Arch Linux Newsletter

January 16, 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. kde 3.4 pre packages now available
    Greetings to all kde users out there.
    They are available in my tur ( Trusted User Repository). Add it to your pacman.conf if you would like to test the new kde3.4. It could look like this:
    Server =
    Server =

    ATTENTION THIS BETA1 MAY CONTAIN BUGS SO PLEASE DON'T BLAME ME FOR DATALOSS AND MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR FILES!!! (for me it runs stable so far but you should know what could happen)

    kde-i18n packages from 3.3.2 work fine with it. I'll upload new kde-i18n packages prehaps next weekend.
    Thanks for your feedback.Enjoy new kde release.

    Have fun with the new features and please report problems.
    forum link for dicussion:
    Tell me your opinion about new kde 3.4
  2. please don't use kdelibs-3.3.2-4 package [fixed]
    please don't update your kde packages until a new kdelibs version is uploaded, stay with 3.3.2-3.

    new kdelibs package uploaded 3.3.2-5 now runs fine again
  3. blender goes to testing
    Blender relies heavily on python, since it is the built in scripting language. To avoid more trouble in the python related updates the 2.36 version of blender is only released to testing and will be move to extra when python-2.4 will be released to current.
  4. firestarter and the syslog services
    The firestarter package has many hardcoded pathes in it's source code. To monitor the system events it relies per default on the /var/log/messages file. Archlinux standard syslog daemon writes a /var/log/messages.log file. Since there is no option to change these settings per runtime control scripts I added some auto magic to it. As long as you use the default syslog-ng daemon, firestarter uses /var/log/messages.log per default. If you go with sysklogd, firestarter will use /var/log/messages instead, but only if you remove a leftover /var/log/messages.log before you start firetarter!
    To contribute and make this a bit more smoothly join the discussion here.
  5. kernel 2.6.10 [update]
    the new kernel introduces some new features:
    you can now choose your io scheduler by using the elevator option on boot.
    4 schedulers are available, else "as" is chosen as default.

    elevator= [IOSCHED]
       Format: {"as"|"cfq"|"deadline"|"noop"}
       See Documentation/block/as-iosched.txt
       and Documentation/block/deadline-iosched.txt for details.

    "as" is default
    "cfq" should be for workstations
    "deadline" for some kind of databases

    discussion can be done here:
    IO Schedulers

    the cdburning patch is not needed anymore.I was able to burn cds with k3b.cdrecord should'nt run as suid anymore, else it may fail. The cdburner devices now need readwrite permissions for burning as user.

    sd_mod module is not longer needed, usb-storage does the job. If you are using hotplug no problem here.

    Parport modules are now loaded by hotplug too,so you can remove them from modules list in rc.conf. usblp is also loaded dynamically, for lp, sorry don't know (maybe not needed anymore)

    If your soundcard is recognized correctly by hotplug all is fine you only need the right permissions for your device and you are done.

    for general discussion about 2.6.10:
    Kernel 2.6.10
  6. Gnome-vfs and libgnomeprint no longer depend on samba
    In our work to make the depency chain less big, I have removed the support for samba and cups in testing. There are 2 new packages in testing gnome-vfs-samba and libgnomeprint-cups.
    If you want you samba or cups support back in gnome you will need to install these packages.
    Please test them so it can go bug free into extra.


  7. OpenOffice 2.0 pre versions now in [unstable]
    now a little present for x-mas from my side to the arch community:
    Openoffice 2.0 packages in different languages:
    as usual they are NO source builds!

    there are a lot of improvements over 1.1.4 but it is only a PREVIEW version
    beta is tagged for january and final around march/april

    more details you can find here:
    New Features

    and the best thing you can use it parallel to OO 1.1.4

    spellchecking packages need some tweaking for it, but we will find a solution
    for that, if you have one go ahead send it to me :)

    No openoffice2-base package is needed anymore since OO now supports
    multilanguage installs !

    pacman -S openoffice2 (should make all english people make happy)
    pacman -S openoffice2-XX (for the rest)

    forum link for discussion is here:

    happy x-mas to all of you out there :)
    enjoy OO 2.0
  8. extra: arson removed
    Because the pkg arson do not longer works and the project is not longer under developement (last release: 0.9.8 beta 2 on 11-09-2003) i decided to remove it from the repositories.

