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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: September 15, 2003

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Summary

Official Gentoo port to IA64 begun

Earlier this week Daniel Robbins announced on gentoo-dev that HP had donated a dual-CPU Itanium 2 system to Gentoo and spelled out the steps in the porting plan, mainly consisting of getting Portage to work in Debian/IA64 and converting it to a native Gentoo installation, and expanding IA64 support throughout the Portage tree. What no one expected, though, was for someone to chime in with a working stage1 tarball and enough ebuild patches to have a usable headless system. The donated machine is now set up on Daniel Robbins' LAN and is awaiting conversion to Gentoo. If you have experience with IA64 and wish to help in some capacity, please email Seemant Kulleen and cc Daniel Robbins. This port will probably proceed quickly because of the many developers interested in the port as well as this early boost; check future newsletters for information on its progress.

2.  Gentoo Security

Summary

There were no Security announcements this week

New Security Bug Reports

The following new security bugs were posted in the past week:

3.  User stories

User stories is on hiatus this week. Remember to send us your bizarre, hilarious, or incredible Gentoo stories so they can be featured here!

4.  Featured Developer of the Week

Adrian Almenar


Figure 4.1: Adrian Almenar

Fig. 1: Adrian Almenar

This week, we are featuring Adrian Almenar (strider). Adrian works primarily with Gentoo's java team, fixing bugs and maintaining the packages in dev-java/*. He particularly focuses on maintaining the JDK packages and java-config, as well as xalan-j, xerces-j, ant, maven and jikes. Gentoo is his first major role as a developer on an open-source project, but he has collaborated on translating materials for Jakarta-Tomcat. The work he is most proud of was commencing the port of java-config to python, a task that was completed by Todd Berman and Jason Mobarak.

Adrian lives and works in Caracas, Venezuela, where the climate encourages his fondness for cold beer. He is employed as a java programmer for a mobile Internet services company, where 90% of the production servers are now Gentoo-based. At night, he is studying Economic Sciences at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, after studying Computer Science for some years. Despite daytime work, night courses, and weekends working on Gentoo, he still manages to spend a little time with his girlfriend, Stella. He also claims to be able to find time to pursue hobbies in Ham radio, electronics and telecommunications as well as the more prosaic pastimes of reading, movies and going out with friends.

Adrian prefers to use XFCE4 as his Window Manager at work, but uses KDE at home for his mother's sake (yes, his mother uses Gentoo). He uses Sylpheed-claws to manage his 5 email accounts, and prefers Mozilla-Firebird, Gaim, XMMS, J-Pilot, GKrellm, vim and kvim for other tools. His home computers are a Pentium IV 1.8 GHz (768 Mb, Geforce 2) development box and an Athlon 800 MHz (128 Mb, TNT2) that serves as a mail server, firewall, and computer for his mother.

Adrian first began using Linux with Slackware in 1996, when he used it for Web development and Java programming in his first job. He became aware of Gentoo in April of 2002, and began using it that June, when the 1.2 release was available. When he discovered how well it met his needs, he began using it at work, and eventually assisted with the migration of many of his company's computers to Gentoo. He offered us a quote from the movie Hackers, which he says describes Linux' role in the OS market: "Mess with the best, die like the rest."

5.  Heard in the Community

Web Forums

The Race for the G5

When oubipaws casually claimed he had been running Gentoo Linux on his Apple Macintosh G5, the Gentoo PPC developer elite flocked to the thread to see what was going on. Sadly, the skeptics prevailed in the end, but at least the excitement was real... And even the most fool-proof devs are definitely glad to see so many people trying Gentoo Linux on their new G5 machines:

From Denmark with Love

Not everyone is looking for just fifteen minutes of fame... Rather than pushing their personalities to the front, some people are quite successful at using the Forum as a channel to get their work into the limelight. At 20,000 regulars on board, and a rather grateful audience at that, this is often greeted with loud cheers and upped thumbs by Forum users. This week's most blatantly obvious example of a non-official development stint anchored in a Forum thread comes from Lovechild. The Forum legend and notorious Breakmygentoo contributor now even has his own kernel patch set out, and last week opened shop in a thread at the forums that has become second home to a merry bunch of desktop performance guerilleros:

gentoo-user

Quick Tips for Dial-Up users

Broadband users shouldn't have all the fun. A gentoo-user list member wanted to know what tips and tricks were out there for dial-up users, and some good ones got posted Read on here.

