Gentoo Archives: gentoo-gwn

From: Ulrich Plate <plate@g.o>
To: gentoo-gwn@××××××××××××.org
Subject: [gentoo-gwn] Gentoo Weekly Newsletter 4 April 2005
Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2005 00:38:07
Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 4 April 2005.
1. Gentoo News
April fools
Impossible to catch all IT-related April fool's jokes this year, they were 
everywhere, on Google, OpenBSD, some even found their way into Gentoo 
ebuilds. One seems to have qualified for the 2005 best of April fool's 
shortlist at many publications: The GeNToo project[1], Gentoo for the NT 
kernel, alas, is a complete and utter joke. If you believed a word of it, 
you've been had. 

Of the several pranks played at Gentoo this year, the GeNToo plot was the 
most elaborate, and actually dating back to a group of three developers 
splitting away from the rest of the lot at FOSDEM in February for a 
spontaneous hacking and belgian fries session: Karl Trygve Kalleberg[2], 
Patrick Lauer[3] and Marius Mauch[4]. Under the influence of too many 
Belgian fries, karltk was the first to point out the epiphany hidden in 
the name of the project: "You see, when you write 'Gentoo', it has NT in 
the middle," said the Norwegian developer. And thinking aloud: "Now if one 
took the NT kernel ... there is a POSIX layer for it ... put Portage on it 
..." As he drew the surreal picture in increasingly shrill colors, the 
three devs quickly realized that the only possible release date for this 
particularly fine piece of vaporware would have to be the first of April. 

 2. karltk@g.o
 3. patrick@g.o
 4. genone@g.o
So, with the idea floating since February, there was time to back the 
story up with ample documentation and even screenshots (which were taken 
from VMware during a regular boot of Windows 2000 in "Safe Mode"), with a 
coating of a handmade bootlog text that was a rather good approximation of 
how emerge info might actually look on such a system. 
When the announcement was posted to the website and the topics of two IRC 
channels almost simultaneously around noon UTC, the traffic statistics on 
the website where the project description was hosted went simply through 
the ceiling. An amazingly constant stream of traffic, weighing in at 
around one hit per second or 100MB per hour, was sustained over almost the 
entire day -- considering that the whole website is only 165KB, 
estimations are that the GeNToo hoax got around 600 visitors per hour. 
Figure 1.1: Traffic load on the fake GeNToo project pages: Right after the 
Figure 1.2: Traffic load on the fake GeNToo project pages: Slashdot effect 
after 22:00
To make the illusion even more believable, a channel on Freenode was 
created, too: #gentoo-nt, the perfect place to discuss something that 
didn't even exist. An interesting twist came about when some of the first 
to be fooled later turned into devoted GeNToo evangelists, perpetuating 
the myth in the IRC channel and taking the charade even further: One 
produced "a patched NT kernel" and offered it online at his own website. 
When looked at closely, it bore a striking familiarity with a 2.6.11 Linux 
kernel, but nevertheless -- declared as a "GeNToo binary" -- found many 
curious downloaders. 
While the #gentoo-nt channel on Freenode was still continuing its 
makebelief stance well past the dateline into Saturday 2 April, nobody was 
sad when the atrocities behind the other prominent Gentoo April fool's 
joke were taken down again. People who had followed the announcement[5] in 
the Gentoo forums that the redesign had now been finished and could be 
applied by simply switching the user profile, quickly complained about 
headache, sudden bursts of claustro- and other phobia. Small wonder, 
looking at the effect the "redesign" had on posts:

Figure 1.3: Kallamej's announcement, rendered in the freshly redesigned 
Forum layout
Reactions were mixed, while some people figured out the joke pretty fast, 
others complained about eyestrain. While moderators were watching and 
merging duplicated spawn to the central thread[6], they decided to create 
even more confusion by renaming moderators to "Ninjas" and administrators 
to "Ninja Masters". Bodhisatvas (the rank for ex-mods and -admins) decided 
not to follow this trend -- and were renamed to HAL 9000. How subtle 
moderator interference at the forums really is was best displayed by the 
fact that it took almost all day before people started noticing[7] the 

emerge webrsync reloaded
Portage developer Brian Harring[8] has implemented a more 
resource-friendly version of emerge webrsync. Instead of pulling in the 
whole tarball, it only uses compressed patches between (daily) versions. 
That way a user can keep up-to-date with only minimal overhead even when 
rsync is not available (firewalls and dialup users mostly). A description 
and howto can be found at  his blog[9]. First estimates give up to 99% 
bandwidth saved compared to webrsync. 

