Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: November 24th, 2003
Gentoo Managers' Meeting Summary - 17 November 2003
A log and summary of last week's Managers' Meeting have been posted on the Gentoo Managers' Meetings page. During the meeting, three issues were discussed before the floor was opened. First, Daniel Robbins spoke about Catalyst, a new system for building LiveCDs and stage tarballs. Catalyst, a rewrite of the original "stager" code used to build the stage1, stage2, and stage3 tarballs, will be a single modular program able to reliably and repeatably build stages, livecds, and package sets for all architectures. Next, Sven Vermeulen announced that the installation section of the Gentoo Handbook was ready for mass consumption. Finally, infrastructure lead Kurt Lieber asked what was being done to facilitate QA for Gentoo, and was answered by Seemant Kulleen, who said that releng was handling QA by developing catalyst and similar tools, and that ideas were being tossed around in #gentoo-qa and in conversations with developers.
Gentoo Desktop update
There has been quite a bit of work done in the Gentoo Desktop world
last several weeks. A number of developers from the Gentoo Desktop
team have banded together to ensure that every package pertaining to
running Gentoo on the desktop is sufficiently maintained. This team
has begun forming new herds (collections of related ebuilds
maintained by a group of interested developers), updating forgotten
packages to newer versions, testing said packages, marking some of them
stable, and closing bugs. The current target categories are x11-misc, x11-wm,
Who wants to be a Gentoo Developer?
We are looking for at least two intelligent, dedicated people to join in
effort. First, the KDE team is short of help, and would appreciate an
volunteer. Second, the gnustep herd, which comprises gnustep, afterstep,
windowmaker, and some related apps, is fairly inactive, so we would like
more person to fill this position. Other positions may be available, so
don't hesitate to contact tseng on IRC at #gentoo-desktop, or send an
email to Brandon Hale.
Qualified applicants will preferably be long-time users of Linux as a
desktop OS. Strong troubleshooting skills are required, as the selected
applicants will be working to resolve bug reports from other users.
Familiarity with Bugzilla and cvs are also a plus, and fluency in the
English language is greatly preferred.
Featured Developer of the Week
Featured Developer is on hiatus this week.
Quote from http://httpd.apache.org/dev/dist/Announcement:
This version of Apache is principally a bug and security fix release.
A partial summary of the bug fixes is given at the end of this document.
A full listing of changes can be found in the CHANGES file. Of
particular note is that 1.3.29 addresses and fixes 1 potential
Fix buffer overflows in mod_alias and mod_rewrite which occurred if
one configured a regular expression with more than 9 captures.
We consider Apache 1.3.29 to be the best version of Apache 1.3 available
and we strongly recommend that users of older versions, especially of
the 1.1.x and 1.2.x family, upgrade as soon as possible. No further
releases will be made in the 1.2.x family.
- Packages Affected: <apache-1.3.29
- Rectification: emerge sync; emerge -pv apache; emerge '>=net-www/apache-1.3.29'; emerge clean; /etc/init.d/apache restart
- GLSA Announcement
Firstly, versions of KDM <= 3.1.3 are vulnerable to a privilege escalation
bug with a specific configuration of PAM modules. Users who do not use PAM
with KDM and users who use PAM with regular Unix crypt/MD5 based
authentication methods are not affected.
Secondly, KDM uses a weak cookie generation algorithm. It is advised that
users upgrade to KDE 3.1.4, which uses /dev/urandom as a non-predictable
source of entropy to improve security.
Please look at http://www.kde.org/info/security/advisory-20030916-1.txt for
the KDE Security Advisory and source patch locations for older versions of
- Packages Affected: <=3.1.3
- Rectification: emerge --sync; emerge '>=kde-base/kde-3.1.4'; emerge clean
- GLSA Announcement
The Opera browser can cause a buffer allocated on the heap to overflow under
certain HREFs when rendering HTML. The mail system is also deemed vulnerable
and an attacker can send an email containing a malformed HREF, or plant the
malicious HREF on a web site.
Please see http://www.atstake.com/research/advisories/2003/a102003-1.txt for
- Severity: High - buffer overflows rendering certain HREFs
- Packages Affected: 7.11, 7.20
- Rectification: emerge --sync; emerge '>=net-www/opera-7.22'; emerge clean
- GLSA Announcement
During a code review of the hfaxd server, the SuSE Security Team discovered a
format bug condition that allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code
as the root user. However, the bug cannot be triggered in the default hylafax
SuSE-SA:2003:045 outlines the problem, and is available at
- Severity: Normal - Remote code exploit untriggerable in default configuration
- Packages Affected: <=4.1.7
- Rectification: emerge --sync; emerge '>=net-misc/hylafax-4.1.8'; emerge clean
- GLSA Announcement
New Security Bug Reports
The following new security bugs were posted this week:
Heard in the Community
"Can I use this without blowing a hole in my PC?" was the spontaneous first reaction to port001's announcement of ebuilds for Keith Packard's alternative Xserver (formerly known as kdrive), including the Render extension and a 32 bits X Visual for presenting alpha-blended content to the screen. The forum thread started last Sunday, is quite lively and an absolute must for anyone who wants to have a go at translucent windows... The ebuild's actual author spyderous and thread initiator port001 are still around answering questions:
Power Profiles for Laptops
Well rooted in the tradition of donating excellent documentation to the Forum section of the same name, optilude has deposited a collection of scripts for power management on laptop and notebooks, addressing CPU frequency throttles and backlight adjustments, but potentially including other funtions, too.:
Dangers of unmerging?
Quoting the Portage Manual: 'Unmerging packages can be dangerous...removal of various libraries may
cause software to fail". User list member Jason presented that this is a fundamental shortcoming
in Portage. Check out how others felt about this topic
Vienna Gentoo Linux Users Group (VGLUG) Meeting in December
The Vienna crowd continues to pick the strangest of places for their venues. This time (Tuesday 2 December, 19:00 hours) it's going to be at the Cafe Oskar, a peculiar joint where - judging from the pictures on their website - part of the crowd consistently seems to enjoy dancing on tables while being inappropriately clad for temperatures outside. Stow those notebooks away, Gentoomen... Questions, remarks, RSVPs to the Forum coordination thread.
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 14 November 2003 and 20 November 2003, activity
on the site has resulted in:
- 457 new bugs during this period
- 296 bugs closed or resolved during this period
- 11 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
Of the 4145 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
Killing a Hung Virtual Console
This week's tip shows you how to restore a hung virtual console
(without rebooting). To do this, you need sys-apps/lsof from
Using lsof, find the login processes of the hung console.
Code Listing 8.1: Example: (hung console is /dev/vc/3)
# lsof /dev/vc/3
COMMAND PID USER FD TYPE DEVICE SIZE NODE NAME
login 7114 root 0u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
login 7114 root 1u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
login 7114 root 2u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
zsh 30630 david 0u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
zsh 30630 david 1u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
zsh 30630 david 2u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
zsh 30630 david 10u CHR 4,3 17 /dev/vc/3
Kill the processes associated with this login and the console should
Code Listing 8.2: Killing the virtual console processes
# kill -9 7114 30630
Moves, Adds and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project.
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