Gentoo Monthly Newsletter: 18 February 2008
This month in the GMN
Welcome to the second issue of the Gentoo Monthly Newsletter. To begin with, we would like
to thank the entire community for the overwhelming response to the GMN's inaugural issue.
We received a lot of encouraging feedback and hope that you will continue to write in.
Remember, the GMN is what its readers want it to be - please see the section on how you can get
involved - at the end of the newsletter for more information.
This month's issue implements some of the interesting suggestions we received from our readers.
The security statistics have been removed, since it seemed to add a lot of clutter with little
value-addition to the newsletter. You can still monitor GLSAs in a variety of ways though -
by using glsa-check (part of
subscribing to the feed on the GLSA page
or the gentoo-announce
Graphical bugzilla and package statistics is another feature we implemented, don't forget to see
the cool graphs and charts! In tune with the feature on our front page announcements, you can
now discuss particular issues of the Gentoo Monthly Newsletter in the forum.
Discuss this newsletter!
We hope you enjoy reading this edition of the GMN.
Gentoo Trustee Elections
The Gentoo Trustee elections are currently in progress. After nearly a month of nominations, we are left
with 8 candidates for the posts. The polls will be open until February 28. Everybody who has ever
voted in a trustee election or has been a Gentoo developer for the last 365 days (or more, from the date
of close of election poll) is eligible to vote. You can get more information on the election and on each
candidate's manifesto on the
trustee election page.
Kernel security exploits: Upgrade ASAP
Two major security flaws in the Linux kernel were reported last
weekend. Both flaws have the same impact (root access for local
users) and both exist within the vmsplice() system call, which was
added to the kernel in 2.6.17. There is no configuration option to
exclude vmsplice() so everyone is vulnerable.
One of the security issues existed for the entire lifetime of
vmsplice(), so any kernel version from 2.6.17 onwards is
vulnerable. This was fixed in 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. It
has been assigned the vulnerability identifier of
The other security issue first appeared in 2.6.23. It was fixed in
188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. This vulnerability has been assigned
gentoo-sources-2.6.23-r8 and gentoo-sources-2.6.24-r2 were
added to the tree Monday and include fixes for both issues. Install the
as quickly as possible.
The full announcement can be found
KDE 4.0.1 in the tree
Gentoo's KDE herd is happy to inform you that they've just committed KDE
4.0.1 to the Portage tree.
KDE 4.0.1 is the first maintenance release and fixes many issues of the
initial release. Among those changes are stability bugfixes and
performance improvements for
KWin has seen
improvements with respect to compositing and error handling. Almost all other KDE
modules have been worked on extensively as well.
The full announcement can be found
Council Meeting Summary
The Gentoo Council
held its monthly meeting on 14 February, 2008. The items put up for discussion
(Allow upstream tags in metadata.xml): This GLEP was approved, however the proposer
is required to explain why the protocols that may be used were restricted
to HTTP and HTTPS only - before the GLEP is finalized.
EAPI=1 (Where is the specification?):
The general agreement was that any new EAPIs should not be added until EAPI=0 is
fully approved. However, there wasn't any consensus on changing anything about EAPI=1.
Mark Loeser agreed to work on PMS for EAPI=0, and will provide an update
at the next meeting.
Some items were rolled over from the previous meeting. GLEPs
not resubmitted to the council for discussion.
Code of Conduct Enforcement:
Donnie Berkholz posted a simple suggestion on the council mailing list.
The council supported the implementation and Donnie will get things going.
Document of being an active developer: No updates.
Slacker archs: No updates.
February 23-24. One of the best community events of Europe. Although there isn't
going to be an official Gentoo presence at the event, you can look forward to meeting several
Gentoo developers and users at the event.
Looking for a way to help out Gentoo without investing a lot of time?
Join us on March 01 for our monthly bugday, and help us squash
March 01-02. Several European Gentoo developers and users are
planning to attend, so if
you're going to be around Chemnitz at the time, do drop in!
