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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: January 3, 2005


1.  Gentoo News

1000 days: Gentoo Forums

When it went online as on 6 April 2002, Kyle Manna aka nitro had set up the first Gentoo forum server on a 2 mbit/s down, 380 kbit/s upstream cable connection, and was hosting it out of his home. A thousand days later, the forum statistics look almost frightening, with more than 70,000 registered users and more than 1.8 million posts in the database. The Gentoo Forums are the most popular support forum of any single Linux distribution, and one of the biggest implementations worldwide of the phpBB forum software they've been running on from day 1.

Figure 1.1: Forum statistics on 2 January 2005 - 1000 days!

Fig. 1: Stats

Gone are the glorious days of M5, the machine that hosted the Forums after their migration to NYU in June 2003, which also accommodated the Gentoo Bugzilla and, the fastest rsync server under the sun of its time because it was running rsyncd out of the ramdisk... Last August, the Gentoo Forums had to migrate again, to their current location at OSU OSL on two hyperthreading Dual 2.4GHz and 3GHz Xeon servers with several gigabytes worth of RAM and plenty of disk space. With 2000 posts a day contributed by up to 1800 concurrent users, the administrators and moderators have been sleeping much better since the move.

Speaking of whom, this GWN proudly presents portraits of a number of Forum moderators and administrators. Not all of them wanted to give up their anonymity, some didn't include pictures. But no matter what their background, affiliation or resident country may be, together they've been providing the platform for one of the most coveted aspects of Gentoo Linux: its outstanding user community and their Forums.

Website redesign mailing list

Sven Vermeulen (Swift) has announced the next steps in the process of implementing the website redesign contest results at the actual Gentoo website. "I hope to welcome lots of contributors that are willing to donate some of their free time to the development of this redesign." says Swift, who set up a new mailing list to coordinate the effort, currently composed of the original designer Aaron Shi, the Gentoo developers involved in the decision on which design to retain, and already a handful of determined non-dev contributors with experience in web design.

"This mailinglist is primarily meant for discussions on the layout of the Gentoo website (from which we can deviate a bit, but not much, since it was elected by our community), the structure of the Gentoo website (think sitemap) and the backend of the Gentoo website (the underlying XSLT code and XML formats)." continues Swift. If you're a knowledgeable web designer, content aggregator or generally good with XSLT and XML, and would like to join the group that looks into the tasks at hand, please contact Swift directly.

Gentoo Documentation Project update

New highlights have been added to the collection of Gentoo documentation, most notably two contributions by Eric Brown who wrote a remarkable user manual for Gentoo's own keychain and a Cron Guide. Other updated documents include the distcc guide, the quickstart guide to mutt, the Alternative installation guide, Gentoo FAQ, the Virtual mail hosting HOWTO, and the Migration to Linux 2.6 Guide, and of course all available language versions of the 2004.3 handbook that have been updated to reflect the same status as the English original.

The status update also speaks of a split of the installation instructions, into one release-specific (networkless from disk) installation handbook, and instructions for a current Portage based installation via the Internet. Check the Project update page for other interesting details.

Polish GWN translators wanted

As reported earlier, the Polish translator group is back on track with their translations of the GWN. However, this time around they would like to stabilize the effort by adding more volunteers to the group. If your a native level Polish speaker and would like to contribute to the GWN translations, please contact Łukasz Strzygowski and have a look at the project's website.

2.  Gentoo Forums moderators' profiles


Every wonder about the real identities of the shadowy demigods that rule the Gentoo Forums? GWN staff, in a hazardous undercover exclusive, have uncovered some of the true faces of the cabal that have taken it upon themselvves to ensure the orderly and efficient progress of what Linux Format has identified as one of the best support resources of 2004. The article below identifies a few of those who have tirelessly pursued duplicate posts, sorted threads into the proper categories, and walked boldly unarmed into OTW (except for Pilla and his trusty lead pipe).

Moderator Profiles

Figure 2.1: Akar Chen S.L.

Fig. 1: Akar Chen S.L.

Akar Chen S.L. (akar) is one of the Gentoo Chinese forum moderators. He also is the leader of Open Source Hong Kong Fonts Project, a sub-project of the Unifonts initiative led by Arne Götje (CJK TrueType fonts).

