Gentoo Archives: gentoo-gwn

From: Ulrich Plate <plate@g.o>
To: gentoo-gwn@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-gwn] Gentoo Weekly Newsletter 1 November 2004
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 12:32:15
Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 1 November 2004.
1. Gentoo News
Report from last week's Linux World Expo in Germany (Frankfurt)
The Linux World Conference & Expo[1] in Frankfurt is one of Germany's top 
5 specialized fairs, with 15,000 visitors and its main focus on commercial 
Linux offerings. The exhibition serves as a platform for Linux products 
and development, and is complemented by a conference program spanning all 
three days. Gentoo was present in the ".org Pavilion" next to a lot of 
other non-commercial community projects. The German non-profit association 
"Förderverein Gentoo e.V."[2] had been in charge of organization, and 
brought together more than ten Gentoo developers from Germany, Austria and 
the Switzerland to man the booth.
Figure 1.1: The Usual suspects
Note: Left to right: zypher (Marc Hildebrand), dj-submerge (Marc Herren), 
visiting GWN editor Ulrich Plate, swegener (Sven Wegener), crouching ian! 
(Christian Hartmann), PyLon (Lars Weiler), yah (Markus van Bracht), 
cybersystem (Markus Nigbur), amne (Wernfried Haas), stkn (Stefan Knoblich) 
and tantive (Michael Imhof) 
There was quite some interest in the large variety of supported platforms 
displayed at the Gentoo booth this year, from various x86 and PPC laptops 
to three Ultra-Sparc machines, and even a Siemens Primergy quadruple Xeon 
server. With half a dozen hosts constantly building base systems or 
emerging applications, a dedicated Mini-ITX based distfiles server was put 
in place as a local repository right at the booth, very convenient for 
both staff and Gentoo users passing by. Several visitors came to get 
special support for their Gentoo installations, or just wanted to meet 
some of the developers involved in the project. One of their most frequent 
request was a "server edition" or "Enterprise Gentoo", with a more 
stabilized tree and more comfort for updates in a production environment - 
hardly surprising, since the LWE is a predominantly commercial trade fair.
Special LWE edition Gentoo x86 LiveCDs (nicknamed "Fizzlewizzle") 
featuring German localizations of KDE, extensive documentation and a 
nightview of Frankfurt's office district on the CD label were distributed 
at the booth. Both the ISO image (remastered by Tobias Scherbaum[3]) and 
Christian Hartmann's[4] artwork to print directly onto the media can be 
downloaded from here[5].
 3. dertobi123@g.o
 4. ian@g.o
Figure 1.2: Gentoo LiveCD LWE edition cover
Mixed messages were heard from neighboring exhibitors: While Sven Herzberg 
of the Gnome[6] booth was kind enough to point out that Gentoo's bugzilla 
(unlike his own project's older version) provides buglists in iCalendar 
format for import into Evolution, Sun Microsystems had disappointing news 
about the future availability of Java on the PowerPC platform - none 
planned, unfortunately. Their project Looking Glass[7] remains quite an 
eyecatcher, though. 
Call for help: Experienced J2EE developers needed
Karl Trygve Kalleberg[8] of Gentoo's Java team really needs help: "Judging 
from the number of bugs and requests for feature enhancements that we've 
been assigned in the recent past, there must have been increased interest 
in Java applications since the release of Eclipse[9]," explains Karl. The 
first request for additional help went out in August, but this time 
there's a tad more urgency to it: If you're an experienced Java developer, 
especially with a J2EE track record, please mail Karl[10] and the Gentoo 
recruiters team[11] today.
 8. karltk@g.o
 10. karltk@g.o
 11. recruiters@g.o
Coming up: Gentoo Bugday on Saturday, 6 November 2004
Gentoo Bugday is a monthly event where users and developers gather on IRC 
to fix lots of bugs. This unique opportunity to meet the devs and directly 
participate in fixing problems has been hugely successful, in the past. A 
dedicated IRC channel has been set aside for this collaborative effort, 
#gentoo-bugs on, and if you want to participate, all you 
have to do is /join the channel.
