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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: May 3rd, 2004

Content:

1.  Gentoo News

Gentoo Linux Chief Architect Daniel Robbins retires

(this article was contributed by developer Grant Goodyear)

Unless you have been living under a rock you already know that this week Daniel Robbins resigned from as Gentoo Linux Chief Architect. Gentoo will be continuing on as a newly created Not-for-Profit organization, but before Daniel moves on for good I would like to take a bit of time to acknowledge some of drobbins' many, many accomplishments during his stewardship of Gentoo.


Figure 1.1: Gentoo site in May 2001

Fig. 1: Gentoo site May 2001

Daniel Robbins got his start in Linux distribution developing as a developer with Stampede Linux before leaving to found Enoch Linux, which later became Gentoo Linux. (You can read some of the history of this period in drobbins' "Making the Distribution" series). I'm not sure exactly when Gentoo was born, but checking the wayback machine one can find an archived Gentoo website from July 2000. It is interesting to note that although Gentoo did (and probably still does) contain some elements from Stampede, it can't really be considered a fork because Gentoo was pretty much created from scratch.

I joined Gentoo Linux sometime in early 2001. At that time Gentoo was still pretty much in its infancy, but it was usable. There were only a dozen or so developers, all packages had to be installed using the ebuild command because emerge had not yet been written, and the online bugs database was the gentoo-dev mailing list. Even at that early stage, however, one could see many of drobbins' design decisions that have carried on to present-day Gentoo. The use of source-based packages meant that the familiar (especially at that time) RPM dependency nightmare of not having precisely the right library version installed would go away. The decision to eschew *BSD's make-based ports system in favor of one based on bash and python made package creation almost ridiculously simple, which meant that anybody could contribute a reasonable ebuild. The flexibility inherent to configure scripts was encoded as USE variables. Flexibility, in fact, had become a guiding principle underlying Gentoo, which explains why the Gentoo base system is deliberately minimal, and customizable before installation. Indeed, one strong difference between the *BSD ports system and Gentoo's portage is the fact that Gentoo makes no distinction between the core system and the ports/packages. Gentoo was remarkably short-handed in the early days, so all Gentoo-specific tools were designed to be scriptable (which is why ebuild and emerge, unlike Debian's dselect, do not ask questions of the user). Drobbins had thus invented the "metadistribution". He did have some very talented help, including Achim Gottinger who was an ebuild-writing machine, but it seems to have been mainly Daniel's vision that created and maintained these design decisions.

Besides serving as Gentoo visionary, drobbins also did a lot of darn hard work on the the distribution. Until the last year or so Daniel was the lead, and sometimes only, portage developer. Not only did drobbins design the current www.gentoo.org website, but he also wrote the underlying guide xml along with an xsl tranform to process it. Drobbins, along with Azarah, created the necessary support for Gentoo to be the first distribution to use devfs by default. (Incidentally, thanks to Azarah's hard work Gentoo was also the first distribution to have complete support for udev.) A collaboration between drobbins and Azarah led to Gentoo being the first (only?) distribution to use need-based init scripts instead of the more common numbered system-V scripts. (I have vague recollections of drobbins and Azarah spending a notable amount of time discussing how to implement the new dependency-based init scripts, but I don't remember who actually initiated the project.) Drobbins and zhen designed and implemented catalyst, the new Gentoo stage and livecd creation script. In his copious spare time drobbins wrote or modified a substantial number of the ebuilds in the portage tree. I'm sure that I'm missing quite a host of accomplishments, but suffice it to say that he's been a rather busy guy.

Aside from all of the technical stuff, drobbins also presided over the expansion of Gentoo from a handful of developers and tens of users to the current distribution of hundreds of developers and untold thousands of users, much of which seemed to happen virtually overnight. So Daniel Robbins became a manager. No longer was it sufficient to manage simply by hanging out in #gentoo-dev on irc.freenode.net. He now had to think strategically, and organize teams of people to work on projects. Most of all he had to delegate, while learning to manage fractious developers. It was not an easy transition, and Gentoo has had its share of high-profile developer clashes and defections, but Gentoo now has a set of organized top-level projects, with people to lead them, and a new Not-for-Profit on the horizon. Along the way drobbins grew into his new role quite impressively.