Figure 2.2: Wernfried Haas

Fig. 2: amne

Wernfried Haas (amne) is currently studying at the University of Technology in Graz and working on his Diplom thesis (equivalent of a Master's degree). He read about Gentoo in November 2002 on the mplayer-users mailing list just when SuSE no longer met his needs. He uses Gentoo at home and work for everything, including a workplace backup and printserver. Wernfried joined the moderator team in December 2003 in the German forum and became a Global moderator in Spring 2004. ( "Report a Dupe every now and then until someone is fed up with moving your Dupes and makes you mod.") He usually visits these forums in the following order: German, Networking & Security, Gentoo Chat, Gentoo Forums Feedback, OTW. If time is left, he takes a look at some other forums as well.

Figure 2.3: BonezTheGoon

Fig. 3: BonezTheGoon

BonezTheGoon is a largely self taught "nerd" who studied at the University of New Mexico. He enjoys cutting-edge hardware and describes building a new machine as "the greatest rush to me in the computer industry". He games to justify the cost of his cutting edge hardware. He attempted his first Gentoo installation in mid-May of 2002 and had an installation that was actually bootable in late May. He says he "had a LOT to learn when [he] started". Gentoo was actually last on his list due to some misinformation he got on the web, so he tried pretty much everything else first. He uses Gentoo primarily to familiarize himself with GNU/Linux and "the wonderful world of Open Source". He became a moderator as a result of a constant and prolific presence in the Forums. His favorite is the Gamers forum.

Figure 2.4: Ioannis Aslanidis

Fig. 4: Ioannis Aslanidis

Ioannis Aslanidis (Deathwing00) got in touch with Gentoo in Easter of 2003, after hearing people at his University evangelize about how cool and personalizable Gentoo is. He currently works for the Banzai Research Group on Artificial Intelligence where he'll stay and get his PhD. He became moderator of the Greek forum when it was created in the Fall of 2004, by virtue of having proposed it. Months later, he also began moderating the 'News & Announcements' forum as he liked the idea of posting GLSAs as fast as possible in order to have forum visitors up-to-date in security matters. About a month later he became a global moderator. His favorite forums (aside from the Greek language one) are Installing Gentoo, Kernel & Hardware and Portage & Programming. He also takes care of the organization of the as yet unofficial translation of Gentoo documentation into Greek and the Hellenic Gentoo site.

Figure 2.5: Eric Hsu

Fig. 5: Eric Hsu

Eric Hsu (EricHsu) used to be a user of Redhat/Fedora Core, until in the beginning of the year 2004 a friend showed him how cool Gentoo Linux could be. Since then he has never looked back, even having converted his sister and parents to use of the distro. His favourite forum is the Chinese forum, followed by Desktop Environments, and Multimedia - but he visits all of them. A great place for sharing the excitement of Gentoo!". He does whatever he can do to push Gentoo in China, including taking it upon himself to translate the Gentoo Handbook (x86) into a Simplified Chinese version.

Figure 2.6: Marco Genasci

Fig. 6: Marco Genasci

Marco Genasci (fedeliallalinea) started using Gentoo 3 years ago, because of the advice and installation assistance of a friend of his. He loved it from the beginning and tries to use Gentoo for everything and everywhere. His favourite forum is obviously the Italian one, but he often visits "Documentation, Tips & Tricks" to brush up on useful tips and scripts. He also helps in developing and updating the Gentoo Italian website . He is a member of GeChI (Gentoo CHannel Italian), a Gentoo users group for the area Italy and the Italian part of Switzerland.

Figure 2.7: Christian Hartmann

Fig. 7: Christian Hartmann

Christian Hartmann (ian!) heard about Gentoo in late 2002 while searching for a replacement of SuSE Linux for server environments. He was working as a coder at the time. After installing and playing around with Gentoo Linux on several machines he became addicted to it, and created his Forum account in early 2003. The great support community and the fun of helping others let his postcount rise steeply, leading to his becoming a moderator in the German forum first, in September 2003. "I'm a community guy." says ian!, who together with many other developers from Germany founded the 'Friends of Gentoo e.V.', the not-for-profit association promoting the use of Gentoo in Germany. He was made a global moderator a little later in 2003 and became one of the forum's administrators in April 2004,is part of the Gentoo Infrastructure project team and (partially) responsible for the phpBB installation running the Forums. He's using Gentoo for his desktop and the servers at work, and for private use, of course. Outside of the Forums he's equally busy supporting Gentoo in many ways, not the least important being his contributions to the GWN in the past few months. He was the booth coordinator at LWE 2004 (Frankfurt) after helping out at every single exhibition, conference or trade fair last year that he could make it to, and you definitely want to check out some of his artwork for labels of last year's FOSDEM, Linuxtag, and LWE special Gentoo LiveCD editions.