The Gentoo Council meets every month to discuss important technical issues
that affect Gentoo as a whole. This month's meeting is scheduled to be held on
March 13, and everyone is welcome to participate -
#gentoo-council on irc.freenode.net at 2000UTC.
March 13-17. There's a Birds Of a Feather (BoF) session planned for everyone interested
in Gentoo at the conference. If you're interested, don't forget to drop a note in the
Heard in the Community
The Emacs Team
Some people wonder how maintaining a bunch of packages works in
Gentoo and how they can help as users. Every team has its own style
of work-flow but some common schemes are present in every team. This
month, we take a look at how the
Who we are and what we do:
The Emacs team consists of two developers, Ulrich Müller and
Christian Faulhammer, who take care of all packages in the
besides the GNU Emacs editor and several micro Emacsen. Additionally, we often take
care of Emacs support (mostly enabled by USE=emacs) for packages maintained by
How we work:
There are two ways of working: Act or react. Reaction happens on
user requests that come in by bug reports (the preferred way), IRC or
by e-mail. Acting happens in mail exchange or discussion on IRC of the
team members. We discuss problems we have had or ones that might occur
and try to find optimum solutions to them. Optimal in this case means
leaving as few people as possible with problems. This often means a
trade-off between features and backwards compatibility.
Bug reports are handled by any of the members. Whoever reacts first is
responsible for the bug, unless someone else has a superior solution.
New packages that are experimental are first tried out in the
which is connected to a Wiki system where we store temporary information
and progress reports. For example, we collect information about packages
that have broken or bad Emacs support in the Wiki. Whenever one of us
finds time, the problem is fixed and the entry deleted from the Wiki.
Alternatively, if the problem could not be fixed, additional information
is added to the entry so the next person can start off where this one
left. The Wiki also stores information like which packages need a newer
version/revision in the tree (including a target date) and test plans for
Stabilization is handled through the
bug tracker. A maintainer
files a new bug which says "stable app-emacs/xyz-1.0" in the summary
and has all relevant architecture teams (such as x86, amd or sparc)
in the CC field. The architecture team then tests the package (with
the help of the collected test plans) and marks it stable.
How users can help:
The easiest way to help is to file a bug report if you spot a problem.
Even minor ones are important for overall quality, such as if there is
a new version of a program/package that could not to be found in Portage.
Please give maintainers at-least a few days time after release though!
If you are not sure about a problem, try to investigate a bit. Don't be
afraid of your request being called "dumb", we actually prefer bugs that
can be closed as INVALID (or something similar) as compared to real issues
that may not be reported at all. Be sure to check for duplicate bugs
Users are welcome to join our IRC channel #gentoo-lisp on
Freenode where you can
get support for all flavours of Lisp (including Emacs Lisp). IRC is a
great way to directly contact developers.
Email is a good communication
channel too, but not perfect, as emails may get lost. Emails are also
forgotten more easily than bug reports.
Working on the overlay is another way to contribute, but we won't give away
commit access too easily as a simple change is potential for a lot of harm.
Trusted users do gain commit access after proving themselves. Some hints on
how GNU Emacs on Gentoo works can be found in the
Gentoo tops BIND benchmarks
The Internet Systems Consortium conducted
a benchmark to test various operating systems for their suitability to run
BIND 9. Amongst
all the operating systems tested, Gentoo Linux running on kernel version 220.127.116.11
topped the charts, processing 93,000 queries per second! Fedora Core came second
with 87,000 queries/second, followed by FreeBSD-7 (84,000 queries/second).
For more information, check out ISC's
page on the benchmark.
How to contact developers
Sometimes people are confused how they can get in touch with a
developer, Luca Barbato gives us
some hints on how you can meet the person you need.
Voicing a user
Joshua Jackson gives user Matthew Summers
to raise some points about Daniel Robbins' offer.
Gentoo people at Chemnitzer Linux-Tage
Tobias Scherbaum announces the
presence of Gentoo developers and users during the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage in Germany. The developer meeting
will be on 1st March 2008, but everyone is invited to say hello.
Status of GCC 4.3
In a short note,
Ryan Hill informs us of the status of GCC 4.3 in Gentoo.