2. Gentoo security
MySQL: Multiple vulnerabilities
Several vulnerabilities including privilege abuse, Denial of Service, and 
potentially remote arbitrary code execution have been discovered in MySQL. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[12]
Gaim: Multiple vulnerabilities
Multiple vulnerabilities have been found in Gaim which could allow a 
remote attacker to crash the application, or possibly execute arbitrary 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[13]
MIT krb5: Insecure temporary file use in
The script, included in the mit-krb5 package, is vulnerable to 
symlink attacks, potentially allowing a local user to overwrite arbitrary 
files with the rights of the user running the utility.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[14]
Netatalk: Insecure tempfile handling in
The script, included in the Netatalk package, is vulnerable to 
symlink attacks, potentially allowing a local user to overwrite arbitrary 
files with the rights of the user running the utility.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[15]
socat: Format string vulnerability
socat contains a format string vulnerability that can potentially lead to 
remote or local execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the 
socat process.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[16]
mpg123: Buffer overflow vulnerabilities
Buffer overflow vulnerabilities have been found in mpg123 which could lead 
to execution of arbitrary code.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[17]
rssh: Format string vulnerability
rssh is vulnerable to a format string vulnerability that allows arbitrary 
execution of code with the rights of the connected user, thereby bypassing 
rssh restrictions.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[18]
PuTTY: Pre-authentication buffer overflow
PuTTY contains a vulnerability allowing an SSH server to execute arbitrary 
code on the connecting client.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[19]
GPdf, KPDF, KOffice: Vulnerabilities in included xpdf
GPdf, KPDF and KOffice all include vulnerable xpdf code to handle PDF 
files, making them vulnerable to execution of arbitrary code upon viewing 
a malicious PDF file.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[20]
Archive::Zip: Virus detection evasion
Email virus scanning software relying on Archive::Zip can be fooled into 
thinking a ZIP attachment is empty while it contains a virus, allowing 
detection evasion.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[21]
3. Heard in the community
Web forums
To sleep - perchance to dream: ay, there's the patch
Ending many months of insomnia in PowerBooks, Gentoo/PPC developer JoseJX 
reported in a Forum thread on Wednesday that Benjamin Herrenschmidt, the 
PPC kernel maintainer, has published his latest enhancement to the power 
management of portable Macs, more specifically for putting the aluminium 
PowerBooks with ATi graphics chipsets to sleep. Benh's patch seems to 
apply cleanly to Gentoo's development sources 2.6.9-r1, and a wave of 
gratitude is washing over the PPC forum: 
 * Test patch for sleep on AluBooks[22]  
Analogue distributions
Users commented on a new linux distribution vidalinux[23] which is based 
on Gentoo. It uses the Gentoo system tools and portage as its package 
 * vidalinux[24]  
Master USE
Several discussions arose this week regarding USE flags in Portage. USE 
flags provide a convenient approach to managing support and dependency 
information when emerging packages. Understanding what flags are necessary 
and how they might impact a system's configuration can be challenging for 
new users.
 * USE flags documentation[25] 
 * Choosing USE flags (and choosing well)[26] 
 * changed USE flags[27] 
Binary pop
One user noticed that etc-update was asking them to overwrite /etc/X11/xdm 
binary files in addition to just configuration files.
 * Portage: binaries seen as config files[28] 
A few glibc changes
Travis Tilley[29] has again done some (major) changes to Gentoo's glibc. 
This includes enabling some sanity checks, and improved DNS and mDNS 
 29. lv@g.o
 * A few glibc changes[30] 
"Planet Gentoo" blog aggregator
Daniel Drake[31] presents a proposal for a Gentoo Blog Aggregator to 
provide users and developers with a better overview of developments in 
Gentoo. The ensuing discussion centered more on the usefulness of such a 
service, as many people dislike blogs.
 31. dsd@g.o
 * GLEP 30: "Planet Gentoo" web log aggregator[32] 
GLEP 29: USE flag grouping
In another GLEP started this week, Ciaran McCreesh[33] proposes some new 
input on USE flag groups. This should enable users to select groups (for 
example, @KDE, @MULTIMEDIA), but the fine details (what does @KDE -@GNOME 
do?) are still not perfectly worked out. 
 33. ciaranm@g.o
 * A GLEP 29: USE flag grouping[34] 
4. Gentoo in the press
Newsforge (30 October 2004)
Joe Barr has written a tongue-in-cheek piece[35] answering the question 
what the choice of Linux distributions says about a person. According to 
Barr, Gentoo's motto is "If it moves, compile it," supposedly making it 
the distribution most appealing to lone ranger types like John Wayne.
5. Bugzilla
 * Statistics 
 * Closed bug ranking 
 * New bug rankings 
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ([36]) to record and 
track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the 
development team. Between 24 October 2004 and 30 October 2004, activity on 
the site has resulted in: 
 * 802 new bugs during this period 
 * 378 bugs closed or resolved during this period 
 * 19 previously closed bugs were reopened this period 
Of the 7368 currently open bugs: 115 are labeled 'blocker', 255 are 
labeled 'critical', and 551 are labeled 'major'. 
