Gentoo Archives: gentoo-gwn

From: Ulrich Plate <plate@g.o>
To: gentoo-gwn@××××××××××××.org
Subject: [gentoo-gwn] Gentoo Weekly Newsletter 6 December 2004
Date: Mon, 06 Dec 2004 00:15:19
Gentoo Weekly Newsletter
This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 6 December 2004.
1. Gentoo News
Gentoo Developer Meeting at 21C3, 27 to 29 December 2004
The 21st Chaos Communication Congress (21C3)[1] is a three-day conference 
on technology, society and utopia. Traditionally held in the German 
capital of Berlin between Christmas and New Year's Eve each year, the C3 
offers lectures and workshops on information technology, IT security, 
Internet, and cryptography, and offers a generally critical and creative 
debate on technology and its effects on society.
Last year's 20C3 already had plenty of Gentoo developers and users attend 
the conference, leading to the announcement of an official Gentoo 
Developer Meeting to be held concurrently at this year's event. The Gentoo 
Dev Meeting is scheduled for 28 December (the second day of the 
conference) at 18:00 hours, the guestlist and the agenda are to be 
announced at the 21C3's public wiki for Gentoo[2]. It will serve many 
purposes, ranging from a simple get-together for (mainly European) Gentoo 
developers, via exploring the possibilities for closer co-operation, 
improved direct communication and more synergies in the network, to 
improvements to the Gentoo project as a whole. We will define the state of 
the European Gentoo developer network, and how we can improve developer 
relations in that network, we will discuss ways to work together and help 
each other with our efforts in maintaining and developing the Gentoo 
distribution, now and in the future.
Besides the developer meeting, other Gentoo highlights at the 21c3 are not 
to be missed, either, one being the Hardened Gentoo presentation of 
Alexander Gabert[3] on 28 December at 15:00, an introduction to the 
hardened toolchain, the PaX kernel, strong DAC/MAC control mechanisms and 
the project's thorough low-entry oriented user documentation, all-in-all 
providing "full scale" protection for a wide range of home to enterprise 
users. On the exhibition and activity floor of the conference, the 
traditional "hackcenter"[4], a Gentoo table will be set up to meet, greet 
and play around with Gentoo Linux.
 3. pappy@g.o
Getting to know each other, sharing experience and planning future 
activities are important goals of this meeting, but we do count on its 
being fun at the same time. Please contact Marc Hildebrand[5] if you like 
to attend or wish to add to the agenda.
 5. zypher@g.o
New Gentoo Linux 2004.3-r1 release announced
Following quickly on the footsteps of the highly successful 2004.3 
release, the Release Engineering project has put out a maintenance release 
for some architectures. Supplying a maintenance release was open to all 
architectures, but only a few found it necessary to provide one. There are 
very few changes in the release media, and this only fixes a few bugs 
which kept some people from installing. The affected architectures and 
their respective changes are:
 * Alpha - New LiveCD with a correct aboot.conf, stages and livecd moved 
to /releases 
 * AMD64 - New LiveCD with corrected Speakup support, pnpbios is turned 
off by default, and distfiles for dhcpcd, slocate, usbutils, and pciutils 
added to the Universal CD 
 * HPPA - This CD adds lvm2 support to the LiveCD 
 * x86 - Additions identical as for AMD64, and the x86 PackageCD was 
recompiled due to a missing glib dependency on kdegraphics 
You can find the maintenance release media in the same location as the 
2004.3 release media on your favorite Gentoo mirror.
UK Gentoo Developer Meeting Preannouncement
The UK-based Gentoo developers are pleased to announce that the Gentoo UK 
2005 Conference will be held on Saturday 12th March 2005 at the University 
of Salford, with social events the night before and the night after. The 
theme for this year's Conference is "Success with Gentoo", and they will 
be running both a Speakers Programme and a Demonstration Programme. 
They're inviting developers and users alike who wish to take part in the 
programme to submit their proposals before 31st December 2004. For more 
details, see the Conference website[6]
2. Future zone
Gentoo on a 256MB USB stick: Flash Linux
Note: Topics for this section may occasionally include projects that are 
not officially part of Gentoo, but affect it in one way or the other. This 
could be development in the wild that is is bound to end up being a Gentoo 
project in the future, or something that's inspired by and based on 
Gentoo, but heads off in a different direction all by itself. One of the 
latter is the topic for this week's column: 
FlashLinux[7] is a customized Linux variant designed to be run directly 
off a USB key or similar forms of bootable flash memory. Gareth Bult and 
his helpers have based their trimmed-to-fit binary distribution entirely 
on Gentoo Linux, with a special focus on Gnome 2.8, and the aim to to 
produce something that would encourage Windows users to give Linux a try. 
