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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 03 July 2006


1.  Gentoo news

Modular X.Org stable

The Gentoo X11 team has marked the modular X.Org stable. The amd64 and x86 architectures will update to 7.0, due to planned changes in the ABI (Application Binary Interface) that have broken binary drivers, and other architectures will update to 7.1. This allows for quicker upgrades in the event of bugs and also security problems as well as reducing the on-disk and in-memory footprint of the X implementation. This also allows for X-based packages to be installed on headless servers without requiring that all of X be installed, too.

There is a guide for upgrading to modular X, as well as giving information on the design behind the changes. As usual, bug reports are filed to

New Knowledge Base (KBase) project

The Gentoo Knowledge Base project has been formed to provide a facility for informing users about specific information on packages. Unlike a wiki, the Gentoo Knowledge Base will be written by the developers exclusively. This ensures that the information is accurate. Like ebuilds in the tree, topics in the knowledge base will be maintained by a specific developer, to keep information from becoming outdated. While the actual postings will be limited to developers, users are encouraged to participate in the project both by proofreading and also by giving their valued input. If you would be interested in helping with the project, please subscribe to the mailing list. Archives are online at both Gmane and

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

Spanish GWN translators

Since its reemergence in earlier 2005, the Spanish Gentoo Weekly Newsletter has continued to be published thanks to the hard work of a few active translators. In order to ensure its constant publishing the Spanish GWN translation team is looking for new members to help with the task. If you are an advanced speaker of both English and Spanish (native not required) and you are interested in collaborating with us, please send an e-mail to or visit us in #gentoo-gwn-es on Many thanks in advance!

2.  Developer of the week

"I'm a crazy mad Russian. Dig it." - Tim Yamin (plasmaroo)

Figure 2.1: Tim Yamin, aka plasmaroo

Fig. 1: plasmaroo

Developer Tim Yamin, better known as plasmaroo, resides in the UK. At 17, he can recall moving from Russia about 10 years ago. He lives with his family and has no pets. There's no wonder why as he refers to them as "furry cretins."

Tim is studying mathematics and plans to obtain a degree in Computer Science. He does not currently work as it's hard to find a flexible part-time job to complement his study schedule. Looking towards the future, his dream job would involve lots of blinking LEDs, funky hardware, and lots of dollar signs. (Need those dollar signs to fund his Gentoo hardware habit.) Not working allows him to devote most of his time to Gentoo and coffee ice cream. Who could blame him - it's coffee and ice cream!

As he describes it, he is often found babbling on IRC, but does manage to get in a bit of gaming as he really enjoys playing Enemy Territory. He likes to listen to funky music, usually progressive DnB/House/Trance/Hip-hop. While plasmaroo doesnt travel much yet, he would enjoy going through national parks and the like.

When asked what he likes most about Gentoo, plasmaroo replied, "It does what I want, and if it doesn't, it will after a five-minute cluebatting session." Plasmaroo has worked on Gentoo for three years now. He started off working on kernel stuff (gentoo-sources) and then branched into other areas. He is part of several teams, including, Release Engineering, Documentation, Developer Relations, Kernel, Security, Gentoo/IA64, genkernel, and sci-electronics. The contribution that he is most proud of is the GLSAMaker system, which has been used for over two years now and has pushed out over 700 GLSAs.

Plasmaroo's home machines, while obviously all running Gentoo, consist of a dual Opteron workstation with 4GB of RAM, a P4 box that compiles stuff at an amazingly slow pace and acts as a very overpowered router, and four SGI boxes that he plans on using for kernel work. He'd like to say that he's using all of these systems as a compile cluster, but he has had some rather uncooperative motherboards that keep him busy. After his first cup of coffee ice cream, the first application plasmaroo launches is konsole and his preferred shell is zsh.

3.  Heard in the community


Moving away from Freenode?

Currently, some users dislike the Freenode IRC network and are discussing moving all of the gentoo channels to another network, such as OFTC. Would this be something that others would be willing to do or are we happy with the service Freenode provides to Gentoo?

How often do you --sync?

Is it easier to manage Gentoo if you emerge --sync daily, or is it more productive to wait a few weeks or until a package you want appears on before you sync? Post how often you emerge --sync in this forum thread.


Figure 3.1: From left to right: foser, suka, dsd, zaheerm

Fig. 1: Gentoo      developers

A group of Gentoo developers attended the 7th annual GNOME User and Developer European Conference (GUADEC), taking place in Spain this year. Andreas Proschofsky was looking forward to listening a talk about Gimmie, a next-generation panel for the GNOME desktop, and a speech by Michael Meeks about Meeting many interesting people, seeing an OLPC prototype and several parties were Daniel Drake's highlights.

User Representatives

Mark Kowarsky was busy getting in touch with the nominees to be elected as Gentoo user representatives during the past week. Some of them declined the nomination, but more than fifteen accepted their nomination and provided the necessary information.

4.  Gentoo International

France: Libre Software Meeting, Nancy

The 7th Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre, also known as Libre Software Meeting, will be held on July 4th-8th, 2006, in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, in the "1er cycle" building of the Faculte des Sciences, campus of Henri Poincare - Nancy 1 University. Gentoo will have a booth at the event, so be sure to stop by and say hello to Damien Krotkine (dams) and Boris Fersing (kernelsensei).

You can find more information on the Gentoo Events project page for the event, and also on the event's official homepage.

UK: Gentoo UK 2006 Conference, London

The 3rd annual Gentoo UK Conference will be held on July 8th in central London, at The Resource Centre. Anyone interested in Gentoo is welcome to attend. The conference will feature a series of presentations mostly given by Gentoo developers, as well as some general discussion and help sessions. This is a chance to foster positive relations between users and developers of the distribution.

You can find more information on the event in Daniel Drake's devspace.

5.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • none this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • none this week


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • Sven Vermeulen (swift) KBase
  • Josh Saddler (nightmorph) KBase
  • Andrés Pereira (anpereir) KBase
  • Łukasz Damentko (rane) KBase

6.  Gentoo security

Hashcash: Possible heap overflow

A heap overflow vulnerability in the Hashcash utility could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

EnergyMech: Denial of Service

A Denial of Service vulnerability was discovered in EnergyMech that is easily exploitable via IRC.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Mutt: Buffer overflow

Mutt contains a buffer overflow that could result in arbitrary code execution.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Horde Web Application Framework: XSS vulnerability

The Horde Web Application Framework is vulnerable to a cross-site scripting vulnerability.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Tikiwiki: SQL injection and multiple XSS vulnerabilities

An SQL injection vulnerability and multiple XSS vulnerabilities have been discovered.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Kiax: Arbitrary code execution

A security vulnerability in the iaxclient library could lead to the execution of arbitrary code by a remote attacker.

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 24 June 2006 and 01 July 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 865 new bugs during this period
  • 443 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 30 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 10319 currently open bugs: 53 are labeled 'blocker', 136 are labeled 'critical', and 533 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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9.  GWN subscription information

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10.  Other languages

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Page updated July 3, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 03 July 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Chris Gianelloni

Mark Kowarsky

Josh Nichols

Tobias Scherbaum

Andrés Pereira

Chrissy Fullam

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