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Gentoo

Retiring the multilib project

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Gentoo

I created the Multilib project back in November 2013 (though the effort itself started roughly a year earlier) with the goal of maintaining the multilib eclasses and porting Gentoo packages to them. Back in the day, we were even requested to co-maintain a few packages whose maintainers were opposed to multilib ports. In June 2015, last of the emul-linux-x86 packages were removed and our work has concluded.

The project continued to exist for the purpose of maintaining the eclasses and providing advice. Today, I can say that the project has served its purpose and it is time to retire it. Most of the team members have already left, the multilib knowledge that we advised on before is now common developer knowledge. I am planning to take care of the project-maintained eclasses personally, and move the relevant documentation to the general wiki space.

At the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to tell the history of our little multilib project.

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Is Gentoo Linux an anachronism?

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Gentoo

When I started visiting the Gentoo Linux discussion forums in 2007 there were at least three pages of posts daily, if not more. These days there is usually one page. I’m sure the number of Gentoo Linux users has dropped significantly since then. Interest in the distribution has certainly decreased since its heyday: Google Trends – gentoo linux.

I don’t think the drop in interest is limited to individuals either. Articles such as ‘Flying Circus Internet Operations GmbH – Migrating a Hosting Infrastructure from Gentoo to NixOS‘ lead me to suspect that some companies have switched to other distributions over the years. NASDAQ’s use of ‘a modified version of Gentoo Linux’ was publicised in 2011 (How Linux Mastered Wall Street) but I do not know if it still uses the distribution and, in any case, that is only a single significant entity. I personally have never come across another user (corporation or individual) of Gentoo Linux, although I do know several companies and individuals using distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora.

Gentoo Linux is certainly not for everyone. In recent years the user base seems to have settled down to a smaller number of people, primarily consisting of enthusiasts who appreciate its advanced features and are prepared to put in the extra effort and time required to create and maintain a working installation. I’m sure it also still has a place in some specialised commercial applications, but I have my doubts its deployment comes anywhere near that of the major distributions such as Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, etc. If I were only interested in using an OS that enabled me to perform typical personal and professional tasks, I wouldn’t be using Gentoo Linux. Some people touted Gentoo Linux’s configurability as giving it a speed advantage over binary distributions but, having correctly installed and used Gentoo Linux and various other distributions on the same hardware, I cannot say I noticed an improvement in performance.

[...]

I personally would now only consider installing Gentoo Linux on a machine with at least 16 GB RAM and a CPU with at least four cores and a speed of circa 3 GHz or more. Additionally, although I have been a user of KDE in Gentoo Linux all these years, I would probably switch from KDE to a simpler, less resource-hungry and less feature-rich (some might say less ‘bloated’!) desktop environment such as LXQt in new installations of Gentoo Linux.

One thing that has improved a lot since I started using Gentoo Linux over a decade ago is the package manager Portage, at least in terms of dependency resolution and blockage handling. I used to have to do a lot more work to resolve problems during package upgrades; ‘merging world’ (upgrading installed packages) is generally a lot less troublesome than it used to be ten years ago. Portage is a lot slower than it used to be, but that’s because it does a lot more than it used to do. I used to have to use revdep-rebuild – a utility to resolve reverse dependencies and rebuild affected packages – frequently, but not any more. Building software from source code takes time, though, so plenty of RAM and a fast CPU are important for installing packages, however good the package manager itself.

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GNOME 40 available in Gentoo

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Gentoo
GNOME

GNOME 40 was released at the end of March, and yesterday I added the last bits of it to Gentoo. You may not think that's fast, and you'd be right, but it's a lot faster than any GNOME release has been added to Gentoo that I can recall. I wasn't looking to become Gentoo's GNOME maintainer when I joined the team 18 months ago. I only wanted to use a GNOME release that was a little less stale. So how did I get here?

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Gentoo Linux, A Powerful Distro For Advanced Users

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Gentoo

Gentoo Linux is not like other Linux distribution. Where more fashionable distributions worry about fast installation and ease of use, Gentoo worries about efficient compilation and degrees of customization. Gentoo Linux is one of the most advanced operating system in the open source world.

Gentoo is a great way to learn about how your computer works. It is a special, different and powerful Linux distribution. Gentoo is a bare bones minimalist Linux distribution known for being hard to use and one of the hardest distributions to install. It is distributed as free and open source software and follows a rolling release model.

