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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: February 17th, 2003


1.  Gentoo News


Catch Gentoo Zetagrid Fever

We've reported on the Zetagrid project before. Recently, however, the GLUE team broke the top 100 producers list and, as of press time, currently ranks 86th on the list. Now, thanks to an ebuild in Portage, along with a sample configuration file from Michael's zetagrid site, it's even easier for Gentoo users to donate their spare CPU cycles to the GLUE team and help increase the chances of winning part of the $1,000,000 prize.

New rsync mirrors.

After our recent report on the Gentoo mirror slowdowns, several Gentoo users stepped forward with offers to set up new Gentoo Linux mirrors, both for the Portage tree, as well as the source packages. The result has been a significant increase in the number of download mirrors available to the Gentoo community.

Guidelines are available for users who wish to set up public mirrors to help the Gentoo Linux project, including instructions for setting up rsync mirrors, which just mirror the Portage tree as well as instructions for setting up source mirrors, which mirror the actual source tarballs of the various packages contained within Portage.

GNOME 2.2 now in Portage

GNOME 2.2 ebuilds were released to the Gentoo community early last week and Gentoo GNOME users everywhere rejoiced at the new features like multihead support, unified theming and the official inclusion of the Metacity window manager. A complete list of features and changes can be found in the GNOME 2.2 release notes.

2.  Gentoo Security



There were no new security alerts issued in the past week.

New Security Bug Reports

The following new security-related bug reports were submitted to the bugzilla database this week:

3.  Featured Developer of the Week

Dan Armak

Figure 3.1: Dan Armak

Fig. 1: Dan Armak

There's been much rejoicing among KDE users lately because of the release of KDE 3.1, and this week we feature one of the developers responsible for bringing it to Gentoo: Dan Armak, KDE team leader. Dan began using Gentoo back when you had to scroll halfway down a list of more than a hundred minor and specialized distros to even see it mentioned anywhere, and seeing that it was the kind of power-user distro he was looking for, he started using it and writing ebuilds for some important apps he needed, like LyX. It was around this time that Dan came up with the idea for CVS ebuilds and eclasses in general and, before he knew it, got invited to become a developer. Dan wrote the KDE eclasses(Dan shudders at the thought of the old KDE ebuilds, which contained most of the code that the KDE eclasses do today) and the cvs.eclass, and now maintains both. Thanks to these eclasses Dan doesn't have to do too much work with miscellaneous KDE packages (unless there's a bug in the source that they need to fix) so kde-base (along with koffice and kdevelop) takes up most of Dan and the other KDE maintainers' time.

Besides KDE, some of Dan's favorite pieces of software include mc, Lyx (a front-end to LaTeX), bash, and epsxe. His Toshiba laptop is out for repairs at the moment, but he's borrowing a nice Athlon with lots of RAM from a friend, as well as a panoply of ancient boxen for parts and doorstops. Dan lives in Matan, a smallish town in Israel, and is a student - at Ami Asaf high school during the day and at the Open University in the afternoon. Next year, he'll be going into the army, but hopes to find a nice job in the tech/computers unit of the IDF, where he'll be free to preach Gentoo. His hobbies include Squaresoft RPGs, reading, writing, observing Interesting People, and OSS evangelism toward his friends.

4.  Heard In The Community

Web Forums

New powerbooks and Gentoo PPC

Apple Computers has whetted the appetite of its fans with the new 12 and 17 inch Powerbooks last month, and now they're finally shipping all over the place. Gentoo PPC users aren't any less excited, they have begun gathering their troops to install Linux as soon as their new gadgets arrive in the mail. After some initial skepticism about kernel support for the new hardware it seems like a quick solution may be available after all:

Bob the Ebuilder

There have been several attempts by Gentoo parents to gather information about Linux software for younger children in the past. A few notoriously addictive games and educational applications for Linux have always been available as ebuilds, but many other alternatives to the huge Windows market for kiddie progs are still out there waiting to be Gentooified. And last week, a collective "Bob the Ebuilder" initiative has come forth that promises to catch up quickly with some of the things missing in Portage. The official thread to post requests, announce ebuilds checked into, and feedback from beta testers in the age bracket 3-10 is here:

