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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 3 April 2006

Content:

1.  Gentoo news

Gentoo/MIPS for Cobalt stages available

Stuart Longland announced the availabity of stage 3 tarballs for Cobalt servers. This completes the 2006.0 release for the MIPS architecture to include Cobalt Qubes and RaQs on top of the Silicon Graphics machine support that was already pushed to the mirrors last month. If you own a Cobalt server, please test the new stage 3 and report your findings back to Stuart.

2.  Future zone

Kolab and Gentoo

Most of the current open-source groupware systems that are comparable to the Microsoft Exchange Server are build out of a high number of sub-services like LDAP, Apache, Postfix etc. Kolab is a typical example of such an aggregated system.

A main feature of Kolab is the use of IMAP to store groupware information like addresses, events, notes etc. This allows to reduce the main components of the system to OpenLDAP, Postfix and Cyrus-Imapd. This makes the server somewhat more lightweight than competitors such as Open-Exchange. It is also one of the few groupware servers that has full support for e-mail clients on Linux (Kontact) and Windows (Outlook) and works together with a web client (Horde). Thus it can be easily employed in an environment with mixed requirements.

The main obstacle for molding a multi-component system into an efficient groupware server on Linux is obviously the configuration. The e-mail service needs to work together with virus and spam scanning tools, sending and receiving mail requires the setup of appropriate channels, each service needs to use a central user database, etc.

One option of dealing with the configuration is to leave the configuration of sub services in the state suggested by the distribution and provide a lengthy document that describes all necessary tweaks and changes to get the system up and running. This has the advantage that the groupware server is rather distribution independent.

Kolab chose a different method and tries to fully automate the configuration process. This is extremely nice for the end user since it usually means that it is not necessary to have the manuals of Postfix, Cyrus-Imap, Apache etc. at hand. But on the other hand it is a nightmare for the developer if the goal is to enable the system for most distributions. One would have to take all the small but important differences between these distributions into account. So the companies involved in creating Kolab selected one distribution (OpenPKG) and decided to establish the system only for OpenPKG. In order to install Kolab on a different distribution you would simply add a complete OpenPKG installation resulting in a somewhat awkward "system in a system" situation.

During the last three months several volunteers helped on converting Kolab to tools such as autoconf and automake in order to have a build system that allows the transfer of Kolab to other Linux distributions. This finally allowed to get a native Kolab server environment in Gentoo. The beta stage of the project can be found here. It is expected to be fully stabilized once Kolab-2.1 will be released upstream.

What are the advantages of having Kolab available as a native Gentoo system? First of all you get rid of the rpm system that you had to use for the OpenPKG version. As a Gentoo user this feels more than awkward since the choice to bear with compile times was not made without a reason. With the independence of the OpenPKG distribution also comes a far greater potential for extension of the system. You want telephony? Integrate it with asterisk. You need a document management system? Why not activate the LDAP features of knowledgetree in order to provide your mail users will a full-blown DMS system. You need website access? DAV? SVN? Trac? Anything on apache that requires authentication and can use LDAP should be no problem. In essence, Gentoo is the optimal system to enhance some of the existing ebuilds with a "kolab" USE flag in order to provide a groupware server with exciting new features. While this is not yet available, work is underway to achieve this.

3.  Heard in the community

Web forums

Libexpat ABI change catches ~ARCH users by surprise

Major uproar in the Forums this pas weekend: the application binary interface of the expat library changed with the upgrade to 2.0.0, and as a result a whole wave of system breakage washed over many Gentoo users who hadn't seen the small print in the ebuild telling them to revdep-rebuild everything that depended on libexpat.so.0. This sticky thread now makes sure everybody knows what needs to be done:

4.  Gentoo international

USA: Gentoo at Boston Linux World Expo

Christian Fernandez of VoiceSignal Technologies, Inc. will hold a Birds of Feather session at this year's Boston LWE. Besides Christian's talk on Portage and Gentoo scheduled for 6 April at 18:30, the project will again be represented at the show with a booth of its own. Join them from 3 to 6 April at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA.

5.  Gentoo developer moves

Moves

The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • None this week

Adds

The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • Thomas Cort (tcort) - Alpha, sound

Changes

The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • None this week

6.  Gentoo Security

OpenOffice.org: Heap overflow in included libcurl

OpenOffice.org contains a vulnerable version of libcurl that may cause a heap overflow when parsing URLs.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

bsd-games: Local privilege escalation in tetris-bsd

tetris-bsd is prone to local privilege escalation vulnerabilities.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

7.  Bugzilla

Statistics

The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 26 March 2006 and 02 April 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 869 new bugs during this period
  • 392 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 18 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 9788 currently open bugs: 65 are labeled 'blocker', 152 are labeled 'critical', and 531 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:

8.  GWN feedback

Please send us your feedback and help make the GWN better.

9.  GWN subscription information

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10.  Other languages

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Print

Page updated April 3, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 3 April 2006.

Ulrich Plate
Editor

Gunnar Wrobel
Author

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