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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 26 June 2006


1.  Gentoo news

Release testers wanted

The Gentoo Release Engineering project is looking for experienced users and developers to assist with the testing of the upcoming 2006.1 release. They are looking to have a wide array of hardware to test. All applicants will need to be available for testing, as well as have access to broadband Internet access, and a CD/DVD burner, since there will be a large volume of ISO images to test and new images will be released quite often. Interested parties should contact Roger Miliker with the following information:

  • CPU type (i686, PPC, AMD64, etc.)
  • Amount of system memory
  • Type of disks (IDE, SCSI, SATA, etc.)
  • Type of optical reader (IDE, SCSI, SATA, etc.)
  • Type of video card (for AMD64/x86 only)
  • Type of optical recorder (CD, DVD, etc.)

They will select users whose hardware will give them the greatest coverage of testing capabilities, as well as users with a strong background in providing good information to developers for resolving issues.

Gentoo x86 arch testers and developers wanted

The x86 architecture team is looking for more ambitious members of the community who would like to help out by joining the team as Arch Testers. If you would like to give back to Gentoo, but don't know how, then this may be a good way for you to start. You would be helping by testing applications to be marked stable and assisting in general x86-specific bugs. Please take a look at the x86 AT documentation, and if you have questions about anything, please either email Homer Parker or Joshua Jackson. They are also looking for more developers to join the team and help out in resolving bug reports, keywording requests, and security bugs. Interested developers need only have a stable system or chroot, and be willing to work on bugs assigned to the x86 team. Please send an email to the x86 team alias, if you are interested in helping out.

Important ALSA information

Diego "Flameeyes" Pettenò has updated the ALSA packages to 1.0.12rc1 for compatibility with kernel 2.6.17's release. There have been some changes to the packages. The media-plugins/alsa-jack package has been deprecated and its functionality has been added to the media-plugins/alsa-plugins package. PowerPC users will be interested to know that snd-aoa has been merged into media-sound/alsa-driver for 1.0.12rc1, which is currently in package.mask, is in need of testing by users with the appropriate hardware before it can be unmasked.

New Java system

The Gentoo/Java team is pleased to announce that the new Java system is now unmasked in the tree.

To begin using it, you will need to follow the upgrade guide.

For those not familar with that this means, here are some highlights:

  • Ability to switch the current VM on the fly
  • Changes to the user and system VM take effect immediately, and no longer are tied to the shell environment, which means you no longer have to run env-update followed by source /etc/profile when you switch the system VM
  • Now has the concept of a "build VM", which is used to emerge packages and is configured independently of the system VM
  • For each version of Java, ie 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, etc, the build VM can be configured as to which vendor and version of a VM to use
  • The VM at emerge time will be switched on the fly according to its configuration, as well as the dependency of the package. For example, some packages won't compile with 1.5. In these cases, a 1.4 VM will be used at build time
  • Java packages which build with ant will have their build.xml rewritten at build time in order to ensure that the correct version of Java bytecode is compiled
  • Will be able to unmask Java 1.5 soon and be able to handle Java 1.6 when it comes out this fall

2.  Heard in the community


Larry the Cow - Lame?

Some forum users have expressed a dislike of Larry. They feel that he has no purpose, is not relevant to Gentoo and is 'lame'. Others, however, seem to love the quirkiness of our Cow. Is Larry a useful mascot, a valuable part of Gentoo's history, or just an archaic character with no purpose?

Gentoo/Alpha FAQ updated

The Gentoo/Alpha FAQ has been updated with a patch by Thomas Cort and now includes additional answers about hardware maintenance, .dotnet support and the Alpha bootloader aboot.

grep vs bash regex

Roy Marples did some tests replacing grep with internal bash functions the results were impressive, with the internal bash functions being faster. His testing happened only on small files and assumes that grep may perform better on larger files as grep returns once a match is found whereas bash has to read the entire file.

3.  Gentoo in the press (22 June 2006)

Author Hans Kwint has written an interesting article on his usage of Gentoo Linux on the desktop. Entitled A Gentoo diary: Intro", it is the first in a series of articles on Gentoo usage in daily life.

Linux Link Tech Show (21 June 2006)

The Linux Link Tech Show has a pretty long interview with four Gentoo developers, Mike Frysinger, Michael Cummings, Grant Goodyear, and Seemant Kulleen. It can be downloaded in either OGG Vorbis or MP3 format. The interview starts at about 24 1/2 minutes.

AnandTech (7 June 2006)

AnandTech recently did a shoot-out of several different processors, including the Sun UltraSparc T1. For the article, they chose Gentoo Linux as the platform for the machines. Check out the article to see how the new Sun CPU fares against Intel's Wood crest and AMD's Opteron.

4.  Tips and Tricks

Play some games: ScummVM

While most of today's games won't run on Linux systems easily, there is still a wealth of options in yesterday's catalog that work great with an emulator. If you can hunt down an original copy of the games, ScummVM will run some classic point-and-click adventure games such as "Full Throttle", "Day of the Tentacle" and "The Secret of Monkey Island."

The project first started out as a way to run old games that used LucasArt's SCUMM game engine, but now supports other games as well. See the compatibility list for all the games it can run.

If you're not up to the task of hunting down computer games from the 1980s though, you're still in luck. One such game has been released for free distribution -- Flight of the Amazon Queen, and it's available in portage.

To get up and running, first emerge scummvm on your system, which is already been marked stable on four architectures -- amd64, ppc, sparc, and x86. ScummVM itself runs on many other platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, PocketPC, PalmOS, OS/2 and more. Depending on your architecture, Flight of the Amazon Queen might be marked testing, so adjust your package.keywords file as necessary.

Code Listing 4.1: Installing queen

# emerge scummvm -va
# echo "games-rpg/queen" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords"
# emerge queen

After that, add your user to the 'games' group if you haven't already.

Code Listing 4.2: Adding user to games group

# groups larry
# gpasswd -a larry games

If you are adding your user to the group, remember that you must log out and back in before the changes will take effect. Fire up scummvm, and it will open a graphical window where you can add your games. By default, FOTAQ won't be displayed in the list, but you can add it by clicking 'Add Game'. The directory with game data is /usr/share/games/queen. Once you navigate to that directory, simply click the 'Choose' button. After that, you should be good to go! You can also simply run 'queen' to start the game directly.

5.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • none this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • Raphael Marichez (Falco) Security


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • none this week

6.  Gentoo security

aRts: Privilege escalation

The artswrapper part of aRts allows local users to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

KDM: Symlink vulnerability

KDM is vulnerable to a symlink vulnerability that can lead to disclosure of information.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

wv2: Integer overflow

An integer overflow could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

7.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 18 June 2006 and 25 June 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 759 new bugs during this period
  • 364 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 24 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 10343 currently open bugs: 53 are labeled 'blocker', 140 are labeled 'critical', and 544 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.  GWN feedback

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10.  Other languages

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Page updated June 26, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 26 June 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Chris Gianelloni

Tobias Scherbaum

Mark Kowarsky

Steve Dibb

Josh Nichols

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