Gentoo Monthly Newsletter: December 2013

Gentoo News

Interview with Sergey Popov

(by David Abbott)

Sergey Popov  is a Gentoo developer and the team leader of Qt, proxy-maintainers and desktop-effects teams.

Who is Sergey Popov?

In short: system administrator, Linux fan.
System administration is my job. I work in geographically distributed company, a technical university, with departments all over the region. Also, I am open source contributor and Gentoo Developer, (surprise! :-)) and I really enjoy that role.

How did you get involved with Linux and Open Source, and what was the path that lead to you to Gentoo?

Well, first of all, I first interacted with Linux when I began to work in my alma mater as junior system administrator, when I was a 2nd year student. Senior admins were mostly undergraduates and thus they were busy with diplomas. So, me and my colleague began to study *NIX systems, cause we have 3 servers, running Fedora Core 5, if i remember correctly.
I was aware of Linux, but only had a little expirience with Debian on VPS in high school.
Some of my colleague’s had been charmed by the power of FreeBSD, but I decided to stay with Linux.
After some experiments I came to Gentoo. God, how awesome it was, and still is, compared to other binary distro’s. Soon, we got rid of Fedora entirely, as it was replaced on our servers by Gentoo 🙂

What aspects of Gentoo do you feel the developers and maintainers have got right?

First of all, Gentoo is about choice. When somebody tells me that it’s not about choice, rather that it’s about flexibility, I think it does not matter how it sounds, only what it means. For me it means near unlimited possibilities of customization.
So, me and our fellow developers provide choice for users. And this is main thing that we are doing right, I think.

What is it about Gentoo you would like to see improved?

Portage, while it is one of the best package managers I have ever seen, sometimes can be really slow :-(.
Also, I think we should focus on tightening user-developer interaction, because it is our source for new developers, which in turn bring new software to the tree and improves the support for existing software.

What are some of the projects within Gentoo that you enjoy contributing to?

Well, arch teams and security is my primary focus lately, so thats what I am spending most of my time on. But I have changeable personality, so it usually shifts after some time.

How can users get involved with proxy maintaining?

Well, we are always looking for enthusiastic users that have, or want to learn, skills in ebuild maintained and who wants a package to be integrated within the Gentoo ecosystem. It’s quite simple to pick a package and become a proxy maintainer, the process is described on our project page.

Describe some of the challenges being a team lead?

Well, first of all, team lead is organizational duty. So, you do not need to be the the most skilled in your team, but as team lead you should know about direction of development and define it. So, the main challenge for me was to see the whole project from the position of leader, to understand this position properly. And I hope that I am doing this right 🙂

What arch teams are you involved with, and describe the process and any special problems in keeping packages stabilized?

I am member of amd64, arm and mips arch teams. Working with amd64 is simplest one – easy access to hardware, a major arch, so compatibility problems – near zero, but some old software from 200x or even 19xx, that still exists in portage tree, can have problems. arm – harder one, because of the slower  hardware(Raspberry Pi) for testing packages(but qemu-user chroot saves me from endless waiting for compilations ;-)), compatibility problems – presents, but rarely. mips is the hardest from one side(different ABIs, endianness, etc) and specific problems(e.g. aligning), but from the other side – it is unstable-only arch – so, it ease things.

MIPS is testing only, why is that?

Well, let me give you some technical background. Let’s took amd64 as example. It’s major arch(according to last GMN we have more keyword coverage for it then even for x86, nice!). It has 3 supported ABIs in Gentoo – 32,64 and x32(which is less supported due to many breakages in vast amount of software, but that’s not our topic). We can have multilib or use only natively compiled binaries, it does not matter.
Now, let’s talk about mips. What do we have here? 3 supported ABIs – n32, o32 and n64. Same as for x86, so what differs? And here goes Endianness. We can have those ABIs either Big Endian(BE) or Little Endian(LE). So, we have much more combinations that can break software. And, as our resources(both manpower and hardware) are limited, we just can not afford maintaining two branches(stable/unstable) for that arch.

What was the process you went through to become involved with the security team?