6.  Gentoo International

Germany: "Practical Linux" Show on 11 October in Gießen

Benjamin Judas, aka Beejay, a Gentooist living a mere half hour from the conference venue, has announced Gentoo's participation in this year's Practical Linux Day, an annual event at the Fachhochschule Gießen (University of Applied Science), located about 80 km north of Frankfurt/Main. Beejay will give a presentation during the main session, and a Gentoo booth will undoubtedly be manned by the usual suspects. A shipment of freshly minted LiveCD is rumoured to be on its way for sale at the show. Tell the other lads you're coming at at the corresponding forum thread (in German).

7.  Portage Watch

Portage Watch is on hiatus this week.

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. Between 05 September 2003 and 11 September 2003, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 437 new bugs during this period
  • 295 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 8 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 3864 currently open bugs: 94 are labeled 'blocker', 200 are labeled 'critical', and 285 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:

9.  Tips and Tricks

An introduction to sudo

This week's tip demonstrates some common uses of sudo which allows normal users to run commands with elevated privileges. This week we look at using sudo to view log files and handle basic user administration.

Code Listing 9.1: Getting sudo

% emerge app-admin/sudo
  

The first thing to do is set up the /etc/sudoers file which controls all the privileges handled by sudo. Instead of editing this file directly, use the visudo command. For a full list of configuration options, see the sudoers man page (man 5 sudoers).

This file is just an example and demonstrates how to create command and user aliases.

Code Listing 9.2: /etc/sudoers

# sudoers file.
#
# This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
#
# See the sudoers man page for the details on how to write a sudoers file.
#

# User alias specification
User_Alias      HELPDESK  = jfox, helpdesk
User_Alias      SYSADMINS = david, jc

# Cmnd alias specification
# Create aliases for all commands used in viewing files
Cmnd_Alias      VIEW = /bin/cat, /bin/grep, /bin/more, /usr/bin/head, \
                       /usr/bin/tail, /usr/bin/less 

# commands for user administration
Cmnd_Alias  USERADMIN = /usr/sbin/useradd, /usr/sbin/userdel, \
                        /usr/sbin/usermod

# User privilege specification
# Allow SYSADMINS to run any command as any user
SYSADMINS   ALL = ALL

# Allow  users in HELPDESK to use the user administration commands and
# to use the VIEW commands without a password
HELPDESK    ALL = USERADMIN, NOPASSWD:VIEW

# Allow users in the %users group to use the VIEW commands
%users      ALL = VIEW
  

Now that your /etc/sudoers file has been created, you can issue commands using sudo command.

Code Listing 9.3: Examples

(Viewing /var/log/critical/current as the helpdesk user)
helpdesk@mybox% sudo tail /var/log/critical/current

(Adding a new user as the user jfox)
jfox@mybox% sudo useradd marcus
Password: password for jfox
  

While this is no means comprehensive, this should introduce you to some of the many possibilities of sudo. For more examples and options see the man pages or the web page at http://www.courtesan.com/sudo/.

10.  Featured Quote/Signature of the Week

Featured Quote/Signature is taking a break this week.

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

Interested in contributing to the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter? Send us an email.

13.  GWN Feedback

Please send us your feedback and help make the GWN better.

14.  GWN Subscription Information

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15.  Other Languages

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Print

Page updated 15 September 2003

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of September 15th, 2003.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brian Downey
Contributor

Cal Evans
Contributor

Chris Gavin
Contributor

Luke Giuliani
Contributor

Shawn Jonnet
Contributor

Michael Kohl
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Kurt Lieber
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Rafael Cordones Marcos
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David Narayan
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Gerald J Normandin Jr.
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Ulrich Plate
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Mathy Vanvoorden
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Hendrik Eeckhaut
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Jorn Eilander
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Bernard Kerckenaere
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Peter ter Borg
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Jochen Maes
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Roderick Goessen
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Gerard van den Berg
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Matthieu Montaudouin
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Martin Prieto
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Antoine Raillon
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Sebastien Cevey
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Jean-Christophe Choisy
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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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Stefano Lucidi
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Yoshiaki Hagihara
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Katsuyuki Konno
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Yuji Carlos Kosugi
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Yasunori Fukudome
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Takashi Ota
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Radoslaw Janeczko
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Lukasz Strzygowski
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Michal Drobek
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Adam Lyjak
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Pablo N. Hess -- NatuNobilis
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Bruno Ferreira
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José Costa
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