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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: May 19th, 2003

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Summary

Announcing Gentoo Games, Inc.

On May 15th, Daniel Robbins and several other Gentoo Linux developers announced the creation of a new company called Gentoo Games, Inc.

The mission of Gentoo Games is to advance Linux gaming. The initial efforts of Gentoo Games will be focused around the Gentoo GameCD technology, which allows anyone with a modern PC to put a CD in their computer, turn it on, and have the GameCD boot directly into the game. The game runs from the GameCD, and the GameCD handles the auto-detection and configuration of all hardware.

By doing this, the Gentoo GameCD transforms any PC with an NVIDIA or ATI graphics card into a console-like system. And because the GameCD can be used by anyone -- even Windows users -- it expands the reach of Linux-based gaming technologies tremendously. The goal of this effort is to cause Linux gaming to rise to a new level of prominence that will result in wonderful things for Linux gamers, Linux game developers and publishers, Linux adoption as a whole, and of course GameCD users who can now have a console-like experience on any modern PC thanks to the flexibility and power of free software.

Gentoo Games, Inc. is a separate, independent entity from the Gentoo Linux free software project. This was done to ensure that the commercial nature of Gentoo Games will not impact the integrity of the Gentoo Linux social contract. Funds generated by Gentoo Games, Inc. will be used to fund future development of Gentoo Linux as well as GNU/Linux in general. In addition, Gentoo Games hopes to provide exciting opportunities for capable developers who would like to help us transform Linux gaming.

One of the first benefits to be realized from the creation of Gentoo Games, Inc. (even before Gentoo Games, Inc. officially existed) was last week's announcement that Gentoo Linux will soon support full 64-bit functionality on the AMD Opteron platform.

Gentoo Linux attends E3

Gentoo Linux was present at the recent Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles to announce the creation of Gentoo Games and the America's Army GameCD. The show was a huge success, with many companies expressing interest in Gentoo Games' GameCD technology. In between meetings, the Gentoo Linux folks were able to see at least part of the rest of the show, including some very impressive booths by NVIDIA and the US Army.


Figure 1.1: The entrance to this year's E3

Fig. 1: The entrance to E3


Figure 1.2: NVIDIA attended E3 for the first time this year.

Fig. 2: NVIDIA's booth at E3

2.  Gentoo Security

Summary

GLSA: kopete

The GnuPG plugin in kopete does not properly cleanse the command-line when executing gpg, which could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands.

  • Severity: Critical - Cryptographic compromise, remote execution of arbitrary code.
  • Packages Affected: net-im/kopete prior to kopete-0.6.2
  • Rectification: Synchronize and emerge kopete, emerge clean.
  • GLSA Announcement

GLSA: gnupg

There is a bug in GnuPG's validation code that permits keys with more than one user to cause all user IDs on that key to be treated as though they are as valid as the most valid key.

  • Severity: High - Cryptographic compromise.
  • Packages Affected: app-crypt/gnupg prior to gnupg-1.2.2
  • Rectification: Synchronize and emerge gnupg, emerge clean.
  • GLSA Announcement
  • Advisory

GLSA: shadow

An upgrade is available for the shadow utility to mitigate a bug in OpenSSH that permits remote attackers to identify the account names for valid users on the system (see last week's GWN).

  • Severity: High - Information exposure.
  • Packages Affected: sys-apps/shadow prior to shadow-4.0.3-r5
  • Rectification: Synchronize and emerge shadow, emerge clean.
  • GLSA Announcement
  • Advisory

New Security Bug Reports

The following new security bugs were posted this week:

  • dev-db/firebird
  • sys-apps/xinetd
  • app-games/unreal-tournament
  • app-cdr/cdrtools
  • app-text/lv

3.  User stories

Kenneth and how he switched his school to Gentoo Linux

Currently a high-school senior, Kenneth does some work on the school's computers during his free time. One day a member of the computer staff asked him to install Linux on six of the lab's 44 computers after being not too happy with what using Office XP would cost the school. So Kenneth decided to make an image containing KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, Samba, CUPS, distcc, gaim (what a nice school! ;), MPlayer, Flash, Java and GNUPlot. And of course he was using Gentoo Linux for his efforts!

Some problems

As the school uses a Windows network, Kenneth had to assure to make logons work without knowing the administrator password. Furthermore students have to be able to access their server space located on machines running windows. And of course you have to convice people that Linux is not evil...

Clever solutions

In oder to get logins to work, Kenneth patched the GDM source to run a script which creates a UID if it doesn't already exist. smb_auth is used for PAM and creates home directories according to a template Kenneth made. There were problems with a few programs that recorded the home directory in their configs (e.g. OpenOffice.org), so he made a symlink for it which the template account uses as home directory. To mount Samba shares on login and unmount them on logout he uses smb_authtoken and wrote a C program that manages the mounts by calling smbmount and smbumount.