Well, to be honest, security is not my strong side(I for example, have very limited installations of Hardened Gentoo, but I am sure – it will grow), but I always cared about it. That was mixed feelings – I imagined that all security team members are gurus in exploits, shell code stuff and such, while I am not. But, no matter, I decided to try to become at least GLSA coordinator, cause I thought that I can help with GLSA release process and, well, if I will stuck somewhere – ask for help from senior members. At that moment I was aware that recruitment process differs and now, from the inside, I understand why. Security is one of the key points, cause we, as developers should provide programs and different solutions for our users, but they should be, well, ‘secure’. And this can be very time-consuming activity – to get information from security mail lists, handle it properly(either in a form of simple bug report, upstream interaction or patch) and bring fixes to tree. And again, and again – never ending fun :-). That’s why, for proper training, we have opportunities for ordinary users to become security scouts and padawans(more details – on our project page). As I was already Gentoo developer I passed through this training right to full team membership in two months.

What is your programming background? 

I began with Pascal in high school, then I was charmed by Assembler. After that was C/C++ and PHP. Have some basic reading skills in Perl and Python.

Which open source programs would you like to see developed?

First of all, Linux kernel, primarily in networking and visualization. Network and socket tools(I am system administrator, first of all): nmap, netcat, tcpdump, wireshark, socat. Portage becomes nicer and nicer with each release.

What resources have you found most helpful when troubleshooting within Gentoo and Linux in general?

Well, if sort them in order of absolute amount of knowledge acquired, that would be:

  2. (handbook, project docs, forums, wiki, etc.)
  4. other resources, mostly found via Google 🙂

What can users do to improve Gentoo and how can we get users and developers working more closely?

Well, first and the most valuable aspect is closer interaction between users and developers. Filing bugs to bugzilla, talking in IRC, etc. If a user wants to participate in improving Gentoo there are many opportunities for them. Making a personal overlay public and register it in layman maybe one way. Another opportunity – contributing to sunrise overlay or directly to main tree through Proxy maintainers. Last two requires not only basics of ebuild writing but some knowledge of QA standards and guidelines.

What advice do you have for people wanting to become Gentoo Developers?

Learn the developer documentation. Do not be scared of the quizzes. Improve your skills. Last one is a constant process, you can not relax when you become a Gentoo developer – it’s just the beginning for your future progress.

Tell us your mentoring experiences, what do you get out of it?
Well, I could not say that I am person who can teach others, but my mentee was really persistent, so I decided to try. And it was successful after all, my mentee beat the quizzes and passed review sessions. And I… well… I revised my position about teaching others – when they are really motivated it is not hard to help them, it is a pleasure.

What needs to be improved, changed, fixed in the recruitment process?
Quizzes should be updated(some updates happened already and it’s good) to include some questions about subslots, for example. Situation with recruiters and mentors seems fine now, so we just should keep things as they are.

You are currently the Gentoo Qt lead, tell us about that
Well, it was my first experience as team lead. Our team keeps regular meetings to discuss some major problems(bugs, integration questions, etc.), so I need to learn how to hold a meeting. And, thanks to yngwin(previous lead), I have learned it quickly. The main topic now is inclusion of Qt5 in main tree. There is some work that has already been done, but there is more work ahead.

Where do you see Gentoo 5 years from now?
Well, that’s hard to predict, honestly. I hope that we continue to move on to our goals and develop our tools for easing users’ life.

Can you describe your personal desktop setup (WM/DE)?
Currently I have 2 desktops – one at home, one at work. Both running Gentoo Linux(mostly stable, with few things in package.accept_keywords). I use KDE 4 as DE on them. Home desktop has Compiz as WM replacement for default kwin.

