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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: March 14th, 2005


1.  Gentoo News

Planet Gentoo launched

Planet Gentoo has been launched last week, a Planet-driven website that aggregates all Gentoo-related entries from the weblogs of over 50 contributing developers. The new resource is intended to improve communication between the user and developer communities, and enhance communication internally between developers.

Contributing developers write articles to their weblogs, which will then automatically be published on Planet Gentoo, providing a good overview of what is being developed and where things are going. At time of launch, the Planet has over 50 contributing developers, and will grow further as more and more developers add their feeds to the list of those already available.

Planet Gentoo started life as an enhancement proposal. Following an extensive testing phase, it is now buzzing with activity. All official Gentoo developers qualify for inclusion of their feed, provided it's in English and either entirely about Gentoo matters, or allowing for categorized feeds that can be limited to those. Developers who haven't been listed yet can get set up by sending an email to Daniel Drake, even if they don't have a blog of their own yet: A weblog to start with can be provided to those who need one.

Gentoo UK Conference

Big turnout for the Gentoo UK conference last Saturday: around 40 Gentoo developers and users had flocked to the University of Salford (near Manchester) to attend this year's event, organized for the second time in a row by Reuben Finch and Stuart Herbert. Presentations included talks by Rob Holland about code auditing, Daniel Drake on the kernel and user-relation projects, Tom Martin with his successful attempt at showing how to get the most out of a command line interface (and making zsh a little more popular), and guest speakers Harry Moyes of the Manchester Wireless network initiative, and Gareth Bult and his Flash Linux project presentation rounded off a densely packed, mostly technical, and highly enjoyable presentation track. But bringing developers together under real life conditions has other advantages, too: Tim Yaminand Daniel Drake sat and worked through a few genkernel embellishments, and Stephen Bennett got a chance to demonstrate Gentoo/FreeBSD with the Gentoo init script system to some fellow devs. Photos were unavailable at the time of writing, but the organizers have promised to edit a video of the event. Thanks a lot to the sponsors of the conference, the London Internet Exchange (LINX) and the University of Salford, for making it possible to offer this conference free for all! And since after the show is in fact before the show, plans for the 2006 edition of the Gentoo UK conference are already under way.

Note: Collated from blog entries by Daniel Drake, Tom Martin and Marcus D. Hanwell.

Gentoo preloaded: Pegasos Open Desktop Workstation sale begins

A few days later than the date announced in the GWN, Genesi's ODW with Gentoo installed is now available for online ordering. After receiving a lot of expressions of interest to the temporary mail address, Gentoo has now the ability to proceed orders for the machines. For each workstation that is sold via the new site, the Foundation will receive a 100 USD donation from Genesi. A detailed description of the hardware you buy is available at the ODW page, from where you can register and place your order via the Freescale online shop.

2.  Heard in the community


GLEP talk

The last weeks have seen lots of discussion on the Gentoo Linux Enhancement Proposals, and how the system as it is now can be improved:

Metastructure/organizational idea

Brian Jackson presents a new approach to handling inactive developers: "I think we should institute a monthly survivor-esque vote to get rid of developers that are useless. I think this would help much more than needlessly reorganizing management once again. Once we vote off all the useless people that just seem to complain about management, we can all live happily ever after."

Keywording policy

Jason Wever has some advice for other devs: "I'd like to ask that you all take the time to review the keywording policy in the Developer Handbook. In particular, I'd like to draw your attention to the section on "Upgrading Ebuilds" People have been getting good lately at either dropping keywords for no reason and/or failing to notify or file a bug with the arches dropped as to why."

3.  Gentoo International

Germany: IT/Linux Days Lörrach

The "REGIO Messe" is an annual event in a region known as "Trirhenia", with French, Swiss and German constituencies all sitting on the banks of the river Rhine. The four-day IT/Linux Days in Lörrach are part of the larger REGIO event, and Gentoo has been present at this fair for the second time in a row. The booth was manned by a team of supporters and developers of the Gentoo project, Sebastian Müller (dakjo), Timo Antweiler (aZZe), Stefan Knoblich (stkn), and Tobias Scherbaum (dertobi123). The same LiveDVD and CD already sold at FOSDEM in Brussels and the Linuxtage in Chemnitz last week were available again (and can still be had via Bittorrent. At the booth, questions about Gentoo Linux on "alternative" architectures dominated the dialogue with visitors, with one of the more frequent requests, interestingly enough, being a Sparc32 port. Next year's ITLD will be rebaptized to "Minibit", and chances are that Gentoo will be present again.

