Gentoo Archives: gentoo-gwn

From: Kurt Lieber <klieber@g.o>
To: gentoo-gwn@g.o
Subject: [gentoo-gwn] Gentoo Weekly Newsletter -- Volume 2, Issue 5
Date: Mon, 03 Feb 2003 01:12:39
Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of February 3rd, 2003.
1. Gentoo News

 * KDE 3.1 Released 
 * Mirror slowdowns 
 * Gentoo server migrations 
KDE 3.1 Released
On Tuesday, KDE 3.1 was released to the Linux community, with Gentoo 
ebuilds available the same day. This new release contains many new 
features[1] and security enhancements. While there have been some reports 
of troubles, the upgrade process seems to be going fairly smoothly for 
most users. The largest complaint so far has been the amount of time 
necessary to compile the new version of KDE, with many users reporting 
significant increases from KDE 3.0 compile times. 

Mirror Slowdowns
One of the side affects of the KDE 3.1 release has been the significant 
slowdowns of the distfile mirrors for most Gentoo users. Additionally, due 
to the increasing popularity of Gentoo, ibiblio (the main mirror provider 
of Gentoo Linux distfiles) has been forced to divert much of the Gentoo 
traffic onto a secondary 'relief' server. While this has helped to 
distribute the load somewhat, the sheer number of Gentoo-releated requests 
coming is maxing out the capacity of the server and causing http requests 
to be queued. This can cause slowdowns and timeouts during emerges and has 
also caused some problems on the web site since many images are 
sourced from ibiblio. 
Work is being done to transfer web site images to another location which 
should alleviate many of the broken images people have been seeing on of late. As for the overall mirror slowness, users are 
encouraged to find and use a mirror closest to them and be patient as the 
KDE 3.1 tidal wave subsides. 
Gentoo server migrations
One of the main Gentoo Linux servers is being retired and, as such, some 
Gentoo services are being distributed to alternate servers. has already been migrated over to the same server that 
hosts Other services will be migrated as well over the 
next few days. During this process, users may notice some glitches as the 
DNS changes work their way around the net. 
2. Gentoo Security

 * There were no security alerts this week. 
 * New Security Bug Reports 
New Security Bug Reports
The following security-related bug reports were submitted to the bugzilla 
database this week: 
 * app-crypt/mit-krb5[2] 
 * net-mail/mailman[3] 
 * dev-perl/Mail-SpamAssassin[4] 
 * sys-apps/slocate[5] 
 * net-p2p/qt-dcgui[6] 

3. Featured Developer of the Week
Mark Guertin
This week's featured developer, Mark Guertin[7], is the senior development 
manager for Gentoo PPC. He's in charge of coordinating the PPC development 
team and keeping things together, as well as doing plenty of bug wrangling 
and testing of PPC packages in an effort to get the best QA possible for 
the PPC arch. Mark began using Gentoo when he heard that there was an 
unofficial port to PPC. Jumping in two feet first, it wasn't long before 
he started the #gentoo-ppc channel, built a site providing Gentoo PPC 
binaries, and ended up becoming a developer. Alongside five x86 machines 
running everything from Gentoo to Windows XP, Mark is running seven PPC 
boxen (mostly Gentoo except a few holdouts on a version of Slackware he 
ported to PPC long ago), including some arcane dual, and even 
quad-processor boxen, but his PPC mania doesn't end there: Mark has 
recently made some changes to yabootconfig, an automatic configurator for 
the Yaboot[8] boot manager for PPC, allowing it to autodetect and setup 
even triple-boot with Mac OS 9, OS X, and Linux, and has also been, for 
several years, hosting and maintaining the build machines for[9], a site that builds binary kernels from several PPC 
trees, tailoring some for specific hardware configurations, using an 
automated kernel build system (gkb - the GNU kernel builder, written by a 
friend of his). Mark also wrote Xeasyconf[10], an automatic configurator 
for X in PPC written specifically for Gentoo PPC but usable with other 
distros too. One of his favorite applications at the moment is 
kio-fish[11], a flexible kio-slave that, given shell access and some 
standard UNIX commands, allows you to access a remote filesystem as if it 
were local. 

 7. gerk@g.o
A resident of Toronto, ON in Canada, Mark works as an IT manager and 
database programmer for a graphics printing/design house during the day, 
and as the lead developer of Cartwise[12], a highly successful B2B 
e-commerce suite. When he's not hacking away at something, Mark has a 100% 
digital computerized home recording studio with which he enjoys writing, 
performing, producing, and engineering music. You can hear some of Mark's 
music here[13]. 