 8. ferringb@g.o
Donations surpassing expectations
Last week's announcement of the return of PayPal donations has triggered a 
delightful response from the community, as Corey Shields, one of the trustees 
of the Gentoo Foundation, has reported last week.
The opening balance for the bank account was spontaneously paid in full by 
Gentoo sponsor Genesi, who wired an advance payment on commissions for the 
sales of PegasosPPC Open Desktop Workstations.
2. Developer of the week
"Why Gentoo? It's cool." -- Michael Hanselmann (hansmi)
Figure 2.1: Michael Hanselmann aka hansmi
This weeks featured dev is Michael Hanselmann, known to most as 
hansmi[10]. He does "various stuff" in Gentoo/PPC, Gentoo/HPPA and the 
qmail herd, which mostly boils down to marking packages stable, fixing 
bugs and hanging out on IRC a lot. He is the administrator of a hosting 
experiment (a project called[11]), has written some software 
of his own[12], used to do some work with fli4l and still does busy 
himself with the m0n0wall project, but his greatest contributions he still 
sees in Gentoo, including a stint on the Mac OS X team where he 
contributed a Mac OS panel application for setting Portage preferences. 

 10. hansmi@g.o
Currently he is doing a programmer apprenticeship in Liechtenstein which 
will be finished this summer -- job offers in Switzerland are therefore 
highly appreciated! His favourite applications are the vim, mutt and 
qmail, which all runs somewhere on a heterogenous mix of x86, sparc, hppa 
and ppc, with fluxbox quite possibly being the only element that binds 
them all together. Asked what the first application to launch after he 
boots his systems, he insists on an appropriately geeky answer: 
"Technically, /sbin/init is the first application I (or my kernel) 
launches at startup. Or maybe you mean bash when logging in. In a 
graphical environment, it's aterm and ssh." 
In those rare moments when he is not attached to computer peripherals he 
fiddles with electronics, building or breaking stuff, and sometimes really 
considers "real" life less interesting than computers. 
3. Heard in the community
Web forums
Banned from OTW
A new feature, originally introduced by ex-developer Christian Hartmann 
and available to forum administrators since about a month ago has now been 
officially announced to the public. The OTW ban button provides the forum 
admins with a finer-grained ability to ban someone for disregarding the 
guidelines for postings in Off the Wall, while leaving their ID intact and 
activated for posts in the technical support forums. People can be 
hotheads and still eager (and competent) to help others with their Linux 
problems. Until the new feature was introduced, banning resulted in a full 
ban from the forums altogether. 
 * Bans from OTW[13] 

The Pluggable Hell - PAM
Diego Petten嘆[14] explains his work with getting PAM (Pluggable 
Authentication Modules) to behave the same on non-Linux Gentoos as on 
normal Linux. For anyone interested in porting software this should be an 
interesting read, showing how small differences can make you life really 
difficult when trying to get something to work properly ... 

 14. flameeyes@×××××××××××××.de
 * Pluggable Hell Part 1 [15] 
 * Pluggable Hell Part 2 [16] 
 * pam_console headaches [17] 

GTK / GTK2 USE flag madness
As it happens every 6 months or so, a discussion on the (ab)use and the 
combinations of GTK and GTK2 USEflags was started. There are many ideas to 
improve the situation, but no real consensus on what "-gtk gtk2" would 
mean has been reached (yet) 
 * GTK und GTK2 Use Flag [18] 

ApRiL FoOlS!!!
As it happens every year, a few jokes were sent to the -dev mailinglist on 
April 1. Here's a list of those messages: 
 * Uniting x86 and AMD64 keywords [19] 
 * New "warez" useflag [20] 
 * GeNToo, Gentoo with Microsoft NT kernel [21] 
 * new dev mr_t [22] 

4. Gentoo in the press
NewsForge (28 March 2005)
Bruce Byfield discusses the upcoming version 2.0 and the 
implications of its move towards Java: "Since Java's license is neither 
free nor open source, a small but vocal minority has responded both 
strongly and negatively," says Byfield, and explains in detail why there 
are fears of platform support for OOo falling apart (FreeBSD and Linux for 
PPC, for example, currently "have no official version of Java," as he 
notes), and of alienating users. In his article with the provocative title 
"Java fallout: 2.0 and the FOSS community"[23], he looks at 
the plans at major distributors of how to go about the issue of OOoand 
Java inclusion, he quotes Gentoo developer Paul de Vrieze[24] as 
preferring an open-source implementation of Java such as GCJ, but being 
open to include Java proper if no alternative is available. 

