Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: March 22nd, 2004
Security-only updates and stackable profiles
This week, two features on the 2004.1 Feature Request List were added to Gentoo.
The first, a feature often requested by users, is security-only updates. Until now, emerge -u world was the only choice for users who wanted to update their system in one fell swoop. While useful to many users, others didn't want to keep up with all of Gentoo's high-pace release cycles, and only wanted to install security-related updates, having to scan the security updates every now and then to do so. Now glsa-check, part of the gentoolkit automates this process. Users can now use this command to automatically update the system with security-related updates only. Please note, however, that this tool is completely new and meant to test the functionality before it is propagated into Portage itself. For more information, read the Portage GLSA Integration Document.
The other improvement was made under the hood, and won't change Gentoo's functionality or the way most users interact with the system, but succeed in decreasing the distribution's bloat. This new feature is the addition of stackable profiles. Historically, Gentoo has used profiles, residing in /usr/portage/profiles to describe the system; the most commonly used have been default-x86-1.4 and default-x86-2004.0. Profiles contain a set of packages that every Gentoo system using the profile in question should have installed, a set of mappings from virtual packages to their default packages, and a mapping of packages that provide various USE flags once installed. However, it was noticed that these profiles had significant overlap between them, so cascading (or stackable) profiles were implemented. For more information, read the Gentoo Cascading/Stackable Profiles Document.
Multiple OpenSSL Vulnerabilities
Three vulnerabilities have been found in OpenSSL via a commercial test
suite for the TLS protocol developed by Codenomicon Ltd.
For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement
Heard in the Community
Cloning Linux Machines
Have a need to create many identical Linux machines? One poster on the gentoo-user list did.Read here for some usefuladvice on doing a mass Linux rollout.
Compiling java programs.
As java should (theoretically at least) create identical binaries on the same desktops, why are we distributing them as source as opposed to binaries? Well this was the question asked here this week. Cruise on over for a couple of reasons why and why not.
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and track
bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 12 March 2004 and 18 March 2004, activity
on the site has resulted in:
- 577 new bugs during this period
- 333 bugs closed or resolved during this period
- 13 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
Of the 5337 currently open bugs: 126 are labeled 'blocker', 207 are labeled 'critical', and 435 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
This week's tip introduces ulimit -- a command to define
system resource limits. As a user, you can create self-imposed
limits to prevent processes from taking up too much CPU time or
To view all available resource limits, type ulimit -a.
This command shows the limits the system administrator has imposed
on your account. You can lower these limits, but you can't
increase them. Many accounts will have 'unlimited' listed. If so,
here are some useful things you can do with ulimit:
Code Listing 5.1: Preventing core files
% ulimit -c 0
Code Listing 5.2: Preventing Files larger than 25 MB
% ulimit -f 25600
Since ulimit is a builtin shell command, see your shell
manual page for more information (e.g. man bash, man
System administrators can impose system-wide limits using
/etc/limits. See man limits for more
Moves, Adds, and Changes
The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:
- Camille Huot (cam) - French documentation
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo Linux project:
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