In Gentoo the user must configure everything. Unlike a binary Linux distribution, the source code is compiled locally according to the user’s preferences and is often optimized for the specific type of computer. At the same time a precompiled binaries are available for some larger packages or those with no available source code.

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Gentoo-Based Porteus Kiosk 5.2 Brings Linux 5.10 LTS, Updated VAAPI Stack

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Gentoo

It’s been about five months since the release of Porteus Kiosk 5.1, and Porteus Kiosk 5.2 is here as the second major update to the Porteus Kiosk 5.0 series announced last year in March bringing an updated kernel from the long-term supported Linux 5.10 LTS branch.

Linux 5.10.25 LTS is present in the Porteus Kiosk 5.2 installation images, which adds a new layer of hardware support to the kiosk-oriented distro. Basically, this means that you should now be able to install Porteus Kiosk on hardware where it wasn’t possible using previous releases.

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Moving commits between independent git histories

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Development
Gentoo

PyPy is an alternative Python implementation. While it does replace a large part of the interpreter, a large part of the standard library is shared with CPython. As a result, PyPy is frequently affected by the same vulnerabilities as CPython, and we have to backport security fixes to it.

Backporting security fixes inside CPython is relatively easy. All main Python branches are in a single repository, so it’s just a matter of cherry-picking the commits. Normally, you can easily move patches between two related git repositories using git-style patches but this isn’t going to work for two repositories with unrelated histories.

Does this mean manually patching PyPy and rewriting commit messages by hand? Luckily, there’s a relatively simple git am trick that can help you avoid that.

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Gentoo vs. Ubuntu Linux Comparison

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Linux
Gentoo
Ubuntu

Habit is the enemy of change. If you have been using Linux for a while, you may have gotten used to the distribution it offers. If your situation and computing needs changing, then you should think it over. If not, you might want to consider learning a new system for the benefit of apprehension. Knowledge is a very light burden to bear.

For many users, choosing Gentoo is a giant leap. A leap that they never take but can be a serious mistake if you have important reasons to use your computer or system of computers.

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Latest on Gentoo, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and SUSE

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Gentoo
SUSE
Ubuntu

  • lzip decompression support for xz-utils

    As of today, the most common implementation of the LZMA algorithm on open source operating systems is the xz format. However, there are a few others available. Notably, a few packages found in the Gentoo repository use the superior lzip format. Does this mean you may end up having to have separate decompressors for both formats installed? Not necessarily.

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  • Ubuntu Blog: Can AI help redefine the future of finserv?

    The last few years has been a time of major disruption in the Finserv sector. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has emerged as an important tool for providers of financial products and services to deliver more personalised and more sophisticated services to customers faster. The financial services sector is at the beginning of an exciting journey with AI – a journey that we believe will spark a revolution and redefine financial services. Kris Sharma, Financial Services Lead at Canonical has approached this subject from various perspectives.

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  • New openSUSE Step Project Looks to Build SUSE Linux Enterprise on More Architectures

    We’re delighted to announce a new project in the openSUSE Project family called openSUSE Step. openSUSE Step is a community effort to rebuild SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) from the released SLE sources packages. This is done openly in the openSUSE instance of the Open Build Service (OBS) with the intention to stay fully binary compatible and to be as closely source-compatible as possible with SLE.

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  • Accelerating Atmospheric Research at NCAR with HPE and SUSE | SUSE Communities

    Having lived through many harsh winters in the mountains of Pennsylvania and dangerous hurricanes that have hit the Carolinas, I admire the research involved in monitoring climate change, data simulations and predictive analysis. As one shining example at the center of that research, NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) performs weather modeling to climatology, spanning seconds to centuries. Their research demands high performance, long-term application repeatability and high reliability.
    Community is key at all levels, from interoperable software with HPE and SUSE to collaboration with other centers (e.g., NOAA, NASA, DOE). In fact, NOAA’s EPIC (Earth Prediction Innovation Center) relies on Cray supercomputers which are at the heart of its global prediction system. NOAA and NCAR collaborate in producing global weather simulations to predict future climate shifts.
    The cohesive platform provided by HPE Cray and SUSE Linux Enterprise enables seamless U.S. and global weather simulations. Today, NCAR’s “Cheyenne” supercomputer enables scientists across the country to study phenomena ranging from weather and climate to wildfires, seismic activity, and airflows that generate power at wind farms. Their findings lay the groundwork for better protecting society from natural disasters, lead to more detailed projections of seasonal and longer-term weather and climate variability and improve weather and water forecasts that are needed by economic sectors from agriculture and energy to transportation and tourism. Later this year, NCAR will make another giant leap forward with a new HPE Cray EX supercomputer with a 19.87 peak petaflops system that will work alongside the “Cheyenne” system.

