Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: November 10th, 2003
Gentoo Managers' Meeting Summary - 3 November 2003
As part of the new management structure adopted on June 24th of this year, project managers have held biweekly IRC meetings in order to improve communication within the project. As of 3 November 2003, raw meeting logs, as well as summaries of them, are now available to the public.
In the meeting on November 3, two issues were discussed: project status updates and portage-ng. The first concerned the fact that, while project leaders were doing a good job of disseminating status reports amongst each other, most developers and users were not seeing these and thus did not know what was going on, and that this should be addressed. The second, portage-ng, outlined by Daniel Robbins at the meeting, is a strategy behind a replacement to portage that would be modular, and possibly have its core written in a language that would be "suitable for creating an expert system." To read a more detailed summary of the meeting or to peruse the logs, look at the Meeting Logs and Summaries section of the Gentoo Manager Meetings page.
Featured Developer of the Week
Figure 2.1: Sven Vermeulen
This week's featured developer is Sven
Vermeulen (swift), the project lead for the Gentoo
Documentation Project. His duties include the care and feeding
of Gentoo's documentation developers, updating and creating
documentation and shepherding various documentation subprojects, like
Handbook, a guide for gentoo users, which he is particularly
pleased with the progress on. The current state (comprising the
install documentation) is available as the Gentoo
Sven lives in Bruges, Belgium, not far from the coast. He is a
Software Engineering student at the University of Ghent. He also does
occasional consulting jobs, manages a research group, and administers
a local computer club. He has been a steady Linux user since 1997,
when he started with Red Hat 4.2. He first became aware of Gentoo in
early 2002. After some investigation he decided that "it could
replace Red Hat immediately, with lots of advantages". One of the
features he likes was that the Gentoo documentation was "actively
being developed", in comparison with many distributions that "just
write an install guide and stop". He describes one of the more
difficult aspects of his job as encouraging discussion and making
decisions about the way documentation needs to go, "knowing that your
actions will upset some people, and make others happy".
Sven noted that Dutch documentation was not yet being developed, so he
started doing translations of the existing English documents and
forwarding them to John Davis, who was then leading the documentation
team. Eventually, John gave Sven and some of the other more active
translators direct CVS access so they could keep the documentation up
to date. When Gentoo's new management structure went into effect
earlier this year, Sven was asked (as one of the more active
documentation developers) to take over the lead role.
Sven works on a laptop most of the time, but also has two desktop
computers: a gateway and a development server. In addition, he has a
4-computer openMosix array. He is a fluxbox user (although he
confesses to a fondness for larswm).
His standard set of tools includes: aterm, vim, mutt, slrn, mozilla and irssi. When not doing schoolwork or
Gentoo documentation, Sven like to play Squash, go to movies, or hang
out with friends in a local pub. When asked to describe Gentoo, he
responded that "some call it source-based, some call it fast, some
call it flexible, I call it adaptive", which makes him certain that
Gentoo will continue to be a top player. Sven's favorite quote is
from Einstein: Only two things are infinite: the universe and human
stupidity; and I'm not sure about the former.
Note: There were no new security announcements this week.
New Security Bug Reports
The following new security bugs were posted this week:
Heard in the Community
OpenSSL 0.9.7 Breakages
Progressing from OpenSSL 0.9.6 to the next minor release number was messier than most people may have expected, but it isn't exactly a new problem. The ebuild actually contains a warning that makes it perfectly clear what will happen, but hey, who reads those before emerging the world? As a consequence, several threads in the Forums had to deal with the repercussions of broken dependencies and how to rebuild stuff that links to the wrong library after the upgrade to OpenSSL. The main thread stands six months old towering over all the others, and conveniently including the canonical solution:
User list contributor Robo did some rather
tests on how different CFLAGS settings affect an older Pentium MMX
processor this week. Some of the results are different than what
one might think...
Gentoo on vservers.
Gentoo is already available on a wide variety of types of boxes, but as always, where we are is never the best spot! here is a post questioning what needs to happen for Gentoo to become a viable alternative for vservers.
Beta packages site.
Like to know what packages have been released in the portage tree recently? Well look no further, packages.gentoo.org has just started it's beta release. Don't worry if it's down, it is beta still so it will probably be up and down as it is perfected. Check it out! Check out the announcement on the -dev mailing list here.
