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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 25 September 2006


1.  Gentoo news

2006.1 LiveCD/LiveDVD media refresh

Because of several problems with the Installer-based media, a media refresh was done on these pieces of the release. No package versions have changed from the 2006.1 release. The media was rebuilt to work around a couple problems with the media, specifically an issue which would cause network-less installations using the Gentoo Linux Installer to fail. Also, the SPARC Universal InstallCD was rebuilt to resolve a PAM issue with the CD, and the x86 Minimal InstallCD was rebuilt to work for machines <i686. The refreshed media is as follows:

  • AMD64 LiveCD
  • SPARC Universal InstallCD
  • x86 LiveCD
  • x86 Minimal InstallCD

The updated media is already on the mirrors, in the 2006.1 directories, and has replaced the broken media. If you are not concerned about network-less installs, then there is no need for you to download anything new.

Note: We will be updating the media on the Bittorrent tracker, also. Another note will be sent out once this is done.

2.  Gentoo in the press (Sep 14 2006)

NASA has been testing several Linux-based planetary surface exploration robots in the Arizona desert near Meteor Crater. One robot in particular, The Scout, is a vehicle that can be controlled remotely or locally via a touchscreen and keyboard. The Scout is powered by two Dell D400 laptops running Gentoo Linux.

Figure 2.1: Scout

Fig. 1: Scout

Open Source On The Air (15 Sep 2006)

Last week, James Purser interviewed Gentoo developer Mark Kowarsky for his LA Update radio show on Open Source On The Air. Mark is part of the Forums and User Relations teams and you can find him in the forums or in IRC as mark_alec.

The interview started with Mark talking about himself, his experience and his work with Gentoo. James then asked about the Gentoo community in Australia and its evolution. From there, Mark went on to talk about the Gentoo community as a whole and to reply to questions on the perceived Gentoo's growing pains. James also asked about Gentoo's release cycle and how the community looked upon the derivative distributions. Next, Mark talked about the future of our distribution and its leadership. Finally, Mark was able to address the future plans for Gentoo in Australia.

You can hear the complete show in ogg vorbis or mp3 formats. You can find more info on this interview, including a transcript and edited versions of the interview, at Mark's Blog.

APC Magazine (22 Sep 2006)

Author Ashton Mills writes about source-based distributions, and specifically Gentoo Linux, in his article entitled, "Use the source, Luke?" where he speaks out on his love/hate relationship with Gentoo. He talks about the positive experience of working with portage, as well as the ability to easily tailor his environment to be his own. Some complaints include long download times, massive bandwidth usage, and the biggest problem to any source-based distribution, the simple fact that sometimes, it will break.

3.  Tips and Tricks

Using GNU screen

GNU screen is a very useful program, especially if you are a coder or administrator. It has a lot of options, and it's not easy to find your way in its huge man page. Below is a small list of some useful options that you should put in your ~/.screenrc.

One of the rather useful options aims to replace the main screen key. Instead of 'ctrl-A', it changes it to 'ctrl-O'. This is because 'ctrl-A' is binded for use in many applications, such as emacs, bash, and links, which clashes with the default screen key 'ctrl-A'.

Another nifty option sets a caption on the bottom line. It displays the open windows with their number and title, the current one being highlighted in white on blue. Some status information is padded to the right of the screen.

Code Listing 3.1: ~/.screenrc settings

# use visual bell
vbell on
# replace ctrl-A by ctrl-O
escape ^Oo
# set a big scrolling buffer
defscrollback 5000
# Set the caption on the bottom line
caption always "%{= kw}%-w%{= BW}%n %t%{-}%+w %-= @%H - %LD %d %LM - %c"

Here is a small screenshot of the caption line in action.

Figure 3.1: GNU screen with the caption line enabled

Fig. 1: screen

4.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • none this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • none this week


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • none this week

5.  Gentoo security

Mailman: Multiple vulnerabilities

Mailman has multiple vulnerable that can result in Denial of Service, log file injection and XSS.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

gzip: Multiple vulnerabilities

gzip is affected by multiple vulnerabilities, including buffer overflows and infinite loops, possibly allowing the execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

6.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 17 September 2006 and 24 September 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 995 new bugs during this period
  • 473 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 41 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
  • 152 closed as NEEDINFO/WONTFIX/CANTFIX/INVALID/UPSTREAM during this period
  • 211 bugs marked as duplicates during this period

Of the 11225 currently open bugs: 36 are labeled 'blocker', 122 are labeled 'critical', and 528 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 September 25, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 25 September 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Jorge Vicetto

Damien Krotkine

Chris Gianelloni

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