Arch Linux Newsletter

Jul 11, 2005
1.0.0
Jason Chu jason@archlinux.org
Jens Persson xerxes2@gmail.com
Aaron Griffin aaronmgriffin@gmail.com

Summary

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
  3. Forum Highlights
  4. Mailing List Highlights
  5. AUR
  6. ArchStats
  7. Seti@home
  8. Package Highlights
  9. Bugs
  10. FAQ
  11. Closing

Front Page News

  1. Some kernel changes
    As you all well know by this point, the kernel developers have taken to releasing minor updates every week or so (2.6.12.1, 2.6.12.2, etc.). This has really increased the kernel maintenance workload for tpowa and myself, because each kernel rebuild means that all extraneous modules (nforce, ipw2X00, ltmodem, slmodem, etc.) need to be rebuilt with that version. To try save us some time, tpowa has reworked the kernel 2.6 PKGBUILDs slightly. We still stay up to date with the latest minor revision of the kernels, but we change the internal version number so that the last minor revision number is truncated. For example, when you install kernel26-2.6.12.2-1 and run uname -r, it will say 2.6.12 instead of 2.6.12.2. This saves us time, because tpowa no longer has to rebuild all extraneous modules with each minor revision upgrade. It means a quicker build process and less time involved in moving kernel-related packages back and forth between Extra and Testing. If you have any questions or concerns, send them to the ML or myself and tpowa.
  2. Dearest udev
    My apologies for the recent turmoil over the udev upgrade. It seems that the nature of the rule operators has changed a bit. The reason some symlinks were not being created is that udev now supports the += operator for appending to the symlink list. Whereas before, one could provide multiple SYMLINK="whatever" rules and they would automatically be conjoined, now we should be using SYMLINK+="whatever" to explicitly indicate that we want the rule to be appended to any existing rules for that device. Examples work better. Instead of this: BUS="ide", KERNEL="hd*", PROGRAM="/etc/udev/scripts/ide-devfs.sh %k %b %n", SYMLINK="%c{1} %c{2}" We now have this: BUS="ide", KERNEL="hd*", PROGRAM="/etc/udev/scripts/ide-devfs.sh %k %b %n", SYMLINK+="%c{1} %c{2}" If you use custom rules with SYMLINK changes, you should update them to use the += operator. Please read the udev(8) manpage if you're using custom rules. It's worth the read.
  3. DevFS is leaving
    Hey everyone, Just so you're aware, DevFS support will soon be removed from the 2.6 kernel. If you are using the 2.6 kernel and haven't migrated to uDev yet, you should really think about doing so. When DevFS leaves the vanilla kernel, we will no longer support it on 2.6.
    There is a brief uDev HOWTO here.
  4. ArchStats is Moving
    Attention all Archstats Users! Since Eric has left the dev team, and in addition will no longer be working on Archstats, I have adopted the project. In the process, archstats will be relocating to:
    http://www.archlinux.org/~simo/archstats
    The cutover to the new location will occur on July 1st, 2005 at approximately 6:00 UTC. Because the server location is hardcoded into the binary, all current Archstats users will have to update their Archstats package in order for it to continue working after the cutover, as the old site (http://archstats.coding-zone.com) will be coming down around the same time. The new archstats package will be released one day before the cutover, to allow time to upgrade. However, I request that you do not update your stats, nor sign up during this time, as the server will be rejecting these requests until the cutover. Thanks for your patience during the transition, and I hope that the bright and shining Archstats can continue on into the future.
  5. Arch at LinuxTag in Karlsruhe
    LinuxTag in Karlsruhe is over and it went quite well. We met many people and most of them were either happily surprised to see our approaches to the world of Linux or they stopped by to hear what it is all about that different package manager and the KISS strategy. It was good to see how progress is going on the ppc port and how easy it is to fix problems when people put their heads together. And we figured out that all of us have enough social skills to do good partying. Some might remember what I'm talking about ... and some may not :)

    All this wouldn't have happened without the people who initiated it, build the contacts and brought the hardware and things to the venue. Thanks to Alexander Baldeck(kth5), Alexander Fehr(pizzapunk), Benjamin Andresen(klapmuetz), Christoph Neuroth(delmonico), Julian Wiesener(yofuh), cnuke and all the other ArchLinux enthusiasts who made that thing going. Also many thanks tho the people who gave donations to the long distance travellers and us in general.

    A picture of all the people at the booth is here.

