Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: July 21st, 2003
Gentoo Linux 1.4 to be released at LinuxWorld Expo
Gentoo Linux 1.4 will be officially released at LinuxWorld Expo '03 in San Francisco, CA (August 5-7.) The Gentoo Linux crew will be at the show in .org pavilion booth #1. Please make plans to stop by, chat, and pick up your favorite build of Gentoo Linux 1.4 for free :)
Gentoo Linux 1.4 available for pre-order
Our new Gentoo Store is now online at http://store.gentoo.org, and we are now accepting pre-orders for Gentoo Linux 1.4 for x86, i686, Pentium III, Pentium 4 and Athlon XP, with other architectures coming soon. Each 2-CD set allows Gentoo to be installed without the need for an Internet connection, contains a large selection of pre-built packages (Xfree86, KDE, GNOME and many more,) and includes printed installation instructions. Gentoo Linux 1.4 will be officially released (and will ship) on August 5, 2003.
Open positions in the Gentoo Linux project
Gentoo Infrastructure team
The Gentoo Infrastructure team is currently seeking volunteers for the following positions:
qmail/ezmlm-idx administrator This person should be well-versed in qmail administration and ideally, also well-versed in emzlm-idx administration. This position does not require large amounts of time, but it does require consistent small chunks of time throughout a typical week. Volunteers should expect to spend 10-20 minutes every day or 20-30 minutes every 2-3 days handling various mail administration tasks.
cfengine architect/administrator This person should be well-versed in implementing and administering cfengine, a high-level policy language and tool used for system administration.
If you're interested in one of these positions, please send an email to Kurt Lieber.
The Gentoo Linux project is looking for developers to maintain the OpenAFS package. Please email email@example.com if you are interested.
Introducing the Gentoo Server project
This week we'd like to introduce the Gentoo Server project, a community effort started by users who felt the need for a solid documentation base for the use and administration of Gentoo Linux in a production environment. Their new Wiki already contains much useful information contributed by regulars of the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list and #gentoo-server IRC channel on irc.freenode.net, but is looking for more contributors to help it become the one-stop guide for serving with Gentoo that it aims to be. Definitely a great place to go to if you have a server-related question, or if you've just experienced a networking epiphany you'd like to share with your fellow Gentoomen.
Bytemark Hosting begins offering Gentoo Linux
Bytemark Hosting, a provider of UML(User-Mode Linux)-based virtual hosting solutions, has now begun offering Gentoo Linux as a distribution option for new and existing users. They've also donated a 256MB host to the Gentoo project, which is now hosting a European mirror of the main web site, and are continuing to offer a 10% discount to authors of open source software.
Note: There were no new security announcements this week.
New Security Bug Reports
The following new security bugs were posted this week:
User stories will be back next to week. Remember to send us your bizarre, hilarious, or incredible Gentoo stories so they can be featured here!
Featured Developer of the Week
Figure 4.1: Kurt Lieber
This week, we're particularly pleased to feature Kurt Lieber. Kurt
recently handed over responsibility for the Gentoo Weekly News, for
which he served as inaugural editor, initiating the project with a
to the forums. The GWN has grown into one of the most popular and
useful resources for the Gentoo community, thanks largely to Kurt's
Kurt began working with Gentoo by serving as moderator of the nascent
forums. His effectiveness there prompted the role to grow into
responsibility for Gentoo's infrastructure. Kurt and his team work
tirelessly (and, too often, thanklessly) at maintaining the network of
servers and mirrors that such a download-intensive distro as Gentoo
requires to be successful. This accomplishment is a source of pride
for Kurt. In his own words, "I'm proud of the team that we've slowly
put together to work on infrastructure issues. It's still a work in
progress, but we have a team of motivated, committed professionals who
do an outstanding job of making me look good." The accomplishment is
even more notable if we recall that there is no budget for
infrastructure and that the team needs to somehow maintain an
enterprise-class system using donated computers and hand-me-down
In June, Kurt was amongst those named to form Gentoo's
new management structure. Kurt will be one of six top-level
managers, taking responsibility for strategic management of portage
and Gentoo's Public Relations efforts, as well as his continuing role
in managing Gentoo infrastructure. Kurt will also serve as a backup
for developer relations management. Kurt took the time to comment on
the new management structure for us:
"My personal goal and one that I think I share with the rest of the
team, is finding the minimum level of management required to
effectively run this project. I'm not a big fan of complex
structures, overly-burdensome rules and yards and yards of red tape.
That said, I do appreciate and recognize that some amount of structure
is needed to effectively steer a project of our size."
Although he has contributed bug fixes to several OSS projects, Gentoo
was Kurt's first formal role on a significant project. His favorite
applications reflect his background as a system administrator: screen,
irssi, cfengine and nagios. He uses KDE for his Window Manager and
the venerable mutt for mail. An ironic twist to his sense of humor
is displayed in the favorite quote he offered us:
- Linux System Administration Rule #1: "There is always more than one way to
accomplish the same task."
- Corollary to Rule #1: "Someone always thinks that your way is wrong."
Kurt lives in New York City, working for a Fortune 500 financial
institution. He likes to tinker with old cars and takes special
pleasure in his restored 1972 GMC Suburban.
