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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: October 13, 2003

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Summary

GNOME 2.4 marked stable on x86

GNOME 2.4 has now been marked stable on x86, thanks to the efforts of the Gentoo GNOME team. This new release of GNOME doesn't hold very many new features, but much has been improved under the hood, and a few subtle additions have been made to the interface. These include a unified panel, a screen resolution control under Desktop Preferences which provides an interface to XRandR, the inclusion of Nautilus-cd-burner, and better integration with media by utilizing the gstreamer and gst-plugins.

New GNOME users will have no problem installing this release by executing emerge gnome, but those upgrading from 2.2 should keep a few things in mind in order to make the transition smooth. First of all, bonobo-activation has been merged into libbonobo in versions after 2.4.0, so bonobo-activation will block the upgrade. The best method to deal with this problem is to emerge -u gnome until the blocking bonobo-activation is hit, then emerge -C bonobo-activation and then emerge -u gnome again to resume the upgrade. This will ensure that the bonobo-activation libraries remain on the system right until they are removed and then immediately replaced, reducing the chance of compilation problems due to missing libraries. Users may encounter the same problem with gnome-utils and gucharmap as well; the solution then is emerge -u gnome-utils at the blocking point before gucharmap is emerged. Another issue is the inclusion of the Epiphany browser in the default GNOME distribution. We provide this as part of the default GNOME installation as part of our effort to follow GNOME's packaging procedures. While Epiphany is GTK2-based and has a lightweight frontend, it's Mozilla-based, adding a hefty weight to the installation if you don't have Mozilla already. Users who use a different browsers and do not want to install Epiphany should run emerge inject net-www/epiphany-1.0 so that it will be included as installed and will not interfere with the upgrade.

2.  Gentoo Security

Summary

GLSA: cfengine

From the bugtraq posting:

There is an exploitable stack overflow in the network I/O code used in the cfservd daemon in Cfengine 2.x prior to version 2.0.8. Arbitrary code execution has been demonstrated on x86 FreeBSD and is believed to be possible on all platforms.

Cfengine 1 is not vulnerable, but downgrading is not recommended as version 1 is nolonger supported by the author."

  • Severity: High - stack overflow in cfengine network code
  • Packages Affected: <2.0.8, 2.1.0a6-a9
  • Rectification: emerge sync; emerge cfengine; emerge clean
  • GLSA Announcement

New Security Bug Reports

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

3.  Featured Developer of the Week

Donnie Berkholz


Figure 3.1: Donnie Berkholz

Fig. 1: Donnie Berkholz

Our featured developer for this issue is Donnie Berkholz (spyderous), who is the XFree herd maintainer and co-lead (along with Michael Imhof) of the Gentoo Cluster Project. He also performs the usual developer tasks of maintaining ebuilds for several packages in the tree, especially in the app-sci category. He describes his main duties as "keeping XFree working" and up-to-date as well as making the "Gentoo Cluster Project larger and more visible".

Donnie is a senior at the University of Richmond, Virginia, USA. He is a dual-major in biochemistry and chemistry, with a minor in journalism. He is originally from Plymouth, Minnesota. He works as an editor for the student newspaper at the University, and enjoys Ultimate Frisbee and fencing. He has been working at learning the guitar for the last six months, and is a member of a choir. He prefers nano as an editor and numbers Scribus, MPlayer, gAIM, XChat-2, xmms and VMWare among his favorite applications.

Donnie does much of his development work on an Athlon 2000+ MP workstation, nicely modded with a clear side panel, green cold cathode light and round bundle cables. He also has a Pentium 4 (2.4 GHz) laptop for traveling. A former fluxbox user (he liked the tabs), Donnie has recently moved to Gnome 2.4. When his computer boots, it automatically brings up four tabs of gnome-terminal and two instances of gkrellm2. He prefers evolution for his mail client.

