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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: November 17th, 2003

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Summary

packages.gentoo.org now live

We're proud to announce that packages.gentoo.org is now up, replacing the old online package database with a new one featuring many improvements:

  • a searchable interface
  • a chronology of new packages
  • more information about each package, including the most recent changelog entries
  • an easy way to tell which packages are masked on various architectures

Porting "sandbox" to BSD libc

The Gentoo-BSD subproject is seeking an individual who would be interested in porting Portage's sandbox code so that it works on the *BSDs as well as on linux. In principle this task should be fairly straightforward, as one just needs to replace the linux-specific system calls with their *BSD equivalents--anybody who has ever had a course using W. Richard Stevens' classic "Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment" text (or a more modern equivalent) would be more than qualified. Moreover, a successful port would also use GNU autotools to identify the requisite system calls using the normal "configure" script. Anybody interested should e-mail his or her intent and qualifications to Grant Goodyear.

2.  Featured Developer of the Week

Luke-Jr

This week's featured developer is somewhat more mysterious than most, having declined to provide either a photograph or an IRS-compatible name. We even have to guess at a pronoun, but the fact that Luke-Jr is a Computer Science student at Tunxis Community College indicates that it is likely he is a resident of Connecticut in the U.S. In Gentoo's virtual community, Luke-Jr works to bring "Gentoo to every computer user" by working on tools like a newbie-friendly graphical installer. He may also end up taking over KPortage, unless some other willing soul appears. He is currently working on developing BitTorrent based tools for distributing things like LiveCDs and stages..

Luke-Jr has been using Linux since Red Hat 5.2 and later switched to a packageless manual compile system. He moved to Gentoo over a year ago when he began to feel the pain of keeping his system up-to-date. After spending some considerable time at the Gentoo booth at LinuxWorld Expo in January of 2003, he began to consider forking Gentoo to create a more newbie-friendly version. Upon discovering that the existing Gentoo developers had no objection to adding those tools to the existing distro, he began working as a Gentoo developer.

Luke-Jr has a fair bit of experience in Open Source development. He was a primary developer on the Open Direct Connect file sharing program as well as working on the Kye puzzle game (which he plans to port to QT), MOO extensions and Tasogare, a multiplayer online RPG engine. He was particularly pleased with $phone, a MOO extension that allowed users to call virtual phone numbers on other MOOs, and the accomplishment of rewriting the Kye engine. Nevertheless, he considers Gentoo his "primary job", describing it as "the best operating system that currently exists".

Luke-Jr is a KDE user, largely because of the window manager, Konqueror, Kontact, Konsole and the Kicker (although he would consider dropping the last if someone would port the OSX taskbar). His favorite applications include Qt Designer, Mozilla Composer and Psi.

Luke-Jr's favorite quote comes is one of Richard Stallman's comments on proprietary software: "It was useless for a community." In that vein, he made a plea for people to shift away from obsolete or closed IM protocols toward the open and standardized Jabber/XMPP. He also points out that he has made the hex time display from his screenshot available with emerge khexclock.

3.  Gentoo Security

GLSAs

Note: There were no new security announcements this week.

New Security Bug Reports

The following new security bugs were posted this week:

4.  Heard in the Community

gentoo-user

Moving /usr/portage

Eventually, everyone seems to run low on disk space. One Gentoo list member was curious if it was possible to move /usr/portage to some place else to free some up. The short answer is "yes"; the question resulted in a cool thread with many useful `mount' tricks. Read on here.

gentoo-dev

Gentoo Documentation.

Now, like so many other things about gentoo, the Gentoo Documentation Project (GDP) has a home page. Have a look here for the details about the project..

Losing Ebuilds (a.k.a. the joys of openssl-0.9.7!)

Have a look at this problem around old computers doing security updates, and running into trouble when the older ebuilds for a certain package have been deleted from the tree as older versions.

5.  Gentoo International

Gentoo International is on hiatus this week.

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 08 November 2003 and 14 November 2003, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 0 new bugs during this period
  • 261 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 7 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 4149 currently open bugs: 104 are labeled 'blocker', 191 are labeled 'critical', and 323 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

Using the file command

This week's tip demonstrates the use of the file command. This command has been in UNIX since at least 1973 but is often overlooked. However, it's an extremely useful command for classifying files.

The file command is provided by the package sys-apps/file, so if you don't already have it installed, you'll need to type emerge file. Chances are you've already got it on your system though. To use file simply type file filename and you'll see information about the filename you passed in. Simple right?

Code Listing 8.1: Using file

% file css current.xml tips-20031117.xml tips-20031117.html screenlog.0
css:                directory
current.xml:        symbolic link to `tips-20031117.xml'
tips-20031117.xml:  ASCII English text
tips-20031117.html: UTF-8 Unicode HTML document text, with very long lines
screenlog.0:        ASCII English text, with CRLF, CR line terminators, 
with escape sequences, with overstriking

(You can also use file to look at shell scripts)
% file bin/fix bin/update_dat.sh
bin/fix:           a /usr/bin/perl -w script text executable
bin/update_dat.sh: a /bin/sh script text executable

(Or you can check binary files)
% file /bin/cp
/bin/cp: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), for 
GNU/Linux 2.4.1, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), stripped

(As the last example, you can use it on 'core' files)
% file core
core: ELF 32-bit LSB core file Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), SVR4-style,
SVR4-style, from 'a.out'
  

This should get you started but there are many other uses of file, see the man page (man 1 file) for more information.

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:

  • Andrea Luzzardi (scox) - sandbox and kernel

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 17 November 2003

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of November 17th, 2003.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brian Downey
Contributor

Cal Evans
Contributor

Chris Gavin
Contributor

Luke Giuliani
Contributor

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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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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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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Yuji Carlos Kosugi
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Lukasz Strzygowski
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Otavio Rodolfo Piske
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Pablo N. Hess -- NatuNobilis
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Ventura Barbeiro
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Bruno Ferreira
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Lanark
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Fernando J. Pereda
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Lluis Peinado Cifuentes
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Zephryn Xirdal T
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Carlos Castillo
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Julio Castillo
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Aycan Irican
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Bugra Cakir
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