What are the specs of your current boxes and describe your home network?
My home LAN is divided into some segments. First of all – main segment, where all wired devices are connected. Here are my PC router(Pentium IV, 2.8Ghz, 1 core with HyperThreading, uClibc as C library), desktop(Intel Core i7, 3Ghz, 4 cores with HyperThreading, multi-seat setup with 2 complements of VGA/Keyboard/Mouse/Monitor, both VGAs are NVIDIA) and recently bought MIPS router(Cavium Octeon, 500Mhz, 2 cores). Then – Wi-Fi segment, shared through PC router and PCI Wi-Fi card(Atheros chipset, very easy setup). Persistent client on this network is my Raspberry Pi model B with USB Wi-Fi adapter. All of listed devices are running, of course, Gentoo Linux :-). There are also three virtual segments in my desktop for virtualization purposes(KVM/Libvirt). PC router are linked with work desktop through OpenVPN and I utilize Quagga to redistribute routes to/from it.

What gives you the most enjoyment within the Open Source community?
Contribution to such project as Gentoo, first of all: knowledge that you fixes will ease life of users is really encouraging. Chatting with interesting people in IRC with different areas of interests and skills is a fun too.

How did you get the nick “pinkbyte”?
Origins come from the “Tron” movie and character “Bit” that can transform yourself into red figure when answering ‘No’.

Gentoo Council News

One thing on the agenda of this month’s council meeting was once more the modernization of the Gentoo Code of Conduct. Our decision was to make some minimal changes that basically adapt the wording to the status quo and remove mention of long gone projects such as the proctors. The second agenda topic was improvement of GLEP 48, which defines the role of the QA team. The GLEP was amended such that the QA lead is elected by the team members but has to be confirmed by the council, with a term of one year. If the QA team lead position remains vacant, the council may appoint an interim lead.

Gentoo Developer Moves


Gentoo is made up of 250 active developers, of which 42 are currently away.
Gentoo has recruited a total of 791 developers since its inception


The following developers have recently changed roles


The following developers have recently joined the project

Nicolas Bock (announcement)

Michael Orlitzky (announcement)


This section summarizes the current state of the portage tree.

Architectures 44
Categories 159
Packages 17111
Ebuilds 38053
Architecture Stable Testing Total % of Packages
alpha 3576 540 4116 24.05%
amd64 10607 5985 16592 96.97%
amd64-fbsd 0 1572 1572 9.19%
arm 2583 1596 4179 24.42%
hppa 3022 456 3478 20.33%
ia64 3117 595 3712 21.69%
m68k 515 95 610 3.56%
mips 0 2266 2266 13.24%
ppc 6859 2375 9234 53.97%
ppc64 4317 870 5187 30.31%
s390 1613 156 1769 10.34%
sh 1834 210 2044 11.95%
sparc 4094 909 5003 29.24%
sparc-fbsd 0 325 325 1.90%
x86 11390 5032 16422 95.97%
x86-fbsd 0 3199 3199 18.70%



The following GLSAs have been released by the Security Team

GLSA Package Description Bug
201312-16 media-gfx/xfig Xfig: Arbitrary code execution 348344
201312-15 net-proxy/tinyproxy Tinyproxy: Denial of Service 432046
201312-14 media-libs/libsndfile libsndfile: Arbitrary code execution 375125
201312-13 net-analyzer/wireshark Wireshark: Multiple vulnerabilities 484582
201312-12 app-crypt/mit-krb5 MIT Kerberos 5: Multiple vulnerabilities 429324
201312-11 media-libs/win32codecs Win32 Codecs: User-assisted execution of arbitrary code 232999
201312-10 net-libs/libsmi libsmi: Arbitrary code execution 342127
201312-09 app-arch/cabextract cabextract: Multiple vulnerabilities 329891
201312-08 media-libs/libwebp WebP: User-assisted execution of arbitrary code 442152
201312-07 media-libs/openexr OpenEXR: Multiple Vulnerabilities 277202
201312-06 app-accessibility/festival Festival: Arbitrary code execution 386319
201312-05 dev-lang/swi-prolog SWI-Prolog : Multiple vulnerabilities 450284
201312-04 media-libs/libtheora libtheora: Arbitrary code execution 298039
201312-03 dev-libs/openssl OpenSSL: Multiple Vulnerabilities 369753
201312-02 sys-apps/busybox BusyBox: Multiple vulnerabilities 379857
201312-01 sys-libs/glibc GNU C Library: Multiple vulnerabilities 350744

