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Fresh Gentoo Install

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Recently I decided that it was time I picked up some flavor of Linux and give it a try. I’ve installed Gentoo in the past, with some difficulty, but never stuck with it for long. I finally got tired of it and put Windows back on the unit. I have since felt that Linux should be part of my knowledge-base, especially with the work-field I’m going into.

The second time around with Gentoo wasn’t as bad as the first. I had very few problems, and had to ask for help only a handful of times. I mainly went along with the Handbook, and the recommended install, as I’m still uncomfortable with Linux. I might go back and do a custom install at a later date when I learn more, but for now the recommended install fit my needs. I was careful this time to pay close attention to everything I did in the install, including the commands used. I’m more of a learn by doing person, so this would be my one chance to really learn a lot of the commands used.

All in all the basic install of Gentoo took me about a good 38 hours. Once the install was finished, it was time to do some emerging.

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I recently saw the announcement of the ‘fork’ of Gentoo, Exherbo. Its not really a fork, because there isn’t any shared stuff. The package manager used is Paludis, one of the alternatives to Portage in Gentoo. Several of the developers on Exherbo are from Gentoo, and they profess similar goals. I’m a bit wary, though, because their webpage is pretty dickish. Thats fine, Gentoo never claimed to be a everyman’s distro, but I kind of wish they’d waited to announce their project until after they wanted people to start using it.

I shouldn’t be surprised, though, since Gentoo dev and author of Paludis, Ciaran McCreesh, is one of the Exherbo devs. I once tried to use Paludis about a year ago, when portage was in one of its broken states ( one of the reasons I’m moving on, more on that later…) I read the install page for Paludis, got it installed, but couldn’t get it working. I fiddled with it for awhile, read some conflicting documentation on the Paludis website, and finally hopped on the IRC channel to ask for help. I was informed that the documentation was out of date, and when I asked what I needed to do, showing them my error messages and everything, I was told by Mr. McCreesh to just wait a few weeks. That’s a crazy way to treat your users and potential contributors. Maybe I’m just used to the Ruby community, where everyone is helpful and supportive.

Moving on from Gentoo…

And: Gentoo Software that never made it Sad

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Games for GNU/Linux

  • Why GNU/Linux ports can be less performant, a more in-depth answer
    When it comes to data handling, or rather data manipulation, different APIs can perform it in different ways. In one, you might simply be able to modify some memory and all is ok. In another, you might have to point to a copy and say "use that when you can instead and free the original then". This is not a one way is better than the other discussion - it's important only that they require different methods of handling it. Actually, OpenGL can have a lot of different methods, and knowing the "best" way for a particular scenario takes some experience to get right. When dealing with porting a game across though, there may not be a lot of options: the engine does things a certain way, so that way has to be faked if there's no exact translation. Guess what? That can affect OpenGL state, and require re-validation of an entire rendering pipeline, stalling command submission to the GPU, a.k.a less performance than the original game. It's again not really feasible to rip apart an entire game engine and redesign it just for that: take the performance hit and carry on. Note that some decisions are based around _porting_ a game. If one could design from the ground up with OpenGL, then OpenGL would likely give better performance...but it might also be more difficult to develop and test for. So there's a bit of a trade-off there, and most developers are probably going to be concerned with getting it running on Windows first, GNU/Linux second. This includes engine developers.
  • Why Linux games often perform worse than on Windows
    Drivers on Windows are tweaked rather often for specific games. You often see a "Game Ready" (or whatever term they use now) driver from Nvidia and AMD where they often state "increased performance in x game by x%". This happens for most major game releases on Windows. Nvidia and AMD have teams of people to specifically tweak the drivers for games on Windows. Looking at Nvidia specifically, in the last three months they have released six new drivers to improve performance in specific games.
  • Thoughts on 'Stellaris' with the 'Leviathans Story Pack' and latest patch, a better game that still needs work
  • Linux community has been sending their love to Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media
    This is awesome to see, people in the community have sent both Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media some little care packages full of treats. Since Aspyr Media have yet to bring us the new Civilization game, it looks like Linux users have been guilt-tripping the porters into speeding up, or just sending them into a sugar coma.
  • Feral Interactive's Linux ports may come with Vulkan sooner than we thought
  • Using Nvidia's NVENC with OBS Studio makes Linux game recording really great
    I had been meaning to try out Nvidia's NVENC for a while, but I never really bothered as I didn't think it would make such a drastic difference in recording gaming videos, but wow does it ever! I was trying to record a game recently and all other methods I tried made the game performance utterly dive, making it impossible to record it. So I asked for advice and eventually came to this way.

Leftovers: Software

  • DocKnot 1.00
    I'm a bit of a perfectionist about package documentation, and I'm also a huge fan of consistency. As I've slowly accumulated more open source software packages (alas, fewer new ones these days since I have less day-job time to work on them), I've developed a standard format for package documentation files, particularly the README in the package and the web pages I publish. I've iterated on these, tweaking them and messing with them, trying to incorporate all my accumulated wisdom about what information people need.
  • Shotwell moving along
    A new feature that was included is a contrast slider in the enhancement tool, moving on with integrating patches hanging around on Bugzilla for quite some time.
  • GObject and SVG
    GSVG is a project to provide a GObject API, using Vala. It has almost all, with some complementary, interfaces from W3C SVG 1.1 specification. GSVG is LGPL library. It will use GXml as XML engine. SVG 1.1 DOM interfaces relays on W3C DOM, then using GXml is a natural choice. SVG is XML and its DOM interfaces, requires to use Object’s properties and be able to add child DOM Elements; then, we need a new set of classes.
  • LibreOffice 5.1.6 Office Suite Released for Enterprise Deployments with 68 Fixes
    Today, October 27, 2016, we've been informed by The Document Foundation about the general availability of the sixth maintenance update to the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source and cross-platform office suite. You're reading that right, LibreOffice 5.1 got a new update not the current stable LibreOffice 5.2 branch, as The Document Foundation is known to maintain at least to versions of its popular office suite, one that is very well tested and can be used for enterprise deployments and another one that offers the latest technologies.