Arch Linux Newsletter

February 27, 2005
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. Devland Update
  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. The inevitable courier-smashing starts in testing
    The layout of courier sources has changed. So we have a courier-authlib now, providing authentification to other courier services. Thus courier-imap depends on courier-authlib and the configuration of the authentification layer has moved from /etc/courier-imap to /etc/authlib.

    Moreover, the courier family depends on the Berkeley db package, which has undergone an API change recently and thus is in testing. Therefore the new courier packages will be available from testing only until db-4.3.x moves to extra.

    Additionally, courier-mta is in testing and will move to extra when time has come. This mailserver provides SMTP, POP3, IMAP, Webmail etc. and authentificates all this against one source, configured in courier-authlib, without the pain of tricky configurations.

    All this is new and just roughly tested. If you find some quirks, bugs or have suggestions, go bother him. He'll let me know.
  2. mono 1.2 beta series is in testing
    Actually this should go to unstable. But as written on a couple of websites, announcments and the chief developers weblog: users are recommended to switch to the 1.1.x tree, since the testing of it is way more sophisticated. As a bonus and because it doesn't effect the oridinary things, the 2.0 alpha parts have been enabled. Additionally, the new xsp went to testing, since it works nicely together with the 1.1.x series and even doesn't build (without hacks) on mono-1.0.6
    State of things: mono-1.0.6 in extra, xsp-1.0.6 and mono-1.1.4 in testing and be prepared, our general switch to the 1.1.x series might come soon.
  3. webmin in [testing]
    for all who waited for webmin now it's available. Please use the bugtracker for correction in module configurations, i changed some modules but i can't test everything so, send your corrections to the bugtracker :)
    here a forum link for discussion: Forum.
  4. Udev-053 Changes
    The latest version of udev has some upstream changes in the configuration layout.

    Permissions and user/group ownership are no longer defined in separate files -- instead they are specified within the rules file itself. Look at /etc/udev/rules.d/udev.rules for examples.

    This means that any custom permissions need to be moved into a rules file like /etc/udev/rules.d/udev.rules or /etc/udev/rules.d/00-my.rules.

    See the udev(8) manpage for more information on writing rules.
  5. Xorg 6.8.2 Released
    The new xorg package is now available in the Testing repository.

    You can enable Testing from your /etc/pacman.conf.

    Submit bugs to you-know-where.
  6. testing: fox 1.2.11 to 1.4.y
    The fox toolkit released their first 1.4.y versions some days ago. As this is a big step to new things, the fox 1.4.y pkg is now in [testing] and will stay there untill sunday morning (13.02.2005 - GMT+1). Then, if no trouble comes up, i will move it to extra replacing the 1.2.11 pkg there.

Devland Update

  1. We are planning monthly bug squashing parties. Expect an announcement on the ML/forum/website soon. For those that don't know what a bug squashing party is, it's when everyone (devs and community) gets together and tries to close as many bugs as possible.
  2. So far the developers have had two dev meetings. Both have been very successful. Expect many changes.
  3. I'm looking into a forum->mail gateway so that people who hate forum software (like me) can still read and post to the forum.
  4. The arch developer structure will be going through a lot of changes soon. Keep your eyes open on the ML/forum/website for updates.
  5. Makepkg will be getting a plugin system based on ideas from JGC (and I'm sure JGC got his ideas from others in the community).
  6. Discussion has started up again surrounding the license variable. Expect full usage by 0.8. Don't start using it till we figure out exactly how it's going to be used.
  7. My old file list searching app will be integrated in the website. Soon you will be able to search for files within packages!
  8. Mandated and standardized .desktop files will also be implemented soon. Judd has already added file lists to the db and interface, all we have left is the actual searching code.
  9. The pacnew/pacsave policy will be updated, but the old method will still exist. The default config will be to always use pacnew and never use pacsave but those that like the current pacnew/pacsave method will be able to choose it.

