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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 21 August 2006


1.  Gentoo news

Linux World Conference and Expo - San Francisco

The Gentoo Foundation was represented at this year's Linux World Conference and Expo in San Francisco. The booth was located in the famous '.Org Pavilion' between the K Desktop Environment and the GNOME Foundation, and directly across from the Slashdot Lounge. Several of Gentoo's architectures were on showcase thanks to Mike Frysinger, Daniel Ostrow, and Ilya Volynets, including a 64-bit quad-core PowerPC, an Athlon64 X2, a SuperH-powered LanTank, an ARM-powered NetWinder, and an AlphaServer DS10.

Several developers turned out for the event, as well as countless Gentoo users and other interested members of the open source community. In attendance, aside from the previously mentioned developers, were Josh Nichols, Chris Gianelloni, Nicholas Wolfwood, and William Thomson. The people that came by the booth were interested in a wide array of things concerning Gentoo, from LVM support in the Installer, to the Embedded and Hardened projects.

Figure 1.1: Five of the eight Gentoo developers

Fig. 1: LWE

Note: From left to right: wltjr, vapier, nichoj, dostrow, wolf31o2

Gentoo also participated in a key signing with fellow .Org Pavilion inhabitants, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux Professional Institute.

Slovak translators needed

The Slovak translation for the GWN is looking for more translators to assist in the translation efforts. The team is just starting, so help with English to Slovak translations are needed. If you are interested in contributing back to Gentoo, are fluent in written English and Slovak, and have some free time each week, please contact the GWN staff for more information.

Greek translators needed

A translation has started for translating the GWN into Greek. Help is needed for this translation effort. As with the Slovak translation, being fluent in both written English and Greek are required. Contact the GWN staff for more information.

GCC 4.1.1 and glibc 2.4 going stable

As you can guess by the title, the Gentoo base project has announced that sys-devel/gcc-4.1.1 and sys-libs/glibc-2.4-r3 will be going stable on both amd64 and x86 this week because of their use in the upcoming 2006.1 release. The ppc architecture has already switched, when using the 2006.1 profile. Other architectures are working on support and will switch over at a later date. This is a major milestone for Gentoo as it marks a transition from the previously deprecated LinuxThreads to Native POSIX Thread Library (NPTL) for glibc. Support for the older versions of glibc with LinuxThreads will remain for x86 in a limited fashion. However, upstream glibc will no longer support LinuxThreads, so bug and security fixes are unlikely. The white paper (PDF) has more information on the design of NPTL. There is a well-written comparison of LinuxThreads and NPTL on IBM DeveloperWorks.

Users on x86 wishing to continue using LinuxThreads are asked to switch to using the "no-nptl" profile for default-linux, or to switch to using a hardened profile.

Warning: The hardened profiles are much more minimalistic than the default-linux profiles that you may be accustomed to using. Switching to a hardened profile will likely require enabling many more USE flags in make.conf to retain the same functionality.

Code Listing 1.1: Switching to the no-nptl profile

# cd /etc
# rm -f make.profile
# ln -sf ../usr/portage/profiles/default-linux/x86/no-nptl make.profile

Note: There is also a 2.4 sub-profile, which uses the 2.4 kernel and headers.

This also marks a major upgrade of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to version 4.1.1 on Gentoo. This upgrade requires the user to perform certain tasks outlined in the GCC Upgrading Guide, which has recently been updated with information on GCC 4.1.1 for Gentoo users.

Users who do not wish to upgrade to GCC 4.1.1 will require a few more steps to ensure their systems are not upgraded.

Code Listing 1.2: Masking GCC 4.1.1

# mkdir -p /etc/portage
# echo ">=sys-devel/gcc-4.0" >> /etc/portage/package.mask

2.  Developer of the week

"If you make something simple enough for an idiot to use, only an idiot will want to use it."

Figure 2.1: Thomas Cort (tcort)

Fig. 1: tcort

Thomas Cort was born in Burlington, Vermont and grew up in South Barre, Vermont. If you are ever in the area, he strongly recommends a visit to the Hubbard Park tower in Montpelier, VT, for the excellent view. At 22, he has recently become engaged, so congratulations to both Thomas Cort and Bridget Brimacombe. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematical Contexts from Bishop's University.

Thomas claims a rather unusual hobby: unicycling! While attending Bishop's University, he was Vice President of the unicycle club. As for his taste in music, his favorite artist is John Mayer, whom he actually met in Montreal once. But he professes to listen to everything from jazz to rock to classical.

Thomas heard about Gentoo from a friend, chutzpah, in 2003. He was maintaining a Sun Ultra I that was in need of a reload for the computer science club at Bishop's University and naturally put Gentoo (1.4) on it. It worked well so he eventually installed Gentoo on his own computer.

Though he was interested in becoming a developer by 2004, school came first. With the encouragement of friends on the path to devhood themselves, Thomas began contributing to the Alpha team by the end of 2005. In April of this year, with mentorship from metalgod, he joined the sound and Alpha teams.

Tcort is the Adopt a Developer project lead. This is a relatively new project aimed at getting resource donations to the right developers. Thomas is also a member of the Alpha and AMD64 architecture teams, the dotnet and sound teams, and reviews ebuilds for the sunrise project. He also finds time to maintain a variety of other packages.

Thomas also maintains some unofficial community websites, a Gentoo link directory and a Gentoo news site as well as wrote and maintains libproccpuinfo (a library for reading /proc/cpuinfo files), and works on the Alpha port of libjit.

Thomas has a wide array of personal computers, including an AMD64 Acer laptop, several Alphas (API Networks CS20, PWS 433au, PWS 500au, AlphaServer 1000 4/233, AlphaStation 500), an Apple G3, a Compaq Presario S6000NX , and an assortment of SPARC stations. His first computer was an Apple IIGS.

3.  Gentoo International

Gentoo Summer Camp Germany 2006

It is time again for the annual Gentoo Summer Camp in Germany. The event is a non-technical gathering of members of the Gentoo community. This year, the event will be held from 26 August to 27 August at "Grosses Meer" in Lower Saxony. More information can be found on the official forums for the event. There is even an international forum for the non-German speaking.

Gentoo Summer Camp Russia 2006

Following the success of last year's GSC in Germany, a group of Russians from the community has organized their own Gentoo Summer Camp in Russia. The event will take place near Bologoe, between Moscow and St. Petersburg on 26 August to 27 August, just like the German outing. For more information, please see the official announcement (in Russian).

4.  Gentoo in the press (18 Aug 2006) has published an article, entitled 'grep 'Reboot The User' FOSSBiz'. The article is an interview with Reboot The User's owner. Reboot The User is a shop which sells Linux systems and support. The most requested and used distribution for the shop is Gentoo Linux.

5.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • none this week


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • William Thomson (wltjr) Java


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • none this week

6.  Gentoo security

Ruby on Rails: Several vulnerabilities

Ruby on Rails has some weaknesses potentially allowing a Denial of Service and maybe the remote execution of arbitrary Ruby scripts.

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 13 August 2006 and 20 August 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 748 new bugs during this period
  • 347 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 29 previously closed bugs were reopened this period

Of the 10982 currently open bugs: 47 are labeled 'blocker', 141 are labeled 'critical', and 530 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 August 21, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 21 August 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Chrissy Fullam

Chris Gianelloni

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