Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: November 17th, 2003
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.
Featured Developer of the Week
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Gentoo International is on hiatus this week.
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 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:
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
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
% 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
% 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
% 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.
Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
- Andrea Luzzardi (scox) - sandbox and kernel
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project.
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