Summer of Code ideas
Even if it is only spring, Diego Elio Pettenò and
Hans de Graaff think about what could be
this year's Google Summer of Code.
Michael Marineau describes
how Xen and Gentoo
are used in the Open Source Labs.
MIPS back to experimental
Upon other release related things, Stuart Longland announces that MIPS
is now an experimental architecture again, meaning that there will be no more stable KEYWORDS,
just ~mips. This is due to lack of manpower.
Internal libraries and how to fix it
Diego Elio Pettenò's current crusade is to kill internal copies
of libraries. He
describes why they are harmful, along with an
extended example on how to fix the problem.
How to improve Gentoo's PR
If you've noticed our front page lately, you'll see that Donnie Berkholz
has been doing a good job of regularly updating it. He now
gives us the details
of recent changes in the PR group.
A meeting of our user-relations
group has been summarized
by Joshua Jackson
Gentoo on Loongson
The Chinese made Loongson processor
is MIPS based, and Stuart Longland
announces the availability of some more experimental MIPS stages of Gentoo for this
Tips and Tricks
Want to organize your command line screen session or sessions better?
Want to have a separate screen session for every task that you do? Want
something that will organize you in general? This GMN has the perfect tip
for you. It is a tiny script called screenie.
Code Listing 4.1: Getting Screenie
$ emerge screenie
Start by running it.
Code Listing 4.2: Launching screenie
You should see the following:
Code Listing 4.3: Adding a job
a) add job
Lets add a job called "Systems". Once you hit a, enter the name.
Hit enter unless you know the process id of existing screen sessions.
Lets add a second job called "Email". Now you should see:
Code Listing 4.4: Listing jobs
a) add job
You now have two screen sessions that you can go into and out of. Select
one of the sessions. You are now inside of screen where you can do whatever
you usually do.
tips and tricks describing screen.
To go to another screen session, press CTRL+a+d (or however you usually
exit your screen sessions). You should be back to the screenie menu and
ready to choose to go to another screen session.
One use of screenie might be to have a screen session for every task and
for every machine you have access to making multi-tasking much more organized.
This should also make it much easier to start working again after a long break.
Gentoo developer moves
Gentoo is made up of 277 active developers, of which 47 are currently
away. Gentoo has recruited a total of 630 developers since its inception.
The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:
- Ben de Groot (yngwin): Multimedia
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:
- Mark Loeser (halcy0n) joined the cpp herd
- Michael Januszewski (spock) joined the sci and sci-physics herd
- Jorge Manuel B. S. Vicetto (jmbsvicetto) joined the kde herd
- Ryan Hill (dirtyepic) joined the mips team
This section summarizes the current state of the portage tree.
Figure 6.1: Package distribution by keyword
The following section lists packages that have either been moved or added to the tree
and packages that have had their "last rites" announcement given to be removed
in the future. The package removals come from many locations, including the Treecleaners and various developers. Most
packages which are listed under the Last Rites section are in need of some love
and care and can remain in the tree if proper maintainership is established.
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla
(bugs.gentoo.org) to record
and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions
with the development team. The following chart summarizes activity on
Bugzilla between 18 January 2008 and 17 February 2008. Not fixed means
bugs that were resolved as NEEDINFO, WONTFIX, CANTFIX, INVALID or UPSTREAM.
Figure 7.1: Bug activity split-up
Of the 10254 currently open bugs: 18 are labeled blocker,
101 are labeled critical, and 343 are labeled major.
Closed bug ranking
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs during this period are as follows.
||Gentoo's Team for Core System Packages
||Gentoo mips team
||Gentoo KDE team
||Gentoo for Mac OS X
||Gentoo Gnome desktop team
Figure 7.2: Bug closed rankings
Assigned bug ranking
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most bugs during this period are as follows.
||Default Assignee for New Packages
||Default Assignee for Orphaned Packages
||Gentoo's Team for Core System packages
||Python Gentoo Team
||Perl Devs @ Gentoo
||Stefaan De Roeck
Figure 7.3: Bugs assigned rankings
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The deadline for articles to be published in the next issue is
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