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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: March 29th, 2004

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Support for multiple MTAs with mailwrapper

Since 17 March 2004, Gentoo has slowly been gaining support for having multiple mail transfer agents (MTAs) installed simultaneously by using a version of mailwrapper that has been ported from {Free,Open,Net}BSD to Linux.

The problem is an old one. Because sendmail was the MTA of choice for so long, many mail clients just expect a /usr/sbin/sendmail program to exist on the system that does the "right thing" when invoked with the usual sendmail command flags. Consequently, every modern MTA installs either a /usr/sbin/sendmail binary or a symbolic link that points /usr/sbin/sendmail to the actual MTA binary. Installing more than one MTA then becomes rather difficult, since each MTA will want to install its own version of /usr/sbin/sendmail (and, in the process, clobbering any already-existing version of /usr/sbin/sendmail).

The solution to this problem that mailwrapper provides is to have /usr/sbin/sendmail be a binary that executes the true MTA binary by looking up the location of the desired MTA in an /etc/mailer.conf text file. For example, somebody who has both sendmail and postfix installed might have an /etc/mailer.conf file that contains:

Code Listing 1.1: Example /etc/mailer.conf

# Postfix
sendmail        /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix
send-mail       /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix
mailq           /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix
newaliases      /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix
# Sendmail
#sendmail       /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail
#send-mail      /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail
#mailq          /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail
#newaliases     /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail
#hoststat       /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail
#purgestat      /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail

With this version of /etc/mailer.conf, any attempt to run /usr/sbin/sendmail would actually run /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix. Switching from postfix to sendmail, on the other hand, whould require nothing more than commenting out the postfix lines and uncommenting the sendmail lines in /etc/mailer.conf.

Right now the latest unstable (~arch) versions of ssmtp, postfix, exim, and sendmail have been modified to take advantage of mailwrapper. Since each new MTA ebuild installs a default version of /etc/mailer.conf with the lines for that mailer uncommented, most users will be able to upgrade or install one of these mailwrapper-enabled MTA packages without ever having to worry about mailwrapper. For users who want to try out various MTAs, however, support for doing so rather painlessly is either available already, or it will be there soon.

Users who have installed or upgraded a recent unstable versions of ssmtp, postfix, exim, or sendmail might have noticed that net-mail/mailwrapper was pulled in as a dependency. The mailwrapper package has been ported to linux from {free,open,net}BSD and it provides a /usr/sbin/sendmail binary that checks /etc/mailer.conf to see which program should actually get executed when /usr/sbin/sendmail (or a symlink to /usr/sbin/sendmail) is called.

Apache2 upgrade

Apache 2.0.49 has been added to Portage, and marked stable; see below for a GLSA about some security holes in 2.0.48. Users upgrading from apache-2.0.48-r1 and earlier need to note that some files have been moved from /etc/apache2 to /usr/lib/apache2. Specifically, users will need to manually remove these directories once they have emerged apache-2.0.49:

Code Listing 1.2: Directories that need to be manually removed

/etc/apache2/lib
/etc/apache2/logs
/etc/apache2/modules
/etc/apache2/extramodules

Gentoo Linux seeking a dedicated Apache maintainer

The Gentoo Linux Project is seeking a dedicated Apache maintainer. As this week's GLSA has shown, it's clear that there needs to be at least one Gentoo developer whose main responsibility is to look after the Apache ebuilds and the associated modules in the Portage tree. We're looking for a dedicated developer with a good knowledge of Apache and modules, as well as general development experience. If you're interested, send an email to Stuart Herbert with some background information.

2.  Gentoo Security

Multiple security vulnerabilities in Apache 2

A memory leak in mod_ssl allows a remote denial of service attack against an SSL-enabled server via plain HTTP requests. Another flaw was found when arbitrary client-supplied strings can be written to the error log, allowing the exploit of certain terminal emulators. A third flaw exists with the mod_disk_cache module.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

UUDeview MIME Buffer Overflow

A specially-crafted MIME file (.mim, .uue, .uu, .b64, .bhx, .hqx, and .xxe extensions) may cause UUDeview to crash or execute arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Multiple remote buffer overflow vulnerabilities in Courier

Remote buffer overflow vulnerabilites have been found in Courier-IMAP and Courier MTA. These exploits may allow the execution of abritrary code, allowing unauthorized access to a vulnerable system.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Multiple remote overflows and vulnerabilities in Ethereal

Mulitple overflows and vulnerabilities exist in Ethereal which may allow an attacker to crash the program or run arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

oftpd DoS vulnerability

A remotely-exploitable overflow exists in oftpd, allowing an attacker to crash the oftpd daemon.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Buffer overflow in Midnight Commander

A remotely-exploitable buffer overflow in Midnight Commander allows arbitrary code to be run on a user's computer

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

3.  Heard in the Community

gentoo-user

Saving space in /usr

It can be easy to underestimate how much space /usr/portage may take up, and occasionally moving /usr/portage can be a quick and painless solution!

