- Eduardo Romero - "Editor in Chief, Back in Business"
- Ronald van Haren - "Author"
- Dusty Phillips - "Schwag Reporter"
- Dan Griffiths - "Contributor, Proofreader"
- Alex Minkiewicz - "Contributor"
Another month, another great Arch Linux newsletter! Before we begin, I would like to apologise for the hiautus I have been on for the past few months. I needed it to take some time and focus on my life. Similarly to a bug-fixing spree, it was a necessary evil that was at times entertaining. ;-)
Lately we have witnessed an increase in the popularity of Arch Linux. For one reason or another we seem to have drawn the media spotlight, even glorified in one article as the best Linux distribution for administrators.
Finally, we take a look at a controversial situation that we the developers have been discussing for some time now. We have decided to share the situation with you, the community, so that all can voice their opinion on the forums through the newsletter discussion thread.Eduardo "kensai" Romero (On behalf of the Newsletter Team)
Arch Linux Front Page News2009-05-24
Minimum required kernel version increased
With the glibc-2.10 toolchain update, the minimum kernel version requirement for glibc has been increased from 2.6.16 to 2.6.18.
Arch Linux in the Media
There's Way More to Linux than Ubuntu: 8 Distros Compared
"Arch Linux is a distro that is designed to be fast, lightweight, and simple from a developer's point of view. Arch is similar to Gentoo, but is binary-based rather than source-based. Arch is for advanced Linux users who know what they are doing and have a firm grasp on the command line. There is no graphical frontend for package management; the Pacman package management tool is handled exclusively through the command line." (Read the Rest)
Best Linux distros for power users, gamers, newbies and more
"In the 21st century, there can't be many Linux distributions left that drop the user into a command line prompt rather than a Gnome or KDE graphical login screen. But this is the approach taken by Arch Linux, a distribution that's unashamedly built for reconfigurability and gaining geek credentials." (Read the Rest)
Why People resort to Arch Linux
"Arch Linux is a Linux enthusiasts dream. It has a rare reputation of being very basic at the same time very user friendly. It is a minimalistic distribution which allows for great customizations, it very updated (much better than OpenSUSE or Ubuntu) and has a very good package manager." ( Read the Rest)
Open Source Review: Arch Linux
"Arch uses its own package management system called pacman, a command line program providing the usual facilities for installing, removing and handling dependencies. Arch also includes the tools to create your own packages. The official repository has a big selection of packages, and is supplemented by the AUR community repository."(Read the Rest)
"There are nearly 3 years, I test Arch Linux 0.7.2, finishing with these words: "Without a doubt, a distribution to watch for the future." So rightly I was reminded recently that it might be time that I have tested this new distribution. So I used the release of version 2009.2 to test it more closely. So I downloaded the x86_64 ISO from a mirror (333 MB). There are still so many versions available with the addition of the USB versions. This new version contains the following packages: kernel 2.6.28, ext4 support, Gnome 2.26, KDE 4.2.3, XFCE 4.6.1, Enlightenment 17 and a lot of good things." (Read the Rest) [French]
Mention in News Section of the Distrowatch Newsletter
"Have you ever thought about trying Arch Linux, but were put off by the relatively "geeky" installation process in this day of modern, easy-to-use system installers? If so, here is your chance. Christopher Rogers (better known by his nickname "godane") has been releasing regular Archiso-live CD images, unofficial Arch Linux live CDs with automatic hardware detection, Xfce desktop and a graphical system installer." (Read the Rest)
"After my less than stellar rant on Arch Linux, I received much feedback. It was almost as much as some of my Slackware rants. One fellow suggested I look at something called the CHAKRA Project." (Read the Rest)
Arch Linux Development News
- Eric has put great efforts in his 'little' license rebuild project. Packages which had no license defined in the PKGBUILD now have one. Great work!
- A discussion was held regarding what the minimum required kernel version should be.
- The future of LZMA / xz in libarchive was discussed.
- Thomas brought FrOSCon to our attention.
