Arch Linux Newsletter

Nov 05, 2007
Jason Chu
Eduardo Romero "kensai" and Web Log


Welcome to the Arch Linux weekly newsletter. This issue is very important to me, and for the whole Arch Linux and open source community in General. Why? It marks a new beginning for the newsletter, a beginning in which I hope you will enjoy better quality newsletter release, every two weeks. In fact that's why we choose the every two weeks release schedule, so we have more time in the planing and discussion of what should be improved, and to make sure that goal is reached.

Well, the credit is not all mine, I will explain some of the changes that are implemented and who contributed with the ideas. Suggested by F. The "Application to Improve" section, this section helps promote the featured application wiki entry on Arch Linux, meaning that everyone is encouraged to edit the entry. Suggested by Dusty, the "Expand your Knowledge" section, this section will feature a collection of articles, tutorials, or tips & tricks, to expand your knowledge on different Linux subjects. Thanks for the suggestions.

Other changes that are worth mentioning are, the removal of the stats section. This particular section was getting tedious to maintain, also most people told me this was the section they least cared about, this is good in fact, since this way I have more time for the sections most people do care about, this suggestion was supported by skottish and Dusty.

Also, special thanks go to Cactus, this awesome style which is on par with the main site comes from his hard work, thanks for the help. Now, is time for less talk and more action, so without further ado I will like to present you this Arch Linux newsletter, with great pride.

- Eduardo Romero "kensai"

Table Of Contents

Front Page News

Arch Linux Logo Competition

Hello everyone!

As you may have heard, the Arch logo as we know it is going the way of the dodo! We are refreshing our graphical identity, and in that spirit we're having a logo competition, open to the entire Arch community!

We want to know what you think of when you think Arch Linux - what logo do you think would best suit the distribution we've all come to love?

Submission guidelines.

Good luck to all participants, and have fun!

Featured Interview

Aaron Griffin: Arch Linux Overlord

Thanks to everybody who posted their questions on the forum, your participation was awesome, we got a good laugh reading some of the questions, but not all the questions could have made it to the final interview. I bring you here some of the questions we decided to include. Enjoy!

By: pain of salvation
1) Why did you choose Arch? What is your preferred DE/WM? and Do you still use Windows?

I didn't really choose Arch. It was just another stop along the distro path for me. I wasn't really drawn to anything specific, but once I began using Arch, like a lot of other Archers, things just "clicked".

My preferred WM has changed a lot over my tenure with Linux. I began using GNOME. Which was fine, because I was familiar with Windows. Eventually, I found it to be "too much" and switched to fluxbox. Later, I used WMI (the precursor to WMII and DWM) for a while, and at some point I found myself using ratpoison. Much like when I found Arch, things just "clicked" and I never left.

Regarding Windows. I use it at work, because most of the tools we need are Win32 only. At home though, I have not even had a windows partition in a long time. Even when I was still playing Warcraft 3 a lot, I installed that under wine. I think I've been "Windows Free" for 3 years now.

By: Sigi
2) Where do you see Arch Linux in 5 years?

Hmmm I don't like to think that far ahead. Too many variables, it's too hard to predict what will go right and what will go wrong. 5 years is also a VERY long time in the OSS world.

Still, I'd love to see our developers actually getting paid for what they do, assuming our growth continues this way for 5 years. It'd be a nice touch. Other than that, I expect us to be chugging along with what we're doing now.

By: foxbunny
3) What do you like most about Arch? And in developing Arch?

Hrm. I could never find the words to explain it myself, so I will steal words from Eliott (cactus) - I like that Arch is a "meta-distribution". By that, I mean that an Arch install is small and concise, and anything can be molded from it. It's a distro that is shaped by the individual, and not the crowd.

By: Cerebral
4) How do you view work on Arch? As a job, an enjoyable pass-time, or something different?

Oh, what a tough question. I kinda put it in between. I think of it like a job, for the most part, BUT in my day job, I don't get excited about things in the same way I do with Linux oriented stuff. So I *do* get a lot of enjoyment out of doing Arch and Linux stuff in general.

By: Dusty
5) Having filled his shoes for a few weeks now, what's been your biggest realization about Judd's position that you never thought about before?

It's very hard to keep track of everything at a global scope. Even more so when people aren't used to keeping you in the loop about everything. Trying to keep track of what's happening distro-wide is a bit of a chore, but still fun.

By: Jerry
6) Are we needing extra devs, TU's at the moment?

Well, I think we always could use more hands. What we will be in need of, in the future, are actually non-developers. Documentation writers, for example - formalizing our documentation is one thing I'd love to do in the near future.

And, additionally, I'm sure the TUs are always looking for more hands.

By: peets
7) Can you briefly define what "The Arch Way" means to you?

To me, "The Arch Way" is about being... well, minimal. It is about doing what needs to be done, without bells and whistles. All the frills can be added later. It is about function over form.

By: Jessehk
8) In what direction do you see Arch taking? Do you want to see more commercialization of Arch (in the form of more formal structure, etc), or do you want it to stay as a fun pastime for relatively experienced users?