4. Heard In The Community
Web Forums
Gentoo Artwork, Anyone? - Post Your Requests...
It started rather innocuosly, with a single guy called port001[14] just 
wanting to try out a few visual effects. Then he got ahead of himself and 
offered everyone the possibility to request an icon for their favourite 
application. Within a week, the designer posse has grown to eight 
Gentooists with a predilection for pretty knobs, and between them they've 
already created one of the biggest collections of buttons for window 
managers around. And just in case your software isn't represented yet, you 
can request it at the same thread, or just grab the Photoshop or Gimp 
template and do it yourself. And why stop when it's beginning to make 
sense: Congratulations to the creation of the Gentoo Environment Agency: 
 * My X-Chat Icon[15] 
 * The Gentoo Icon Set[16] 
 * Gentoo Environment Agency[17] 

Tricky Laptops
When it comes to mobile computing, Windows users are to be envied. Not 
only do they get their portable computers with an operating system 
preinstalled, no: the laptop manufacturers also do everything in their 
might to make the hardware actually comply with said operating system. 
Meanwhile, back in the jungle, Linux users have to post caveats and 
warnings all over the place to prevent worse things from happening during 
their installation attempts. Latest example documented in the forums: 
power management in the 1.4 LiveCD kernel that does very bad things to HP 
 * Kernel panic: Kernel tried to kill INIT!!! (SOLVED)[18] 
Some DIY Ebuild Scripting
On mailing lists and newsgroups, it's rare to find people who answer to 
threads that went silent months ago. But in the forums, occasionally a 
threads just needs to mature for a few months, and then suddenly someone 
will pick it up, post a few additions and make it all the more useful. 
Here's a perl script for building packages you can grab and install on a 
less powerful machine or replicate across your network: 
 * building packages without installing them[19] 
Forum Now Hosting Bugs
rac[20] posted an announcement that sent shivers down the spines of a few 
people who thought that phpBB had finally revealed some terminal flaws. 
Fear nothing, it's just[21] that is now being hosted on 
the same machine as the forums. This looks like the perfect occasion to 
remind people to search for prior occurrences of their own problem. And 
best try searching both the forums and the particularly fine assortment of 
bugs in Gentoo at the sister-site. Unless you don't mind becoming a target 
of the dreaded "Spot the dup" thread, that is: 
 * Forums are now hosting bugs[22] 
 * Report possible duplicate posts here[23] 


Mirror, Mirror on the wall...
... who's the fastest one of them all? With the onset of KDE 3.1 final,'s pipes appeared clogged with Gentoo users scrambling to grab 
the latest sources. Two threads were spawned on gentoo-user complaining of 
decreased download speeds and requesting alternatives. Adam Mercer 
noted[24] the existence of GENTOO_MIRRORS variable in /etc/make.conf along 
with the page[25] to aid you in 
selecting a preferred mirror, and avoiding the 'flakiness' of 

There's more than one kind of Java
Tom Eastman wrote that he has exclusively used Sun's JDK for all things 
Java. After becoming a Gentoo'er, he didn't miss the fact that his system 
relies on Blackdown's JDK by default. This of course raised the 
interesting question, which is better? Ben Ricker's response[26] pointed 
us in the direction of good benchmarks located at[27] In short, it depends on what 
Java is being used for and that all the JVMs will suffice for 'general 
desktop' usage. 


Portage irk
Emiel Kollof writes[28]: "Why is it, when I unmask a package (with a 
higher version number than the "official one") by using ACCEPT_KEYWORDS, 
portage downgrades it on the next emerge -u world to a lower version? This 
is very irritating behaviour. Can it be turned off or disabled somehow?". 
Caleb answered[29] with a solution and J Robert Ray pointed to a patch[30] 
in bugzilla to add just that functionality. 

Follow-up: Methods for managing etc files 

Jeff Kowing says[31]: "Having seen my name mentioned in the bright lights 
of GWN[...] I was inspired to add an auto update feature to etc-update. It 
works by saving md5sums before you do a big emerge. After a big emerge, it 
uses those md5sums to determine which config files you have personally 
modified. Those you have never modified will be auto updated." See 
Bugzilla Bug 14666[32]. 

Portage Database Management 

Ingo Krabbe wonders[33] if there are any plans to have Portage use a 
database in order to improve speed. 

