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Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 6 November 2006


1.  Heard in the community


dual-boot with XP installed last

James writes to gentoo-user asking about the possibility of making his Gentoo machine dual boot with Windows XP while having installed Gentoo first. He was worried that, having installed Windows, it would overwrite the MBR and thus render his Gentoo installation inaccessible. Gentoo users responded by saying that doing it this way would be as simple as first installing Windows, then booting into a Live CD, and reinstalling GRUB from there. Mark Shields posted this summary of what to do when you're back in the Live CD:

Code Listing 1.1: Reinstalling GRUB from a LiveCD

# mount /dev/rootpart /mnt/gentoo
# mount /dev/bootpart /mnt/gentoo/boot
# mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc
# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev
# chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
# env-update && source /etc/profile
# grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab
(Assuming your hard drive is /dev/hda)
# grub-install /dev/hda


Monthly Gentoo Council Reminder for November

A gentle reminder about an upcoming IRC meeting led to an interesting debate about the nature of Gentoo and a lesson on how to deploy it in an enterprise environment.

Steve Long proposed that Gentoo create a binary-only repository in a limited series of flavors (SOHO, medium size and large business), using the binaries that the devs compile in the course of their maintenance work. He felt this was the best way to demonstrate Gentoo was serious about enterprise adoption.

Grant Goodyear countered that Steve underestimated the difficulties of, and overestimated the devs' interest in maintaining, a binary repo. Instead, Gentoo should build on its strengths as a meta-distribution to allow users to build and deploy their own custom distributions using Catalyst.

Stuart Herbert pointed out that he and others would be happy to ease the way for "flavored" enterprise adoption by providing binaries to the "Seeds" effort and that a binary-only distribution was as prone to breakage as a source-based one.

Robin Johnson pointed out that his compiles as a dev were of little use to others, as there were too many aspects that were peculiar to his systems. He also provided insights gleaned from his experiences using Gentoo in a corporate environment. He noted that enterprises need customization at an enterprise level, in that they may use LDAP or Kerberos or whatever enterprise-wide. They also need standardized binaries to deploy within the enterprise. His solution was to have one "tinderbox" machine to take care of compilation and then push out the resulting binaries throughout the enterprise. He accomplishes this using Catalyst and custom specfiles. The largest deployment he's done using this plan consists of an impressive array of machines.

  • cluster nodes [128 machines]
  • cluster master [1 machine]
  • web servers [~60 machines]
  • ldap servers [2 machines]
  • dedicated file serving (network homedirs) [4 machines]
  • infrastructure management [3 machines]
  • desktops [~60 machines]

Removal Request for Gnome 1.4

Doug Goldstein has proposed removal of the ancientand obselete Gnome 1.4, and has started to list packages to be removed in bug 154102.

FEATURES to cut the excess in portage

John Jawed had been using Gentoo to create an initrd to be used in PXE boots across the network. The size of the initrd was critical, since a large file caused kernel panics. He slimmed down the initrd by removing all man and doc pages. He then prepared a patch to portage to implement this.

Responders noted that the functionality was already present in /etc/make.conf.

Christian Heim referred John to the "noman" and "nodoc" FEATURES flags, Tobias Scherbaum to the "noinfo" FEATURE flag. Brian Jackson pointed out the INSTALL_MASK flag which allows one prevent any of a space delimited list of files to be copied into the filesystem, allowing one to filter out files like HACKING.gz and TODO.gz

2.  Gentoo International

Italy: Linux Day, Genova

Italy's open-source movement organized a national Linux Day on the 28th of October. This was also the 4th time that the ever-growing Italian Gentoo users community were able to prepare for some evangelism of their own. This year, the national meeting called Gentoo Day was organized in collaboration with the GLUG (Genuense Linux Users Group). Thanks to the help of local authorities, the event was held at Palazzo Ducale, Piazza De Ferrari, in the city of Genova.

The brave evangelists, all members of the association Gentoo Channel Italia (GeCHI), presented many talks targetted at both home and professional audiences. Some of the talks included: "Photo Manipulation with OSS", "Free your Ipod: use RockBox", "XGL for fun and profit", and "Practical uses of Gentoo in business environments".

3.  Gentoo in the press (2 Nov 2006)

Author (and Gentoo developer) Kris Kersey reviews Intel's first quad-core processor, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700. The review uses 64-bit Gentoo Linux for all benchmarks. The new CPU scored impressively: emerge mozilla-firefox took less than 8 minutes with MAKEOPTS="-j5". If you're in the market for the best single desktop CPU that money can buy, this one is the current champion.

4.  Tips and Tricks

searching for ebuilds in overlays that are not locally available

With the diverse array of overlays now available to the community, one of the issues a person might have is finding that overlay that is just right for the package they are looking to install. Unfortunately, the default search capabilities of portage are only able to search though overlays that have already been installed on your system. Stefan Schweizer has written an excellent article at his Planet Gentoo blog this week detailing the workings of a tool that makes searching through remote overlays a much easier task than ever before.