Now Daniel Robbins has decided that it is time to move on to something new. I, personally, am sad to see him go, but I understand the need. Daniel, I have learned an astounding amount from you over the last several years; thank you very much. Best wishes, and please do keep in touch!

10th BugDay a big success

(this article was contributed by developer Bryan Ostergaard)

Saturday May 1st, saw the tenth BugDay. Once again it was a big success with many users as well as developers testing and fixing bugs. I'm not sure if it's an all time high but I like to report that during the BugDay timeframe more than 220 bugs was closed in bugzilla.

I also asked one user to join the team of developers and spotted a few other potential developers.

Finally I'd like to thank all BugDay participants for making this such a great event - this wouldn't be possible without a strong and thriving community.

2.  Gentoo Security

Multiple Vulnerabilities in ssmtp

There are multiple format string vulnerabilities in the SSMTP package, which may allow an attacker to run arbitrary code with ssmtp's privileges (potentially root).

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Buffer overflows and format string vulnerabilities in LCDproc

Multiple remote vulnerabilities have been found in the LCDd server, allowing execution of arbitrary code with the rights of the LCDd user.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Multiple vulnerabilities in xine

Several vulnerabilities have been found in xine-ui and xine-lib, potentially allowing an attacker to overwrite files with the rights of the user.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Multiple Vulnerabilities in Samba

There is a bug in smbfs which may allow local users to gain root via a setuid file on a mounted Samba share. Also, there is a tmpfile symlink vulnerability in the smbprint script distributed with Samba.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

3.  Heard in the Community

Web Forums

Farewell to drobbins

In a wave of sympathy washing over the Forum upon the news of Daniel Robbins' departure from the Gentoo project, the Forum community has been busy to say goodbye, and raking together the funds for sort of a going-away present, by donating to cover some of the losses drobbins has made over time:

Running Faketoo...

If their Forum postcount had anything to do with how guruesque people are, Josh Glover wouldn't score too high. Fortunately, numbers aren't all that counts. Last week, Josh volunteered instructions for running Gentoo instances in a chroot jail - a Faketoo installation, in a manner of speaking - for development purposes, and provoked a lively discussion of his method's vices and virtues. See his Captain's log, a script to enter the jail, and the debate in the Documentation, Tips & Tricks forum:

gentoo-user

Best Filesystem for Servers

EXT3, ReiserFS, XFS? Which is the best for servers? Read this thread to get some opinions of Gentoo users in the know.

SSH Tunneling for Newbies

SSH is truly the Sysadmin's Swiss army knife. In this thread learn how to tunnel any other network protocol (such as Windows RDP, or X) securely through SSH.

Daniel Robbins Feedback

As it was announced earlier this week, Daniel has decided move on to new aspirations. Some warm kudos and thanks were given on the gentoo-user list after the news broke.

4.  Gentoo International

Italy: Strong Gentoo Involvement at Webbit 04

Webbit is a three-day convention providing technological knowledge, with a focus on small and medium sized companies, and public administrations. This year's Webbit is going to be held in Padova from 6 to 8 May, and is centered around Open Source development, with the activists of the notorious Gechi (Gentoo Channel Italia who are going to present Gentoo Linux quite impressively no less than five times, with speeches on:

5.  Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks is on hiatus this week.

6.  Moves, Adds, and Changes

Moves

The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • Daniel Robbins (drobbins) - Chief Architect
  • Rob Holland (tigger)

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

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 3 May 2004

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of May 3rd, 2004.

Yuji Carlos Kosugi
Editor

AJ Armstrong
Contributor

Brian Downey
Contributor

Grant Goodyear
Contributor

Stuart Herbert
Contributor

Kurt Lieber
Contributor

David Narayan
Contributor

Bryan Ostergaard
Contributor

Ulrich Plate
Contributor

Simon Holm Thagersen
Danish Translation

Jesper Brodersen
Danish Translation

Arne Mejlholm
Danish Translation

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

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

Lukasz Strzygowski
Polish Translation

Karol Goralski
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
Spanish Translation

Zephryn Xirdal T
Spanish Translation

Guillermo Juarez
Spanish Translation

Jesús García Crespo
Spanish Translation

Carlos Castillo
Spanish Translation

Julio Castillo
Spanish Translation

Sergio Gómez
Spanish Translation

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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