For easier updates Kenneth gets some stuff from /usr/portage from NFS shares, uses distcc on the boxes and set up a local rsync mirror. When administrating his machines, he uses a special konsole profile which runs ssh to each of them and uses "send input to all".

KDE is used as the standard desktop environment, CUPS handles the network printers and KDE has shortcuts to the various file servers.

Conclusion

On the first day, Kenneth registered over 57 new users. Some people, including a teacher, really liked it. Kenneth put explanations on each icon, so people didn't have a hard time figuring out what they did, but some people just kept looking for Internet Explorer and didn't quite get why it's not there. Other problems included mounting floppies or just plain refusal to use anything else than Windows. However, Kenneth noticed that some students only use "his" computers, even though they have no clue at all what a kernel is. But his greatest day came when the NT print servers went down and everybody who wanted to print had to use the Gentoo boxes for this task. Even the chemistry teacher (who was previously mad about different software) had to admit that he "played the linux game and it printed fine.".

4.  Featured Developer of the Week

Chad Huneycutt


Figure 4.1: Chad Huneycutt

Fig. 1: Chad Huneycutt

Chad Huneycutt works on laptop stuff. Busy in real life, he claims to be relatively inactive as a Gentoo developer, but currently he's working on getting profiles(so that configuration for several different network environments can be stored and chosen from) and automatic network configuration going. While pcmcia-cs already supports 'schemes', Chad is looking for an alternative that will integrate with Gentoo's current configuration system, and thinks that the ultimate solution will require enhancement of Gentoo's init scripts and a little hacking of pcmcia-cs to make it all work together. And as for automatic network hacking, Chad is working with Peter Johanson on adding wireless AP detection to the existing mix of good utilities that are already out there.

Chad began using Gentoo about two years ago when he read drobbins' IBM Developerworks articles, and like most developers joined the team by submitting ebuilds, hanging out on IRC (Chad's first time on IRC), and making a nuisance of himself. While he has a Sourceforge project (hodgepodge), he says that it's a library of some Java code he wrote a long time ago and that he hasn't done much OSS work outside of Gentoo. Chad says that if he finishes the network profile stuff described above, it'll be his greatest achievement yet.

A Ph.D student in Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of technology, Chad studies computer architecture, working in particular on a project called SoftCache, an amalgamation of compiler, cache, and embedded systems concepts. Chad uses Evolution, Mozilla, Xchat, and Gabber everyday, while his tools of the trade are vim, gcc, and gdb (in that order), all running under GNOME currently, although he also uses KDE regularly. Chad, 28, lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife of almost seven years and his two year-old son. While he'd love to play tennis and bridge if he had time, what he usually does is spend time with his son and play (mostly German) board games.

5.  Heard In The Community

Web Forums

Gamers in Seventh Heaven

The only other news so far this year responsible for an equally generous amount of excitement and controversial debate in the Gentoo Forums was the April fool's joke... The strong gamers and players community in Gentoo (complete with a forum of their own) has greeted the creation of Gentoo Games Inc. with the utmost gratitude and exploded in speculation as to what exactly the new company will be doing, aside from the America's Army CD that served as a kickoff to the new legal entity. While some people prefer to discuss whether it's politically wise to move into this direction to begin with, others tried to alleviate the burden on Supercomputing's server bandwidth by hosting the iso image -- only to see their FTP servers crash almost instantly...

Ahead of Their Times

Strangely enough, Gentoo's much less controversial announcement of teaming up with Super Computer Inc. for porting Linux to the Opteron platform went without mention in this thread, but it seems as if people are already busy optimizing compiler settings for systems with AMD's new 64-bit CPU:

Patch Peeve

John Whitney aka jjw has developed an application that promises to reduce download times when upgrading software, by fetching only differentials between old and new versions of the respective source code, and applying them as patches to the version already locally available. Here's the discussion thread that greets his ebuild submission:

Gentoo Users

Learning the Gentoo Ways

Where is xinetd? An innocent question by a Redhat user who went to look for the missing daemon in Gentoo triggered an interesting debate on open ports, enhancing security and the virtues of a minimal default installation:

Mostly Harmless

One of those pesky error messages recorded during bootup, the "spurious 8259A interrupt", is sufficiently widespread to cause uncertainty among Gentoo users. The long and the short of it: If it hurts when you do that, don't do that. Mark Knecht explains how this error message may sometimes only appear when a system is powered up, but not if it's simply being rebooted. And unless there appears to be something seriously wrong with a system as a result of it, there's no need to worry, says hardware buff Joe Stone:

gentoo-dev

System health and portage diagnostics

Dhruba Bandopadhyay thinks that a lot of the problems user's have when intalling new ebuilds can be solved by issuing ldconfig, env-update, source /etc/profile or revdep-rebuild (from the gentoolkit package). So he proposes "that all tools that are scattered around the various packages intended for diagnosing and maintaining system health be integrated into one and included in portage". He has received no feedback so far!