Package Removals/Additions


Package Developer Date
app-arch/xarchiver hwoarang 02 Dec 2013
kde-misc/kio-upnp-ms johu 04 Dec 2013
kde-misc/qtrans johu 04 Dec 2013
sys-apps/pcfclock pinkbyte 09 Dec 2013
dev-python/python-subunit idella4 12 Dec 2013
app-text/gsview mr_bones_ 14 Dec 2013
mail-client/gbuffy mr_bones_ 14 Dec 2013
net-print/pup mr_bones_ 14 Dec 2013
dev-libs/libsmtp mr_bones_ 14 Dec 2013
net-analyzer/traffic-vis mr_bones_ 14 Dec 2013
dev-libs/pwlib moult 15 Dec 2013
net-libs/openh323 moult 15 Dec 2013
app-emulation/qenv moult 15 Dec 2013
dev-lang/v8cgi phajdan.jr 18 Dec 2013
dev-lang/v8 phajdan.jr 18 Dec 2013
media-sound/omptagger graaff 29 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/id3lib-ruby graaff 29 Dec 2013


Package Developer Date
games-misc/sound-of-sorting blueness 02 Dec 2013
dev-python/sure idella4 02 Dec 2013
dev-python/misaka idella4 02 Dec 2013
dev-python/steadymark idella4 02 Dec 2013
dev-python/httpretty idella4 02 Dec 2013
dev-python/libvirt-python cardoe 02 Dec 2013
dev-util/spec-cleaner scarabeus 03 Dec 2013
net-mail/postfix-logwatch mjo 03 Dec 2013
app-leechcraft/lc-htthare pinkbyte 03 Dec 2013
sys-libs/libapparmor kensington 03 Dec 2013
sys-apps/apparmor kensington 03 Dec 2013
sys-apps/apparmor-utils kensington 03 Dec 2013
sec-policy/apparmor-profiles kensington 03 Dec 2013
net-misc/vrrpd robbat2 03 Dec 2013
dev-python/XenAPI idella4 05 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/ruby-clutter-gstreamer naota 05 Dec 2013
dev-lang/moarvm patrick 06 Dec 2013
dev-python/queuelib patrick 06 Dec 2013
dev-libs/boost-numpy heroxbd 06 Dec 2013
app-emacs/visual-basic-mode ulm 07 Dec 2013
dev-python/pysrt tomwij 07 Dec 2013
sys-apps/epoch tomwij 07 Dec 2013
dev-python/retry-decorator vapier 09 Dec 2013
sys-block/blocks jlec 10 Dec 2013
dev-python/python-subunit idella4 10 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/connection gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/control-monad-loop gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/free gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/http-client gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/http-client-conduit gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/http-client-multipart gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/http-client-tls gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/keys gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/monad-loops gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/mono-traversable gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/process-conduit gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/stm-chans gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/vector-instances gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/pointed gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/warp-tls gienah 11 Dec 2013
xfce-extra/xfce4-windowck-plugin ssuominen 11 Dec 2013
games-emulation/pcsxr mgorny 11 Dec 2013
dev-haskell/tasty-quickcheck gienah 11 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/blankslate mrueg 12 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/parslet mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/mercenary mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/slim mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/memoizable mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/toml mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/asciidoctor mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/org-ruby mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/hipchat mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/settingslogic mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/gemoji mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/equalizer mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/buftok mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/adhearsion-loquacious mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/http-cookie mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/turbolinks mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/seed-fu mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/d3_rails mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/modernizr mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/ffaker mrueg 13 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/letter_opener mrueg 13 Dec 2013
sci-chemistry/freeon nicolasbock 13 Dec 2013
sys-cluster/charmdebug nicolasbock 13 Dec 2013
sys-cluster/projections nicolasbock 13 Dec 2013
dev-python/babelfish tomwij 14 Dec 2013
dev-libs/libmongo-client vadimk 14 Dec 2013
dev-python/Yamlog idella4 15 Dec 2013
dev-python/Bcryptor idella4 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-core mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-audio-sdl mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-input-sdl mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-rsp-hle mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-video-rice mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-video-glide64mk2 mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/mupen64plus-ui-console mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-emulation/m64py mgorny 15 Dec 2013
games-arcade/mrrescue hasufell 15 Dec 2013
app-admin/eselect-metasploit zerochaos 15 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/pcaprub zerochaos 15 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/sdoc zerochaos 15 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/packetfu zerochaos 15 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/rjb zerochaos 15 Dec 2013
dev-embedded/cpik rafaelmartins 15 Dec 2013
sec-policy/selinux-rngd swift 16 Dec 2013
net-misc/ssh-chain ottxor 18 Dec 2013
kde-base/libkomparediff2 johu 18 Dec 2013
x11-apps/radeontop tomwij 19 Dec 2013
net-mail/amavis-logwatch mjo 20 Dec 2013
perl-core/CPAN zlogene 21 Dec 2013
games-util/lutris hasufell 22 Dec 2013
dev-java/logback ercpe 23 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/rails-observers graaff 24 Dec 2013
dev-python/argcomplete jlec 24 Dec 2013
net-misc/gnome-online-miners pacho 24 Dec 2013
media-sound/gnome-music pacho 24 Dec 2013
sci-geosciences/gnome-maps pacho 24 Dec 2013
gnome-extra/gnome-boxes pacho 24 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/github_api graaff 25 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/permutation naota 25 Dec 2013
dev-perl/Sys-Mmap dilfridge 25 Dec 2013
dev-embedded/pikdev rafaelmartins 25 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/watch naota 25 Dec 2013
games-sports/dustrac hasufell 26 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/redis mrueg 26 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/json_pure naota 27 Dec 2013
dev-util/freecode-submit radhermit 27 Dec 2013
dev-ruby/dbf graaff 27 Dec 2013
app-leechcraft/lc-scroblibre maksbotan 27 Dec 2013
app-antivirus/clamav-unofficial-sigs mjo 27 Dec 2013
net-analyzer/speedtest-cli zx2c4 27 Dec 2013
net-p2p/datacoin-hp blueness 28 Dec 2013
dev-db/wxsqlite3 jlec 28 Dec 2013
dev-vcs/cvs-fast-export slyfox 28 Dec 2013
sec-policy/selinux-mandb swift 29 Dec 2013
dev-util/qbs pesa 29 Dec 2013


