Arch Linux Newsletter

Dec 10, 2006
Jason Chu
Jason "CanyonKnight"


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. Package Highlights
  6. FAQ
  7. ArchStats
  8. Seti@home
  9. folding@home
  10. Bugs
  11. Closing

Front Page News

  1. kernel 2.6.19 went current

    latest kernel changes were:
    - added more verbose output on upgrade to cover piix/ata_piix issues
    - added workaround for piix issues: You can get the old hda names back by appending 'earlymodules=piix' to your kernel commandline

    please take the rest from these news:

  2. amarok: dependencies now modular

    Since long, amarok dependencies were adding up. Bug 4682 was requesting a cleanup and moving all not essential deps to be make-dependencies. This has now be implemented. Together with now amarok being able to use collection database code modular, we are now happy that amarok-base-mysqlfree is now obsolete and was removed from the repositories. You should be asked by pacman to replace it by amarok-base. amarok-base is now having minimal dependencies. For additional features consider:

    * visualisations: libvisual and libvisual-plugins
    * advanced scripting in amarok needs python
    * for MySQL collection db, install mysql and for postgreSQL, set up a database in postgresql
    * for media device support, you need - depending on your device - libgpod, libifp, libnjb or libmtp.

  3. Sylpheed-claws renamed

    Sylpheed-claws seems to be a popular mail-client among the Arch community. The project which started out as a bleeding edge branch for sylpheed became a project of it's own and eventually got renamed: The new name is claws-mail. It properly replaces sylpheed-claws in the repos, but it might take a while until the plugins in AUR will catch up.

  4. Kernel 2.6.19 and Intel chipsets

    If you have an intel chipset, and have use any of the ide/pata/sata HOOKs in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf, the 'ata_piix' module will be used for your ide/sata devices.

    This may cause your devices to shift names, such as: IDE: devices will go from hdx to sdx. SATA: devices may shift lettering, for example sda to sdc if you have 2 other disks on a PIIX IDE port. This order is determined at bios, and may differ from system to system.

    If you have any IDE devices on an intel controller, to check if this change will affect you, and whether or not you have to adjust your fstab and bootloader, check 'mkinitcpio -M' for piix or ata_piix

    This is a permanent and unavoidable change within the kernel.

    This applies to the 2.6.19 kernels: kernel26 in [testing], kernel26beyond in [extra], and kernel26suspend2 in [extra], and kernel26ck when it is updated to 2.6.19.

    Some instructions to move through this change easily are here:

  5. vesafb-tng and beyond

    The beyond package is dropping vesafb-tng in favour of the stabler vesafb.

    To use vesafb, pass vga=mode to the kernel, where mode is from the table on the wiki linked below.

    For example,vga=792 corresponds to 1024x768-24.

  6. kernel 2.6.19 series hits testing (Update)

    kernel 2.6.19 series is now in testing, it will be the kernel series for 0.8 release so please test this stuff well before it can go into current repository.

    New PATA/IDE subsystem - EXPERIMENTAL
    To use the new pata drivers, change the 'ide' hook to 'pata' in /etc/mkinicpio.conf HOOKS=
    The new system changes: /dev/hd? to /dev/sd?
    Don't forget to modify GRUB, LILO and fstab to the new naming system.
    eg: hda3 --> sda3, hdc8 --> sdc8

    piix/ata_piix (Intel chipsets) - IMPORTANT
    If you have enabled ide/pata/sata HOOKs in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf the 'ata_piix' module will be used.
    This may cause your devices to shift names, eg:
    - IDE: devices from hd? to sd?
    - SATA: sda might shift to sdc if you have 2 other disks on a PIIX IDE port.
    To check if this will affect you, check 'mkinitcpio -M' for piix/ata_piix

    - Recent Changes: Upstream Changes

    have fun and report bugs


  1. Testing for x86_64 is ready now. Don't expect everything to be in there, but a lot will be.
  2. Work is still happening to get OOo built with java support instead of using the pre-built binaries. This will let us optimize it more than the OOo developers do.
  3. Aaron pointed out lowarch ( Apparently he's building arch i686 packages for i486 / i586.

Forum Highlights

  1. arooaroo released a new version of Jacman, a GUI for pacman.
  2. dtw wanted opinions on the old standard of having swap set to twice the size of the memory.
  3. satanix asked what people used for listening to music on Linux.
  4. ezzetabi asked for people's preferences on torrent clients.

Mailing List Highlights

  1. Having two Linux distributions work on the same partition.
  2. Finding out what features are supported in a kernel without downloading the source.
  3. The best way to report package problems.

Package Highlights


Q: What is the difference between all the different repositories?

A: The [current] repository is the location of the packages available off of the install CD. The [extra] repository is the collection of packages that are outside of the install CD but maintained by the Arch Linux Developers. When a package is to be tested before release to [extra] or [current] it is placed in [testing]. [unstable] is the collection of packages considered to be unstable by the developers, but popular enough to be packaged for distribution. Finally the [community] repository is the location of packages that are in the AUR and have been adopted by a Trusted User who has packaged them for download.

More information here.

Q: Why aren't all packages in UNSUPPORTED added to COMMUNITY?

A: There are several reasons for that. The most important is that the package hasn't got many votes. It's also important that you vote for packages that already are in COMMUNITY, otherwise they could be disowned by the TUs and moved to UNSUPPORTED. Other reasons could be that the package is unmaintained upstream or has a licensing problem. Last but not least, no TU wants to do it.


To Participate, visit:

Number of registered systems: 1061
Longest recorded uptime: 494 days, 3 hours, 29 minutes, 25 seconds.
Average uptime: 11 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes, 6 seconds.
Average installed packages: 473
Average system memory: 746MB
Slowest CPU (MHz): 133.00
Average CPU (MHz): 1758.14
Fastest CPU (MHz): 3402.03


To Participate, visit:

Members: 38
Total credit: 421,159.40


Arch Linux Team Page
Extended Team Statistics

Team Number: 45032
Members: 89
Score: 1364624
Ranking: 385 of 46854



That's it for this time folks. If you have any opinions on the newsletter or have some things you wanna add, just send us a mail and we'll look into it.
Very best regards / Team Arch