Console Eye Candy

Check out some of the things some other Gentoo users have done with their shell prompts as well as a handy escape code color table in this thread!

gentoo-dev

Shell choices.

Although bash tends to be the overwhelming standard, perhaps there is some room for choice. Despite some bash dependancies in rc-scripts, there are ways around this.Here is a thread discussing the option of giving a little more choice in this area.

Secure Portage.

Something that we are all in great expectation is the securing of our favorite tree with gpg-signatures. However we will have to wait a little longer as some issues have come up that need to be resolved first. To check out what's going on in the process, have a look here. But watch out! It's a long one!

4.  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 19 March 2004 and 25 March 2004, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 571 new bugs during this period
  • 327 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 14 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 5446 currently open bugs: 129 are labeled 'blocker', 216 are labeled 'critical', and 447 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:

5.  Tips and Tricks

Timezone conversion using date

Many users may already use date to check the time from a console, but this week we're going to show you how it can be used to convert timezones. For example, most Gentoo announcements are timestamped in UTC. To convert a time to your timezone, use the following, which uses /etc/localtime to determine the target timezone:

Code Listing 5.1: Converting to the local timezone

% date -d '17:00 UTC'
Sun Mar 28 12:00:00 EST 2004

If you want to convert to a different timezone, you can set the TZ enviornment variable to the appropriate timezone. There's a pitfall here: if GNU date doesn't find TZ in /usr/share/zoneinfo, it'll fall back to /etc/localtime without warning or error, so be careful. Here's an example of doing the reverse conversion from the previous example:

Code Listing 5.2: Converting to UTC

% TZ=UTC date -d '12:00 EST'
Sun Mar 28 17:00:00 EST 2004

6.  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:

  • Jodok Batlogg (batlogg) - net-zope, plone
  • Jason Cox (steel300) - kernel
  • Jochen Maes (sejo) - ppc
  • James Maynard (jmaynard) - alpha

Changes

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

  • none this week

7.  Contribute to GWN

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8.  GWN Feedback

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9.  GWN Subscription Information

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10.  Other Languages

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Print

Page updated 29 March 2004

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of March 29th, 2004.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brian Downey
Contributor

Luke Giuliani
Contributor

Grant Goodyear
Contributor

Aron Griffis
Contributor

Stuart Herbert
Contributor

Kurt Lieber
Contributor

Rafael Cordones Marcos
Contributor

David Narayan
Contributor

David Nielsen
Contributor

Ulrich Plate
Contributor

Hendrik Eeckhaut
Dutch Translation

Jorn Eilander
Dutch Translation

Bernard Kerckenaere
Dutch Translation

Peter ter Borg
Dutch Translation

Jochen Maes
Dutch Translation

Roderick Goessen
Dutch Translation

Gerard van den Berg
Dutch Translation

Matthieu Montaudouin
French Translation

Xavier Neys
French Translation

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
German Translation

Tobias Scherbaum
German Translation

Daniel Gerholdt
German Translation

Marc Herren
German Translation

Tobias Matzat
German Translation

Marco Mascherpa
Italian Translation

Claudio Merloni
Italian Translation

Christian Apolloni
Italian Translation

Stefano Lucidi
Italian Translation

Katuyuki Konno
Japanese Translation

Hiroyuki Takeda
Japanese Translation

Masato Hatakeyama
Japanese Translation

Masayoshi Nakamura
Japanese Translation

Yasunori Fukudome
Japanese Translation

Tomoyuki Sakurai
Japanese Translation

Radoslaw Janeczko
Polish Translation

Lukasz Strzygowski
Polish Translation

Michal Drobek
Polish Translation

Adam Lyjak
Polish Translation

Krzysztof Klimonda
Polish Translation

Atila "Jedi" Bohlke Vasconcelos
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Eduardo Belloti
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

João Rafael Moraes Nicola
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Marcelo Gonçalves de Azambuja
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Otavio Rodolfo Piske
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

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

Pedro de Medeiros
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Ventura Barbeiro
Portuguese (Brazil) Translation

Bruno Ferreira
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Gustavo Felisberto
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

José Costa
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Luis Medina
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Ricardo Loureiro
Portuguese (Portugal) Translation

Aleksandr Martyncev
Russian Translator

Sergey Galkin
Russian Translator

Sergey Kuleshov
Russian Translator

Alex Spirin
Russian Translator

Denis Zaletov
Russian Translator

Lanark
Spanish Translation

Fernando J. Pereda
Spanish Translation

Lluis Peinado Cifuentes
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Zephryn Xirdal T
Spanish Translation

Guillermo Juarez
Spanish Translation

Jesús García Crespo
Spanish Translation

Carlos Castillo
Spanish Translation

Julio Castillo
Spanish Translation

Sergio Gómez
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Aycan Irican
Turkish Translation

Bugra Cakir
Turkish Translation

Cagil Seker
Turkish Translation

Emre Kazdagli
Turkish Translation

Evrim Ulu
Turkish Translation

Gursel Kaynak
Turkish Translation

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