild for GCC 3.3.
"Comments and testers are welcome :)"
6. Gentoo International
Cologne Meeting Aftermath
About a dozen Gentoo users made it to last week's regional meeting in
Germany. Hellers Brauhaus in Cologne was packed with laptops, an unusually
high density of electronics for this rather down-to-earth brewery outlet,
and everybody of course had a splendid time. In a remarkably swift
response to the GWN's mistake in announcing the wrong location two weeks
ago, the next meeting is indeed scheduled to take place in Bonn - we know
a self-fulfilling prophecy when we see one... And this is what German
Gentooists look like after dark:
Journee de Gentooiens in France - Yes, But Where?
In spite of at least one semi-serious offer for a shuttle service from the
airport to the venue, the issue of a French Gentoo user meeting raised
last week is unlikely to resolve with Martinique as its location. Thanks
to her colonial past, France has left a prominent linguistic heritage all
over the planet, and lots of French-speaking Gentooists live in very nice
spots at that. But it's hard to find an equidistant area for a meeting if
you have Guadeloupe, New Caledonia and Belgium sitting on the extremes of
the map, so people are gradually shifting towards regional meetings here
and there. Feel free to post your own suggestions at this thread in
the French forum.
7. Portage Watch
The following stable packages were updated or added to portage this week
We are aware that the USE variables section has dissapeared from Portage
Watch. It will be back shortly!
* app-admin/aide: AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment) is a
replacement for Tripwire
* app-cdr/cdrtools: A set of tools for CDR drives, including
* app-crypt/gnupg: The GNU Privacy Guard, a GPL pgp replacement
* app-emulation/basiliskII: BasiliskII-0.9.0 Macintosh Emulator (Stable
* app-i18n/canna: A client-server based Kana-Kanji conversion system
* app-office/gnucash: A personal finance manager
* app-office/gnumeric: Gnumeric, the GNOME Spreadsheet
* app-office/lyx: WYSIWYM frontend for LaTeX
* app-sci/gri: language for scientific graphics programming
* app-sci/mupad: MuPAD is an open computer algebra system
* app-sci/otter: An Automated Deduction System.
* app-sci/pari: A software package for computer-aided number theory
* app-sci/tbass: Balsa is both a framework for synthesising asynchronous
hardware systems and the language for describing such systems
* dev-db/freetds: Tabular Datastream Library
* dev-db/mysql++: C++ API interface to the MySQL database
* dev-db/mysqltool: Web interface for managing one or more mysql server
* dev-java/bcel: The Byte Code Engineering Library: analyze, create,
manipulate Java class files.
* dev-java/bsh: BeanShell is a small, free, embeddable, Java source
interpreter with object scripting language features.
* dev-java/cryptix-jce: Cryptix JCE is a complete clean-room
implementation of the official JCE 1.2 API as published by Sun.
* dev-java/infobus: InfoBus enables dynamic exchange of data between
JavaBeans component architecture.
* dev-java/jaf: Sun's JavaBeans Activation Framework (JAF)
* dev-libs/atk: Gnome Accessibility Toolkit
* dev-lisp/gcl: GNU Common Lisp
* dev-ruby/amrita: A HTML/XHTML template library for Ruby
* dev-ruby/amstd: Ruby utility collection by Minero Aoki
* dev-ruby/devel-logger: Lightweight logging utility
* dev-ruby/eruby: eRuby interprets a Ruby code embedded text file.
* dev-ruby/fxruby: FXRuby is the Ruby language binding to the FOX GUI
* dev-ruby/mysql-ruby: A Ruby extention library to use MySQL
* dev-ruby/rmagick: An interface between Ruby and the ImageMagick(TM)
image processing library
* dev-ruby/ruby-postgres: An extension library to access a PostgreSQL
database from Ruby
* dev-ruby/ruby-tcpwrap: A TCP wrappers library for Ruby
* gnome-base/bonobo: A set of language and system independant CORBA
* gnome-base/gail: Part of Gnome Accessibility
* gnome-base/gdm: GNOME2 Display Manager
* gnome-extra/acme: GNOME tool to make use of the multimedia buttons
present on most laptops and internet keyboards.
* gnome-extra/bug-buddy: Bug Report helper for Gnome
* gnome-extra/gal: The Gnome Application Libraries
* gnome-extra/gcalctool: A scientific calculator for Gnome2
* gnome-extra/gnome-pilot: Gnome Pilot apps
* gnome-extra/gnome-utils: Utilities for the Gnome2 desktop
* gnome-extra/gtkhtml: Lightweight HTML rendering/printing/editing
* media-gfx/aoi: A free, open-source 3D modelling and rendering
* media-plugins/alsa-xmms: Allows XMMS to output on any ALSA 0.9* device.