Figure 3.1: Impressions from the IT/Linux Days

Fig. 1: Impressions

Note: Left: maddog giving the keynote speech, center: Tobias Scherbaum installing Gentoo on a Mac Mini, right: Sebastian Müller hacking away at a 3GHz P4 (

Some people may have trouble finding the small South-German town of Lörrach on a map. Not so Jon "maddog" Hall, open-source evangelist and legendary executive director of Linux International: Not only did he know where Lörrach is, he stayed for the entire duration of the event, and he also identified its most interesting spots right away.

Figure 3.2: Embracing the future: maddog visits the Gentoo booth

Fig. 2: Loerrach

Note: Left to right: Gentoo developer Stefan Knoblich, Jon "maddog" Hall, booth staffers Timo Antweiler and Sebastian Müller

Japan: The future of software engineering

Yoshiaki Hagihara, former lead translator on the Japanese GentooJP team, has written a book on the future of software engineering in Japan. 日本のSEはこれからどうなるのか (What's to become of Japan's software engineering?) is a collection of interviews with a wide range of people, from manga artists to Japanese SE companies, and several professional foreign and Japanese hackers, including three Gentooists: Ion Mudreac, the man behind the Romanian Gentoo website, Gentoo developer Masatomo Nakano, spiritus rector of the GentooJP project, and GentooJP co-founder Hiroshi Senri. The book, published by Shoeisha, is sold online for 1575 JPY (15 USD).

Figure 3.3: Cover of Yoshiaki Hagihara's book

Fig. 3: SE book

Germany: Gentoo introduction for LUUSA

Despite appearances, the members of LUUSA are quite knowledgeable folk: the acronym stands for "Linux and Unix Users Sankt Augustin", the resident LUG of a community near Bonn, the former German capital. Sebastian Bergmann had the honour of holding a talk about Gentoo in general at a meeting last Thursday, 10 March 2005, at Bonn's community center "Netzladen", in front of about 30 LUUSAs in the audience. Two fellow Gentoo developers, Lars Weiler and Marc Hildebrand, had stopped by to support Sebastian. His slides (including screen shots from the Gentoo Installer project) are available in PDF, Flash and Openoffice Impress format.

Figure 3.4: The LUUSA audience at the Netzladen in Bonn

Fig. 4: LUUSA

4.  Gentoo in the press

Linux Format (Issue 65)

The UK Linux Format magazine has awarded its annual reader selection of the best projects in the open-source realm. Gentoo received the palmares in two of the three categories it was nominated in: "Best support" went to the Gentoo Forums, according to Linux Format "no doubt boosted by the canvassing that Gentoo did on those very pages," and the award for "Best distro" in 2004 was won by Gentoo, beating the usual suspects Mandrake, Fedora and SuSE. Linux Format notes that "by a reasonable margin, this year's spoils go to a relative newcomer who has picked up a lot of supporters in the last twelve months -- Gentoo. Well done!"

FAZ (7 March 2005)

Anticipating this week's Cebit IT fair in Hannover, one of Germany's major daily newspapers had an article on "Programming for the benefit of mankind" in last monday's edition, written by free-lancer Detlef Borchers. "When a trade fair has established itself as the world's largest computer fair, it doesn't really have to be afraid of an immediate loss of importance. But Cebit has a problem, the same problem as Microsoft. And they're not the only ones," writes Borchers about the rise of open-source development. The article mentions Gentoo in a paragraph about the highlights at this year's FOSDEM in Brussels, which Borchers considers "a traditional major hacker event," exemplifying the ways of the open-source movement that look strange to people who only know Microsoft environments. To him, Gentoo and the other "clans" who were present with DevRooms of their own, sound "like Spanish villages, but hiding behind those names are vital software constructs."

5.  Moves, adds, and changes


The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • None this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:

  • Carlos Silva (r3pek) - Kernel


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

  • None this week

6.  Gentoo security

mlterm: Integer overflow vulnerability

mlterm is vulnerable to an integer overflow, which could potentially allow the execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

KDE dcopidlng: Insecure temporary file creation

The dcopidlng script is vulnerable to symlink attacks, potentially allowing a local user to overwrite arbitrary files.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement libXpm vulnerability

A new vulnerability has been discovered in libXpm, which is included in, that can potentially lead to remote code execution.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Ethereal: Multiple vulnerabilities

Multiple vulnerabilities exist in Ethereal, which may allow an attacker to run arbitrary code or crash the program.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

libexif: Buffer overflow vulnerability

libexif fails to validate certain inputs, making it vulnerable to buffer overflows.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

7.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 06 March 2005 and 13 March 2005, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 765 new bugs during this period
  • 405 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 26 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 8238 currently open bugs: 97 are labeled 'blocker', 229 are labeled 'critical', and 598 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:

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Page updated March 14, 2005

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 14 March 2005.

Ulrich Plate

Daniel Drake

Patrick Lauer

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