Council Manifesto 2011

June 28, 2011 · Posted in Gentoo · 18 Comments 

Well I know what you’re thinking. Something along these lines “Dude, seriously? You made so much noise and now you are running for council?” Well, this is the point isn’t it? If someone makes so much noise and complains about something, the only natural thing for him is to step up and try to obtain the “needed” authority to push these changes. Most of you  know who I am, either in person or by our long discussions on IRC and ML, and you know that politics is not one of my skills ;-) . I am not good in self-promotion and I am not going to come up with a fancy speech to convince you to vote for me. To be honest, I don’t think I need one. My activity is the best way to understand how hard I try to help Gentoo. I sincerely hope the new council will be mature enough to focus on important things , bring innovation within Gentoo,  and make developers happy and willing to dedicate time for Gentoo ( /me crossed fingers ).



The endless GPL-compliant battle

June 21, 2011 · Posted in Linux · 1 Comment 

Yesterday I was helping out a friend with a very strange problem. He is using sys-kernel/gentoo-sources and x11-drivers/ati-drivers. When he was trying to build the ati-drivers package, the following error occured


FATAL: modpost: GPL-incompatible module fglrx.ko uses 
GPL-only symbol 'kmemcheck_mark_initialized'

What does this mean? Simple. No-GPL code is trying to use the “kmemcheck_mark_initialized” symbol exported by the kernel, which is licensed under the GPL. So where is the problem? Is there a sort of API/ABI incompatibility between the licenses? :p

Doing some googling, I found out that there are plenty of exported GPL-only kernel symbols which prevent proprietary code such as device drivers to link to them. However, I haven’t found a solution on how ( if possible ) to disable this restriction. The solution to my problem was to disable the CONFIG_KMEMCHECK[1] from the kernel configuration. I’ve also found a couple of other cases that different kernel configuration can cause the same problem[1][2].

The other solution would be to “hack” the ati module and change the MODULE_LICENSE attribute to “GPL” instead of “Proprietary. (C) 2002  - ATI Technologies, Starnberg, GERMANY”.

If you know of a way to globally disable this feature(??) please let me know.




AMD64 Test Request: X11 and friends

June 19, 2011 · Posted in Gentoo · 5 Comments 

This is  yet another amd64 test request :). I consider every X11 stabilization quite critical since it affects pretty much all Gentoo users. So, if you feel bored and you want to do a selfless good deed, do some testing on the following two bugs[1][2] and report back :)


Update: These packages are now stable on amd64 architecture. Thank you all for your reports



Shhhh… I’m on a break

June 18, 2011 · Posted in Life, Travelling, Various · Comment 

Ohhhh... I' ve missed this sunset :)


It is good to be back :-)

How to be a bad leader

June 12, 2011 · Posted in Gentoo · Comment 

(long post, make yourself a coffee before you start reading)

Quite recently, I’ve been studying a module named “IT Governance” for my MSc. In this module I came across to the following definition of leadership:

Leadership is about inspiring others to do their best and to do so in a focused and co-ordinated way. Leaders are inspirational people and encourage others, by their own example, to achieve ever increasing success. It is often said that ‘Leaders are born, not made’. There is probably some truth in this but not necessarily. ‘Born’ leaders are usually natural extroverts and often come to the front in the most unlikely of situations. The “made” leader is often more reserved and may need much prompting before taking the lead. A major question is the form that this prompting might take“.

The Gentoo Council, which is pretty much leading Gentoo, finally won the “ChangeLog” battle. They are probably feel quite proud about that. But what will the long term consequences be?

Samuli and I, two of the most active developers got demotivated 101%. We used to do like 700 commits/month but the way I see it, speaking for myself, I am not gonna do more than 10 from now on. Council, acting like managers, obsessed with policies and rules, and drunk with all the power, treated developers like nonsense children who think that Gentoo is their playground. But they did not even consider what is best for Gentoo. The result is one more stupid rule to frame our development, two active developers stopped contributing and 4 members left the QA team. I really wonder what kind of leader makes such decisions… Moreover, you will be surprised by the fact that the so called “leaders” do no more than 10 commits/month on average. So people with no active contribution get to decide about active development. Funny :)

This will probably be my last summer in Gentoo. I have to be around to make sure my packages work until I migrate my systems to Arch Linux and Debian ( highly unlikely since most of them are managed by ssh. No physical access :( ). Even before I join Gentoo, I knew that policies were the reason that so many developers decided to leave Gentoo. And yet, nobody learned anything from past experiences. You already know that Gentoo is short on manpower. Yet, leaders feel comfortable to remove cvs access and demotivate people without carrying about the project progress at all.

For those who are going to vote for Council members in a few days, I would advice them to think what is best for Gentoo. Developers who act like developers or developers who act like judges and business managers? Gentoo should be treated as an innovative project, with highly capable developers and active community. Policies are good provided  they assist in progress and development. Power can be dodgy, it can easily make you divert from real targets.

@New Council: Try to work close with developers, listen to them, focus on their needs, treat them as adults and respect their knowledge and most of all, do *not* kill their motivation.

Good luck :)


ps: Here is some background reading if you are not aware of the recent developments:






ps2: Comments are closed on purpose. I am not interested in getting involved in any sort of discussion about whether my thoughts are valid or not. I already spent many many hours on mailing lists. Enough is enough :)

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