Gentoo Weekly Newsletter: 5 February 2007
KDE team needs your help
Due to inactivity and other responsibilities within Gentoo's KDE team, they are currently seeking out new
recruits from the community. Interested parties who are currently developers
can add themselves to the herd and start squashing bugs. Interested members of
the community can also help. If you want to help out, contact the KDE team for more information.
Upcoming removal of mail-mta/qmail
The Gentoo qmail team would like to
announce the removal of mail-mta/qmail. It has been superseded by
mail-mta/netqmail which is stable on the same architectures as
the older mail-mta/qmail. The new ebuild, mail-mta/netqmail,
consists of only upstream provided
patches. One of the reasons for the switch is the massive cleanup efforts
that have made the newer ebuild. Users wanting custom patches can use the
QMAIL_PATCH_DIR variable in make.conf, specifying a directory
containing patches to be applied before compilation. Be aware that the qmail
team will not support installations using custom patches.
The mail-mta/qmail package will be removed on or around April 15, 2007,
after being masked on or around March 15, 2007. Please migrate to the new
package before this date.
Developer of the week
Matthias Schwarzott, aka zzam
Figure 2.1: Matthias Schwarzott, aka zzam
Matthias Schwarzott is a 25 year old
developer. He lives in Erlangen, Germany with his girlfriend Charlotte. Matthias
studies technomathematics, which is basically an expensive word for mathematics
and technology, at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
There he studies Java programming, working with algorithms, programming computer
graphics in C++, and Electrical Engineering.
Matthias has worked at Siemens, where he was a C/C++ programmer, and currently
works part-time as a Systems Administrator for a company that operates web
games. When Matthias is done with his studies, he hopes to be able to start
working as a programmer.
Though he's pretty busy with school, work, and Gentoo, Matthias still finds some
free time for his hobbies. He enjoys classic dancing (e.g. cha-cha/waltz/etc.),
cooking, and exercising. Matthias’ interest in dancing developed at school,
where he took dance classes, and was rekindled when he and his girlfriend
started taking classes together. His favorite recipes include streusel cake and
Matthias started using Linux in the summer of '97 after growing tired of Windows
3.11. He read about SUSE 5.0 and decided to give it a try, later moving on to
Debian, and finally settling on Gentoo in the 1.4 days. After buying a DVB card
to setup a VDR box, he started to gain interest in becoming a Gentoo developer.
He used to compile programs by hand, then tried using ebuilds, and started
sending his own contributions to Stefan
Schweizer. After his recruitment process, zzam became the VDR project
lead. He reflects back upon the substantial growth the VDR project has enjoyed
and is anxious for what the future may bring. He is looking for active
contributors to implement patches and help maintain the existing patch sets. He
attributes his developer drive to the simple fact that he enjoys helping users.
Heard in the community
More fancy desktops: Metisse
Figure 3.1: Metisse X-Server screenshot
Hanno Boeck recently added Metisse to his subversion overlay.
Metisse is the answer from Mandriva
to compiz and the whole 3D-desktop craze. Metisse has some features that give it
the ability to transform the shape of windows, including rotating, scaling, and
zooming. It is even possible to make a parallelogram from a window! Mettisse
runs on its own X server, which is luminocity/Xgl-like and a modified variant
Currently, Metisse only works on x86, but upstream is working on support for
amd64 and other architectures. A new version should be released soon to resolve
some of the known bugs. For more information on where to get the sources,
and how to start the environment, please read Hanno's original blog post.
deleted ._cfg files
Kamen TOMOV was worried because he had deleted his ._cfg files from a recent
update. The answer was the use of the --noconfmem option to emerge. With
--noconfmem, portage will "forget" that it has already made
a ._cfg file for a CONFIG_PROTECT file, thus causing portage to reinstall
the ._cfg file needed for updating.
Migrating gentoo to a new machine
Seo Boon had happily used Gentoo on his old notebook for some time and over
time had developed a set of packages installed that he very much liked.
However, he recently got a shiny new notebook and on that notebook he wanted
the exact same package set he had on the old notebook since it had served him
so well. He soon figured out though that a simple copy of
/var/lib/portage/world from the old machine to the new one did not
work. The list eventually settled on taking the old world file and running the
following on the new machine.
Code Listing 3.1: Duplicating world
# emerge -va --noreplace $(cat old_world_file)
This command will install all of the files in the old_world_file while also
adding them to the world of the new machine. The --noreplace was added
in case some packages had already been installed, in order to avoid repeating
[RFC] Maintainer Timeout
Timothy Redaelli opened a discussion about perhaps adding some official
"Maintainer Timeout" in which there would be an official amount of time that a
maintainer of a package would have to respond to a bug report before any
developer would be able to jump in and fix the bug themselves. While an
interesting idea, consensus seemed to center around a post by Grant Goodyear
describing the proper application of common sense. Many devs agreed that they
have mixed feeling on the ownership of ebuilds, and that if a developer can fix
a problem and know they can do so within the realm of using their common sense
to not make a problem worse, that they should go ahead and fix the problem.
Gentoo in the press
IBM DeveloperWorks (31 Jan 2007)
Martyn Honeyford writes about how to accurately measure the amount of memory in
use on a Linux system, as well as giving practical advice on how to reduce
your memory requirements. In the article, Gentoo is recommended for the ability
to recompile applications with user-specified CFLAGS to reduce memory usage,
and for USE flags that can greatly reduce the size of needed libraries.
Gentoo developer moves
The following developers recently left the Gentoo project:
The following developers recently joined the Gentoo project:
- Dean Stephens (desultory) forums
- Martin Jackson (mjolnir) netmon team
- Samuli Suominen (drac) Xfce team
- Sebastien Fabbro (bicatali) Scientific applications
The following developers recently changed roles within the Gentoo project:
KSirc: Denial of Service vulnerability
KSirc is vulnerable to a Denial of Service attack.
For more information, please see the
ELinks: Arbitrary Samba command execution
ELinks does not properly validate "smb://" URLs, making it vulnerable to
the execution of arbitrary Samba commands.
For more information, please see the
thttpd: Unauthenticated remote file access
The default configuration of the Gentoo thttpd package potentially allows
unauthenticated access to system files when used with newer versions of
For more information, please see the
Gentoo package moves
This section lists packages that have either been moved or added to the tree
and packages that have had their "last rites" announcement given to be removed
in the future. The package removals come from many locations, including the Treecleaners and various developers. Most
packages which are listed under the Last Rites section are in need of some love
and care and can remain in the tree if proper maintainership is established.
The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla (bugs.gentoo.org) to record and track
bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the
development team. Between 28 January 2007
and 04 February 2007, activity on the site has resulted in:
- 702 new bugs during this period
- 537 bugs closed or resolved during this period
- 33 previously closed bugs were reopened this period
- 238 closed as NEEDINFO/WONTFIX/CANTFIX/INVALID/UPSTREAM during this period
- 118 bugs marked as duplicates during this period
Of the 10485 currently open bugs: 18 are labeled 'blocker', 112 are labeled
'critical', and 441 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
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