Archstats Update

To Participate, visit:

Number of registered systems: 907
Date first system was registered: 20031017
Most recent update occurred: 20050227
Earliest recorded Arch release: Arch Linux 0.4 (Dragon)
Longest recorded uptime: 396 days, 10 hours, 22 minutes, 38 seconds.
Average uptime: 6 days, 19 hours, 6 minutes, 47 seconds.
Least packages installed on a system: 44
Average installed packages: 298
Most packages installed on a system: 1197
Slowest recorded CPU (MHz): 198.65
Average CPU speed (MHz): 1621.58
Fastest recorded CPU (MHz): 3749.52

Seti@Home Update

To Participate, visit:

Members: 27
Results Received: 14022
Total CPU time: 16.180 years

Forum Highlights

  1. Father couldn't play sound from multiple sources. This is a common problem with lower end sound cards that don't have a hardware mixer. You must set up a software mixer (like DMix). Instructions were posted by iphitus inside the thread.
  2. Z4ziggy has released a set of scripts and ISOs for running Arch, live from a CD/DVD/USB device. Read the thread for all the details.
  3. Arooaroo questioned the addition of Amarok-Beta to the EXTRA repo. Others agreed that BETA packages shouldn't be in EXTRA except for unique circumstances, as an UNSTABLE repo already exists. Add your opinion to the thread.
  4. Hula, Novell's open-sourced NetMail package has had PKGBUILDs created for it here. There is now also a Wiki doc about Hula Configuration.

Mailing List Highlights

  1. Samba's dependence on an X-Server was brought up again. This issue has been discussed many times, and much of the community feels it is a problem, since people want to run X-less servers. The problem is one with binary distros in general, as developers have to decide carefully which features should be built into packages. Various proposals have been made, including adding OPTIONAL depends. Right now the best solution to any package built with flags that you don't want is to rebuild it using "srcpac." This will allow you to receive package updates while still keeping your custom build flags.
  2. Another user has requested a stable branch for Arch. This is discussed frequently, and it will not happen any time soon, because Arch does not have the resources to maintain the branch. It is in the longterm roadmap though.
  3. Ben Curry asked how to access the TUR via ABS. Because the TUR uses SVN, it is not compatible with ABS, but Jason wrote a tool to allow access: The AUR will use CVS, so can easily be used with ABS.

TUR Update

AUR is just about complete! It has entered BETA and rules are currently being discussed. Expect a final annoucement soon.

Package Highlights

  1. Inkscape 0.41 was packaged. This is a major bugfix release (over 100 bugs fixed). Read the Inkscape Homepage for the changelog.
  2. Elinks 0.10.2 was released. This adds new features and fixes a few critical bugs. Read the release notes for a complete list of changes.
  3. GNOME 2.9 has been updated in TESTING. TESTING is an experimental repository, so if you're feeling adventurous, add it to your pacman.conf and help test out the latest bleeding edge packages (of course, at your own risk).

New Packages


Q: When installing a package, I get a "file conflict" error. What do I do?
A: This is a packaging mistake, where two packages contain the same file (which they both can't own). It is almost always safe to force the package installation (pacman -Sf <pkg>; for example). A bug report should also be filed on the Arch Bugtracker.


Bugs Closed

Bugs Opened


Sorry for missing the newsletter the last few weeks. Last week we had an issue with the bug tracker, and the other weeks we were extremely busy. If you enjoy the newsletter, please help out and submit some content. You can contribute to an existing section, or write your own column if you feel it would be useful.

It's been just about a year since our first newsletter (Feb 8, 2004), so let's see where Arch was a year ago:

Number of registered systems: 106
Date first system was registered: 20031017 [22:24:30]
Most recent update occurred: 20040208 [15:10:04]
Least packages installed on a system: 44
Average installed packages: 251
Most packages installed on a system: 563
Slowest recorded CPU (MHz): 265.37
Average CPU speed (MHz): 1325.74
Fastest recorded CPU (MHz): 3564.03

Package Highlights:
1. KDE 3.2 was released this week.
2. GNOME 2.4.2 was released this week.
3. Pacman 2.7.3 was released.
4. Linux 2.6.2 was released.

Q: When will ArchLinux 0.6 be out?
A (Jason): It will be out when it's ready. We have very little changes planned on our end. Things like more util disks (for jfs, raid, etc) and 2.6 aro on our list of todos. Package wise we'd like to wait for XFree86 4.4 and, possibly, Kernel 2.4.25.
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.