Figure 2.8: Anders Hellgren

Fig. 8: Anders Hellgren

Anders Hellgren (kallamej) first came into contact with Gentoo when he got a new computer in May 2003. He had originally planned to dual boot Linux and Windows, but as he only had NT4 available. Since NT4 doesn't like to be installed on large partitions, the computer became Gentoo only. In July 2004 he became a global moderator, largely because he had been quite active reporting duplicates so that the admins and the rest of the mods thought he might as well take care of it by himself. Frequently Asked Questions and Portage & Programming are Anders' favourite forums.

Figure 2.9: mikessu

Fig. 9: mikessu

Mikko Yliniemi (mikessu) got interested in Gentoo when he heard about it from IRC. He was told about portage and the helpful community so he decided to give it a try. Now he uses Gentoo at home for his personal use. He became a Finnish forum moderator in the middle of 2004. His favourite forums are the Multimedia forum and of course the Finnish forum.

Krzysiek Pawlik (Nelchael) settled happily on Gentoo after a friend's demonstration. He uses Gentoo on his workstations as well as on servers and for playing around. In December of 2004 another Polish forum moderator was needed - Krzysiek was suggested by the other mods and was added to the moderator group a few days later. His favourite forums are the Polish ones, but he occasionally visits Networking & Security and Portage & Programming. He sometimes contributes ebuilds to Gentoo, and one of Nelchael's OSS projects is on its way into portage (Bug #68953).

Figure 2.10: Kyle Manna

Fig. 10: Kyle Manna

Kyle Manna (Nitro) is currently a freshman at University of Wisconsin Madison. He is majoring in Electrical Computer Engineering and in his free time he likes to work on his car. He got involved with Gentoo around release candidate #6 of the 1.0 release. Ended up starting a forum on his home webserver and I think we all know what happened with that. He mostly uses Gentoo in server applications. Nitro has been a Moderator and Site Admin since the beginning as he started the forums. His favourite forums are Networking & Security as well as Documentations, Tips & Tricks. Originally he was the sole forum administrator, but that changed quickly as other admins came onboard to help. After the forums started to get big he became a developer as well and worked on some networking ebuilds.

Figure 2.11: Mauricio Lima Pilla

Fig. 11: Mauricio Lima Pilla

Mauricio Lima Pilla (Pilla) received his PhD Degree in Computer Sciences from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) last June, and is still working there in the Clumssy Project (HP/UFRGS) as well as lecturing in the CS Department. His previous appointments included an internship in the University of Pittsburgh. After using Debian, Red Hat and Conectiva, he was looking for a distribution which was easy to update and also give total control to the user. He gave Gentoo a try and fell in love with it. He joined the "terrific" forums in August 2002 and spends considerable time in OTW and Gentoo Chat, but his Forums of choice are Desktop Environments and Kernel & Hardware.

Figure 2.12: Fabrizio Masia

Fig. 12: Fabrizio Masia

Fabrizio Masia (randomaze) was born in Sardinia 35 years ago. He studied at the University of Pisa and now works in Milano as technical adviser. He learned about Gentoo in 2003. He enjoys browsing Documentation, Tips & Tricks and moderating the Italian forum. He is also a member of GeChI (Gentoo Channell Italia), an association that promotes initiatives intended to spread Gentoo Linux in Italy and in the Italian part of Switzerland as well as serving as an admin for Gentoo-Italia, a news/wiki web-site for the Italian community.

Figure 2.13: shev

Fig. 13: shev

shev studies of Computer Science Engineering and works as a technical specialist in Public Administration, taking care of networks and security. He discovered Gentoo approximately two years ago, while surfing the web looking for a new distribution that could satisfy his requirements. He became a prolific poster to the fourms, and was proposed as a moderator after a few months. He considers Gentoo the only true and valid alternative to MacOS X. He has collaborated with the translation of Gentoo documentation, and took part in the foundation of GeChI (GEntoo CHannel Italian) of which he is President.

Figure 2.14: Tom Knight

Fig. 14: Tom Knight

Tom Knight (tomk) has been using Gentoo since September 2003, after discovering that he needed more than what OBSD on the Desktop could offer. He originally used Gentoo for personal work, but now he runs it on his servers, at work and for his development work. Tom joined the forums at the same time and became a moderator at the end of March 2004. He spends a lot of time in Portage & Programming, as he is a programmer. He is also a Gentoo developer, part of the net-mail herd and maintainer of the Joe's Own Editor (joe) ebuilds.

