Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: March 15th, 2004
Release 2004.1 Information
With the release of Gentoo Linux 2004.0 at the end of February, planning and work on release 2004.1 have already begun. The goals for this release include:
- Clear and concise guidelines so that the release goes much more smoothly and enjoyably.
- A better use of infrastructure by revamping the current way releases are coordinated to be put on the mirrors.
- Catalyst enhancements and bugfixes.
- Better communication from releng to the arch release coordinators, and vice-a-versa.
- Internet-based GRP for Portage's binary download and install functionality.
- Completion of all items on the 2004.1 Feature Request list.
The 2004.1 Feature Request list includes items like
"emerge security" functionality, which would integrate GLEPs into
Portage so that security-related updates can be installed, and a Bootable
X GameCD for Unreal Tournament 2004.
The tentative release date for 2004.1 is April 28, 2004. For more information on release
2004.1 and other releases, see the Release Engineering page.
Featured Developer of the Week
Figure 2.1: Caleb Tennis
This week, we feature Caleb
Tennis (caleb), who works on maintaining the KDE and related ebuilds, including
such things as Qt. His
main tasks are ensuring that the KDE packages are up to date with the
upstream versions, testing and debugging for various architectures,
and the ubiquitous dev task of troubleshooting and clearing bug
reports -- a daunting task with packages as complex and popular as KDE.
Caleb began using various Unices in the early 1990s, and was
introduced to Slackware Linux by our very own Corey Shields in 1996. He has been
using Linux extensively in his job since 2001. Caleb's work includes
configuring and administrating a large number of custom workstations
. After struggling with package
dependencies and install processes under Red Hat, he moved the
computers to the source distro Linux From Scratch (LFS). This worked
better but proved difficult to manage when multiple versions of
source packages and compile options were being used on various
computers. After some research, he settled on Gentoo as a solution
that would allow him to compile from source yet still have good
package management. He completed the migration of his workplace in
Caleb became a Gentoo dev when Dan
Armak put out a call for assistance on maintaining the KDE
ebuilds. As Caleb puts it: "Since I use Gentoo and KDE at work, and
have a vested interest in it continuing working, I volunteered." In
addition to his Gentoo work, Caleb was the release co-ordinator for
the 3.x release of KDevelop as well as a
contributor of code or documentation to other KDE projects, including
the comedi control and
measurement device interface. Caleb frequently contributes patches
and bug fixes he encounters in his work and spends significant time
keeping Gentoo's KDE maintained as well as responding to forum
queries. He comments that this "is what the community is about".
Caleb works for a small research and development company specializing
in diesel engine technology. Among his tasks at work was the
development of a GUI-based data acquisition system that is used for
dynamic control and testing of engines. He also teaches classes in
Linux Systems Administration and Solid State Electronics at his local
university. He holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering, and is
working on his Master's at Purdue, focusing on Control
Systems design. He is an avid mountain biker and water skier, and
plays piano. His time at such pursuits is somewhat limited by a
hectic work week, teaching night courses, and his own studies (not to
mention an apparently patient girlfriend).
Caleb took the opportunity to share some thoughts on Qt and KDE bug
reports: "Qt and KDE are two of the most compilation
resource-intensive sets of programs that an end user will install in
Gentoo - due to the fact that they're written in C++. As such, many
users experience build failures due to bugs in the C++ compiler or
local hardware problems, and not due to anything related to KDE
itself. The easiest fix, and one that works 90% of the time, is to
simply use less aggressive compiler optimizations (CFLAGS). Remember,
Gentoo is all about customization, and gives the end user a lot of
freedom in how they do things - but in the end, we're all still limited
by the abilities of the software and the hardware. Sometimes the only
way to make things work is to not push them to their limits. I
implore all users who have problems to go to the forums or IRC first,
and file a bug report only after they don't find a solution." He was
frank in admitting that "sometimes [he] breaks things", when
attempting to keep things current on such a complex set of packages,
despite testing. But, after all, he's both human and a volunteer. He
concluded with his favorite quotation: "tact is for people who don't
No new security announcements were posted this week.
Heard in the Community
udev, Gentoo Style
Gentoo Linux used to be one of the rare Linux distributions to adopt the devfs device
file system structure across the board. Naturally, since devfs has been obsoleted for
the 2.6 kernel series, Gentooists are experiencing an above average level of confusion
when it comes to switching to udev. The fact that the latter is still somewhat a work
in progress leads to interesting results at times... Check the central "udev, now what?"
thread at the forums, it has been going for three months already, but hasn't lost any of
its entertainment value:
Gentoo in a distro shootout
One gentoo-user list member has decided to pick up the gauntlet and support Gentoo in his local LUG "distro shootout". This week, he asked the list to help him with topics he can touch on. Help support our favorite distro!
Root mounting twice!
One reader this week was having some odd problems with his root partition -- it was mounting twice! Read up here for a helpful tip on why this was happening, and also a quick lesson on /etc/fstab formatting!
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and track
bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 05 March 2004 and 11 March 2004, activity
on the site has resulted in:
- 553 new bugs during this period
- 336 bugs closed or resolved during this period
- 10 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
Of the 5246 currently open bugs: 137 are labeled 'blocker', 206 are labeled 'critical', and 425 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
Reading binary data with strings
This week's tip shows you how to extract ascii content from binary
data using strings. This program is useful for
determining the contents of non-text files such as core or
other binary error files.
Use strings filename to print the strings of printable
characters in the file.
For more information, see man strings.
Moves, Adds, and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
- Brad House (brad_mssw) amd64, kernel
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
- Stephen P. Becker (geoman) - MIPS
- Geoff Cant (archaelus) - dev-lisp
- Joel Martin (kanaka) - media-sound
- Scott Taylor (swtaylor) - hardened
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project:
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