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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: August 22nd, 2005


1.  Gentoo news

Linux World Expo San Francisco report

The 2005 San Francisco LWE (Linux World Expo) turned out to be a big success, and Gentoo was there to take a place in it all. In the scope of things, all went pretty well for the small Gentoo booth. There were a couple of problems with network connections and booth location (There were 2 stories of expo space this time, and Gentoo was on the top).

Figure 1.1: Photo courtesy of Michaelian Ennis

Fig. 1: LWE booth

Note: Chris Gianelloni and Jason Wever talk with users at the booth. On display are an x86 box as well as a Pegasos PPC Open Desktop Workstation.

A large number of Gentoo infrastructure staff was present, including a few regular developers, and others that were here just to see the expo. The people at the booth at one time or the other included Corey Shields, Kurt Lieber, Lance Albertson, Andrea Barisani, Chris Gianelloni, Jason Wever, Stephanie J. Lockwood-Childs, Saleem Abdulrasool, and Chris White. Indiana University and Oregon State University Open Source Labs helped with a lot of the setup for Gentoo, and thanks go out to them.

Many questions and comments arose at the Gentoo booth. Most visitors just wanted to know what Gentoo was, others had used it before, and wanted to stop by and say hi. A lot of business-related users came up to, and asked questions about distributed installations and how Gentoo was adapted to enterprise use. A couple of other projects had some good things coming too: Trolltech is working hard on QA, and was asking Linux distributions (including Gentoo), about the quality of Qt in their distributions. X.Org modularization was another hot topic, as well as the move over to autotools as means for an easier development state. The Linux Test Project was there, making honorable mention of Mike Frysinger's work in patch development and helping out the project, Philippe Ombredanne, author of EasyEclipse, stopped by for a chat with Chris White and Saleem Abdulrasool about splitting up the eclipse ebuilds. Last but not least, the GenUX project made an appearance, too, to talk about their own project.

The lower floor of the Expo was mostly businesses and paying exhibitors with new projects to share, Intel showing some of their 64-bit technology, HP doing some talks on open source as a way for businesses to operate, with Sun being mainly a display of projects such as Looking Glass, some Sparc based systems, as well as talks on OpenSolaris. All in all the Expo was a huge success, and we hope next year's will be too.

2.  User projects

Gentoo-driven -- car console

There's hardly anyone left these days who would be exposed to just one solitary computer in their everyday environment. Most people have computers in their homes on top the ones they use at the workplace, and perhaps a laptop thrown in for good measure and the dull moments during lengthy commutes. But how many people have one installed in the console of their cars? And how many of those have it run Gentoo Linux? Here's one example that rippled the slashdot surface for a few days, a CarPC mounted in a Mazda sports vehicle. Based on a Via Epia small form factor mainboard, including cool features like a GPS receiver, Bluetooth and a high speed wireless network make this Gentoo-powered car a geek's dream vehicle. And to make it even more amazing a mobile phone connection (Verizon EVDO) is used for streaming video from a MythTV box at home so that the proud owner of the car can watch any movie while on the road ...

Figure 2.1: Gentoo in the car: built-in screen, wireless keyboard and mouse

Fig. 1: LWE booth

MythTV project

Last week, a Gentoo user by the name of Jay Ferrandini "set out to build a super-optimized, high performance MythTV box completely from scratch for a maximum of 500 USD" and managed to get as far as assembling all the parts by last weekend. His story is still in mid-development, but interesting nonetheless. He even gives a short overview of the whole install process, from hardware setup to tweaking /etc/make.conf. He even included a part from the "amazing" Gentoo Handbook, showing again that installing Gentoo is not as hard as some people claim and that if you are willing to invest some time, Gentoo can do (almost) anything.

3.  Heard in the community

Web forums

Reading up on the Linux kernel

Looking for some linux reading or just want to understand how a kernel really works? Well, this thread should be useful:


Generating ChangeLog files automatically from `cvs commit`

Mike Frysinger started a discussion with the idea of generating Changelogs automatically from the cvs commit messages. This would facilitate the management of changelogs and also force a common format on all of them.