 24. pauldv@g.o
Summary of release coverage (28 March 2005 and later)
The long-awaited release of 2005.0 received a lot of attention throughout 
the week, here's a compilation of some major sightings:
 * OS News[25] 
 * Blogged IT News[27] 
 * Desktop Linux[28] 
 * Linux Electrons[29] 
 * LinuxFR[30] 
 * Der Standard (Austrian daily newspaper, in German)[31] 
 * (German)[32] 
 * DSL Team (German)[33] 
 * Pro-Linux (German)[34] 
 * LinuxHelp (Italian)[35] 

5. Moves, adds, and changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team: 
 * Chris White  
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team: 
 * Joe Sapp (nixphoeni) - gDesklets  
 * Jory Pratt (anarchy) - qmail  
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux 
 * None this week 
6. Gentoo security
mpg321: Format string vulnerability
A flaw in the processing of ID3 tags in mpg321 could potentially lead to 
the execution of arbitrary code. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[36] 

Smarty: Template vulnerability
Smarty's "Template security" feature can be bypassed, potentially allowing 
a remote attacker to execute arbitrary PHP code. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[37] 

netkit-telnetd: Buffer overflow
The netkit-telnetd telnet client is vulnerable to a buffer overflow, which 
could allow a malicious telnet server operator to execute arbitrary code. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[38] 

LimeWire: Disclosure of sensitive information
Two vulnerabilities in LimeWire can be exploited to disclose sensitive 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[39] 

telnet-bsd: Multiple buffer overflows
The telnet-bsd telnet client is vulnerable to two buffer overflows, which 
could allow a malicious telnet server operator to execute arbitrary code. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[40] 

Sylpheed, Sylpheed-claws: Buffer overflow on message display
Sylpheed and Sylpheed-claws contain a vulnerability that can be triggered 
when displaying messages with specially crafted attachments. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[41] 

7. Bugzilla
 * Statistics 
 * Closed bug ranking 
 * New bug rankings 
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ([42]) to record and 
track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the 
development team. Between 27 March 2005 and 03 April 2005, activity on the 
site has resulted in: 

 * 911 new bugs during this period 
 * 489 bugs closed or resolved during this period 
 * 32 previously closed bugs were reopened this period 
Of the 8410 currently open bugs: 87 are labeled 'blocker', 235 are labeled 
'critical', and 633 are labeled 'major'. 
Closed bug rankings
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs during this period 
 * media-video herd[43], with 48 closed bugs[44]  
 * AMD64 Porting Team[45], with 36 closed bugs[46]  
 * Java team[47], with 27 closed bugs[48]  
 * Gentoo LiveCD Team[49], with 19 closed bugs[50]  
 * Gentoo's Team for Core System packages[51], with 16 closed bugs[52]  
 * Gentoo Security[53], with 15 closed bugs[54]  
 * PPC Porters[55], with 13 closed bugs[56]  
 * Gentoo Sound Team[57], with 12 closed bugs[58]  
 43. media-video@g.o
 45. amd64@g.o
 47. java@g.o
 49. livecd@g.o
 51. base-system@g.o
 53. security@g.o
 55. ppc@g.o
 57. sound@g.o

New bug rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs during 
this period are: 
 * AMD64 Porting Team[59], with 23 new bugs[60]  
 * Gentoo Sound Team[61], with 16 new bugs[62]  
 * Gentoo KDE team[63], with 14 new bugs[64]  
 * Gentoo Toolchain Maintainers[65], with 13 new bugs[66]  
 * Gentoo Kernel Bug Wranglers and Kernel Maintainers[67], with 12 new 
 * Gentoo X-windows packagers[69], with 11 new bugs[70]  
 * Gentoo Linux Gnome Desktop Team[71], with 11 new bugs[72]  
 * Gentoo's Team for Core System packages[73], with 11 new bugs[74]  
 59. amd64@g.o
 61. sound@g.o
 63. kde@g.o
 65. toolchain@g.o
 67. kernel@g.o
 69. x11@g.o
 71. gnome@g.o
 73. base-system@g.o

8. Contribute to GWN
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11. Other languages
The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter is also available in the following languages:
 * Danish[77]  
 * Dutch[78]  
 * English[79]  
 * German[80]  
 * French[81]  
 * Japanese[82]  
 * Italian[83]  
 * Polish[84]  
 * Portuguese (Brazil)[85]  
 * Portuguese (Portugal)[86]  
 * Russian[87]  
 * Spanish[88]  
 * Turkish[89]  

Ulrich Plate <plate@g.o> - Editor
Wernfried Haas <w.haas@×××××××××××××××××××.at> - Author
Patrick Lauer <patrick@g.o> - Author

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