    On request: the crowd with names and here you can find lots of photos and other information.
  6. xorg.6.8-3 in [testing]
    There's a new xorg in testing. Changes include evdev support, improved intel graphics support, and other small fixes. Please test it out and put bugs in the bug tracker.
  7. Planet Arch Linux
    Arch Linux now has its own Planet. If I forgot any arch linux related blogs, be sure to remind me.
  8. Archie project
    The Archie livecd project has released a new version(0.4.3) and is currently working on lots of improvements for the next release. This version of the livecd is not released to public mirrors but you can always make your own livecd with the Archie scripts.
  9. Mystery messages
    There has been some strange messages popping up on the blogs over at planetarchlinux. The person(or AI) is using many different nicknames but the signature usually is "\\//_". Some people thinks it's skoal but noone knows for sure. If your blog gets one of those messages, just stay calm and relaxed and let us know and we'll try to track the IP.

Devland

  1. Simo and Jurgen have joined the development team. Simo will be working on the AUR and archstats projectsand Jurgen will be a package monkey^H^H^H^H^H^Hdeveloper.
  2. There was a new pacman release. Included in this release is a pacman-optimize utility, which is based on Penguin's script and will optimize pacman's database for speed.
  3. The initscripts now use /etc/sysctl.conf to control the /sys filesystem on boot. See here if you have any issues.
  4. Eric Johnson (farphel) has left the dev team. We wish him well in his further endeavours.
  5. The Great Reorganization has started within the dev team. Watch this space for more information.
  6. We've started designing a developer webpage. That way we can have full descriptions and pictures instead of just our names on the developer page.
  7. archlinux.org now has a valid SSL cert. If you're paranoid or something, you can always use https instead of http now.
  8. We finally agreed on a license variable usage. It goes something like this: This will be fully enforced and implemented in the next pacman release (2.9.7).
  9. GCC 4.0.1 is in testing now. There's a good chance this will be the version that goes into current. Be sure to test it!
  10. There are plans to remove the qmail package and put more energy into postfix, courier, and the like. No one's maintained the package for almost a year. If you want to continue using qmail, you should probably make your own PKGBUILD and upload it to the AUR when we remove it.

Forum Highlights

  1. There is a new AUR Section in the forums. This section is made for general AUR requests, issues, and talk.
  2. arooaroo has developed a Pacman frontend in Java.
  3. rasat started developing standalone KDE packages.
  4. msg43 wondered if packages are tested before they are released.
  5. Dreameen and Lord Death are running an e17-cvs server.
  6. perry753 just loves us. :)

Mailing List Highlights

  1. There has been some discussion on how to use the license field in PKGBUILDs.
  2. More on Arch at Linuxtag.
  3. To doc or not to doc , that is the question.
  4. cactus is testing a new wiki that may replace the current one.
  5. Increasing support for roaming network profiles was presented to the mailing list (thanks Judd!). Current scripts are in the [testing] repo.

AUR

  1. There has been some turbulence among the TUs, but when the dust settled there seems to be twelve guys left that will maintain [community] and AUR.
    andreww (Andrew Wright), bfinch (Bob Finch), cactus (eliott), dibblethewrecker (Philip Dillon-Thiselton), encelo (Angelo Theodorou), kritoke (Matthew), neotuli (Simo Leone), phrakture (Aaron Griffin), rensel (Amar Hadzihasanovic), swiergot (Jaroslaw Swierczynski), twm (Todd Musall) and vegai (Vesa Kaihlavirta)
  2. The community repo (along with mirrors) has officially been added to the pacman package in the newest update. Mirrors are listed in /etc/pacman.d/community. The community repo can be made available by uncommenting the [community] section in /etc/pacman.conf.
  3. neotuli(maintainer of AUR and archstats) has released a new version of AUR and is now on a five week holiday so hopefully nothing serious happens during that time. We all wish him a happy trip back to good old Europe. :)

Archstats

To Participate, visit: http://www.archlinux.org/~simo/archstats

Number of registered systems: 1171
Date first system was registered: 20031017
Most recent update occurred: 20050711
Longest recorded uptime: 496 days, 9 hours, 22 minutes, 38 seconds.
Average uptime: 7 days, 10 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds.
Least packages installed on a system: 44
Average installed packages: 318
Most packages installed on a system: 1262
Slowest recorded CPU (MHz): 198.65
Average CPU speed (MHz): 1639.03
Fastest recorded CPU (MHz): 3749.52

Seti@Home

To Participate, visit: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/team_display.php?teamid=116975

Members: 2

Package Highlights

352 packages have been upgraded/added since the last newslettter. A new beta version of OpenOffice, Mono and some Alsa stuff have hit the repos.

Bugs

There have been 112 new bugs opened and 108 old bugs closed since the last newsletter.

FAQ

Q: What is the difference between AUR, COMMUNITY, and UNSUPPORTED?

A: AUR(Arch User Repository) is the name of the whole new system which is maintained by the TUs(Trusted Users). It lets anybody that signs up to upload PKGBUILDs to UNSUPPORTED but only TUs have access to COMMUNITY which is a binary repo that you can use with Pacman.

Closing

Sorry for the "extremely" delayed newsletter this time. Hopefully the next one will be released right on time. :)
Stay safe people!