"Maintainer wanted"

Some time ago the "maintainer-wanted" alias was created to help track all user-submitted ebuilds in Bugzilla. Ciaran McCreesh asks for a new bugzilla keyword that shows that an ebuild has been checked for correctness by a developer. This would help potential maintainers to see if an ebuild satisfies basic QA requirements or if it might need lots of work to get it fixed, thus making it easier or harder for new packages to be "adopted" by a developer.

ebuild design issue: splitting ebuilds?

A discussion on whether ebuilds should be monolithic or separated into server vs client or headers vs full package splits evolved on the developer mailing list. It wasn't the first of its kind, and indeed died down after exploring the usual problems and shortcomings of such a proposal, but had its moments:

4.  Gentoo in the press

Open Enterprise Trends (21 August 2005)

An article titled "Oracle Eyes Open Source Add-ons for Linux" by Vance McCarthy reports that Oracle is hoping for Gentoo to join the list of distributions to include Oracle's Cluster File System 2 that was placed under an open source license earlier this month. Quoting Wim Coekaerts, Oracle's director of Linux engineering, the aim is to get OCFS2 in the official 2.6 kernel tree, too.

iX (9/2005, in German)

There's life beyond Google: in its September issue the iX, German's leading IT publisher Heise's "magazine for professional information technology", sheds some light on two open-source search engines. Both the stable - yet somewhat stagnated - ASPseek project, and a more recent Java alternative called Nutch receive good marks in the test, for which author Michael Nebel installed the latter on a Gentoo system, based on a Pentium III CPU with 800MHz, 360MB of RAM and a 120GB harddisk, watching Nutch's index grow over three months before writing his report.

eWEEK (9 August 2005)

Gentoo developer Greg Kroah-Hartman's presentation about persistent device naming held at OSCON in Toronto two weeks ago was given ample attention in a conference report on eWEEK. Titled "Torvalds: How to Keep Linux Kernel on Course", the article provides an overview of the processes involved in developing the Linux kernel, the decision against a 2.7 development tree and other topics.

5.  Tips and tricks

Logging the boot messages

Wish to log the console output during the boot process? Starting with the new baselayout-1.12 it's now possible: Just edit /etc/conf.d/rc to show

Code Listing 5.1: Extract from /etc/conf.d/rc

RC_BOOTLOG="yes" (instead of RC_BOOTLOG="no")

and emerge Showconsole. After that all the messages scrolling past the screen as you boot will be stored in /var/log/boot.msg

6.  Moves, adds, and changes


The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • Gabor Veszi


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:

  • Łukasz Damentko (rane) - Polish lead documentation translator


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

  • None this week

7.  Gentoo Security

Gaim: Remote execution of arbitrary code

Gaim is vulnerable to a buffer overflow which could lead to the execution of arbitrary code or to a Denial of Service.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

AWStats: Arbitrary code execution using malicious Referrer information

AWStats fails to validate certain log input, which could lead to the execution of arbitrary Perl code during the generation of the statistics.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Xpdf, Kpdf, GPdf: Denial of Service vulnerability

Xpdf, Kpdf and GPdf may crash as a result of a Denial of Service vulnerability.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

bluez-utils: Bluetooth device name validation vulnerability

Improper validation of Bluetooth device names can lead to arbitrary command execution.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Kismet: Multiple vulnerabilities

Kismet is vulnerable to multiple issues potentially resulting in the execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Adobe Reader: Buffer Overflow

Adobe Reader is vulnerable to a buffer overflow which could potentially lead to execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

8.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 14 August 2005 and 21 August 2005, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 747 new bugs during this period
  • 481 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 55 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 7981 currently open bugs: 99 are labeled 'blocker', 194 are labeled 'critical', and 533 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:

9.  GWN feedback

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11.  Other languages

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Page updated August 22, 2005

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 22 August 2005.

Ulrich Plate

Patrick Lauer

George Prowse

Lars Weiler

Chris White

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