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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 27 August 2007


1.  Gentoo News

Announcement: forums scheduled downtime

What is the problem, why is this needed? Being a part of the OSL data center, relies on their backend database servers, which already have been upgraded to MySQL v5. We need to follow now and have lifted up to v5 too.

What will be done? The database will be shutdown and backed up. After some final consistency checks the migration procedures to the new database backend will be executed. If nothing unforseen happens, the conversion to full UTF-8 support is the last step. In order to have the needed steps executed quickly, the forums administrators have decided to shutdown the forums during this time.

When will this happen? This activity will most likely start on 2007-09-08 and will take approximately 48 hours. The actual status will be regularly updated and shown on this status page.

What if anything goes wrong? The admins have tested extensively to assess any possible pitfalls. Most have since been solved, while others need additional tuning before we can start. It may be possible that (very) few posts are not converted correctly or that usernames with special characters will not be able to login any longer. For the latter, please send an email to the forum mods whom will work such issues out case by case - please be aware that there might be the need to have your user name changed.

Where to find additional information? If you have any further questions, before and after the conversion, please take a look at this thread in Gentoo Forums Feedback. As it won't be available during the conversion, please visit the status page during that time or feel free to drop by on IRC in #gentoo-forums on freenode.

Improvements in ATI TV-Out

In a recent GWN, we reported about changes in nVidia driver packages. We have additional information that may be of interest for ATI video card owners: improvements in both Open Source and proprietary video drivers.

Hanno Boeck announced recently in his blog that support for tv-out has been merged into the official xorg ATI driver. Thanks to his effort to relicense GATOS project code under the MIT license that is used by xorg, tv-out support will find it's way into one of the next releases of xf86-video-ati. The code is anticipated to work on most R200 and R300-based cards and is part of the new randr-1.2-branch. randr 1.2 is a new X technology that allows much better control of resolutions and output connectors.

Until now, owners of the newer ATI hardware were in a better situation as official fglrx driver had support for tv-out. Maybe its use wasn't very easy, but users could use this functionality. It could be just pure coincidence, but in a recent driver release, as reported in Phoronix's short review, tv-out has been improved and now is supported by catalyst control center. It means that now it should be much easier to use TV with help of fglrx driver.

Java Team Seeking Help

The Gentoo Java Team is seeking people interested in contributing. They are particularly seeking people who can help package and/or maintain: JBoss, Glassfish, Eclipse IDE, and Enterprise stacks.

If you are interested in helping out, please join the Gentoo-java mailing list or read their getting involved page.

2.  Tips and Tricks

Let Bash Save Your Aching Fingers

One the greatest things about Linux is that all you really need is a command prompt to get some work done. Of course, this comes at the expense of stressing out your finger muscles. Or... does it? Here's some nice little tips to save your aching fingers.

Sometimes you get tired of entering the same commands over and over again.

Code Listing 2.1: Very long ls command

$ ls -loBh --author --color=always --group-directories-first ~
$ ls -loBh --author --color=always --group-directories-first /var/log

Use the alias command to save a lot of typing

Code Listing 2.2: Alias to the rescue

$ alias ls='ls -loBh --author --color=always --group-directories-first'

Or better yet, make it permanent by putting the alias in your .bashrc

Code Listing 2.3: Making it permanent

$ echo "alias ls='ls -loBh --author --color=always --group-directories-first'" >> ~/.bashrc

Now, using "ls" has the same effect as "ls -loBh --author --color=always --group-directories-first". So you can replace the long commands above with much shorter commands.

Sometimes using an alias might not be as convenient as searching the history. Most everyone knows that you can scroll through recent commands by using the up arrow and down arrow keys at a command prompt. But, did you know there's a MUCH quicker way to get to a recent command?

Suppose you need to update your environment variables and source your profile. You know that sometime in the last 30 or so commands you typed 'env-update && source /etc/profile'.

You could hit the up arrow 30 or so times until you find it and then hit the enter key, but you remember a cool trick you read in a recent GWN. So you hit ctrl - r and type "env". Magically, as you type the letters the whole line "env-update && source /etc/profile" pops up.

Code Listing 2.4: Reverse search in action

(reverse-i-search)`env': env-update && source /etc/profile

Next, you hit the enter key and the command executes. If you decide you want to edit the command before executing it, you can hit the left or right arrow and the command will be placed at the prompt so you can edit it. For those that have taken the time to master vi, it's also possible to use vi key bindings instead.

Code Listing 2.5: Enabling vi key bindings

$ set -o vi

Now, you can type escape / and enter the search string. By pressing the 'n' key you can scroll through the previous entries, 'N' will scroll forward, in case you accidentally go past the command you want to run.

Sometimes aliases and command history doesn't help you at all, because you haven't type in the command before. Bash completion comes to rescue here. In most places on the command line, you can hit the 'Tab' key and Bash will complete the word for you. This applies to both commands and sometimes even command arguments. This comes in very handy when you want to view the contents of a long directory path.

Now the following command can be typed in only 27 keystrokes instead of 60, including hitting the 'Enter' key.

Code Listing 2.6: Tab completion

$ ls /usr/portage/profiles/default-linux/amd64/2007.0/desktop/

Note: Some packages can be built with the 'bash-completion' USE flag to enhance bash completion for that package.

