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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 17 July 2006


1.  Gentoo news

The VDR project needs your help

The Gentoo Video Disk Recorder (VDR) project is looking for some people to help out and join the team. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Matthias Schwarzott.

2.  Developer of the week

"The emperor told me it was my destiny." -Jason Wever, aka Weeve

Figure 2.1: Jason Wever, aka Weeve

Fig. 1: Weeve

Developer Jason Wever, aka Weeve, grew up in upstate New York. At 27, he currently resides in Broomfield, CO... for the rest of us, that is somewhere outside of Denver.

Jason has a variety of interests. He has been able to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a pirate by riding the ebb and flow of packet tides, stealing from the rich and streaming to the poor. When he's not off pirating, Weeve also enjoys some more common things like reading, walking, and biking. He enjoys listening to punk and a little jazz, ska, or reggae and occasionally writes and performs as well. Weeve also collects obscure punk, jazz, and classical vinyl records. We might all be surprised to think of him listening to classical music, but he said he does so in order to slow things down and to contemplate the finer points of life. Yes that's right, this IRC clown has a serious side. He believes that philosophy is something that should be experienced, not taught and enjoys sampling other cultures and their view of the world with regards to inner peace and serenity.

Weeve has a rather interesting job as a Security Engineer for Avaya. He does penetration testing of products and helps determine the impact of vendor advisories, like RHE or MS, on Avaya products. Weeve obviously enjoys his work, stating "getting paid to break stuff is the bomb!"

Weeve recalled his start with Linux... he was a Slackware user as it did not make assumptions about what a user wanted or try to do things for the user, but felt that he was limited with the package set. That's when a friend introduced him to Gentoo. While running Gentoo on a SPARC workstation, he answered forum posts, submitted bugs, and began pestering Seemant until he made him a developer. An active developer for four years, Weeve is also the Strategic Lead for the SPARC team, and has recently joined the Infrastructure team.

As for his home machines, Weeve has an x86 server that runs apache, samba, NFS, IMAP, and spamassassin. He also has an x86 laptop and an AMD64 workstation. As to be expected, he also has a collection of SPARC machines, to include 6 test SPARC64's (Ultra1, Ultra2, Ultra10, Ultra60, Blade 100, and Blade 1000), as well as an assortment of SPARC32 machines. The first apps he launches are rxvt-unicode, gkrellm2, firefox, sylpheed-claws and/or pine, screen, xmms, and aumix.

3.  Heard in the community


dispatch-conf or etc-update?

Welp, an Arch Tester, created a poll asking people which tool they use for managing files under CONFIG_PROTECT. etc-update seems to be favored among the older users, as that was the only tool for the job in previous releases. dispatch-conf on the other hand is favored by mainly the newer users, although there are some older users who swear by it. While almost 50% prefer either one of these utilities, there are also a few who use neither, using programs such as cfg-update to manage merging and updating configuration files.

Nazi / German 3rd Reich symbols

A discussion has sparked on the forums about the usage of Nazi symbols on the Gentoo forums. Several different views are expressed by the posters. What do you think? Speak your mind on the thread, as a friendly discussion is wanted by those involved.

Gentoo around the world

Several events took place during the past few weeks, including the Gentoo UK Conference in London and the Libre Software Meeting (LSM) in France. Several people, including Damien Krotkine, Boris Fersing and Hanno Boeck manned the Gentoo booth at LSM and gave away 2006.0 LiveCD's.

Daniel Drake reports about the Gentoo UK Conference in his blog. About 65 people attended the third Gentoo Conference in the UK and listened to talks about Ainkaboot (a London-based startup company providing cluster-solutions based on Gentoo Linux), an introduction to Gentoo's release engineering by Tim Yamin and Andrew Cowie's talking about "How Gentoo rocks in the enterprise". After a lunch-break Daniel presented a few ideas about problems with the contribution flow through the Gentoo community. Finally Bryan Østergaard gave a short introduction to Gentoo's developer relations project, especially about the recruitment and retirement process.

Figure 3.1: from left to right: dertobi123 (HPPA), Kugelfang (AMD64), plasmaroo (IA64/genkernel) and kloeri (Alpha)

Fig. 1: Releng Meeting - Gentoo Community Portal

Thomas Cort started to build a collection of Gentoo community sites with the goal of giving them more visibility. provides not only links to community sites but also to their counterparts. About 50 sites are currently added, please mail additions to Tom.

New PHP revisions in the tree

New PHP versions (dev-lang/php-4.4.2-r6 and dev-lang/php-5.1.4-r4) hit the tree some days ago. Notable things include various bug and security fixes, but the shiniest new feature is the concurrentmodphp USE Flag which allows use of both mod_php4 and mod_php5 in the same Apache instance, with each mod_php version having its own mime-types and configuration directives. Though this feature is considered highly experimental, it has been tested on x86.

4.  Tips and Tricks

Changing virtual terminals

Changing virtual terminals is already a fairly easy combination of keypresses in a standard Linux installation.If are you are in X, you would use Ctrl+Alt plus the function key of the terminal number to change to. Switching back is easy, just select Ctl+Alt+F7. Outside of X it's one less keypress - Alt+F2.

Like most things in a Unix-like environment, there is more than one way to accomplish your goal.This one is no different. The sys-apps/kbd ebuild installs a chvt binary which lets you change terminals with one command. The only argument it takes is an integer value of which one you want to switch to.

Code Listing 4.1: Changing terminals with chvt

# chvt 1

If you are in X, you can only execute the command as root, otherwise it will not work. It will work as any user outside of X, though. If you're interested in a workaround, you can use app-admin/sudo to allow your user(s) to run chvt from inside an X11 session.

Code Listing 4.2: Adding sudo access to chvt

$ echo "%users $HOSTNAME=/usr/bin/chvt" >> /etc/sudoers

Warning: Be sure you know what you are doing when modifying sudo permissions, since you are giving root access to run certain commands.

More ScummVM games

In a previous GWN article we covered ScummVM a little bit, and mentioned Flight of Amazon Queen as a freely downloable game. A user wrote in to tell us that we forgot to mention another one, Beneath a Steel Sky, also available in portage.

So if you're looking for another classic point-and-click adventure game, emerge games-rpg/bass, make sure your user is in the games group, and run /usr/games/bin/bass.

5.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • Fernando Serboncini (fserb)


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • Yaari Yuval (yuval) Perl


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • Karl Trygve Kalleberg (karltk) - Stepped down as Java project lead
  • Joshua Nichols (nichoj) - Elected Java project lead

6.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 09 July 2006 and 16 July 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 863 new bugs during this period
  • 418 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 24 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 10528 currently open bugs: 49 are labeled 'blocker', 139 are labeled 'critical', and 520 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:

7.  GWN feedback

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8.  GWN subscription information

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9.  Other languages

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Page updated July 17, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 17 July 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Chris Gianelloni

Mark Kowarsky

Tobias Scherbaum

Steve Dibb

Chrissy Fullam

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