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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: August 15th, 2005


1.  Gentoo News

Gentoo Linux 2005.1 released

The Gentoo Release Engineering team is proud to announce the release of Gentoo Linux 2005.1. This release is the second release of 2005 and is the culmination of five months of work. Some major software changes from 2005.0 are GNOME 2.10, KDE 3.4.1, XFce 4.2.2, X.Org 6.8.2, and a 2.6.12 kernel.

This release also provides two additional x86 LiveCD images, in combination with the minimal and universal InstallCDs seen in previous releases: a new x86 LiveCD from the Hardened project, and the new x86 Installer LiveCD which features a first public alpha release of the Gentoo Linux Installer, with both a GTK+ and dialog-based front-end.

The SPARC team has switched to using hwsetup for doing device auto-detection, which should give them more device compatibility and the IA64 team has released a minimal LiveCD as mentioned in a previous GWN. PPC and PPC64 now operate under a joint parent profile in the same fashion as SPARC and MIPS do for their 32/64-bit equivalents and G5 support has been moved completely from PPC32 to PPC64.

The genkernel utility has also been heavily worked on and now has many new features such as initramfs, gensplash and dmraid support along with many other enhancements and bug fixes.

Figure 1.1: CD labels can be downloaded for each of the architectures

Fig. 1: ISO

The release is available for download from our mirrors and from the BitTorrent tracker kindly provided by Friends of Gentoo e.V.. Companion CD labels, color-coded to represent the different architecture, can be downloaded from a common location.

First Gentoo developer conference webcast

Having just about packed up the Gentoo booth at last week's Linux World Expo in San Francisco, the mostly US-based developers who had represented Gentoo at the show stayed on for another day, to participate in the first fully-fledged US Gentoo developer conference, held at the premises of Global Netoptex, Inc. (GNi). Owing its success to the tireless work of organizer Corey Shields, the event brought together Gentoo Foundation trustees, developers and guests. Special thanks to Indiana University for their streaming services that made it possible for dozens of fellow developers at large to participate in the conference! For those who followed the presentations via the webcast, a special IRC channel #gentoo-devconference was set aside on to allow for interaction: developers abroad were able to ask questions and voice their opinions almost in real-time during the entire all-day event.

Presentations held are listed at the event's website, the slides are going to be made available soon. The webcast has also been recorded and will be put up for download, too. Watch this space.

2.  Future zone

Modular X

You may be wondering, why in the world will one nice, easy xorg-x11 package turn into almost 300 separate ones? And you'd certainly be justified in this. It's not something Gentoo is doing independently of upstream X.Org; they're splitting up all the packages into separate releases, and we're just following along.

The reasoning behind the split and changing build system is at least threefold:

  • X is too difficult to get into for new devs, so thus the move to autotools, a system more people are comfortable with if not happy with.
  • Along with that move, splitting out the source is possible with autotools, and this also makes it more developer-friendly.
  • Things have been unnecessarily tied together in the past, and this has made getting bugfixes out often impossible. If they were able to get out fixes, it required rebuilding all of XOrg. For example, a bug in the ati driver would either need to wait 6 months until the next release, or you'd have to rebuild your fonts to get it, for absolutely no reason.

For Gentoo users, the change should be seamless. All you'll have to do is `emerge xorg-x11` and you'll get all the required packages, although some rarely used programs such as xedit or xmh may not be a part of it.

So far, most of the packages are in the tree, but not the meta-ebuilds necessary for the seamless transition. Over the next month, expect to see the modular X experience transform from arduous to exciting.

The release of X11R7.0 isn't expected until sometime in September, but the "zeroth" release candidate already came out a couple of weeks ago. If you want to become an early adopter of modular X, be prepared to do a bit of work and file upstream bugs. Here's a guide on using what Gentoo has in the tree for modular X. Over time, it will become much easier to migrate than it is now. If you have any questions, please contact Donnie Berkholz.

3.  Heard in the community


imlate on x86

Olivier Crête used the "imlate" script which is used to find packages that have newer versions to see how up-to-date x86 is compared to other architectures. He writes: "The results are surprising, 214 packages are more recent on non-x86 architectures. But its pretty hard to know if its because they have arch specific patches or because the maintainer's arch is not x86..."

do we need a "man" USE-flag?