"The applications we included may not be a programmer's dream, but we're 
hoping they're what the average user is looking to get from a modern 
desktop system," says Gareth. Currently included are Evolution, XChat, 
Firefox, and a Ximian build of OpenOffice, along with many more[8].
The choice of Gentoo as the base for Flash Linux seemed obvious, even if 
generously overlooking the fact that its creator is a Gentoo user who has 
been running his web servers on Gentoo Linux for the past twelve months. 
"I was looking for something as nippy as possible, and the task was to fit 
a quart into a pint pot," he explains - implicitly leaving little to no 
alternatives to FlashLinux being based on Gentoo. Provided a (x86 or 
AMD64) computer's BIOS allows for booting off a USB stick in the first 
place, the FlashLinux key fires up a 2.6.7-gentoo-r14 kernel, autoconfig 
comes from the Knoppix tools and provides hardware detection, and 
mkxf86config does the X setup. There's a GRUB based choice of either LAN 
or dialup configurations, at two different screen resolutions each. 
Figure 2.1: Windows-swatting penguin splashscreen: FlashLinux USB key 
"Everybody knows the LAN setup works perfectly in the Gentoo LiveCDs, but 
we were surprised how well dialup is integrated, too," says Gareth Bult. 
While comments he received from early adopters show mostly awe that this 
fits onto a 256MB key - that even keeps 50MB of free space - the stick 
itself is where the developers identify a decisive factor. According to 
them, the choice of media is crucial for a usable configuration: "USB 1.0 
keys only transfer data at 1Mbps and are unusable when it comes to 
FlashLinux. But even USB 2.0 keys do not really transfer data at 480Mbps, 
typical rates vary between 5 and 10Mbps." But even the more expensive 
recommendations in USB memory sticks are typically still within a 30 USD 
price range.
The FlashLinux creator has placed his work under the GPL, and hopes for 
outside help from people interested in different aspects, like making the 
USB sticks ADSL-ready, solving bootsplash issues with newer kernels, and 
other contributions or ideas that are most welcome. The contact address is 
3. Gentoo security
Open DC Hub: Remote code execution
Open DC Hub contains a buffer overflow that can be exploited to allow 
remote code execution. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[9] 
Sun and Blackdown Java: Applet privilege escalation
The Java plug-in security in Sun and Blackdown Java environments can be 
bypassed to access arbitrary packages, allowing untrusted Java applets to 
perform unrestricted actions on the host system. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[10] 
rssh, scponly: Unrestricted command execution
rssh and scponly do not filter command-line options that can be exploited 
to execute any command, thereby allowing a remote user to completely 
bypass the restricted shell. 
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement[11] 
4. Heard in the community
udev or devfs
Systems running a 2.6 kernel now have the option of installing udev. One 
user notices some of the online Gentoo documentation still advises devfs 
and asks for suggestions on configuring udev.
 * new 2004.3 system - to devfs or not to devfs, that is the question[12]  
To opt or not to opt. That is the question!
A discussion regarding the location of the gentoo-rsync-mirror ebuild's 
install popped up this week. Why was it in /opt? Shouldn't it be in /usr? 
A series of (opinioned) answers came in, including some brief history of 
where /opt came from in the first place.
 * Local portage repository[13] 
Gentoo... Limiting?
One of the Gentoo provisions is that users have full control over their 
system. Is this true? One lister posed this question on the gentoo-user 
mailing list this week. It of course spawned a great discussion. The short 
of it is that Gentoo is as configurable as you want it to be, as long as 
you learn the tools in Portage fully. 
 * Gentoo limitations[14] 
libperl rebuilder
After upgrading Perl packages one user asks how to update all the Perl 
 * Upgrading Perl Modules when Upgrading Perl[15]  
Best Digital Camera for Linux?
Nothing can be more frustrating than buying a shiny new computer toy, just 
to find out that it does not work with your favorite Linux distribution. 
With Christmas right around the corner; the gifts for geeks shopping 
season is ramping up into full gear. This thread has some tips for 
purchasing a digital camera that will work seamlessly with Gentoo--or any 
Linux for that matter! 