Gentoo Musicians

Linux user profiles are as varied as in any other random group of people. Just because we happen to use the same operating system doesn't mean necessarily that we have anything else in common. As it turns out, some people do, though: a planetary convention of musicians using Gentoo Linux has built up in the Forums, thrown together by coincidence, united in their effort to come up with something special. One of the possible results of this thread (besides mentions of the most obscure software names ever) may well be a Gentoone on the LiveCD, something to hum along during installation:

Thirty Minutes... all it takes to write an ebuild for a missing window manager in Gentoo. What started as an innocent question about Wing's Desktop Manager and why it wasn't available as an ebuild, has become a fine example of how someone with the right skill set and half an hour of spare time on their hands can remedy that on the spot. Have a look at this thread:


'gcc: command not found'

A lot of talk about gcc not being available to the system was happening on gentoo-user this week. One thread entitled 'distcc' began with the author's solution to the 'gcc: command not found' problem. The root of the issue is caused by attempting to invoke gcc in a shell where /etc/profile isn't being sourced. Three unique solutions were offered within this thread alone! Nick Jones contributed the simplest one, being 'su -'. A monumental strength and joy of Gentoo is the encouragement of customization, thus choose whichever soltuion best fits your needs.

All kinds of tars make up the pit

Brett Holcomb, a gentoo-user veteran, questioned whether Gentoo's "tar" command was a modified version of the one on the GNU site. Tar is the standard *nix utility for compressing all kinds of data into a single file called an archive. Interesting enough, the responses made clear that the tar command does vary from distro to distro. The switches, especially dealing with bzip2 and gzip, will often vary depending on the distro's compile of the tar sources. This shouldn't present itself as a problem as it is easily worked around through the use of pipes and standalone utilities.


ProPolice enabled gcc/gentoo.

Matt Rickard has implemented a ProPolice patched GCC ebuild. He says: "This patch will build stack-smashing protection into your code at compile time. This is an excellent security measure -- one that has just recently been implemented in OpenBSD-current. It can be enabled explicitly through the CFLAG -fstack-protector or turned on by default with a separate patch." Dylan Carlson pointed out that there is a bug filed regarding this topic.

5.  Gentoo International

Gentoo Vienna Meeting

Meetings of the Austrian branch of Gentooism have started happening in July last year, but sort of went out of fashion. Last week, the official Viennese Gentoo users coordination thread has started an attempt to revive the tradition and is making plans for the next gathering. It'll be soon, but a date hasn't been fixed yet, so you can still make your preferences heard.

Pingüino Papúa

tirantloblanc has traced the official Spanish name for the Gentoo penguin, and discovered that flocks of this fastest swimmer among birds are living in the southernmost parts of Chile. The Pingüino Papúa's largest colonies, however, live on the Falk^H^H^H^HMalvinas islands off the coast of Argentina. Which presumably makes them UK citizens, but as an open source bird rather unlikely to become a sufficient reason for anything more serious than a flame war...

6.  Portage Watch

The following stable packages were added to portage this week

Note: 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 week

Updates to notable packages

  • gnome-base/gnome - gnome-2.2-r1.ebuild;
  • sys-kernel/* - ac-sources-2.4.21_pre4-r3.ebuild; ac-sources-2.4.21_pre4-r4.ebuild; ck-sources-2.4.20-r3.ebuild; development-sources-2.5.60-r1.ebuild; development-sources-2.5.60.ebuild; hppa-sources-2.4.20_p23.ebuild; hppa-sources-2.4.20_p24.ebuild; hppa-sources-2.4.20_p26.ebuild; mjc-sources-2.5.59-r1.ebuild; ppc-sources-2.4.20-r3.ebuild; rsbac-sources-2.4.20.ebuild; wolk-sources-4.0_pre10.ebuild;
  • dev-php/php - php-4.3.0-r3.ebuild; php-4.3.0-r4.ebuild;
  • app-admin/gentoolkit - gentoolkit-0.1.18-r1.ebuild; gentoolkit-0.1.18.ebuild;

