Arch Linux Newsletter

Nov 19, 2007
Jason Chu
Eduardo "kensai" Romero and my Web Log


Welcome to another Arch Linux newsletter covering November 5, to November 18, 2007. Some of the highlights include: a new featured interview, this time with, Jason Chu, Arch Linux developer, and, editor of the Devland section of this newsletter. Also, given the circumstances surrounding the release of 7.3 to extra, some users felt Arch Linux has been degrading in quality. Aaron Griffin authored a column on this topic for the newsletter. If this issue concerns you, this is a must read. Now, I present to you this edition of the Arch Linux newsletter.

- Eduardo "kensai" Romero

Table Of Contents

Front Page News

slocate Replaced by mlocate

mlocate has replaced slocate as the default locate implementation after a short period in [testing], and an even longer one in [extra]. This was requested on the bug tracker a while back as FS4490

mlocate is used by Fedora at least and unlike slocate, no longer has the well known midnight updatedb crawl. In all other aspects it's compatible with and identical to slocate.

AndyRTR posted some performance measurements on the mailing list.

As described by the README: mlocate is a locate/updatedb implementation. The 'm' stands for "merging": updatedb reuses the existing database to avoid rereading most of the file system, which makes updatedb faster and does not trash the system caches as much.

The locate(1) utility is intended to be completely compatible to slocate. It also attempts to be compatible to GNU locate, when it does not conflict with slocate compatibility.

netcfg2 in [testing]

netcfg2 aims to be a refined network profile system for Arch Linux, replacing the current implementation. Through this, it has also gained various features and improvements which are listed on the development wiki page

Before it can replace the current profiles, netcfg2 needs testers of various wireless hardware and configuration to try the scripts and report back on the wiki page testing section. Bugs can be filed at the bug tracker.

Documentation for netcfg2 is located in the netcfg manpage, detailed examples in /etc/network.d/examples, and the wiki 7.3 hits [extra]

After a testing period for over one month we made the decision to move 7.3 to our stable package repositories. Thanks to all the testers and reporters who enabled us to wipe out most of the major issues.

Please note that libgl-dri has been renamed to libgl since the deprecation of libgl-mesa happened a long time ago already. That means people packaging for the AUR should finally get rid of any hard dependencies on libgl-dri or else their packages will be left broken.

Bugtracker is open for Community packages

Due to high demand we have created a separate project on our bugtracker named "Community Packages". All bug reports and feature requests related to packages from the [community] repository should now be reported there.

Please do not report them to "Arch Linux" or "Arch User Repository (AUR)" projects. Instead use the "Switch" button at the upper left of Flyspray's page to choose the correct project.

In addition to this do not report bugs for packages which are in [unsupported]. Just put a comment on the package's page on AUR instead.

Core Rebuild

Due to recent glibc and gcc upgrades, we figured it'd be best to rebuild the whole core repo off the new toolchain, to take advantage of the latest-and-greatest changes.

Daniel has taken up this task, rebuilt all packages for both architectures, and moved them to [testing].

If you run into any problems, please report them on the bug tracker.

Arch in the Media

Archlinux tools: AUR is featuring a short series of articles aiming to describe the key administration tools and packages used in the Arch Linux distribution. The second article in the series discusses AUR and yaourt.

Arch 2007.08-2 Review

"Acrh [sic] Linux is lean, wicked and it allows all types to possibilities. It allows the user to custom tailor the distribution as per his/her taste. It has a great package manager. A package manager that is being used by lot of other distributions like frugalware, archie and faun." The complete review is here.

Arch Linux, really impressive. Even when virtualized.

"I'm a Debian-guy. Apt is fast as hell and it works splendid. The rpm-distros haven't treated me any good, so I've become a bit sceptical [sic] towards those. However I have heard awesome things about Pacman, and so far all those things seem to be true." Read the complete review here.

General Linux News

Nigeria favors Linux vendor Mandriva over Microsoft once more

"Microsoft may not have beaten French Linux vendor Mandriva in a large deal to supply Nigerian elementary schools with laptop computers and software after all."

Putting the OpenDocument Foundation to Bed (without its supper)

"Gary Edwards, Sam Hiser and Marbux, the management (and perhaps sole remaining members) of the OpenDocument Foundation decided that CDF was the answer to all of the problems that ODF was designed to address. This announcement gave rise to a flurry of press attention that Sam Hiser has collected here. As others (such as Rob Weir) have already documented, these articles gave the Foundation's position far more attention than it deserved." I guess then, is time to put the OpenDocument foundation to bed, but without its supper.

Wal-Mart Plans To Restock Hot-Selling Linux PC

Wal-Mart recently sold out its Linux based Everex TC2502 Green gPC, but they are actually planning to restock this hot-selling Linux based PC. This could be an indicator of the Linux based products potential for success in the consumer market.

Featured Interview

Jason Chu: Editor of the Devland Section

Jason Chu, born on 1981, from Victoria, BC, Canada, is actually the guy who helped me on my road to make my first Arch Linux newsletter. Jason, helped all the way around, he didn't give me the fish, instead he actually taught me how to fish. Thanks for always being so supportive, it really means a lot. Now, without further sentimentalism, I present to you the featured interview this week.