ChangeLog change

Weeve timidly asked about the changes to the format of ChangeLogs. Gentoo developer Dan Armak explained the reasons behind this "change".. and how it was that there was no change at all!

Improved JDBC support

Gentoo developer Dylan Carlson posted to gentoo-dev to announce the availability of six new packages added to the "dev-java" category that will bring JDBC connectivity support to Gentoo.

[WIP] GCC 3.3

Gentoo developer Spider announced an initial ebuild for GCC 3.3. "Comments and testers are welcome :)"

6.  Gentoo International

Cologne Meeting Aftermath

About a dozen Gentoo users made it to last week's regional meeting in Germany. Hellers Brauhaus in Cologne was packed with laptops, an unusually high density of electronics for this rather down-to-earth brewery outlet, and everybody of course had a splendid time. In a remarkably swift response to the GWN's mistake in announcing the wrong location two weeks ago, the next meeting is indeed scheduled to take place in Bonn - we know a self-fulfilling prophecy when we see one... And this is what German Gentooists look like after dark:


Figure 6.1: Gentoo users meet in Cologne, Germany

Fig. 1: Gentoo users meet in Cologne

Journee de Gentooiens in France - Yes, But Where?

In spite of at least one semi-serious offer for a shuttle service from the airport to the venue, the issue of a French Gentoo user meeting raised last week is unlikely to resolve with Martinique as its location. Thanks to her colonial past, France has left a prominent linguistic heritage all over the planet, and lots of French-speaking Gentooists live in very nice spots at that. But it's hard to find an equidistant area for a meeting if you have Guadeloupe, New Caledonia and Belgium sitting on the extremes of the map, so people are gradually shifting towards regional meetings here and there. Feel free to post your own suggestions at this thread in the French forum.

7.  Portage Watch

The following stable packages were updated or added to portage this week

We are aware that the USE variables section has dissapeared from Portage Watch. It will be back shortly!

Total categories: 82

Total packages: 4396

8.  Bugzilla

Summary

Statistics

The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) 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:

  • 277 new bugs this week
  • 462 bugs closed or resolved this week
  • 3 previously closed bugs were reopened this week.
  • 2531 total bugs currently marked 'new'
  • 336 total bugs currently assigned to developers

There are currently 2910 bugs open in Bugzilla. Of these: 42 are labeled 'blocker', 109 are labeled 'critical', and 233 are labeled 'major'.

Closed Bug Rankings

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

Note: Sven Vermeulen was overlooked in last week's rankings. With 22 closed bugs, he should have been ranked first.

New Bug Rankings

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

9.  Tips and Tricks

Setting the Hardware Clock

This weeks tip shows you how to set the hardware clock on your Gentoo Linux box with the command hwclock.

Setting the hardware clock is especially useful in case you have clock problems. If you experience a clock that is losing or gaining a lot of time each after a reboot, set hardware clock right, then remove /etc/adjtime.

hwclock is located in /sbin/hwclock and you'll need to be root to use it. Without any options, you'll see your current hardware clock setting. By using the --systohc option, you can set your hardware clock to your system clock.

Code Listing 9.1: Using hwclock

(Viewing hardware clock)
# hwclock
(Setting the hardware clock to system time)
# hwclock --systohc

Note: There are many other options available for hwclock, see man hwclock for more information.

10.  Quote/Signature of the week

This week's featured quote actually originated before we started this new section, but still deserves to be mentioned: "I've got this feeling, shared by others I think, that XML is a hammer and everyone's looking for nail-like objects." (Joseph Carter in a discussion about an init replacement.)

Nothing against XML though, we happily use it for bringing the GWN to you! It's just that the hype gets a little annoying from time to time...

11.  Moves, Adds and Changes

Moves

The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • none this week

Adds

The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:

  • none this week

Changes

The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project.

  • none this week

12.  Contribute to GWN

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13.  GWN Feedback

Please send us your feedback and help make GWN better.

14.  GWN Subscription Information

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15.  Other Languages

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Print

Page updated 19 May 2003

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of May 19th, 2003.

Kurt Lieber
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brice Burgess
Contributor

Michael Kohl
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Yuji Carlos Kosugi
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Rafael Cordones Marcos
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David Narayan
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Ulrich Plate
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Peter Sharp
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Kim Tingkaer
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Mathy Vanvoorden
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Hendrik Eeckhaut
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Bernard Bernieke
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Peter Ter Borg
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Jochen Maes
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Matthieu Montaudouin
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Martin Prieto
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Steffen Lassahn
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Matthias F. Brandstetter
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Thomas Raschbacher
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Klaus-J. Wolf
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Marco Mascherpa
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Claudio Merloni
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Christian Apolloni
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Daniel Ketel
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Yoshiaki Hagihara
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Andy Hunne
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Yuji Carlos Kosugi
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Rafael Cordones Marcos
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