New Russian and Greek Forums Online
A big step forward for the Gentoo Forums: Both Greek and Russian Gentoo users now have a support section of their own at forums.gentoo.org. These being the first two in a future line of non-western alphabet languages supported at the forums, encoding and character sets are being vividly discussed among users and their moderators. As one of the Greek forum moderators, Ioannis aka Deathwing00, explains, most Greeks are used to type in "Greeklish", a rather awkward way of writing Greek with Latin characters. Getting used to switchable keymaps takes some effort and isn't easily done, but a Greek Keyboard Howto is being prepared for inclusion in the stickies of the new forum. With the Greek still figuring out which way they want to go, their Russian colleagues have similar problems to solve. KOI-8R, the quasi-standard in Unix for cyrillic characters, is still dominant in Unix circles, an ever-growing number of people are demanding Unicode instead. Anyway, moderator Sergey or svyatogor has implemented an automatic encoding detection for the Russian forum, thus alleviating the problem for both camps. By the way, forum moderators lately seem to have a tendency to live abroad, with only Slammer actually living in Greece. Siberian Mihail aka ghuug is covering things from West Africa where he's a sysadmin for several companies and running the Ghana Unix Users Group, while his co-mod svyatogor is in Cyprus (not exactly part of the Russian federation, either), and Greek mod Deathwing00 has been living near Barcelona since age 6... forums.gentoo.org.
Germany: Regional Gentoo User Meeting in Hamburg
After an unsuccessful attempt last winter to achieve critical mass of Gentoo users north of the Elbe river for a regional meeting, things are definitely looking brighter this autumn: The Hamburg Gentoo Users Meeting (GUM) is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, 7 December 2003, starting around 18:00 hours at the Schachcafe, a chess club and restaurant on the northern rim of town (S-Bhf. Rübenkamp). Coordination via the Forums, as always. Interestingly enough, the German forum has established a collective GUM thread listing all regional groups that have managed to meet in the flesh.
Portage Watch is on hiatus this week.
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and track
bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 31 October 2003 and 06 November 2003, activity
on the site has resulted in:
- 490 new bugs during this period
- 252 bugs closed or resolved during this period
- 12 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
Of the 4040 currently open bugs: 106 are labeled 'blocker', 189 are labeled 'critical', and 319 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
Spell Checking with Aspell
This week's tip demonstrates spell checking a file withaspell.
aspell. While aspell comes with it's own dictionary, it also
allows you to create and maintain a personal dictionary as well. There are
many uses of aspell, but this week we are just going to look at
interactively spell checking a file.
To install aspell, you need to install the
app-text/aspell package and any language-based dictionaries
you want aspell to check against (e.g.
app-dicts/aspell-en). For a list of available dictionaries,
use emerge search 'aspell-'.
Code Listing 8.1: Installing aspell and the English dictionary
# emerge app-text/aspell
# emerge app-dicts/aspell-en
Now that aspell is installed, you can use it to check a document.
Start by typing aspell check file, where
file is the file you want to edit. If there are potentially
misspelled words, you will see the the file and an option window at the
bottom of your terminal. In the option window are suggested replacements
and some options like ignore, replace,
Code Listing 8.2: Using aspell
% aspell check tips-20031110.xml
1) sect head 6) scythed
2) sect-head 7) swathed
3) scathed 8) Scheat
4) seethed 9) soothed
5) sketched 0) secured
i) Ignore I) Ignore all
r) Replace R) Replace all
a) Add l) Add Lower
b) Abort x) Exit
1) English 6) Anglia's
2) Englisher 7) Anglia
3) English's 8) Inglis
4) Englished 9) Anguish
5) Englishes 0) Unleash
i) Ignore I) Ignore all
r) Replace R) Replace all
a) Add l) Add Lower
b) Abort x) Exit
When Aspell finishes, you will see file.bak created as a
backup copy of your document. To view your personal dictionary, use the
command aspell dump personal. For more information, see
http://aspell.sourceforge.net or use aspell --help.
Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
- Don Seiler (rizzo) - web-apps, gaim
- Ciaran McCreesh (ciaranm) - sparc
- Ilya Volynets (iluxa) - mips
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project.
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