5. Gentoo International
Unofficial European Gentoo Websites (cont'd)
Ever since Enrico Morelli started Gentoo's Italian web outpost on 1 May 
2002, he is getting help from two friends. The three of them maintain the 
one European Gentoo website the GWN managed to overlook last week: A system administrator by day, Enrico has put Gentoo on every 
single piece of hardware he could lay hands on at work. Not that anybody 
in his department at the University of Florence would have been surprised 
about that, since he also was the person to introduce Linux in the 
Magnetic Resonance Center in the first place, some ten years ago. Now 
everything and the kitchen sink have Gentoo installed on them, including 
the institute's mail server, several workstations and an entire 
Mosix-cluster. The server still has its three admins, and it 
appears they're in contact with more volunteers, but sadly, the server 
suffers from slow connections and rigid conditions for Internet 
provisioning at its present location. If anyone knows where to host 
cheaply in Italy, has a spare server that could accomodate a PHP-driven 
forum or a mailing list, or maybe would like to help the Italian Gentoo 
community via contributions to their excellent documentation and security 
alert website, contact gentoo-dev@××××××.it. 
 * Italy: Gentoo Linux Italia[34] 

6. Portage Watch
The following stable packages were added to portage this week
Because of the pending release of 1.4_final, the Portage tree is currently 
frozen. As such, no new stable packages were introduced to Portage this 
Updates to notable packages

 * sys-kernel/* - development-sources-2.5.59-r3.ebuild; 
   development-sources-2.5.59-r6.ebuild; gs-sources-2.4.21_pre3-r3.ebuild; 
   usermode-sources-2.4.19-r41.ebuild; usermode-sources-2.4.19-r42.ebuild; 
   usermode-sources-2.4.19-r43.ebuild; usermode-sources-2.4.19-r44.ebuild; 
   usermode-sources-2.4.19-r45.ebuild; usermode-sources-2.4.19-r46.ebuild; 
   usermode-sources-2.4.19-r47.ebuild; wolk-sources-4.0_pre9.ebuild;  
 * dev-db/mysql - mysql-3.23.55.ebuild;  
New USE variables

 * ethereal - Adds support for ethereal wiretap log support in kismet 
 * usb - Adds USB support to applications that have optional USB support 
(e.g. cups) 
7. Bugzilla
 * Statistics 
 * Closed Bug Ranking 
 * New Bug Rankings 
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ([35]) 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 

 * 287 new or re-opened bugs this week 
 * 1590 total bugs currently marked 'new' 
 * 568 total bugs curently assigned to developers 
 * 52 bugs that were previously closed have been reopened. 

There are currently 2210 bugs open in bugzilla. Of these: 43 are labelled 
'blocker', 80 are labelled 'critical', and 151 are labelled 'major'. 

Closed Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs this week are: 

 * Nick Hadaway[36], with 22 closed bugs[37] 
 * The KDE Team[38], with 15 closed bugs[39] 
 * John P. Davis[40], with 11 closed bugs[41] 
 * Thomas Raschbacher[42], with 10 closed bugs[43] 

 36. raker@g.o
 38. kde@g.o
 40. zhen@g.o
 42. lordvan@g.o
New Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs this 
week are: 
 * The KDE Team[44], with 24 new bugs[45] 
 * Martin Schlemmer[46], with 23 new bugs[47] 
 * Daniel Robbins[48], with 14 new bugs[49] 
 * Nicholas Jones[50], with 13 new bugs[51] 
 * Nick Hadaway[52], with 12 new bugs[53] 

 44. kde@g.o
 46. azarah@g.o
 48. drobbins@g.o
 50. carpaski@g.o
 52. raker@g.o
8. Tips and Tricks
Setting Your Terminal Title
Since most Gentoo users frequently use terminals (xterm, Eterm, etc.), 
this week's tip shows how to make them more useful by adding information 
to the title. We can add the username, hostname, and working directory 
into the terminal title, making it easier to see where a terminal is, 
especially if it is minimized. Instead of having to open up the full 
terminal window, a quick glance at the taskbar is all that's necessary. 
If you use Bash, add the following to your ~/.bashrc file. 
| Code Listing 8.1: ~/.bashrc                                             |
|                                                                         |
|SHORT_HOST=`hostname -s`                                                 |
|                                                                         |
|if [ "$SHELL" = '/bin/bash' ] || [ "$SHELL" = '/bin/sh' ]                |
|then                                                                     |
|    case $TERM in                                                        |
|        rxvt|*term)                                                      |
|        PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${USER}@${SHORT_HOST}: \        |
|        ${PWD}\007"'                                                     |				
|        ;;                                                               |
|    esac                                                                 |
|fi                                                                       |
|                                                                         |
If you use Zsh, add the following to your ~/.zshrc file. Zsh users can see 
the current directory if at a prompt, or any commands if a program is 
| Code Listing 8.1: ~/.zshrc                                              |
|                                                                         |
|if [ "$SHELL" = '/bin/zsh' ]                                             |
|then                                                                     |
|    case $TERM in                                                        |
|        rxvt|*term)                                                      |
|            precmd() { print -Pn "\e]0;%n@%m - %~\a" }                   |
|            preexec () { print -Pn "\e]0;%n@%m - $1\a" }                 |
|            ;;                                                           |
|    esac                                                                 |
|fi                                                                       |
|                                                                         |
The idea for this weeks tip came from the Gentoo Forums[54]. This 
functionality has also made its way into /etc/skel/.bashrc, so many user 
accounts may have this information in their .bashrc files already. 

9. Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team: 
 * none this week 
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo team: 
 * Peter Johanson (latexer) -- Wireless and laptops 
 * Jason Shoemaker (kutsuya) -- Python 
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project. 
 * Tobias Eichert (viz) -- audio/sound related stuff 
10. Contribute to GWN
Interested in contributing to the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter? Send us an 

 55. gwn-feedback@g.o
11. GWN Feedback
Please send us your feedback[56] and help make GWN better.

 56. gwn-feedback@g.o
12. Other Languages
The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter is also available in the following languages:
 * Dutch 
 * English 
 * German 
 * French 
 * Japanese 
 * Italian 
 * Portuguese (Brazil) 
 * Portuguese (Portugal) 
 * Spanish 
Kurt Lieber <klieber@g.o> - Editor
AJ Armstrong <aja@×××××××××××××.com> - Contributor
Brice Burgess <nesta@×××××××.net> - Contributor
Yuji Carlos Kosugi <carlos@g.o> - Contributor
Rafael Cordones Marcos <rcm@×××××××.net> - Contributor
David Narayan <david@×××××××.net> - Contributor
Ulrich Plate <plate@×××.com> - Contributor
Peter Sharp <mail@××××××××××××××.net> - Contributor
Mathy Vanvoorden <matje@×××××××.be> - Dutch Translation
Tom Van Laerhoven <tom.vanlaerhoven@××××××.be> - Dutch Translation
Roel Adriaans <roel@××××××××.cx> - Dutch Translation
Nicolas Ledez <nicolas.ledez@××××.fr> - French Translation
Guillaume Plessis <gui@×××××××××.com> - French Translation
Eric St-Georges <thevedge@××××××××.net> - French Translation
John Berry <anfini@××××.fr> - French Translation
Martin Prieto <riverdale@×××××××××.org> - French Translation
Michael Kohl <citizen428@g.o> - German Translation
Steffen Lassahn <madeagle@g.o> - German Translation
Matthias F. Brandstetter <haim@g.o> - German Translation
Thomas Raschbacher <lordvan@g.o> - German Translation
Marco Mascherpa <mush@××××××.net> - Italian Translation
Claudio Merloni <paper@×××××××.it> - Italian Translation
Daniel Ketel <kage-chan@g.o> - Japanese Translation
Yoshiaki Hagihara <hagi@×××.com> - Japanese Translation
Andy Hunne <andy@×××××××××.com> - Japanese Translation
Yuji Carlos Kosugi <carlos@g.o> - Japanese Translation
Yasunori Fukudome <yasunori@××××××××××××××××.uk> - Japanese Translation
Ventura Barbeiro <venturasbarbeiro@××××××.br> - Portuguese (Brazil) 
Bruno Ferreira <blueroom@××××××××××××.net> - Portuguese (Portugal) 
Gustavo Felisberto <gustavo@××××××××××.net> - Portuguese (Portugal) 
Ricardo Jorge Louro <rjlouro@×××××××.org> - Portuguese (Portugal) 
Lanark <lanark@××××××××××.ar> - Spanish Translation
Rafael Cordones Marcos <rcm@×××××××.net> - Spanish Translation
Julio Castillo <julio@×××××××××××××.com> - Spanish Translation
Sergio Gómez <s3r@××××××××××××.ar> - Spanish Translation
Pablo Pita Leira <pablo.leira@×××××××××.com> - Spanish Translation
Carlos Castillo <carlos@×××××××××××××.com> - Spanish Translation
Tirant <tirant@×××××.net> - Spanish Translation
Jaime Freire <jfreire@××.com> - Spanish Translation
Lucas Sallovitz <krusty_ar@×××××.com> - Spanish Translation