Heard in the Community
1.4 Release at LinuxWorld
Releases don't play a very important role in the Gentoo concept, but some features are related to distinct version numbers, most importantly the Gentoo Reference Platform (GRP) packages and the LiveCD. Plus everybody outside the realm of Gentoo Linux keeps ogling the numbers, anyway, and therefore need to be reminded of progress by bumping numerological evidence. Gentoo users have greeted the announcement of Gentoo 1.4 to be released in time for LinuxWorld in San Francisco on 5 August with a debate in the Forums, candied with a few completely irrelevant, albeit funny remarks about the thermodynamics of hell:
When USE Flags Don't Work
Many of us who run Gentoo on our headless servers utilize Gentoo's USE flags
to tell Portage not to install anything graphical in nature on them.
Loopingz, a command-line PHP user was curious why even with a "-qt" USE flag,
PHP was still requiring QT. Robin Johnson, the PHP ebuild maintainer got
involved and explained it all out for everyone. Link
Becoming more involved with Gentoo's development
Looking to contribute back or get more involved with the Gentoo project? User sdesseaux was. While looking for ways to contribute, he noticed how Gentoo's install procedure can be long and winding for those fairly new to Linux. He proposed a project to create a graphical installer and looked for feedback on such a project. Quickly, other users presented similar projects, such as the Gentoo Linux Install Script Project and a tool called InGen, which is provided on Gentoo's CVS server under gentoo/users/luke-jr/ingen/. Link here.
Interesting bit of bash
Aron Griffis posted a fantastic bit of bash that lists all the
variables defined in a script.
NYFIX Goes Gentoo on the Desktop!
Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based technology consultant and market analysis firm, reported last week that an electronic stock trading system provider, NYFIX, has started transitioning their systems from Windows to Linux, for reasons quite understandable in their business: According to Aberdeen consultant Bill Claybrook, they were just tired of the downtime involved in applying patches to Windows systems... Now servers that used to run Windows or Solaris will be based on more conservative Linux distributions, but the desktops for traders will run Gentoo Linux. Read the whole article at Claybrook's blog, and join the discussion at the Forums.
Italian Linux Magazine Covers Gentoo
"Gentoo GNU/Linux - The Power of Optimization" is the title of an article written by Gentoo devs lu_zero and brain, aka Luca Barbato and Michele Balistreri that appeared in this month's Linux & C. magazine (issue #33). The seven page article gives an overview of what Gentoo represents and who it is designed for, and goes on to describe the installation process from the LiveCD in detail, with many tips and tricks on configuration issues, closing most appropriately with a wish for users to -- have fun. Bon divertimento indeed, check Linux & C.'s website for details on how to order a copy of the magazine that also contains four CDs, two of which are filled with Gentoo 1.4_rc4 and lots of additional Gentoo packages.
Austria: Gentoo Vienna Community Holds Next Meeting on 5 August
And the wagon train moves on. Once more the Gentoo users of Vienna have decided to switch locations for their next meeting scheduled to take place on 5 August. The scarcely clad waitresses at the Vienna Hooters will quite possibly be a distraction similar to the weirdos populating the Austrian communist party venue of the first Gentoo user group meeting earlier this year (see GWN report), but some of the organizers seem to expect a higher motivation for people to turn up if they can be promised a glimpse of female bellybuttons over the rim of their laptop screens... Coordination thread in the forums, still at this URL.
Portage Watch is on hiatus this week, but will be back next week with the updated packages from this week and next week.
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and track
bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 11 July 2003 and 17 July 2003, activity
on the site has resulted in:
- 373 new bugs during this period
- 338 bugs closed or resolved during this period
- 1 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
Of the 3273 currently open bugs: 66 are labeled 'blocker', 134 are labeled 'critical', and 266 are labeled 'major'.
Closed Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs during this period are:
New Bug Rankings
The developers and teams who have been assigned the most new bugs during this period are:
Tips and Tricks
Accessing the Kazaa network without Wine
This week's tip shows you how to use giFT to access the Kazaa
network without using WINE.
The first step is to install giFT itself and the plugin for Kazaa network.
giFT-fasttrack developers have not made an official release yet and the only way to
get the plugin is through CVS. To install giFT run the following:
Code Listing 9.1: Getting giFT
# ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" emerge gift
# ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" emerge gift-fasttrack-cvs
In both cases replace "~x86" with your architecture.
Because giFT is only a daemon we need to install some client. There
are a number of choices available. In portage you can find:
giftcurs - console client based on ncurses library
giftoxic - gtk2 client
giftui - one more gtk2 client.
The are other clients available as well (check giFT project page), but
these are the ones available in portage.
In order to configure giFT run giFT-setup. On the step when you
will be prompted for the plugins enter: OpenFT:FastTrack. OpenFT
has to be there, otherwise the whole thing won't work.
Now, when we have installed and configured giFT you can run it by issuing
Code Listing 9.2: Running giFT
% giFT -d
This week's tip was submitted by Svyatogor
Quote/Signature of the week
Quote/Signature of the week is on hiatus this week. If you see a funny quote or signature in the Gentoo Linux mailing lists, web forums, or IRC channels, don't hesitate to send it to us.
Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
- Joshua Charles Campbell (warpzero) -- SL
- Oliver Crete (tester) -- amd64
- Greg Fitzgerald (gregf) -- printing, net-mail
- Stuart Herbert (stuart) -- PHP
- Yoshiaki Hagihara (hagi) -- Japanese docs
- Chris Gianelloni (wolf3102) -- games
- Don Seiler (rizzo) -- gaim, user-submitted
- Heinrich Wendel (lanius) -- printing
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project.
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