I think both of these ideas are realizable. Right now it's somewhere in between. I'm sure we'd all love to get money for what we do, but that's not really why we're here in the first place - it's not the driving goal behind Arch. We're all here to make something that we enjoy using.

By: murffatksig
9) What flaws do you see in Arch that you would like to see improved?

Our process isn't as streamlined as I'd like it to be. Building packages is a fairly time consuming process, so it takes up a lot of our time. In the future, I'd like to cut that time down with automated builds and tools of the sort so we have more time for higher level things.

By: raymano
10) Which part of Arch, if any, would you like to change to make it more inline with the KISS principle?

Hmmm. I think, as a whole, we support way too many "official packages". Now, not everyone agrees with me here, so keep in mind this is just a personal opinion.

We have thousands of packages officially supported by Arch Linux developers that people rarely use. This tends to be a waste of time, space, and CPU power. I'd really love to see more of these packages pushed away. Not necessarily to the AUR and community repos, but maybe to independent community projects (ala kdemod).

By: Phrodo_00
11) What is your opinion about tools that make installing from AUR painless such as yaourt and such? Will arch ever ship with a default method of doing so?

My position is the same one I've always held. There is just way too much of a security hole there to make this a good idea. Automated tools like this let you build without ever seeing what the PKGBUILD does.

I could upload a file right now that removes your entire home directory, hop on IRC or the forums, and ask people to test - with automated tools for this, I just killed a LOT of people's data. If you're forced to actually look at it, then you'd most likely notice it.

So all-in-all, I doubt this will ever become official. The only time this would ever happen is if we can ensure that a PKGBUILD and resultant package are perfectly safe (the original intent of the 'flag safe' functionality).

By: Mikko777
12) Do you fear HeMan?

Of course not. He is a weakling just like his father before him!

By: jb
13) How do skeletons go about attaining muscle mass?

Usually you can buy it at the corner store. Make sure it's about 98% lean though, or else it will go straight to your thighs.

By: john_schaf
14) Has your computer ever been hacked ? If yes, how many times?

phrakture got hacked?

By: phrakture

15) Can you really lift a car over your head?

What, you can't?

General Linux News

Archlinux tools: Pacman is planning to feature a short series of articles aiming to describe the key administration tools and packages used in the Arch Linux distribution. The first one is about the Arch Linux package manager of choice, pacman, this surely is an interesting read, specially to those new to Arch Linux.

A Letter to the Gnome Foundation

The fact that the GNOME foundation is supporting actively the office open xml format as a standard is annoying some Linux enthusiasts. A letter was written by community member Russell Ossendryver, to express his feelings on the subject.

An open letter to Steve Ballmer

Francois Bancilhon, Mandriva CEO, wrote a letter to Steve Ballmer, because of a current issue with the Nigerian goverment. The government ordered Mandriva Linux to be installed on 17,000 PCs, but to the surprise of Mandriva CEO, the government said they will pay for the Mandriva PCs, but Windows will be installed on the PCs after they arrive.


Forum Highlights

Mailing List Highlights

Expand your Knowledge

Video Stream tricks with Mplayer

Ever wanted to play and even record streams in almost any format? The full featured movie player (Mplayer) is the tool you might be searching for to get the job done. This article explains how to achieve that goal.

Increase your Productivity in the Shell

The chances of you having used bash in Linux are very high. Still, many users prefer GUI (Graphical User Interface) rather than CLI (Command Line Client). But, in the opinion of most being proficient in bash provides its advantages. This tutorial will help you learn how to use a few of the amazing features bash provides, this way helping you to increase your CLI productivity.

Application to Improve

The featured application that needs improvement is, PulseAudio. If you use this application and would like to share information, hints, just anything you have found which can help the community understand and use PulseAudio with more proficiency, please feel free to edit the wiki entry and add your knowledge. You are also encouraged to adopt its native front-end, pavucontrol, on AUR. And, help on the package itself, giving testing and comments on your experience and how can the package be improved.

The Humor Section

iamsthitha: for everytime you -Syu, its a new beginning!
xelados: Was that a joke or something? I'm not sure I get it. o_O
jra: iamsthitha is master of stealth sarcasm.
aep: and a bad one
jra: hm, now I wonder... what if I approach the cinema chick and let her guess which movie I want in, just by doing wild gestures?
iamsthitha: jra: yes, and occasionally yelling *PWAKOOK*
aep: "i need to get a ticket!!!! quick!!!!"    "what movie sir?"  "QUICK!!!"
benny: they "sir" you in your country?
aep: some kind of
iamsthitha: in soviet usa, 'bitch' means 'sir'
wide-eye: in the rest of the world, people who say soviet russia jokes die mysteriously.
linfan: what recent update disabled the popups for events in Gnome? I used to get a box appear when I receive emails - it is gone now?
iamsthitha: linfan: no, you just dont have any new emails
linfan: iamsthitha: lol


We have come to the end, but just for this week, we sincerely hope you enjoyed reading the newsletter. In fact I did enjoyed making it for your reading pleasure. Please, feel free to contact us, and let us know of any opinions and/or suggestions.

The best for all of you, from me (kensai) and the Arch Linux Team