Donnie first started using Linux three years ago, with Red Hat. He heard about Gentoo last spring, and started using it almost immediately. Once he had joined the community, he became aware of a need for more information about direct rendering and took up the task of creating some documentation about it. This got him noticed and invited to join the development team. He is particularly pleased with the progress he and Seemant Kulleen have made in splitting up the XFree build, and is most proud of the Hardware 3D Acceleration Guide he wrote over the summer. He directed us to games-misc/fortune-mod-gentoo-dev as a source of favorite quotes. He conclude our conversation with the statement that: "Gentoo's given me opportunities I never suspected I would have had".

4.  Heard in the Community

Web Forums

PPC Worries on their Way Out

Dialogues with the devs have always been more frequent in the PPC section of the Forums than elsewhere. Small wonder that pvdabeel, Gentoo lead developer for the PowerPC architecture, chose a couple of threads in the PPC forum to announce LiveCD updates that'll quite possibly fix a few of the problems that have been discussed in those same threads:

gentoo-user

Gentoo Killed My PC?

Most users of Gentoo know that it's demanding on system hardware. One of the most stressful jobs a CPU can do is compile source code, and Gentoo does have loads of it (unless you're a GRP user!). Because of this, many people with hardware problems do not become aware of them until Gentoo gets installed. Once such user on the community mailing list discovered that Power Supplies can have a lot to do with system performance, and many users pitched in with helpful (and some life-saving) ideas.

gentoo-dev

Three Tiers for Portage!

Ian Leitch (re)raised this interesting idea about having three tiers for portage. Stable, unstable and testing were one of the proposals, among other discussions about the existing system.

5.  Gentoo International

Germany: Pictures from the Practical Linux Day in Gießen

A few hundred visitors had found their way to the show at the Fachhochschule, some of them to get a good look at the open source projects in the exhibition area, others in order to attend some of the lectures and workshops in the meeting rooms around the house. The obligatory Gentoo lecture was held by Benjamin Judas (beejay) before an audience of several dozen interested people, while Cybersystem, Tantive, Pyrania and stkn were the devs on duty at the Gentoo booth downstairs. Here are two shots as a short impression from last Saturday's event, more (and bigger) pictures are at pyrania's pages.

6.  Portage Watch

Portage Watch is on hiatus this week.

7.  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 03 October 2003 and 09 October 2003, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 503 new bugs during this period
  • 313 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 16 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 4152 currently open bugs: 109 are labeled 'blocker', 196 are labeled 'critical', and 343 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:

8.  Tips and Tricks

Introducing the -- flag

This week's tip introduces the -- flag. This flag is supported by many utilities but isn't always documented in the man pages. However, it can be very useful, especially when dealing with malformed filenames.

Note: Most programs that make use of --option also support the -- flag since it is a standard feature of GNU getopt().

The -- flag forces everything passed in after it to be an argument to the command. This can be extremely useful when dealing with filenames that start with a - which would normally indicate an option or flag passed to the command.

For example, assume that for some reason, there is a file named -file that needs to be deleted. Normally you would use the command rm to delete a file, but this doesn't work since the file in question starts with a -. But by using the -- flag, we force rm to recognize -file as an argument and not an option.

Code Listing 8.1: Using the -- flag

(Attempting to use rm results in an error as rm tries to)
(process all of the letters as options (f,i,l,e). It fails)
(on 'l' since that isn't a valid option for rm.)
% ls
-file

% rm -file
rm: invalid option -- l
Try `rm --help' for more information

% rm -- -file
% ls
 
(-file was successfully removed)
  

Note: For more technical information, see man 3 getopt.

9.  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

10.  Contribute to GWN

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11.  GWN Feedback

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12.  GWN Subscription Information

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13.  Other Languages

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Print

Page updated 13 October 2003

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of October 13th, 2003.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brian Downey
Contributor

Cal Evans
Contributor

Chris Gavin
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Luke Giuliani
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Shawn Jonnet
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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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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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Xavier Neys
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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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Thomas Raschbacher
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Steffen Lassahn
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Matthias F. Brandstetter
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Lukas Domagala
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Tobias Scherbaum
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Daniel Gerholdt
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Marc Herren
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Tobias Matzat
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Claudio Merloni
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Yuji Carlos Kosugi
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Takashi Ota
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Lukasz Strzygowski
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Pablo N. Hess -- NatuNobilis
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