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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: November 24th, 2003

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Summary

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

Status Report

There has been quite a bit of work done in the Gentoo Desktop world during the 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, and x11-plugins.

Who wants to be a Gentoo Developer?

We are looking for at least two intelligent, dedicated people to join in this effort. First, the KDE team is short of help, and would appreciate an able volunteer. Second, the gnustep herd, which comprises gnustep, afterstep, windowmaker, and some related apps, is fairly inactive, so we would like one 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.

2.  Featured Developer of the Week

Featured Developer is on hiatus this week.

3.  Gentoo Security

GLSA: apache

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 security issue:

  • CAN-2003-0542 (cve.mitre.org): 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

GLSA: kdebase

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 KDE.

  • Packages Affected: <=3.1.3
  • Rectification: emerge --sync; emerge '>=kde-base/kde-3.1.4'; emerge clean
  • GLSA Announcement

GLSA: opera

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 further details.

  • 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

GLSA: hylafax

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 configuration.

SuSE-SA:2003:045 outlines the problem, and is available at http://lwn.net/Articles/57562/

  • 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:

4.  Heard in the Community

Beyond X

"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.:

gentoo-user

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 here.

5.  Gentoo International

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.

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 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:

8.  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 portage.

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 respawn.

Code Listing 8.2: Killing the virtual console processes

  # kill -9 7114 30630

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

Please send us your feedback and help make the GWN better.

12.  GWN Subscription Information

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13.  Other Languages

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Print

Page updated 24 November 2003

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of November 24th, 2003.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brian Downey
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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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