Closed bug rankings
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs during this period 
 * Gentoo's Team for Core System packages[37], with 45 closed bugs[38]  
 * AMD64 Porting Team[39], with 25 closed bugs[40]  
 * Gentoo Security[41], with 19 closed bugs[42]  
 * Java team[43], with 14 closed bugs[44]  
 * netmon herd[45], with 13 closed bugs[46]  
 * Gentoo KDE team[47], with 12 closed bugs[48]  
 * Wine Maintainers[49], with 10 closed bugs[50]  
 * Gentoo Toolchain Maintainers[51], with 10 closed bugs[52]  
 37. base-system@g.o
 39. amd64@g.o
 41. security@g.o
 43. java@g.o
 45. netmon@g.o
 47. kde@g.o
 49. wine@g.o
 51. toolchain@g.o
New bug rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs during 
this period are: 
 * Gentoo's Team for Core System packages[53], with 19 new bugs[54]  
 * Gentoo Linux Gnome Desktop Team[55], with 17 new bugs[56]  
 * AMD64 Porting Team[57], with 17 new bugs[58]  
 * Alpha Porters[59], with 15 new bugs[60]  
 * Gentoo Games[61], with 12 new bugs[62]  
 * Dylan Carlson[63], with 12 new bugs[64]  
 * Portage team[65], with 11 new bugs[66]  
 * Mozilla Gentoo Team[67], with 10 new bugs[68]  
 53. base-system@g.o
 55. gnome@g.o
 57. amd64@g.o
 59. alpha@g.o
 61. games@g.o
 63. absinthe@g.o
 65. dev-portage@g.o
 67. mozilla@g.o
6. Tips and Tricks
Last week's GWN introduced brandnew Portage features, this week we'd like 
to take you back to a venerable, sturdy old feature that's hot 
nonetheless: PORTAGE_NICENESS. Let's look at some basics first. 
Very simply put, the Linux kernel has a (process) scheduler that selects 
which process to run next in your system. One factor influencing the 
scheduler's decision about which process to assign CPU time to, is the 
priority of a process. Processes with a high priority will run before 
those with a lower priority, and processes with the same priority will 
take turns in running, one after the other and over again. 
Better have a look at it for yourself: Run top from a terminal on your 
host and pay special attention to the PR and NI columns: 
| Code Listing 6.1:                                                       |
|Sample top                                                               |
|                                                                         |
| 8005 root      20   0 85188  33m  57m R  3.3  6.7   8:43.77 X           |
| 8148 tobias    20  10 25624 2376  24m S  0.3  0.5   0:00.60 xscreensaver|
|    1 root      20   0  2476  552 2304 S  0.0  0.1   0:00.31 init        |
|    2 root      39  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/0 |
|    3 root      15  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.09 events/0    |
|                                                                         |
The PR column indicates the priority level of a process, the value in the 
NI column displays the so-called nice value of process, which allows you 
to adjust the priority of a running process. Possible values range from 
-20 (very high priority), via 0 (standard priority) to 20 (very low 
priority). In our little example the xscreensaver process has a higher 
nice value than X, which indicates that X has a higher priority than 
Now, how do we make this work to our advantage when using Portage?
If you keep using your computer while compiling packages you will notice 
that your box is much less responsive as usal. This is caused by having 
two "groups" of processes with the same nice priority: your usual running 
tasks on one side, and emerge (and its child processes) on the other. Now, 
if you could renice emerge and its children to a higher nice (i.e. lower 
priority!) value, compiling would inevitably take somewhat longer, but you 
could use your workstation without noticing much difference to its usual 
performance. That's what the PORTAGE_NICENESS parameter in /etc/make.conf 
is for: 
| Code Listing 6.2:                                                       |
|Put this in                                                              |
|                                                                         |
|PORTAGE_NICENESS="15"                                                    |
|                                                                         |
You can generally "renice" individual processes from the commandline, 
(e.g. renice 0 -p 8148 to prioritize xscreensaver in the above example), 
but this will not work with emerge, as Portage reads the PORTAGE_NICENESS 
setting from /etc/make.conf once and executes all child processes with the 
specified nice value. 
7. 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 
8. Contribute to GWN
Interested in contributing to the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter? Send us an 
 69. gwn-feedback@g.o
9. GWN feedback
Please send us your feedback[70] and help make the GWN better.
 70. gwn-feedback@g.o
10. GWN subscription information
To subscribe to the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter, send a blank email to 
To unsubscribe to the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter, send a blank email to 
gentoo-gwn-unsubscribe@g.o from the email address you are 
subscribed under.
11. Other languages
The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter is also available in the following languages:
 * Danish[71] 
 * Dutch[72] 
 * English[73] 
 * German[74] 
 * French[75] 
 * Japanese[76] 
 * Italian[77] 
 * Polish[78] 
 * Portuguese (Brazil)[79] 
 * Portuguese (Portugal)[80] 
 * Russian[81] 
 * Spanish[82] 
 * Turkish[83] 
Ulrich Plate <plate@g.o> - Editor
Brian Downey <bdowney@×××××××××××.net> - Author
Patrick Lauer <patrick@g.o> - Author
Tobias Scherbaum <dertobi123@g.o> - Author
Emmet Wagle <ewagle@×××××.com> - Author
Lars Weiler <pylon@g.o> - Author

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