Featured Interview - Giovanni Scafora
Hi Giovanni, first we would like to ask about your background. How did you come to Arch Linux? And how did you become a developer?
Hi guys, early in 1998 I started to use Linux regularly. After a learning period, I tried many Linux distributions, but I started using Linux with Red Hat 6. After, I tried Mandrake, SuSe, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware then I came to Arch Linux and I fell in love with it. I became a TU in 2005 and three years later Aaron was looking for developers. I applied and now here I am.
We would like to know a bit more about you. Tell us, what do you do for Arch Linux as a developer?
My main task is package maintenance (at the moment, I maintain about 150 packages). Also, I translated AUR and pacman messages to the Italian language.
We would like to know if there is any particular area, or any particular package, for Arch Linux that you are trying or want to improve, and how?
I am trying to improve all of my packages and I keep up x86_64 packages of some developers, who still haven't got an x86_64 machine.
Well, a question we ask a lot, which is very interesting if you know how to answer it, is there any particular new technology coming to Linux or to the world in general that you are excited about?
I am excited about the development status of ext4 and KDE 4.3.
Giovanni, thanks for the interview, we appreciate your work as a developer, keep up the good work. Oh, and is there anything more you would like to tell the users?
Thanks for using Arch Linux and never forget the "Arch Way"
Arch Linux Schwag Report
As I write this, I'm sitting at a table at PGCon waiting for the next talk to start. The t-shirts for the conference inspired the latest t-shirt added to our catalogue:
The Dan McGee Rejected My Patch shirt was born when I showed Arch Developer kpiche the PGCon 2009 'Tom Lane Rejected My Patch" version. We were discussing Dan's patch-ninja tendencies at the time.
Time and creativity constraints are the primary reason for no other new products. Please, if you have an idea that you would like to see on a t-shirt, let me know. I'm pretty sure each of you has a t-shirt inside you... and one on the outside too.
The newly printed case badges are available and have been selling well. If you missed out on the first batches of case badges, here is your chance to cash in.
Presales on the LAPTOP BAGS were not as successful as I expected, and I have not been able to meet the requirement to get a quantity discount. I'm extending the preorder time a little longer in hopes of making the quota, but will definitely be getting the already-ordered bags made soon.
- Kessia 'even' Pinheiro has informed us that she is going to be temporarily inactive after frying her laptop motherboard. Hurry up and get a new one! We need you back!
- Hugo Doria has announced his resignation as a TU. Although we will miss him, we are happy that Hugo will be continuing his work with core development.
- BoySka released a nice little utility called pacatatime that allows you to upgrade your system a few packages at a time. If you find yourself running out of disk space, check this one out!
- MrGreen took a page from LifeHacker and wants to know what Arch users carry in their laptop bags.
- Xyne has asked the proper way to write the name of our beloved distro. Apparantly, it should either be written as Arch Linux or Arch. Additionally, Xyne has announced a new GUI theme editor for Openbox called obtheme. Openbox users wishing to customize their themes should definitely check this out!
- Ghost1227 announced that the Arch Quote Database has been redesigned and moved to a new home on the Arch User Magazine server.
- It's happened to everyone. You finish that huge,
hour-long upgrade and reboot into your now up-to-date system only to find that
something went terribly
wrong. One of the fifty packages you upgraded did
something it shouldn't have and now your precious system is at best unstable, at
worst... you get the point.
So what now? The one downside to pacman is the lack of a
rollback feature so you might just have to start from scratch! You're not the
first Arch user to run
into this dilemma, and you won't be the last.
Thankfully, one enterprising Archer has put together a repo called Project ARM.
So who is this mysterious Archer,
and what exactly is Project ARM?
The user in question is none other than our very own kumyco. Already a Windows poweruser, kumyco had tired of being stepped through even the simplest of configuration changes and decided to try Linux. Starting with Ubuntu, he quickly saw the same faults in the fledgling distribution and switched to the popular minimalist distribution Slackware before finding his home with Arch.
