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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: September 19th, 2005


1.  Gentoo news

First Gentoo council meeting

On Thursday, 15 September at 19:00 UTC, the Gentoo Council had their first meeting. The council was created with initiating major cross project decisions in mind, and the first meeting was a real success towards this. The meeting agenda contained some important issues such as confirming the stance of the council, and voting on some major GLEPs (Gentoo Linux Enhancement Proposals). The meeting started off somewhat adjusted, as the vote for GLEP 33 (Eclass Restructure/Redesign) was added at the bottom. The results came from an email by Aron Griffis:

  • "The council confirmed with the caveat that it is not taking on disciplinary responsibilities. The QA team should take complaints regarding unresolved technical violations to devrel to pursue displinary action."
  • GLEP 31 (Character sets for portage tree items) was in the favor of the council. However, they did want to wait until nano is confirmed to be utf8 ready. The GLEP is currently under withdrawn status until it is unwithdrawn.
  • GLEP 40 (Standardizing "arch" keywording across all archs) was approved by the council.
  • GLEP 33 (Eclass Restructure/Redesign) was approved by the council.
  • Future council meetings were decided to be held on the second Thursday of each month, 19:00 UTC. If this was not possible a rain date of the third Thursday of each month was settled upon.

The meeting was followed by an unmoderated Question and Answer session. The first statement noted was the so-called "slacker" amendment. As the new council guidelines stated, council members that did not show up were to be noted. The first meeting overcame that, however, and all council members were present. A judgment was also made on where to put the logs. Future logs will now exist in the council project space. The first meeting's logs are located at the Gentoo website.

Congratulations to a very successful council meeting, and good luck to them during future meetings!

European Gentoo developer conference planned for 18 November in Germany

25 Developers, 14 presentations and several new ideas - the first Gentoo developer meeting at this year's FOSDEM in Brussels was a big success. To tie up to this success we would like to invite all Gentoo developers to participate in the European Gentoo Developer Conference to be held at Kransberg Castle on 18 November, the day after Linux World Expo in Frankfurt (Main) has closed its doors. Planned are presentations about libconf (a configuration layer for Linux), the Gentoo Forums, and a status report of the German not-for-profit association "Friends of Gentoo e.V." who will also cover 10 EUR of each participant's 30 EUR conference fee. Please register at the conference website as soon as possible, and send proposals for presentations before 30 September.

The Gentoo developer conference is embedded between two other open-source events, the German edition of LWE, and an open-source evangelism day for the general public of the region around the venue. If you would like to help out at the Gentoo LWE booth or the "Kransberg open software day", please use the same registration procedure as for the developer conference itself.

2.  Gentoo international

Japan: Open-source conference 2005 report from Tokyo

Several members of GentooJP, among them Matsuu Takuto, Mamoru Komachi, Jason Stubbs and others, joined the Open Source Conference Tokyo on 17 September 2005. Space in the exhibition area was limited, but there was room enough for two tiny Gentoo PowerPCs, an OpenBlockS and a Kurobox on display at the Gentoo booth. Both amazed people by their size and speed, although a simple emerge wget from an xterm took minutes to src_unpack (extracting and patch source code) and didn't exactly break the sound barrier when compiling literally line by line. Visitors did wonder how long it might take to emerge the world.

Figure 2.1: Matsuu Takuto and his barely visible merchandise at the OSC Gentoo booth

Fig. 1: matsuu

In the hands-on classroom scheduled to do a step-by-step stage3 installation of Gentoo Linux, (a Japanese PDF of the handout is available) all of the participants successfully finished their installations. After the workshop, ten GentooJP members went to yet another meeting, this one in a Japanese bar and lasting five hours. The next Gentoo party will be held in December, but details are not available yet, so /join #gentoo-ja on if you're interested in being kept informed, and tell us if your schedule permits you to be in the Tokyo area around that time.

3.  Tips and tricks

Watch it!

Sometimes one wishes to watch for changes, e.g to the free space on their disks, to users logged in and the likes. As with most things there exists a Unix tool to do that with the least amount of work: watch.

The man page says: "execute a program periodically, showing output fullscreen". So let's try this:

Code Listing 3.1: Run watch

$ watch df

If you start copying files now you should see the free space of at least one drive, changing to new values every two seconds.

Code Listing 3.2: Another example

$ watch w

This will show you who is logged in at the moment.

Code Listing 3.3: And yet another one

$ watch cat /proc/mdstat

And this shows the status of all your software RAID devices. Small hint: watch can't be used to see changes in files directly, you'll have to use cat/head/tail for them. Of course, watch can be applied to almost anything as a monitoring helper, I'm sure you can think of some uses for it.

4.  Moves, adds, and changes


The following developers recently left the Gentoo team:

  • None this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo Linux team:

  • Mark Mahle (markm) - infrastructure


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

  • None this week

5.  Gentoo Security

X.Org: Heap overflow in pixmap allocation

An integer overflow in pixmap memory allocation potentially allows any X.Org user to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Python: Heap overflow in the included PCRE library

The "re" Python module is vulnerable to a heap overflow, possibly leading to the execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Py2Play: Remote execution of arbitrary Python code

A design error in Py2Play allows attackers to execute arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Mailutils: Format string vulnerability in imap4d

The imap4d server contains a vulnerability allowing an authenticated user to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the imap4d process.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Mozilla Suite, Mozilla Firefox: Buffer overflow

Mozilla Suite and Firefox are vulnerable to a buffer overflow that might be exploited to execute 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 11 September 2005 and 18 September 2005, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 769 new bugs during this period
  • 380 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 65 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 8286 currently open bugs: 101 are labeled 'blocker', 186 are labeled 'critical', and 547 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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Page updated September 19, 2005

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 19 September 2005.

Ulrich Plate

Patrick Lauer

Tobias Scherbaum

Chris White

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