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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 22 May 2006


1.  Gentoo news

GCC 4.1 on its way into Portage

The long awaited moment of GCC 4.1 being unmasked has almost arrived. The toolchain team will be unmasking gcc-4.1.1 this week after it is released. The upgrade should be incredibly easy and require no additional work to install and use. The number of applications that do not compile with gcc-4.1 is extremely small now, and most users should not experience any problems with ~arch packages not compiling. To upgrade to the new version (assuming you are using gcc-3.4), all that is required is to upgrade GCC and then select the new profile using gcc-config. If you are upgrading from an earlier version of GCC, please refer to our GCC Upgrading Guide for more detailed instructions.

If you run into any applications that do not compile, and they do not have a bug currently open, please file a "GCC Porting" bug and assign it to so that the GCC Porting team can look into it.

Gentoo Summer of Code

There were over 6400 applications from students, almost 90 mentoring organizations - in almost every respect the Summer of Code program from Google has grown a lot since last year. This year Gentoo will be one of the mentoring organizations, with the UserRel project acting as organizer. While the final numbers will be released on Monday the 22nd we can already say that Gentoo got 130 applications. Out of these around 13 will be sponsored by Google. We are very happy to see such a great interest in Gentoo and hope that all sponsored projects will be successful!

Old-style PHP packages removed from Portage

After being package.masked for quite some time, the old-style PHP packages (dev-php/php, dev-php/php-cgi, dev-php/mod_php, and friends) have been removed from the Portage tree. The new-style PHP packages (dev-lang/php, dev-php4/*, dev-php5/*, and friends) are now stable on most architectures.

2.  Heard in the community


et_EE locale and language of error messages

The Gentoo bugwranglers often have to wrangle bugs that have error messages in other languages. This makes it difficult to understand and to find duplicates. A workaround for this issue would be to set the default language used by portage to "C", which is (through historic precedents) English and the default when nothing else is set. A different class of bugs comes from the estonian locale, et_EE: As their alphabet ordering is different some "silly" buildsystems stumble as [a-z] no longer matches all letters. While these bugs can be really annoying they should be fixed. Setting the locale to another language would prevent these bugs, but it is recommended to fix it so that future problems are avoided.

New eclasses

As there are many different Revision Control Systems and it is often useful to have ebuild support to check out files directly from a repository this week gives us a few eclasses that help with managing darcs, git and mercurial. Those three are relatively new RCS that are already used by many projects instead of CVS or subversion.

Signing everything, for fun and for profit

The first recorded discussions about signing all Gentoo-provided files to avoid tampering go back to 2003. Since then there have been a few tries to get a Gentoo-wide system to cryptographically sign all files, but there was never a consensus, and in the end it never got fully implemented. Patrick Lauer revives the discussion in the hope of getting it finally done.

RFC - Gentoo Knowledge Base

A new Gentoo project gets kickstarted by Sven Vermeulen. The goal is to create a knowledge base that "[...] provides answers to specific questions and problems that users (or developers) might encounter. It is easily searchable and maintained by developers who are knowledgeable in the topic. The knowledge base entries ("topics" as I like to call them) are not documentation guides, but very specific to a particular environment and question."

Paludis profiles yay or nay?

What started as a simple question by Stephen Bennett whether there were any objections to adding profiles for the Paludis package manager into the mainline Gentoo tree became one of the fastest and most heated email exchanges to happen on the gentoo-dev mailinglist. With around 300 messages in the main thread and three forked subthreads this is an impressive debate:

Planet Gentoo

Baselayout 1.12 going stable?

Asked by many users Roy Marples now announced that there is only one unionfs bug left before he starts building baselayout's 1.12.0 tarball. If there don't occur any show-stopping bugs it will take another month before baselayout-1.12.0 can be marked stable by our ARCH-teams.

Apache 2.0.58 now available

Later than expected Apache 2.0.58 finally made it into the tree, including some changes how Apache works within Gentoo. Most notable is the deprecation of net-www/gentoo-webroot-default as discussed in Bug #90748. As of 2.0.58 the /var/www/localhost directory will be left untouched if it exists. If it doesn’t exist, it will be created and populated.

3.  Gentoo international

Austria: Gentoo at the Grazer Linuxtage

As announced in last week's GWN, Gentoo was present at the Linuxtag in Graz. Markus Lang, Roger Miliker, Gregor Perner and Wernfried Haas were present at the Gentoo booth, handing out LiveCDs on request, selling case badges and chatting with users about Portage features, and giving away stickers. As usually, the grml folks (who were next to Gentoo) asked if we still were compiling stuff, which was promptly answered by demonstrating the installer. Of course this was just poking fun at each other between the different distributions, the teams from Funkfeuer, Gentoo, grml and Debian had a good time with each other. Wernfried Haas also held a workshop introducing people to IRC with focus on the popular IRC client irssi and the Freenode network. Both visitors as well as the exhibitors had fun at the GLT, thanks to the organisation team and see you in 2007.