Now, after three years of using Arch, kumyco has decided to give something back to the community. While experimenting with the AUR, kumyco made one too many changes and found himself unable to boot his system. Noticing several other people with this problem on the forums, he devised Project ARM. The Arch Rollback Machine uses a combination of rsync and shell scripts to create a date-sorted repository with the goal of eventually allowing a full rollback to a specific date. Intrigued? So are we. This project has a lot of potential and promises to be quite popular down the line.
What does the future hold for kumyco? Other than the obvious opportunities presented by Project ARM, there are rumors of a modular, plugin-based media player library in the works. Regardless, we look forward to further contributions from this intrepid Archer!
- Keep an eye on the status of Project ARM here.
Screenshot Of The Month
The June screenshot of the month award goes to methuselah. Methuselah uses an XFCE desktop with a slightly changed panel for its speed and compiz as a window manager for its look. The used panel patch fixes transparency issues where icons and text in the panel also become transparent. The patched xfce4-panel is available via the AUR. Please note that some panel plugins don't play well with the cairo patch.
The gtk2-theme as shown in the screenshot is a yet unfinished homemade theme based on the murrine svn engine. The desktop is complimented by the hydroxygen icon theme and conky as a system monitor.
Desktop Environment: XFCE 4.6.1 Window Manager: Compiz + Emerald GTK2-theme: Homemade theme, using murrine-svn engine Icon theme: Hydroxygen with the MacUltimate_Leopard navigational buttons added System Monitor: Conky
Featured Article: Pimp Your Arch?
If you take a look through the Artwork and Screenshots section of the forums, you will quickly notice that the Arch community has a tremendous creative streak. Contained therein are hundreds of unique creations ranging from original wallpapers and icons to screenshots and configurations. Unfortunately, this collection comes with a price. The sheer volume of posts can make it difficult, nigh impossible, to find a specific piece amongst the compendium of color. So what can be done to sort out such a mess?
Arch user Ghost1227 has come up with a solution! Taking a cue from posts such as this one, he contacted the team behind opendesktop.org and got the ball rolling on a project to create a similar site for Arch. Finally completed on April 21st, the opendesktop.org team in association with Ghost1227 is proud to present the newest site from the people that brought you gnome-look and kde-look... arch-stuff.org! The arch-stuff website is a repository for Arch related artwork and the like. Got a new piece you're planning to announce on the forums? Post it to arch-stuff too! Help us catalog and expand our collection! Don't let your work be forgotten!
Tips and Tricks
Minimalistic - great things you can do with a low-end computer
Do you have this old low-end computer somewhere hidden in your closet? Great! Get it out of there, remove the dust and get a modern linux distribution that lets you configure it to your liking. Arch Linux? Yes, that would be a great distribution for this very task.
So what am I going to do with it you ask? You are going to set it up to accomplish some everyday tasks: taking notes, listening to music, organizing appointments, browsing the web, you name it! Of course we cannot discuss all possible tasks, or ways to accomplish each particular task, but this should give you a general idea of how to make your old computer useful again.
First get a basic Arch Linux installation up and running. Install an Xserver with a small clean windowmanager on top of it and configure it to your liking. Last but not least, as you plan to use a lot of console based software, install your favorite terminal.
Music player - ncmpc
Let us get some music playing while we continue. There are quite a few console based music players, some more popular than others. Here we chose ncmpc, a great ncurses frontend for the Music Player Daemon (MPD).
File manager - GNU Midnight Commander
If you like to use a filemanager instead of the command line, GNU Midnight Commander is a good choice. GNU Midnight Commander is a two pane file manager for the shell.
Organize your tasks - CalcurseAs you may remember, quite some months ago we discussed the use of cal and date. Although these are great utilities for what they do, they are not up to the task of orgranizing our daily activities. Let us install calcurse for this. Calcurse describes itself as "a text-based calendar and scheduling application. It helps keeping track of events, appointments and everyday tasks. A configurable notification system reminds user of upcoming deadlines, and the curses-based interface can be customized to suit user needs." Calcurse also includes the ability to manage a TODO list.