The Gentoo community uses Bugzilla to record and track bugs, notifications, suggestions and other interactions with the development team.


The following tables and charts summarize the activity on Bugzilla between 29 November 2013 and 29 December 2013. Not fixed means bugs that were resolved as NEEDINFO, WONTFIX, CANTFIX, INVALID or UPSTREAM.

Bug Activity Number
New 1810
Closed 1160
Not fixed 231
Duplicates 158
Total 5291
Blocker 5
Critical 16
Major 68

Closed bug ranking

The developers and teams who have closed the most bugs during this period are as follows.

Rank Team/Developer Bug Count
1 Gentoo Security 84
2 Perl Devs @ Gentoo 66
3 Gentoo's Team for Core System packages 41
4 Gentoo Games 36
5 Gentoo Linux Gnome Desktop Team 35
6 Robin Johnson 29
7 Gentoo KDE team 27
8 Sven Vermeulen 25
9 Gentoo Ruby Team 24
10 Others 792


Assigned bug ranking

The developers and teams who have been assigned the most bugs during this period are as follows.

Rank Team/Developer Bug Count
1 Gentoo Linux bug wranglers 118
2 Gentoo Security 91
3 Perl Devs @ Gentoo 87
4 Gentoo Linux Gnome Desktop Team 68
5 Python Gentoo Team 64
6 Gentoo's Team for Core System packages 58
7 Gentoo KDE team 49
8 Default Assignee for Orphaned Packages 36
9 Gentoo Games 36
10 Others 1202


Tip of the month

Search packages in Portage by regular expressions:
#emerge -s "%^python$"

Getting Involved?

Interested in helping out? The GMN relies on volunteers and members of the community for content every month. If you are interested in writing for the GMN or thinking of another way to contribute, please send an e-mail to

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