    If the project comes back to life, feel free to contact me for re-inclusion of this pkg.
  9. transcode, avifile and dvdrip
    The transcode and the avifile lib haven't been updated for a year. But now it seems that they are back to live ... and break their dependencies, which are only a few. DVD-Rip is working with the new versions, when using the unstable tree. This is why it is in extra now. This combo works for me way better than the old packages. If you encounter problems go use the bugtracker.
  10. GTK 2.6.0 in Testing
    JGC has built GTK 2.6.0 and friends (GLib, Pango), which now reside in Testing, waiting for people to break them.

    These are fully compatible with apps compiled against GTK 2.4.x, so there should be no problems. If there are, you know where to go.

Devland Update

  1. JGC has been working on more integrated mozilla packages. 0.7 will have one mozilla directory for mozilla, mozilla-firefox, and mozilla-thunderbird.
  2. To mention 0.7, it will be released very soon. Last I heard, it was only waiting on the new mozilla packages and the hope was to release on monday.
  3. We are considering using the -as patchset for the stock kernel. This patchset has been created to apply security fixes and obvious bug fixes to the 2.6 kernel. Here's the initial lkml email.
  4. Pacbuild 2 is coming along nicely. For those that don't know, pacbuild was created to automatically keep packages in sync with i686, essentially to manage the other ports. If anyone is interested in helping with it (development, not building), please contact me at
  5. I have created GNU Arch repos for current, extra, and web (the website). If anyone is interested in using them, please contact me. I expect translators and porters would be the most interested, but I can also see them being useful when we do mass updates of packages (for example, adding .desktop files).

Archstats Update

To Participate, visit:

Number of registered systems: 802
Date first system was registered: 20031017
Most recent update occurred: 20050116
Longest recorded uptime: 354 days, 10 hours, 22 minutes, 38 seconds.
Average uptime: 7 days, 0 hours, 19 minutes, 6 seconds.
Least packages installed on a system: 44
Average installed packages: 293M
Most packages installed on a system: 1197

Seti@Home Update

To Participate, visit:

Members: 23
Results Received: 13151
Total CPU time: 4.770 years
Average CPU time per work unit: 3 hr 10 min 37.7 sec

Forum Highlights

  1. There are various issues with GTK2, mplayer, firefox, and other GTK apps. Problems include memory leaks and crashing. One problem in particular is Firefox hard freezing X. Unfortunately, there is no solution for these problems yet. If anyone has any suggestions, please post and email the maintainers.
  2. Kleptophobiac wanted to know how to download source from CVS inside a PKGBUILD. PKGBUILD examples were given.
  3. Tgc wanted dates added to the flagged message section inside the package web interface. It's a good idea that will hopefully be implemented.

Mailing List Highlights

  1. There was a long discussion about what Arch 1.0 should include. There was lots of wishful thinking, but many feel long term goals for Arch are important. The developers do have their own TO-DO lists though.
  2. There is now a separate mailing list for the Arch International project.

TUR Update

  1. Some of the TUs we lost for various reasons (Ubuntu) have come back. We're still in need of more TUs though, and will take more once we move over to the AUR.
  2. AUR is getting closer. It's currently in the testing stage. More details will be posted as they become available.
  3. It seems for some time yesterday the STAGING DB had reverted back to an old version. It's been fixed; sorry for any inconvenience.
  4. Many packages were updated over the winter holiday. Some had been out of date for a long time. If you notice an out of date or broken package, please mail the TUR list or the maintainer. If packages are broken for a long time, we can only assume no one uses them and we may delete the packages completely.

Package Highlights

  1. Pacman 2.9.5 was released. From the changelog:
    - bugfix: missing files after re-ordering packages wrt deps with --upgrade
    - added "Repository" line to -Si output
    - patch from Tommi Rantala to fix trim() behaviour with empty or whitespace-only strings
    - fixed removal order when using -Rc or -Rs
  2. The 2.2 Series for Abiword has finally been released. This includes many bug fixes and new features. See the Abiword Homepage for all the details.
  3. Python 2.4 finally made it into the official repos. See the Python Homepage for a complete list of changes.

New Packages


Q: How stable are the packages in Arch? Will my system break daily?
A: Arch is bleeding edge, so most packages are their current stable version. This means that Arch is very up to date security and feature wise, but there may be more (upstream) bugs than other distros. Arch is also completely volunteer, and packaging bugs do happen. Arch is probably not the best distro for mission critical work, though it has run many servers with excellent stability. Basically, Arch's system requires you to keep an eye on what packages get updated, and to be on guard for any rogue bugs that do slip through. Be prepared for bugs.


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.