Best Gentoo Linux Derivatives

Filed under
Linux
Gentoo

Getting started with Gentoo requires some knowledge of Linux inner workings. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you have never done it or you have relied on automated install methods for a long time. With that said, it is worthwhile finding out more about your system. You could find many interesting points that can help your private computing or even your career. Many corporations use the Gentoo base and create an internal distribution. One example is Chromium OS; many others are specialized versions for their needs.

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Daniel Lange: Installing System Rescue (CD) to a flash drive

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gentoo

System Rescue, the project formerly known as System Rescue CD, has moved from being based on Gentoo to being built on Arch Linux packages.

With this their ISO layout changed substantially so when updating my trusty recue USB flash drive, I could not just update the kernel, initrd and the root filesystem image as I had typically done every other year before.

The "Installing on a USB memory stick" documentation is good for Windows (use Rufus, it's nice) but rather useless for Linux. They recommend a dd or the fancy graphical version of that, called usbimager.

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More in Tux Machines

Introducing Ubuntu Pro for Google Cloud

  • Introducing Ubuntu Pro for Google Cloud | Ubuntu

    Canonical and Google Cloud today announce Ubuntu Pro on Google Cloud, a new Ubuntu offering available to all Google Cloud users. Ubuntu Pro on Google Cloud allows instant access to security patching covering thousands of open source applications for up to 10 years and critical compliance features essential to running workloads in regulated environments. Google Cloud has long partnered with Canonical to offer innovative developer solutions, from desktop to Kubernetes and AI/ML. In the vein of this collaboration, Google Cloud and Canonical have created a more secure, hardened, and cost-effective devops environment: Ubuntu Pro on Google Cloud for all enterprises to accelerate their cloud adoption.

  • Ubuntu Pro launches for Google Cloud - TechRepublic

    Canonical's Ubuntu Pro is making its debut on another cloud-based service. On Monday, Canonical and Google announced the availability of Ubuntu Pro for all Google Cloud users. A premium version of Ubuntu geared for developers and administrators at enterprises, Ubuntu Pro offers a secure DevOps environment with instant security patching, 10-year support, and compliance for regulated applications and workloads.

  • Google + Canonical Bring Ubuntu Pro To Google Cloud - Phoronix

    At the end of 2019 "Ubuntu Pro" was announced as Ubuntu for Amazon's EC2 cloud with ten years of package updates/security, kernel livepatching, Canonical Landscape integration, and more. Google and Canonical are announcing today that Ubuntu Pro is now coming to Google Cloud. Ubuntu Pro is now available with Google Cloud as their premium version of Ubuntu over the standard Ubuntu Linux distribution that has always been available via Google's public cloud.

Android Leftovers

GCC 11 Compiler Performance Benchmarks With Various Optimization Levels, LTO

Given the recent forum discussion stemming from the -O3 optimization level still too unsafe for the Linux kernel (in part due to older, buggy compilers) and some users wondering about the current -O2 versus -O3 compiler optimization level impact, here is a fresh round of reference benchmarks using GCC 11.1 on Fedora Workstation 33 looking at various optimization levels and optimizations tested on dozens of different application benchmarks to see the overall impact on performance. With the recent optimization level discussions and not having done any thorough optimization level comparison tests and link-time optimization (LTO) testing of the recently released GCC 11, here is this Monday article for those interested in compiler optimizations. Read more

