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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: March 15th, 2004

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

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.

2.  Featured Developer of the Week

Caleb Tennis


Figure 2.1: Caleb Tennis

Fig. 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 early 2003.

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 understand sarcasm".

3.  Gentoo Security

No new security announcements were posted this week.

4.  Heard in the Community

Web Forums

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-user

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!

5.  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 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:

6.  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.

7.  Moves, Adds, and Changes

Moves

The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • Brad House (brad_mssw) amd64, kernel

Adds

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

Changes

The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project:

  • none this week

8.  Contribute to GWN

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9.  GWN Feedback

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10.  GWN Subscription Information

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11.  Other Languages

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Print

Page updated 15 March 2004

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of March 1st, 2004.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

John Davis
Contributor

Brian Downey
Contributor

Luke Giuliani
Contributor

Kurt Lieber
Contributor

Rafael Cordones Marcos
Contributor

David Narayan
Contributor

David Nielsen
Contributor

Ulrich Plate
Contributor

Sven Vermeulen
Contributor

Hendrik Eeckhaut
Dutch Translation

Jorn Eilander
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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
Dutch Translation

Matthieu Montaudouin
French Translation

Xavier Neys
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Martin Prieto
French Translation

Antoine Raillon
French Translation

Sebastien Cevey
French Translation

Jean-Christophe Choisy
French Translation

Thomas Raschbacher
German Translation

Steffen Lassahn
German Translation

Matthias F. Brandstetter
German Translation

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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Marco Mascherpa
Italian Translation

Claudio Merloni
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Christian Apolloni
Italian Translation

Stefano Lucidi
Italian Translation

Katuyuki Konno
Japanese Translation

Hiroyuki Takeda
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Masato Hatakeyama
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Masayoshi Nakamura
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Yasunori Fukudome
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Tomoyuki Sakurai
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Radoslaw Janeczko
Polish Translation

Lukasz Strzygowski
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Michal Drobek
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Adam Lyjak
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Krzysztof Klimonda
Polish Translation

Atila "Jedi" Bohlke Vasconcelos
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Eduardo Belloti
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João Rafael Moraes Nicola
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Marcelo Gonçalves de Azambuja
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Otavio Rodolfo Piske
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Pablo N. Hess -- NatuNobilis
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Pedro de Medeiros
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Ventura Barbeiro
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Bruno Ferreira
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Gustavo Felisberto
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

José Costa
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Luis Medina
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Ricardo Loureiro
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Aleksandr Martyncev
Russian Translator

Sergey Galkin
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Sergey Kuleshov
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Alex Spirin
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Denis Zaletov
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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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Guillermo Juarez
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Jesús García Crespo
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Carlos Castillo
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Julio Castillo
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Sergio Gómez
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Aycan Irican
Turkish Translation

Bugra Cakir
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Cagil Seker
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Emre Kazdagli
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Evrim Ulu
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Gursel Kaynak
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