Browse the web
Here we are at a crossroad. Do we want to have just a text based browser or do we need something graphical? Of course we can install both and use the one we need at that particular moment.
ELinks is a good choise for a text based browser, supporting both frames and tables and a high level of customizability. For a graphical browser we install dillo. Dillo, known for its speed and small size, is based upon the Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK2).
If you need even more from your browser, like support for java or flash, you may want to look into one of the webkit browsers.
EditorA lot of text based editors exists, and you probably already have your own favorite. Choose the one you are most comfortable with, being it vim, GNU nano, GNU emacs, or some other editor you like better.
What else?So now we have discussed some of the more common tasks. There is a lot of other command line software available via the Arch Linux repositories. Downloading torrents with rtorrent, downloading youtube videos with youtube-dl, or getting your local weather forecast with weatherget are just a few examples of what is there to explore. Now take the dust of your old machine and let it do what it was designed for!
Expand your Knowledge
The Power of Z commands: zcat, zless, zgrep, and
"In this article let us review how to perform normal file operations on a compressed files using the powerful Linux Z commands." (Read the Rest)
terminator: displaying multiple
instances of a terminal in the same window
"...opening new terminals within the same window, you have no trouble viewing them together. Moreover, if you have multiple windows open and you move away from the terminals to do something else, you only have to find one window, not two. " (Read the Rest)
cpio: a handy
tool to backup and restore your data
"The cpio command is one of the most commonly used Linux back up tools...Unlike tar, in which the files to back up are typed in as part of the command, cpio reads the files to work with from the standard input (in other words, the screen)." (Read the Rest)
Featured article: Hey, that was our logo!
A few months ago, one of the Arch Linux developers saw the old Arch Linux logo driving down the street:
For those new to Arch, this was the Arch Linux logo from 2004 until 2007, as evidenced at the internet archive. A Google search on the name on the side of the car turned up a website (link removed) also featuring a bastardized version of our logo.
Such a blatant misuse of our logo. The dev team discussed the issue a lot internally -- it may have been a record breaking mailing list thread at nearly 100 messages, and counting. We contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Software Freedom Law Center for advice. We pondered, discussed, and argued.
Finally, we decided to contact the site's operator to find out his side of the story. What follows is a series of e-mails we exchanged.
My initial e-mail (Subject: Misuse of original artwork):
Dear Mr. Elias,
Are you aware that the logo you are using to represent your company (company name removed) is not an original drawing? This logo was used to represent Arch Linux from early 2004 until late 2007. This can be verified by viewing the internet archive for this period -- for example, this page shows that we were actively using this mark in 2004: http://web.archive.org/web/20041009113732/http://www.archlinux.org/logos.phpWe have not granted permission to you, your business, or your web designer to use this image to represent your tutoring business. We therefore request that you remove it from your vehicles, documents, advertising, website and any other media representing your company.
Each letter to our tutor friend was carefully hand-crafted by myself and then proofread and critiqued by the Arch devs. Mr. Elias responded:
Dear Dusty Philips,
I was completely unaware of this fact, I have drawn this logo myself as I based it on the letter A with curved lines corresponding to the first letter of the company; I have researched any similar logos before I utilised it and I could not find any current and ongoing logos for any organisations. The logo is now registered and used to represent the company and removing it would alter many aspects to the company's representation; the similarities if any to other logos are purely coincidental.Kind regards,
We were quite taken aback at this and several devs analyzed the logo on the site to prove similarity. The outlines match exactly, and the drop shadow, barely visible in the poorly blackened version on his site was still slightly visible. We responded:
Dear Mr. Elias,
It appears, in fact, that you did not draw this logo. Rather, it appears that you or someone on your behalf found the Arch Linux logo via a google images (or similar) search, possibly for 'arch logo' and converted the png representation to a jpg at around 80% quality, converting the transparent portions to black pixels in the process. The image was then resized to 78x78 pixels.