 * Suggestions for a Digital Camera under Linux[16] 
5. Gentoo International
Italy: GentooDay report
"Macelli Comunali", the municipal slaughterhouse, sounds a bit strange for 
a meeting in the framework of the Italian LinuxDay, but the Gechi's 
contact in Prato, a nice little town near Florence, assured penguins of 
the Gentoo variety wouldn't run any danger: It's an old palace now, used 
as meeting spot and conference hall for many activities of non-profit 
The place was cold, but the Gechi effectively heated it with their 
computers. Half an hour into the event, the distfiles and rsync mirror for 
people was set up, and the LAN was fully working for present Gentoo users 
to do a few happy emerges. Being curious about each other characterized 
much of the atmosphere in the morning, since it was the first meeting ever 
for many of the Gechis. While others continued to trickle in, Giulio 
Salani (zuglio)[17] explained about his Vidalinux tests, and Matteo 
Pescarin (peach)[18] showed his wonderful posters.
In the afternoon Giacomo Benvenuti (benve)[19] did a ceremonial first 
download from the new experimental Italian Gentoo mirror in Bologna[20], 
and some people created a distcc LAN between their laptops.
Then it was time for the presentations, and the first was about Andrea 
Perotti's (deadhead)[21] "Success stories of Gentoo in commercial 
companies". Unfortunately, Andrea had to fight the projector for an hour, 
and could only begin after that, leaving no time for Giovanni Ferri's 
(FonderiaDigitale)[22]'s talk about the "Creation of a blackbox for 
securing your network environment" that was also planned for the afternoon 
slot. Giovanni's extraordinary presentation was finally held later that 
night, but ordinary visitors had all left by then, he only spoke to a 
nucleus of Gentoo activists, all well-fed with an intriguing local 
delicacy known as an F2 sandwich.
Figure 5.1: Gechi activists at the former abattoir of Prato
Note: Left to right: Cazzantoio, akiross, oRDeX, lavish, randomaze, 
nemesix2001, .:deadhead:., and sitting in front holding the magic penguin 
that never falls from the table: genGNUbbo 
Austria: New AGLUG website
The former Vienna Gentoo Linux Users Group has grown steadily over the 
year, and now broadened its focus to encompass an all-Austrian support 
group. A new website[23] has been set up that carries many new services, 
including a brand new Austrian Gentoo user forum, and an RSS feed for 
local news. Stammtisch-type regular meetings are being organized every 
month, with the next one to take place on 16 December. Check the event 
calendar[24] for details. 
Germany: Nürnberg meeting report
Karl Hansl reports from the first meeting in Nürnberg last week: "Local 
Gentoo users met and discussed typical Linux topics, such as which 
motorcycle brand was faster, Kawasaki or Honda, and had some off-topic 
chats about programming, too. Current experience tells us that GUGN 
participants come from all ranges of society, self-employed, students, IT 
interns, and professional sysadmins. We'll definitely meet again, on 5 
January 2005, and hope that others can join us then."
6. Gentoo in the press
Linux Devices (3 December 2004)
Linux Devices extensively covers the Gentoo Embedded project this week, in 
an article about the "New kid on the embedded Linux block"[25]. The author 
links to the Gentoo Embedded web page[26], has friendly words for all 
developers involved, and even extends an official welcome to Gentoo Linux 
in the name of the Embedded community!
ZDNet UK update (3 December 2004)
Based on additional information by Gentoo release engineering lead Chris 
Gianelloni[27], the ZDNet editors have updated the article on upcoming 
releases of Gentoo Linux[28] initially published last week. Details of 
experimental features planned, like the installer project and the option 
of running Gentoo Linux completely off the LiveCD, have been sorted out 
and are most accurately reflected in the current version.