Supports surround 4.0 output with conversion
* media-video/ati-drivers: Ati precompiled drivers for r300, r250 and
* media-video/cinelerra: Cinelerra - Professional Video Editor
* net-analyzer/cacti: Cacti is a complete frondend to rrdtool
* net-firewall/firestorm: Network IDS
* net-fs/autofs: Kernel based automounter
* net-im/bitlbee: Bitlbee is an irc to IM gateway that support mutliple
* net-irc/lostirc: A simple but functional graphical IRC client
* net-irc/ninja: Ninja IRC Client
* net-libs/gnet: GNet network library.
* net-libs/libident: A small library to interface to the Ident protocol
* net-libs/libwww: A general-purpose client side WEB API
* net-libs/soup: Soup is a SOAP implementation
* net-mail/amavis: A perl module which integrates virus scanning software
with your MTA
* net-mail/balsa: Email client for GNOME
* net-mail/bogofilter: Bayesian spam filter designed with fast
algorithms, and tuned for speed.
* net-mail/checkpassword: A uniform password checking interface for root
* net-mail/courier: An MTA designed specifically for maildirs
* net-misc/aria: Aria is a download manager with a GTK+ GUI, it downloads
files from the Internet via HTTP/HTTPS or FTP.
* net-nds/openldap: LDAP suite of application and development tools
* net-nds/yp-tools: NIS Tools
* net-nds/ypbind: Multithreaded NIS bind service
* net-p2p/bittorrent: BitTorrent is a tool for distributing files via a
distributed network of nodes
* net-wireless/hostap: HostAP wireless drivers
* sys-apps/acpid: Daemon for Advanced Configuration and Power
* sys-apps/baselayout: Base layout for Gentoo Linux filesystem (incl.
initscripts and sysvinit)
* sys-devel/gcc: The GNU Compiler Collection. Includes C/C++ and java
* sys-kernel/compaq-sources: Kernel from the Compaq Distribution of Red
Hat Linux (ALPHA).
* sys-libs/cracklib: Password Checking Library
* sys-libs/glibc: GNU libc6 (also called glibc2) C library
* sys-libs/libcap: POSIX 1003.1e capabilities
* sys-libs/libchipcard: Libchipcard is a library for easy access to chip
cards via chip card readers (terminals).
* x11-libs/fltk: C++ user interface toolkit for X and OpenGL.
* x11-libs/gtkglext: GL extentions for Gtk+ 2.0
* x11-plugins/asmon: WindowMaker/AfterStep system monitor dockapp
* x11-terms/mlterm: A multi-lingual terminal emulator
Total categories: 82
Total packages: 4396
* 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
* 277 new bugs this week
* 462 bugs closed or resolved this week
* 3 previously closed bugs were reopened this week.
* 2531 total bugs currently marked 'new'
* 336 total bugs currently assigned to developers
There are currently 2910 bugs open in Bugzilla. Of these: 42 are labeled
'blocker', 109 are labeled 'critical', and 233 are labeled 'major'.
Closed Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs this week are:
* Sven Vermeulen, with 20 closed bugs
* Alastair Tse, with 20 closed bugs
* Martin Holzer, with 16 closed bugs
* Nicholas Jones, with 13 closed bugs
* The KDE Team, with 10 closed bugs
Sven Vermeulen was overlooked in last week's rankings. With 22
closed bugs, he should have been ranked first.
New Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs this
* Robert Coie, with 16 new bugs
* Martin Schlemmer, with 12 new bugs
* The XFree Team, with 12 new bugs
* Jay Pfeifer, with 9 new bugs
* The x86-Kernel Team, with 8 new bugs
9. Tips and Tricks
Setting the Hardware Clock
This weeks tip shows you how to set the hardware clock on your Gentoo
Linux box with the command hwclock.
Setting the hardware clock is especially useful in case you have clock
problems. If you experience a clock that is losing or gaining a lot of
time each after a reboot, set hardware clock right, then remove
hwclock is located in /sbin/hwclock and you'll need to be root to use it.
Without any options, you'll see your current hardware clock setting. By
using the --systohc option, you can set your hardware clock to your system
| Code Listing 9.1: |
| Using hwclock |
|Viewing hardware clock |
|# hwclock |
|Setting the hardware clock to system time |
|# hwclock --systohc |
There are many other options available for hwclock, see man hwclock for
10. Quote/Signature of the week
This week's featured quote actually originated before we started this new
section, but still deserves to be mentioned: "I've got this feeling,
shared by others I think, that XML is a hammer and everyone's looking for
nail-like objects." (Joseph Carter in a discussion about an init
Nothing against XML though, we happily use it for bringing the GWN to you!
It's just that the hype gets a little annoying from time to time...
11. Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
* none this week
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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