Here's a final finger saver for you when backing up important files before you make changes to them. Most people like to make a backup of an important config file before making major changes. Next time, instead of typing the following:

Code Listing 2.7: Creating a backup copy

$ cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

Take advantage of Bash's brace expansion and type the following for the same effect.

Code Listing 2.8: Creating a backup copy - shorter version

$ cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf{,.bak}

Now that you know how to use brace expansion to make backup files, you can easily see the changes with the following:

Code Listing 2.9: Quickly seeing the differences

$ diff /etc/X11/xorg.conf{.bak,}

Of course, this is just the tip of the ice berg for cool bash tricks. Check out some of our previous GWN bash tips and tricks or for more helpful Bash tips, join #bash and check out this helpful wiki.

Previous GWN Bash Tips

3.  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:

  • Jurek Bartuszek (jurek) has joined the X86 team

4.  Gentoo security

Qt: Multiple format string vulnerabilities

Format string vulnerabilities in Qt 3 may lead to the remote execution of arbitrary code in some Qt applications.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

5.  Gentoo package moves

This section lists packages that have either been moved or added to the tree and packages that have had their "last rites" announcement given to be removed in the future. The package removals come from many locations, including the Treecleaners and various developers. Most packages which are listed under the Last Rites section are in need of some love and care and can remain in the tree if proper maintainership is established.


Package: Removal date: Contact:
net-proxy/vultureng 21 Aug 2007 Alin Nastac
app-text/estraier 25 Aug 2007 Akinori Hattori


Package: Addition date: Contact:
xfce-extra/xfkc 20 Aug 2007 Samuli Suominen
dev-php/PEAR-Net_LDAP 20 Aug 2007 Markus Ullmann
www-apache/mod_depends 20 Aug 2007 Benedikt Boehm
games-action/btanks 20 Aug 2007 Alfredo Tupone
media-plugins/mythmovies 21 Aug 2007 Doug Goldstein
net-proxy/vulture 21 Aug 2007 Alin Nastac
net-dialup/openadsl 21 Aug 2007 Alin Nastac
app-text/nfoview 21 Aug 2007 Mike Frysinger
dev-lang/realbasic 22 Aug 2007 Mike Frysinger
sec-policy/selinux-dnsmasq 22 Aug 2007 Chris PeBenito
dev-python/pynotifier 23 Aug 2007 Robert Buchholz
games-misc/fortune-mod-woody-allen-it 23 Aug 2007 Alfredo Tupone
net-misc/networkmanager-openvpn 23 Aug 2007 Robert Buchholz
net-misc/networkmanager-pptp 23 Aug 2007 Robert Buchholz
net-misc/networkmanager-vpnc 23 Aug 2007 Robert Buchholz
kde-misc/knetworkmanager 23 Aug 2007 Robert Buchholz
net-libs/gssdp 23 Aug 2007 Samuli Suominen
net-libs/gupnp 23 Aug 2007 Samuli Suominen
dev-python/numdisplay 23 Aug 2007 Sebastien Fabbro
net-analyzer/ksniffer 23 Aug 2007 Wulf Krueger
games-sports/stormbaancoureur 24 Aug 2007 Michael Sterrett
dev-games/ois 24 Aug 2007 Tristan Heaven
media-libs/FusionSound 24 Aug 2007 Joerg Bornkessel
x11-libs/xbae 24 Aug 2007 Sebastien Fabbro
net-wireless/b43-fwcutter 24 Aug 2007 Joseph Jezak
sci-physics/cernlib 24 Aug 2007 Sebastien Fabbro
sci-physics/cernlib-montecarlo 24 Aug 2007 Sebastien Fabbro
sci-physics/paw 24 Aug 2007 Sebastien Fabbro
sci-physics/geant 24 Aug 2007 Sebastien Fabbro
games-board/gnome-mastermind 25 Aug 2007 Alfredo Tupone
app-text/doclifter 25 Aug 2007 Mike Frysinger
games-arcade/bitefusion 25 Aug 2007 Alfredo Tupone
net-news/rsstool 25 Aug 2007 Jason Smathers
dev-java/commons-configuration 26 Aug 2007 Petteri Raty
dev-ruby/ruby-gsl 26 Aug 2007 Hans de Graaff
net-analyzer/dhcpdump 26 Aug 2007 Thilo Bangert

Last Rites:

Note: Due to time constraints on the publishing of this version of the GWN, the Last Rites section has been temporarily removed. This section will return once it has become more automated, as it currently accounts for more than 80 percent of the time required to publish an edition of the GWN. The GWN staff would like to apologize for this inconvenience and remind everyone that this information comes directly from the package.mask file in the profiles directory of the tree.

6.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 19 August 2007 and 25 August 2007, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 464 new bugs during this period
  • 311 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 19 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
  • 99 closed as NEEDINFO/WONTFIX/CANTFIX/INVALID/UPSTREAM during this period
  • 86 bugs marked as duplicates during this period

Of the 9820 currently open bugs: 10 are labeled 'blocker', 102 are labeled 'critical', and 352 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

The GWN is staffed by volunteers and members of the community who submit ideas and articles. If you are interested in writing for the GWN, have feedback on an article that we have posted, or just have an idea or article that you would like to submit to the GWN, please send us your feedback and help make the GWN better.

8.  GWN subscription information

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9.  Other languages

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Page updated August 27, 2007

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 27 August 2007.

Chris Gianelloni

Chrissy Fullam

Michal Kurgan

Hanno Boeck

John Alberts

Wernfried Haas

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