After doing a similar transform ourselves, we've found that your image is visually indistinguishable from ours. The outlines line up exactly, the shadows that exist in our image are faintly visible against the black background in yours, and the colours and gradient are identical. With 16 million colors in the rbg colorspace and 6000 pixels in a 78x78 image, the odds of someone generating an identical image are 1 in 100 billion. In other words, the similarity to our logo is not coincidental as you suggest.
In addition, the logo used on your car is identical to ours with no modification whatsoever. It appears to have been rendered from the professional quality scalable vector version of our old logo.
Since you claim the mark is registered, could you please provide us with the details of registration including identification number, and which authority you have registered it with.Thank you,
We awaited a response that could clarify the legal ground he felt he had to our image. Sadly, no clarification was forthcoming and his response was hard to interpret:
I am not understanding the big fuss on what I have never expected to bring such trouble; if I knew that what I can come up with and which took me months to create would bring such headache, I would have went with the other 7 logos I have drawn, just let me know what the options are that I have and I will consider suitable measures; the logo is registered as the company's representing drawing after I established the company. To be honest I don't need the constant reminders and harrassment as I have a very busy schedule.Kind regards,
I hope this matter can be closed and settled, the intention was never to imitate any other logos or any representations for that matter, I know you have done your research according to detailed info which you sent, but all this is coming as a surprise for me.
I will be awaiting your feedback and I am sincerely hoping this could be solved according to what is the best.
I drafted a response but as a team, we were undecided as to whether or not we should continue pursuing this. It had become obvious that we were dealing with a person unwilling to comply with our request. We didn't want to pursue legal avenues due to time commitments, resources, costs, and confusion over international laws. Our last step in this disturbing, but entertaining saga was to publish these conversations, we hope you enjoyed them.Update:
After this very article and the publicity it gained, the Arch Linux developer team received an unexpected e-mail from the operator of the company using our old logo. He has made a formal apology and has removed the logo from his website. The Arch Linux developer team considers the issue thereby resolved.
Apparently he received several threatening e-mails from members of our community. Honestly it was not our intention to motivate such actions. We know people tend to get out of hand sometimes when it comes to defending what they love, but for the future, please, that kind of behavior is not encouraged by any of us. Thanks for your support once more Arch Linux community.
The Fun Section
- Hugo Doria, poor guy, was mistaken when posting to the arch-dev-public mailing list, want to read the mistake? Sure, here it is.
- Which is the correct word? *duck* *dock* *deck* or... nevermind. Follow the discussion here. Oh, and is Arch Linux, period.
- And now, for the #archlinux fun:
caelestis> How do I know a binary was not made by a GPL infected source?
Quebec-Libre> is this thing working Ghost1227> Quebec-Libre: no Quebec-Libre> Ghost1227: Error: "no" is not a valid command. MrElendig> Quebec-Libre: no Quebec-Libre> MrElendig: Error: "no" is not a valid command. MrElendig> Quebec-Libre: are you a bot? Quebec-Libre> MrElendig: Error: "are" is not a valid command. Ghost1227> MrElendig: i'd say * Ghost1227 waits for the kick :P CyberSix> indeed * ChanServ gives channel operator status to MrElendig Ghost1227> he shoots! Quebec-Libre> yes I am a bot * MrElendig has kicked Quebec-Libre from #archlinux (read the fine rules) * Quebec-Libre has joined #archlinux CyberSix> lolz Ghost1227> he scores!!! Quebec-Libre> this is just a test, i,m leaving now CyberSix> yes, yes you are * MrElendig sets ban on *!*@x.x.x.x * Quebec-Libre has left #archlinux
Daenyth> rawr kevlarman> it's a Daenyth! kevlarman> quick, send my silver dragon bones file after him -> Daenyth (n=Daenyth@archlinux/trusteduser/Daenyth) has quit "Read error: 113 (No route to host)" kevlarman> success!
And so closes yet another Arch Linux newsletter. We sincerely hope you enjoyed the newsletter this month as we enjoyed creating it for your reading pleasure. Please, contact us with your opinions and/or suggestions for improvement. Also, we love user contributions so feel free to submit your article for consideration.