Arch Linux Newsletter

November 14, 2004
Jason Chu
Ben Mazer


Welcome to the Arch Linux Newsletter. This document attempts to give you an "at a glance" look at the world of Arch Linux.

Table Of Contents

  1. Front Page News
  2. Dev Land
  3. ArchStats
  4. Seti Update
  5. Forum Highlights
  6. Mailing List Highlights
  7. Tur Update
  8. Package Highlights
  9. New Packages
  10. FAQ
  11. Bugs
    1. Closed Bugs
    2. Opened Bugs
  12. Closing

Front Page News

  1. updated kdebase and libs
    Added Arch Artwork to kde:
    new default background
    new default logout picture
    new kdm look

    Added new Defaults:
    new kdm defaults
    new Fonts setup
    (changed ugly helvetica to Bitstream Vera and antialiasing is enabled by default)
    Cups is now default printing system

    Added an Arch Menu in K-Menu for quicklinks on Arch services on Homepage

    If you get problems while installing:
    error: the following file conflicts were found:
    kdebase: /opt/kde/share/apps/kdm/faces/.default.face.icon: exists in filesystem

    you had set an other face-icon in kdm configure gui
    you can safely install the package using the -f option

    The reason for cannot see all the changes after update
    is that you manually changed things for your user, that is no problem
    to see all changes take a new user and see what the defaults are now

    enjoy the new kde default look
  2. kde problems with no working kio_http
    If you experience problems after kdebase and kdelibs update with no working kio_http you have to install heimdal, pacman -S heimdal and all should work fine again. I will fix the package on weekend. Thanks to the forum people who helped for debugging this issue.
  3. openoffice: how the new openoffice packages work
    the openoffice package was split up in 3 packages

    one that needs everyone:
    pacman -S openoffice-base

    langpacks (is needed for openoffice-base !!!):
    pacman -S openoffice-[enteryourlanghere e.g. de for german]

    If you want to ship around these problems with language
    simple use:
    pacman -S openoffice-[enteryourlanghere e.g. de for german]
    and openoffice-base is installed with it automatically

    optional spellchecking packs (if you need spellcheck):
    pacman -S openoffice-spell-[enteryourlanghere e.g. de for german]
  4. New groups in default install: audio and optical
    The latest filesystem package provides two new groups by default: audio and optical.

    These are provided for users who have sound cards and/or DVD/CD-RW devices in their computers. To allow your regular user to access the device, simply add yourself to the audio and optical groups, and logout and back in.

    # gpasswd -a johndoe audio # gpasswd -a johndoe optical
    The latest udev.permissions file will grant permissions to sound devices by default, but you're required to take an extra step to set up permissions on your DVD/CD-RW drive. Since Arch doesn't know which hdX device is your optical drive, the default udev.permissions does not assign any of them to the optical group. To point it to the right drive, create a file called /etc/udev/permissions.d/00.permissions (you shouldn't edit the existing udev.permissions, it may be overwritten in the future) and add the following line:

    (obviously, we're using /dev/hdc as an example here)

    If you'd like to have a /dev/dvd symlink to the proper device, you can create a /etc/udev/rules.d/00.rules file that has something like the following:

    KERNEL="hdc", NAME="hdc", SYMLINK="dvd"

    Then reboot or restart udev:

    # /etc/start_udev # mount /dev/pts # mount /dev/shm
    I know many of you probably already have an audio group or the like. If you do, you can continue using your own group and ignore these instructions.

    If you'd like to learn more about uDev rules and their power, check out this article.
  5. kernel 2.6.9 usb problems and nvidia users
    Some of you out there experienced that usb is not working anymore with 2.6.9 kernel.