7.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( 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 in:

  • 270 new bugs this week
  • 191 bugs closed this week
  • 1680 total bugs currently marked 'new'
  • 574 total bugs curently assigned to developers
  • 51 bugs that were previously closed have been reopened.
There are currently 2305 bugs open in bugzilla. Of these: 45 are labelled 'blocker', 82 are labelled 'critical', and 160 are labelled 'major'.

Closed Bug Rankings

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

New Bug Rankings

The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs this week are:

8.  Tips and Tricks

Bash Commands and Tricks

Just about all Gentoo user make use of the command line - this week focuses on some little-known navigation commands that may make your life easier.

Code Listing 8.1: Bash Key Combinations

Alt+B   (Go back one word)
Alt+F   (Go forth one word)
Ctrl+K  (Delete everything from the cursor to the end of the line)
Ctrl+U  (Delete everything from the cursor to the beginning of the line)
Ctrl+Y  (Paste deleted characters at the current position)
Ctrl+H  (Delete one character)
Ctrl+L  (Clean screen)
Ctrl+P  (Go to the previous history entry)
Ctrl+N  (Go to the next history entry)

Also you can use !word to re-execute the last command beginning with "word".

Code Listing 1.1: Using !word

$ gcc -o test test.c
$ !gcc
gcc -o test test.c

Ever get tired of typing long directory names? Try using the directory stack with the commands pushd, popd, and dirs. THe directory stack allows you to keep a list of directories and navigate between them.

Code Listing 1.1: The directory stack

(pushd adds a directory)
~:$ pushd /usr/portage
(dirs lists all directories on the stack)
~:$ dirs
/usr/portage ~
(And popd removes the top entry and cd's to that directory)
~:$ popd

The idea for this weeks tip came from Pavel Tcholakov and was submitted to the GWN feedback list.

9.  Moves, Adds and Changes


The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • none this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo team:

  • Guy Martin (GMSoft) -- Gentoo/HPPA
  • Graham Forest (vladimir) -- Gentoo/PPC
  • Bartosch Pixa (DarkSpecter) -- Gentoo/PPC


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project.

  • none this week

10.  Contribute to GWN

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11.  GWN Feedback

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12.  Other Languages

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Page updated 17th Feb 2003

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of February 17th, 2003.

Kurt Lieber

AJ Armstrong

Brice Burgess

Yuji Carlos Kosugi

Rafael Cordones Marcos

David Narayan

Ulrich Plate

Peter Sharp

Mathy Vanvoorden
Dutch Translation

Tom Van Laerhoven
Dutch Translation

Roel Adriaans
Dutch Translation

Peter Dijkstra
Dutch Translation

Nicolas Ledez
French Translation

Guillaume Plessis
French Translation

Eric St-Georges
French Translation

John Berry
French Translation

Martin Prieto
French Translation

Michael Kohl
German Translation

Steffen Lassahn
German Translation

Matthias F. Brandstetter
German Translation

Thomas Raschbacher
German Translation

Marco Mascherpa
Italian Translation

Claudio Merloni
Italian Translation

Daniel Ketel
Japanese Translation

Yoshiaki Hagihara
Japanese Translation

Andy Hunne
Japanese Translation

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Japanese Translation

Yasunori Fukudome
Japanese Translation

Ventura Barbeiro
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Bruno Ferreira
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Gustavo Felisberto
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Ricardo Jorge Louro
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Spanish Translation

Rafael Cordones Marcos
Spanish Translation

Julio Castillo
Spanish Translation

Sergio Gómez
Spanish Translation

Pablo Pita Leira
Spanish Translation

Carlos Castillo
Spanish Translation

Spanish Translation

Jaime Freire
Spanish Translation

Lucas Sallovitz
Spanish Translation

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