Figure 2.15: Erik Ekman

Fig. 15: Erik Ekman

Erik Ekman (Yarrick) started using Gentoo the summer of 2002, after checking out the options for running Linux full-time. He uses it on his personal all-in-one box at home, and on almost every box when he can and is allowed to. He was around at the time when the Scandinavian forums started, and volunteered for to moderate them - he says that "the users behave, so it's not hard work." Erik says that the Documentation, Tips &Tricks forum brings him lot of valuable advice. He also enjoys the Gentoo Chat forum.

3.  Gentoo security

Xpdf, GPdf: New integer overflows

New integer overflows were discovered in Xpdf, potentially resulting in the execution of arbitrary code. GPdf includes Xpdf code and therefore is vulnerable to the same issues.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

CUPS: Multiple vulnerabilities

Multiple vulnerabilities have been found in CUPS, ranging from local Denial of Service attacks to the remote execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

ViewCVS: Information leak and XSS vulnerabilities

ViewCVS is vulnerable to an information leak and to cross-site scripting (XSS) issues.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

PHProjekt: Remote code execution vulnerability

PHProjekt contains a vulnerability that allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary PHP code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

4.  Heard in the community


Rsync-ing selectively

People with low-bandwidth connections may be interested in our first thread selection in this issue! Is it possible to rsync only parts of the Portage tree? What are some of the conditions under which you would prefer to do so? Read this thread for the pros and cons of doing so.

Excluding package updates

In light of our first topic this week, we bring you another Portage-related thread. Occasionally a package that you do not necessarily want to update will become available in the Portage tree. PHP5 is one example, Apache2 is another. VMWare 5 is the one given in this thread. What Portage options are available to consider what you already have as up-to-date so one can "emerge -u world" without worry? Read on!

5.  Gentoo International

Japan: GentooJP Bounenkai report and photos

The GentooJP year-end party was held in the Shibuya district of Tokyo on 28 December 2004. Twelve Japanese Gentooists from all Japan joined in the fun, had many drinks, laughed and smiled a lot, and discussed in all seriousness the planned publication of the second (!) Gentoo book. Even Masatomo Nakano, one of Japan's most active Gentoo developers, could attend the Bounenkai during his brief visit from London where he currently lives.

Figure 5.1: The Bounenkai crowd in a Shibuya pub, complexions not entirely void of beverage influence

Fig. 1: GentooJP

2004 was an exceptional year for the Japanese Gentoo community, with a number of featured Gentoo articles in Linux magazines, thanks to Nakano and Mamoru Komachi (see below). 2004 also saw the first Gentoo book "My first Gentoo" by Softbank Publishing, many translation improvements including the latest Gentoo Handbook, and the Japanese GWN translator team being back in business and on track with timely deliveries of the weekly newsletter. As people gradually understand what the benefits from a source-based distribution are, expectations for Gentoo to gain even more popularity in Japan in 2005 are high among the Japanese Gentooists.

Note: A complete series of photos from the event is available here.

6.  Gentoo in the press

Software Design (December 2004 and January 2005 issues, in Japanese)

Two articles in a series written by Gentoo developer Mamoru Komachi are looking in great detail at "Package Management in Gentoo." What started in the December issue of Software Design is continued in the current January number available at newsstands in Japan: a description of Portage using practical examples, helpful tips and tools not only for Portage newbies, but also for weathered admins just recently migrating from other distros. The article focusses especially on detailed explanations of new features in Portage version 2.0.51, to further boost people's awareness of Gentoo in Japan. (27 December 2004, in French)

The integration of a piece of software in Portage can be news in itself: A popular game clone called Wormux is available in a new version and has been added to the Portage tree, writes author Prosper in his announcement "Encore un ver", briefly mentioning Portage for Mac OS X, too.

7.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 26 December 2004 and 02 January 2005, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 700 new bugs during this period
  • 390 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 31 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 7877 currently open bugs: 113 are labeled 'blocker', 226 are labeled 'critical', and 558 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.  Moves, adds, and changes


The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • None this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:

  • None this week


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

  • None this week

9.  Contribute to GWN

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10.  GWN feedback

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11.  GWN subscription information

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12.  Other languages

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Page updated January 3, 2004

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 3 January 2005.

Ulrich Plate

AJ Armstrong

Brian Downey

Tomoyuki Sakurai

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