    Here the reason for it:
    The usb host kernel parts are built as modules now
    that means if you don't use hotplug daemon which loads these modules during startup, you have to load these modules in your r rc.conf module list.
    The modules are:
    ohci_hcd for usb1.0
    uhci_hcd for usb1.0
    ehci_hcd for usb2.0

    try the right module you need

    users of nvidia package out there:
    The nvidia-3 package contains the fixes for kernel 2.6.9. It may happen that your db of your mirror is not synced right and then you still get -2 package as nvidia package and that will not work with 2.6.9. If this happens try to get -3 file and install it by hand using pacman -U
  6. We love DistroWatch
    Our humble thanks to and, who have just donated $300 to Arch Linux.

    As with most open source projects, running costs for servers can eat up a lot of cash, which primarily flows from the developers' pockets or their rich ancestors'. Extra money from donations ensures that we can continue to feed all you bandwidth-hungry --sysupgrade'ers and new users.

    Big thanks to Ladislav Bodnar and the crew at DW and LinuxCD, as well as all the people that voted us as a worthy project. Your support is appreciated.

This Week in Devland

  1. tpowa is working on reforming our font usage to make it easier to add and remove fonts, specifically for openoffice.
  2. We are making the final push to update all packages to depend on x-server instead of xfree86.
  3. Packages in testing no longer have the 't' in the release number. This means that package upgrades in current and extra could jump release numbers.

Archstats Update

To Participate, visit:

Number of registered systems: 734
Date first system was registered: 20031017
Most recent update occurred: 20041114
Earliest recorded Arch release: Arch Linux 0.4 (Dragon)
Longest recorded uptime: 291 days, 10 hours, 22 minutes, 38 seconds.
Average uptime: 6 days, 14 hours, 34 minutes, 46 seconds.
Lowest kernel version: 2.4.21
Highest kernel version: 2.6.9-stefan-ARCH
Least packages installed on a system: 44
Average installed packages: 287
Most packages installed on a system: 1142

Seti@Home Update

To Participate, visit:

Members: 23
Results Received: 12414
Total CPU time: years
Average CPU time per work unit: 2 hr 40 min 04.8 sec

Forum Highlights

  1. Some people have been having trouble creating a BugTracker account. Email Judd if you have problems.

Mailing List Highlights

  1. Essien Ita Essien created a very cool patch that adds -T to makepkg. This flag allows you to rebuild a package that is currently installed on your system. This could be useful for transaction/rollback like features.
  2. Matthias-Christian Ott, like many people couldn't find at. It's currently in a package at TWM's TUR, and may eventually make its way to EXTRA. UPDATE: Judd is in the process of moving at to current, it will be there later today.

TUR Update

  1. It seems that some people have been mailing the old mailing list address. It was apparently still being linked to in some places. Sorry about that. For the current mailing list, go to the info page to subscribe.
  2. We're getting lots of PKGBUILDs on the list. Thanks to everyone who submitted them.
  3. We also received many requests to be a TU. We're not accepting new TUs at the moment. When our new system goes live, please put your request in then.
  4. There was a discussion on how the new TUR system should work. Although different ideas were discussed, the "AUR" program that Eric is designing is what will be used. If that falls through for some reason, we will look at all the other ideas.

Package Highlights

  1. Windowmaker 0.91.0 was packaged this week. This is the first WM release in a long time and provides lots of new features. Read the WM homepage for all the changes.
  2. Easytag 1.0 was packaged. This is also a big release and includes lots of new features. Look for Easytag 2.x with GTK2 soon. The homepage has all the details.

New Packages


Q: How do I make an Arch package?
A: There is lots of documentation for creating Arch packages. The best place to look is inside the makepkg man page. It explains every part of the PKGBUILD format. You can also find documentation inside the Wiki and the forum. If you have something weird, like a perl module, look at other existing PKGBUILDs in /var/abs.


Bugs Closed

Bugs Opened


If you are interested in helping out with the newsletter, specifically writing one section every two weeks, please email Jason or myself. We could use some more volunteers.

That's it for this week, stay tuned for more exciting Arch Linux news.