today's leftovers

  • the end of freenode

    My first experience with IRC was in 1999. I was in middle school, and a friend of mine ordered a Slackware CD from Walnut Creek CDROM. This was Slackware 3.4, and contained the GNOME 1.x desktop environment on the disc, which came with the BitchX IRC client. At first, I didn’t really know what BitchX was, I just thought it was a cool program that displayed random ascii art, and then tried to connect to various servers. After a while, I found out that an IRC client allowed you to connect to an IRC network, and get help with Slackware. At that time, freenode didn’t exist. The Slackware IRC channel was on DALnet, and I started using DALnet to learn more about Slackware. Like most IRC newbies, it didn’t go so well: I got banned from #slackware in like 5 minutes or something. I pleaded for forgiveness, in the way redolent of a middle schooler. And eventually, I got unbanned and stuck around for a while. That was my first experience with IRC. [...] For a few years, all was well, until the end of July 2002, when DALnet started being the target of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. We would of course, later find out that these attacks were at the request of Jason Michael Downey (Nessun), who had just launched a competing IRC network called Rizon. [...] In early 2006, lilo launched his Spinhome project. Spinhome was a fundraising effort so that lilo could get a mobile home to replace the double-wide trailer he had been living in. Some people saw him trying to fundraise while being the owner of freenode as a conflict of interest, which lead to a falling out with a lot of staffers, projects, etc. OFTC went from being a small network to a much larger network during this time. One side effect of this was that the atheme project got spun out into its own organization: atheme.org, which continues to exist in some form to this day. The atheme.org project was founded on the concept of promoting digital autonomy, which is basically the network equivalent of software freedom, and has advocated in various ways to preserve IRC in the context of digital autonomy for years. In retrospect, some of the ways we advocated for digital autonomy were somewhat obnoxious, but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. [...] Self-hosting is really what makes IRC great: you can run your own server for your community and not be beholden to anyone else. As far as IRC goes, that’s the future I feel motivated to build. This concludes my coverage of the freenode meltdown. I hope people enjoyed it and also understand why freenode was important to me: without lilo‘s decision to take a chance on a dumbfuck kid like myself, I wouldn’t have ever really gotten as deeply involved in FOSS as I have, so to see what has happened has left me heartbroken.

  • A few thoughts on Fuchsia security

    Of course, under the hood, a lot is different. We built a brand new message-passing kernel, new connectivity stacks, component model, file-systems, you name it. And yes, there are a few security things I'm excited about.

  • Claudio Cambra: First week of Google Summer of Code 2021

    A year ago I’d just finished my History degree and I had no idea how to code. This year, I’m taking part in Google Summer of Code! I’m super happy to get the chance to learn more about how KDE software works, and to finally contribute to a project I’ve been using for years. Over the summer, I’ll be working with KDE developers to create productivity-focused components for Plasma Mobile that work with Akonadi, KDE’s personal information management framework. Akonadi is a super useful piece of kit: it allows developers to tap into a user’s synchronised e-mails, contacts, calendars, providing a seamless experience in productivity tools. I’ll be working on this project with my mentor Carl Schwan, who also helped me during my time doing Season of KDE, and Devin Lin.

  • Bas Nieuwenhuizen: Making Reading from VRAM less Catastrophic

    In an earlier article I showed how reading from VRAM with the CPU can be very slow. It however turns out there there are ways to make it less slow. The key to this are instructions with non-temporal hints, in particular VMOVNTDQA. The Intel Instruction Manual says the following about this instruction: “MOVNTDQA loads a double quadword from the source operand (second operand) to the destination operand (first operand) using a non-temporal hint if the memory source is WC (write combining) memory type. For WC memory type, the nontemporal hint may be implemented by loading a temporary internal buffer with the equivalent of an aligned cache line without filling this data to the cache. Any memory-type aliased lines in the cache will be snooped and flushed. Subsequent MOVNTDQA reads to unread portions of the WC cache line will receive data from the temporary internal buffer if data is available. “ (Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer’s Manual Volume 2) This sounds perfect for our VRAM and WC System Memory buffers as we typically only read 16-bytes per instruction and this allows us to read entire cachelines at time. It turns out that Mesa already implemented a streaming memcpy using these instructions so all we had to do was throw that into our benchmark and write a corresponding memcpy that does non-temporal stores to benchmark writing to these memory regions.

  • Adrift - Alan Pope's blog

    Over the weekend I participated in FOSS Talk Live. Before The Event this would have been an in-person shindig at a pub in London. A bunch of (mostly) UK-based podcasters get together and record live versions of their shows in front of a “studio audience”. It’s mostly an opportunity for a bunch of us middle-aged farts who speak into microphones to get together, have a few beers and chat. Due to The Event, this year it was a virtual affair, done online via YouTube. Joe Ressington typically organised the in-person events, but with a lack of skills in video streaming, Martin Wimpress and Marius Quabeck stepped in to run the show behind-the-scenes.

  • PostgreSQL Weekly News - June 13, 2021
  • PostgreSQL JDBC 42.2.21 Released

    The JDBC project is proud to announce the latest version 42.2.21.

  • Vincent Fourmond: Solution for QSoas quiz #2: averaging several Y values for the same X value

    This post describes two similar solutions to the Quiz #2, using the data files found there. The two solutions described here rely on split-on-values. The first solution is the one that came naturally to me, and is by far the most general and extensible, but the second one is shorter, and doesn't require external script files.