 27. wolf31o2@g.o
7. Bugzilla
 * Statistics 
 * Closed bug ranking 
 * New bug rankings 
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ([29]) to record and 
track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the 
development team. Between 28 November 2004 and 05 December 2004, activity 
on the site has resulted in: 
 * 717 new bugs during this period 
 * 458 bugs closed or resolved during this period 
 * 30 previously closed bugs were reopened this period 
Of the 7619 currently open bugs: 130 are labeled 'blocker', 239 are 
labeled 'critical', and 560 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[30], with 35 closed bugs[31]  
 * Gentoo KDE team[32], with 25 closed bugs[33]  
 * Gentoo Games[34], with 19 closed bugs[35]  
 * AMD64 Porting Team[36], with 18 closed bugs[37]  
 * Gentoo Linux Gnome Desktop Team[38], with 17 closed bugs[39]  
 * Daniel Black[40], with 17 closed bugs[41]  
 * Java team[42], with 16 closed bugs[43]  
 * Jeremy Huddleston[44], with 13 closed bugs[45]  
 30. base-system@g.o
 32. kde@g.o
 34. games@g.o
 36. amd64@g.o
 38. gnome@g.o
 40. dragonheart@g.o
 42. java@g.o
 44. eradicator@g.o
New bug rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs during 
this period are: 
 * Java team[46], with 19 new bugs[47]  
 * AMD64 Porting Team[48], with 15 new bugs[49]  
 * Gentoo Linux Gnome Desktop Team[50], with 13 new bugs[51]  
 * Gentoo's Team for Core System packages[52], with 13 new bugs[53]  
 * Gentoo X-windows packagers[54], with 10 new bugs[55]  
 * SpanKY[56], with 10 new bugs[57]  
 * media-video herd[58], with 10 new bugs[59]  
 * Portage team[60], with 10 new bugs[61]  
 46. java@g.o
 48. amd64@g.o
 50. gnome@g.o
 52. base-system@g.o
 54. x11@g.o
 56. vapier@g.o
 58. media-video@g.o
 60. dev-portage@g.o
8. Tips and Tricks
Revival of the Compose Key a.k.a. Multi_Key
Many users are on a keyboard layout which does not allow to type other 
characters than those printed on the keys. There are some workarounds with 
so-called "deadkeys" so that you can type characters with accents, but 
that does not enable you to type all characters in your locale. 
On many Unix-machines you can find a "Compose Key" on the attached 
keyboard. With that special key you can "compose" the desired character. 
For instance, typing the sequence <compose> <"> <a> will result in the 
Umlaut ä. Or take <compose> </> <o> for a danish ø. With X it is no 
problem to declare any key as the Compose Key, or "Multi_Key" as it is 
called in the internal routines. Just remember that a keyboard sends only 
keycodes, and that it is unimportant which keycode represents a given 
character or special key. 
To enable the Compose Key you have to alter your /etc/X11/xorg.conf. There 
are other ways, like using xmodmap, but the global configuration with the 
xorg.conf ensures that the Compose Key will be available to all users. I 
recommend the right "Windows Key" (just one of the two on your keyboard 
enabled should be enough): 
| Code Listing 8.1:                                                       |
|Enable the Compose Key in the                                            |
|                                                                         |
|# Your section in xorg.conf about the keyboard looks similar to this:    |
|Section "InputDevice"                                                    |
|        Identifier      "Keyboard0"                                      |
|        Driver          "kbd"                                            |
|        Option          "XkbModel"      "pc104"                          |
|        Option          "XkbLayout"     "us"                             |
|        Option          "XkbOptions"    "compose:rwin"                   |
|EndSection                                                               |
|                                                                         |
After you restart X, you should be able to type the characters in the 
example above. A complete list of available Compose Key characters with 
their description can be found in the file 
9. Moves, adds, and changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
 * None this week 
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
 * Joe McCann (joem) - Gnome development 
 * Michael Stewart (vericgar) - Apache 
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux 
 * None this week 
10. Contribute to GWN
Interested in contributing to the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter? Send us an 
 62. gwn-feedback@g.o
11. GWN feedback
Please send us your feedback[63] and help make the GWN better.
 63. gwn-feedback@g.o
12. 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 
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13. Other languages
The Gentoo Weekly Newsletter is also available in the following languages:
 * Danish[64] 
 * Dutch[65] 
 * English[66] 
 * German[67] 
 * French[68] 
 * Japanese[69] 
 * Italian[70] 
 * Polish[71] 
 * Portuguese (Brazil)[72] 
 * Portuguese (Portugal)[73] 
 * Russian[74] 
 * Spanish[75] 
 * Turkish[76] 
Ulrich Plate <plate@g.o> - Editor
Brian Downey <bdowney@×××××××××××.net> - Author
Chris Gianelloni <wolf31o2@g.o> - Author
Stuart Herbert <stuart@g.o> - Author
Marc Hildebrand <zypher@g.o> - Author
Fabrizio Masia <randomaze@×××××.it> - Author
Emmet Wagle <ewagle@×××××.com> - Author
Lars Weiler <pylon@g.o> - Author

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