Since almost everything in Gentoo can be customized, why don't we have a "man" USE-flag that prevents that man-pages get installed? Of course there is FEATURES="noman", but it doesn't solve all (potential) problems.

gcc-config 2.0 development

Jeremy Huddleston offers some insight into the development of gcc-config 2.0, a rewrite of gcc-config that should address some of the shortcomings of the gcc-config 1.3 branch

4.  Gentoo International

UK: AFFS conference in London

Gentoo in the UK was recently asked to have a voice at the Association For Free Software's annual general meeting. Gentoo developers Daniel Drake, Tim Yamin, Stuart Herbert and Rob Holland went along accompanied by George Prowse from the Gentoo Forums. Tim Yamin gave a 45 minute introduction to Gentoo and its benefits.

Figure 4.1: Left to right: Rob Holland, Stuart Herbert, Daniel Drake and Tim Yamin

Fig. 1: AFFS

Organised by the association, the meeting was also used to showcase potholes and problems with the up-and-coming software patents problems in the European Parliament; at the same time allowing Linux distributions to talk with FOSS advocates. The conference made it possible for the Gentoo developers in the UK to meet with not only some of their userbase but also some of their equivalent developers at Debian. The day was considered a success after Tim's speech made the Gentoo stall very busy with interested people and we learned that a few of our users had migrated from Debian.

Germany: Report from the first GentooSummerCamp

Thanks to the organisation of German Forums moderator Uwe Hölzel (slick), from Friday until Sunday, 12 to 14 August 2005, several Gentoo users and developers packed their tents and made a trip into Germany's hinterland region called "Westerwald". On a meadow at the camping site and inn ”Gasthof Hahnhof“ the first attendees set up their tents on Friday afternoon. Some more arrived during the evening as they had to ride up to 800 km, like Stefan Walkner (Hephaistos) from Salzburg who came all the way from Austria, or Hilefoks who lives on Germany's North Sea coast.

Figure 4.2: The campground ”Gasthof Hahnhof“ and the campfire

Fig. 2: Camping

After a long evening and short night, the Saturday became a very beautiful day. The sun was shining the whole day and quite everybody got a nice sunburn. At the afternoon somebody pushed his bicycle to the campground… It turned out that Thorsten Zantis (psyqil) did the 100km-trip with his bike and during the very last kilometre a tire burst! Anyways, we had enough drinks available, like every kind of beer from a good Austrian ’Helles‘, via some Pils, Alt and Kölsch up to a dry beer from the coast. And nobody had to stay hungry, as we had enough meat for the barbecue and salads for everyone.

A campfire in the evening held us warm during the whole night, and even when it started to rain on early Sunday morning, some of us still sat at the campfire. After a short breakfast in the rain we removed our wet tents.

Figure 4.3: (left to right) oma, HaPhi, tomyum, Pylon, dertobi123, Hilefoks, dakra, Hephaistos, psyqil, slick, Inte

Fig. 3: Group picture

It's noteworthy that we did not need any computers, and still had enough topics to talk about, even besides Gentoo! It was a pleasure to meet a couple of people you know only from the forums or IRC. And there are fledgling plans for another camp next year on the North Sea coast already.

5.  Gentoo in the press

Ars Technica (8 August 2005)

A review of a 64-bit laptop computer powered by Gentoo Linux was published in Ars Technica last Monday. The "LinuxCertified" model sports an AMD64 processor and comes preloaded with Gentoo, Fedora or SuSE Linux.

Harvard Business School Working Knowledge (1 August 2005)

"How Toyota and Linux Keep Collaboration Simple" is the title of an article originally printed in the Harvard Business Review, recounting the events when Gentoo developer Andrea Barisani - or more specifically his Trieste University's Gentoo Linux server - was under attack a couple of years ago. Authors Philip Evans and Bob Wolf take the ensuing bug fix activities that rapidly span the globe as an example for the ways of the Linux world, and put them into perspective of the Toyota production system, finding lots of similarities: "Widespread, granular communication. In both the Linux and Toyota communities, information about problems and solutions is shared widely, frequently, and in small increments."

6.  Moves, adds, and changes


The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • None this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:

  • Luis Medinas (MetalGOD) - Printing herd and AMD64


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

  • Jose Alberto Suarez Lopez (BaSS) - stepped down from his post as Spanish lead translator

7.  Gentoo Security

No security announcements this week

No GLSAs have been issued since publication of the last GWN. Check back next week.

8.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 07 August 2005 and 14 August 2005, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 832 new bugs during this period
  • 462 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 34 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 8117 currently open bugs: 108 are labeled 'blocker', 196 are labeled 'critical', and 538 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:

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Page updated August 15, 2005

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 15 August 2005.

Ulrich Plate

Donnie Berkholz

Patrick Lauer

George Prowse

Lars Weiler

Tim Yamin

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