  1. Why do you choose Arch Linux above all other distributions?

  2. I originally tried Arch because I knew Judd and wanted to try out this linux distro that he'd started.

    Now I stay with it because it's the distro that makes the least choices for me, has very up-to-date packages, doesn't include a lot of unnecessary dependencies, and works when I just want it to work.

  3. Can you briefly describe exactly what is your work on Arch Linux?

  4. Probably not briefly... unlike most devs, I don't do a lot of package maintenance. I help organize everything that the developers are doing and I develop tools for packaging and arch in general. I'm sure you've heard of some of them: namcap, devtools, srcpac, pacbuild. I also set up the original TUR and helped with the first AUR.

  5. What flaws do you see in your area of work on Arch Linux, which you would like to see improved in the future?

  6. Well, I don't spend enough time developing arch tools anymore. If other people wanted to help (all the current arch tools are in git now:, I'd help anyone get up to speed.

    In general, there are people in arch who do a lot of things and a different group of people who don't do those things but find fault in how the former does things. The problem is that no one realizes that the same holds true for the things that the latter does.

  7. How do you feel about working for Arch Linux?

  8. I really like it. I like collaborating with people all over the world on a great linux distro.

    That said, sometimes it is really frustrating. Especially when I know I need to be spending more time on my responsibilities.

  9. What does "The Arch Way" means from your perspective?

  10. This is actually one of my pet peeves. People use phrases like "The Arch Way" and "KISS" to try to justify doing or not doing something. The problem is that "The Arch Way" and "KISS" mean whatever people want them to mean so they can't really be argued for or against.

  11. Can you explain the name meaning behind the section you write "Devland"?

  12. Mostly it was just a cute name for all the things that the developers are doing. It was originally coined when the newsletter first started. The main reason the newsletter was started was so that the community could be informed about what the developers were up to. Back then we didn't have the arch-dev-public list.

    It's similar to userland ( and only it's the land of the developers.

    Historical Note from Dusty: The title Devland actually came into being before the first newsletter. It was used within the community in phrases like "What's going on in Devland these days?" because distro progress was slow and undocumented -- arch-dev was a private list and we might go weeks or months without hearing from the devs. Dennis and I briefly maintained an official document titled "Devland" that was later improved and incorporated into the newsletter.

  13. Do you love tacos?

  14. Do I ever! You know, I think I'll have some for dinner.

  15. Do you think Aaron Griffin can lift a car over his head?

  16. I am very sure that Aaron Griffin can lift a car over his head. When we were to LinuxTag 2005, he did just that. Only instead of a "car", it was a "beer" and instead of "lift over his head", it was "drink".

Message From Aaron Griffin

Addressing the 7.3 Issues

It looks like we had some "big issues" with the Xorg 7.3 move to current. There are a few reasons for this, that I would like to cover:

  1. The packages had been in testing for 1 month. None of the people using testing noticed any problems.
  2. Most of the problems found were either related to configuration or closed source drivers.
  3. A major release like this has numerous changes which people weren't warned of enough.

So, going forward, I'd like to make an agreement with all of you guys out there. If you promise to try out packages in testing more, and promise to file bugs in the bug tracker about issues, I will make it my explicit duty to make sure you are informed of breaking changes to large-scale packages like this.


Forum Highlights

Mailing List Highlights

Expand your Knowledge

Creating Konqueror Service Menus

"The ability to select mimetype-specific actions from Konqueror's context menu is an often requested feature. The pleasant surprise is that this is already possible. The even more pleasant surprise is that you don't need to be a software developer to create new actions. This article details step-by-step how to quickly and easily add new actions to Konqueror's context menu."

Create an extension the easy way with BasicAddonBuilder

"So you've written a nifty macro and want to share it with the world. You can, of course, publish the code on your Web site, but a better way to go is to pack it as an easy-to-install extension."

Application to Improve

This time, I want to highlight two wiki entries requiring special attention. The first is grub, the boot manager. This wiki entry lacks several important subjects like, how to dual boot with other Linux distributions, dual boot with Windows on another partition, or with Windows on another hard drive disk. The second is the wireless setup wiki entry. I have been told this entry needs organization and to be made more consistent for each driver section. So, please, with our contributions the Arch Linux Wiki can be a better place. If you have the time and skills to make this possible, you are encouraged to help.

The Humor Section

kensai: why do people get quite when I enter the IRC now? LOL
iamsthitha: omg, no one said anything for 2 minutes, this is time for humoring 
about the silence of the IRC and appending LOL to the end of every sentence!
hrist: dunno, I prefer emacs over any other editor
MrElendig: hrist: you got 12 fingers?
hrist: 11 :P
DigitalCrypto: I take back my previous statement about checking out emacs
MrElendig: DigitalCrypto: it'a s joke, but it is true that emacs do have 
some realy long bindings
iarwain1 !chuck
phrik iarwain1: 425: Count from one to ten. That's how long it would take Chuck 
Norris to kill you...Fourty seven times. iarwain1 !give [] chuck phrik POPOZAO!, or flustered, he can't spell tired: 44: According to the Encyclopedia
Brittanica, the Native American "Trail of Tears" has been redefined as anywhere that
Chuck Norris walks. iarwain1 !give "[]" chuck phrik []: 152: Anytime someone is elected president in the United States, they must
ask permission from Chuck Norris to live in the White House. The reason for this is
because Chuck Norris had won every Federal, State, and Local election since 1777.
He just allows others to run the country in his place.


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

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