The package for this task is app-portage/eix. You will need to unmask it to get all the latest and greatest features:

Code Listing 4.1: Installing app-portage/eix

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

Then, to make sure that eix has all the information it needs about all the available overlays, you can issue the following commands to update it:

Code Listing 4.2: Updating eix's global overlay list

# update-eix
# update-eix-remote update

eix is now able to search for packages in all of the available overlays in the global layman list as well the official portage tree.

Code Listing 4.3: Searching for packages

# eix -e xmms

[D] media-sound/xmms
Available versions:  [M]1.2.8-r5[2] [M]1.2.10-r6[2] [M]1.2.10-r8[2]
[M]1.2.10-r14 [M]1.2.10-r14[3] [M]1.2.10-r15 [M]1.2.10-r15[3]
[M]1.2.10-r16 [M]1.2.10-r16[3] [M]20101010[1]
Installed:           1.2.10-r15[01:54:46 08/29/06][nls esd mmx
vorbis 3dnow mikmod -directfb alsa oss arts -jack -sndfile -lirc
-flac mad mp3]
Description:         X Multimedia System

[1] (layman/fluidportage)
[2] (layman/gentoojp)
[3] (layman/zugaina)

For more information, refer to the eix man page and the original blog post linked below.

Using a 32-bit mplayer with 64-bit kmplayer

On amd64 systems, you can use media-video/mplayer-bin to play multimedia files that require 32-bit only codecs (win32codecs), but mplayer doesn't look as good as the 64-bit native version and it doesn't integrate very well with the system. KDE users can emerge kmplayer – a KDE based "front end". If you use konqueror, kmplayer adds a plugin to the browser. For this tip to work, you will need to unmerge your native mplayer, if you have it. When you install kmplayer it will not work as there is no /usr/bin/mplayer.

Code Listing 4.4: Creating the mplayer link

ln -sf /usr/bin/mplayer-bin /usr/local/bin/mplayer

Now, the native kmplayer will play wmv files and you can "preview" them in konqueror.

5.  Gentoo developer moves


The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:

  • Jon Portnoy (avenj)


The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:

  • Naoaki Shindo (shindo) Japanese documentation team
  • Hans de Graaff (graaff) Xemacs
  • Dimitry Bradt (diox) Dutch documentation lead


The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:

  • none this week

6.  Gentoo security

Asterisk: Multiple vulnerabilities

Asterisk is vulnerable to the remote execution of arbitrary code or a Denial of Service.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Screen: UTF-8 character handling vulnerability

Screen contains an error in its UTF-8 character handling code that would allow a remote Denial of Service or possibly the remote execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

Qt: Integer overflow

An integer overflow flaw in the Qt pixmap handling could possibly lead to a Denial of Service or the remote execution of arbitrary code.

For more information, please see the GLSA Announcement

7.  Upcoming package removals

This is a list of packages that have been announced to be removed in the future. The package removals come from many locations, including the Treecleaners and various developers.


Package: Removal date: Contact:
x11-misc/commonbox-utils 29 Nov 06 David Shakaryan
games-strategy/magnant 28 Nov 06 Michael Sterrett
media-libs/allegttf 28 Nov 06 Michael Sterrett
games-action/phobiaiii 28 Nov 06 Michael Sterrett
games-action/phobiaiii 28 Nov 06 Michael Sterrett
media-sound/bpmdj 30 Nov 06 Diego Pettenò
media-libs/janus 04 Dec 06 Christian Heim
net-analyzer/tcpick 04 Dec 06 Christian Heim
x11-wm/qvwm 04 Dec 06 Christian Heim
media-libs/jpeg-mmx 05 Dec 06 Mike Frysinger
x11-libs/nucleo 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/aewm++ 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/aewm++-goodies 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/golem 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/integrity 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/lwm 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/metisse 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/papuawm 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/pawm 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/pwm 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/trswm 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/wmi 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan
x11-wm/xpde 05 Dec 06 David Shakaryan

8.  Bugzilla



The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla ( to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team. Between 29 October 2006 and 05 November 2006, activity on the site has resulted in:

  • 866 new bugs during this period
  • 546 bugs closed or resolved during this period
  • 19 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
  • 154 closed as NEEDINFO/WONTFIX/CANTFIX/INVALID/UPSTREAM during this period
  • 200 bugs marked as duplicates during this period

Of the 10999 currently open bugs: 30 are labeled 'blocker', 107 are labeled 'critical', and 514 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

The GWN is staffed by volunteers and members of the community who submit ideas and articles. If you are interested in writing for the GWN, have feedback on an article that we have posted, or just have an idea or article that you would like to submit to the GWN, please send us your feedback and help make the GWN better.

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Page updated November 6, 2006

Summary: This is the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter for the week of 6 November 2006.

Ulrich Plate

Chris Atkinson

Kyle Bishop

Andrea Perotti

Piotr Maliński

Josh Saddler

Chris Gianelloni

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