Figure 3.1: Amne readjusting the word order

Fig. 1: GLT

Note: More pictures of the event can be found on

Italy: Gentoo at the Linux World Summit in Milano

Fellows from GeCHI (Gentoo CHannel Italia spent two intense days at the Linux World Summit in Milan. Compared to past years, the spaces reserved by the organization at the Marriot Hotel for the event were small, which is probably why few commercial vendors were represented in the exhibition hall. Stands managed by associations were bigger, more colorful and funnier. As predicted in the last GWN, the GeCHI showed a Sun Fire V120 and an OpenMosix cluster composed of four Via Epia motherboards, both systems running Gentoo Linux. In the cluster only the first node is connected to the two SATA disks, while the remaining three nodes boot from network and are diskless. Due to its unusual casing, the cluster was at the center of the public's attention on both days of the exhibition. The GeCHI had also prepared a Gentoo brochure distributed at the stand, and matching penguins and cows (as in: Larry) on offer.

Figure 3.2: One Larry, four Tuxes: The GeCHI at work

Fig. 2: Gechi

Note: Left to right, in the back: deadhead, blackman, ElDios, front: mouser, riquitoi. More pictures of the event can be viewed at the GeCHI website

4.  Gentoo in the press

Dot KDE (16 May 2006)

In a series of interviews with businesses that benefit from KDE -- or vice-versa -- the KDE Dot News magazine spoke with Gentoo developer Caleb Tennis in his professional quality as system designer at AEI, a company in Columbus, Indiana, specializing in diesel engine durability assessment, exhaust research, performance development and numerous other services. Caleb sees reliability as a key element in AEI's decision to run Linux and KDE, as everything else "may be liveable on your girlfriend's computer, but for one that's monitoring a $1,000,000 development engine, it becomes pretty important to not have problems because 'Windows crashed'."

Newsforge (19 May 2006)

Gentoo trustee and infrastructure lead Kurt Lieber gets his say in an article about Gentoo sponsor OSUOSL titled "Oregon lab plays Web host to the stars of open source." Setting the backdrop for the following interview with OSUOSL's Scott Kveton, Kurt points out how fabulous the open-source lab's services to Gentoo have been: "in fact, it's better than what I would expect from commercial vendors in a lot of respects."

5.  Tips and Tricks

Managing your overlays with layman

Note: This is the first tips and tricks section in a while. If you have tips and tricks you would like to share with the Gentoo community please drop us a mail at

layman is a small and nifty Python application written by Gentoo developer Gunnar Wrobel which allows to easily use and synchronize several Portage overlays on your local machine.

As of now there is no stable layman version available, so you need to add layman to your package.keywords file before installing.

Code Listing 5.1: Installing layman

# echo "app-portage/layman" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords
# emerge layman

To include the overlays managed by layman to your PORTDIR_OVERLAY variable you have to source a file where all layman-managed overlays listed. Note that you can still add other overlays to the PORTDIR_OVERLAY variable in /etc/make.conf.

Code Listing 5.2: Sourcing layman overlays

# echo "source /usr/portage/local/layman/make.conf" >> /etc/make.conf

Configuring layman is as easy as riding a bike ;) First you fetch a list of available overlays and then start adding overlays you would like to use.

Code Listing 5.3: Configure layman

Fetch list of available overlays
# layman -f

Add the 'gentoo-de' overlay
# layman -a gentoo-de

layman -l gives you a list of all available overlays, using the -a switch you can add other overlays.

The -s switch allows you to synchronize the local overlay copies. You can choose between syncing one specific overlay or all overlays you added.

Code Listing 5.4: Synchronizing overlays

Synchronize the 'gentoo-de' overlay
# layman -s gentoo-de

Synchronize all overlays
# layman -s ALL

6.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • Rob Holland


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • Steve Dibbs (beandog) - Planet


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • None this week

7.  Gentoo Security

libextractor: Two heap-based buffer overflows

libextractor is vulnerable to two heap overflow vulnerabilities which could lead to the execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Quagga Routing Suite: Multiple vulnerabilities

Quagga's RIP daemon allows the injection of routes and the disclosure of routing information. The BGP daemon is vulnerable to a Denial of Service.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

8.  Bugzilla


The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 14 May 2006 and 21 May 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 653 new bugs during this period
  • 323 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 24 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 10139 currently open bugs: 56 are labeled 'blocker', 149 are labeled 'critical', and 524 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:

9.  GWN feedback

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10.  GWN subscription information

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11.  Other languages

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Page updated May 22, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 22 May 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Sebastian Bergmann

Wernfried Haas

Patrick Lauer

Mark Loeser

Andrea Perotti

Tobias Scherbaum

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