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Gentoo

Additional stage downloads for amd64, ppc, x86, arm available

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Gentoo

Following some technical reorganization and the introduction of new hardware, the Gentoo Release Engineering team is happy to offer a much-expanded set of stage files for download. Highlights are in particular the inclusion of musl-based stages and of POWER9-optimized ppc64 downloads, as well as additional systemd-based variants for many architectures.

For amd64, Hardened/SELinux stages are now available directly from the download page, as are stages based on the lightweight C standard library musl. Note that musl requires using the musl overlay, as described on the page of the Hardened musl project.

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I’m now using a binary kernel with Gentoo

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Gentoo

Yesterday when I was using the tool diff to compare the changes from my current minimal custom kernel configuration to the new kernel configuration that came with the latest kernel in Gentoo, I thought to myself: “Is this really worth it?”.

I don’t gain any performance, and no resource or disk space improvements, so why should I be bothered using my own custom kernel when it takes a considerable amount of time maintaining it? I’ve only been rolling my own custom kernel because it’s fun and a good learning experience.

Wait. I said what now? No disk space improvements? Well. Relativity speaking, my custom kernel is a lot smaller than the binary kernel that Gentoo provides. Technically speaking, I save about 75 MB by only including the absolute bare minimum required for my computer.

The little disk space I gained there, is actually lost to the fact that I always have to keep a copy of the source for the current kernel. The source for the kernel takes up about 52 MB in its compressed state, and about 150 MB uncompressed. Is it really worth all the time and effort for saving 23 MB?

The reason I used to use my own custom kernel to beging with, was for the simple fact that it was fun! It’s a fun learning experience and it’s a fun challenge. That’s it.

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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.

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Audiocasts/Shows: Missing OBS Features On Arch Linux, Going Linux, and GNU World Order

Proprietary Software and Security Issues

  • SolarWinds [Attack] Reached 27 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Justice Says

    The attack compromised Microsoft 365 accounts of at least 80% of the department’s employees working in offices located in the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York. Also affected to a lesser degree were employees in U.S. Attorneys’ offices in 14 other states, including California, Florida, Maryland, Texas and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

  • Safari isn't protecting the web, it's killing it

    There's been a lot of discussion recently about how "Safari is the new IE" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

    I don't want to rehash the basics of that, but I have seen some interesting rebuttals, most commonly: Safari is actually protecting the web, by resisting adding unnecessary and experimental features that create security/privacy/bloat problems.

    That is worth further discussion, because it's widespread, and wrong.

    More specifically, Safari's approach isn't protecting the web from bloat & evil Google influence, because: [...]

  • Hasta la Vista Gmail

    I’ve been a Gmail user pretty much since day 1, when it was still an invite-only service in 2004.1 Not anymore. Over the past month I’ve migrated most of my email to Fastmail and I’m extremely happy with the result.

    Why bother? Well, I guess it won’t come to you as a shock that I’ve felt progressively more uncomfortable with how Google (and the like) are handling my personal data. I’ve also been getting quite frustrated with attempts to make email/my inbox “smarter”. I never needed a “priority inbox”, auto-categorization of email, etc. Simple is good. Just put the newest emails on the top and I’ll sort it out from there.

  • Google dodges regulation, hits advertisers with “regulatory” charges: What’s the Scam?

    We are not familiar with what draconian regulatory schemes exist for Google in Austria and Turkey, but here in Australia we know what it is – which is not much at all. And they paid no tax on their 2020 revenue of $5.2 billion.

  • Storing Encrypted Photos in Google’s Cloud

    Cloud photo services are widely used for persistent, convenient, and often free photo storage, which is especially useful for mobile devices. As users store more and more photos in the cloud, significant privacy concerns arise because even a single compromise of a user’s credentials give attackers unfettered access to all of the user’s photos. We have created Easy Secure Photos (ESP) to enable users to protect their photos on cloud photo services such as Google Photos. [...]

  • Spyware revelations are a crucial moment for Indian democracy
  • Joint Open Letter: States Must Implement Moratorium on Surveillance Technology - PEN America

    We the undersigned civil society organizations and independent experts are alarmed at the media revelations that NSO Group’s spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale. These revelations are a result of the Pegasus Project and are based on the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets. The project is a collaboration of more than 80 journalists from 16 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the Pegasus spyware.

  • Canonicalization Attacks Against MACs and Signatures

    Canonicalization Attacks occur when a protocol that feeds data into a hash function used in a Message Authentication Code (MAC) or Digital Signature calculation fails to ensure some property that’s expected of the overall protocol.

    The textbook example of a canonicalization attack is the length-extension attack against hash functions such as MD5–which famously broke the security of Flickr’s API signatures.

    But there’s a more interesting attack to think about, which affects the design of security token/envelope formats (PASETO, DSSE, etc.) and comes up often when folks try to extend basic notions of authenticated encryption (AE) to include additional authenticated (but unencrypted) data (thus yielding an AEAD mode).

today's howtos

  • What’s In A Font? Website Typography Best Practices

    I love web design and website typography is a huge part of that. It turns out that I’m somewhat of a typography nerd, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in this regard here.

  • How to Install MariaDB 10.6 on Rocky Linux 8 - LinuxCapable

    MariaDB is one of the most popular open-source databases next to its originator MySQL. The original creators of MySQL developed MariaDB in response to fears that MySQL will suddenly become a paid service due to Oracle acquiring it in 2010. With its history of doing similar tactics, the developers behind MariaDB have promised to keep it open source and free from such fears as what has happened to MySQL. MariaDB has become just as popular as MySQL with developers, with features such as advanced clustering with Galera Cluster 4, faster cache/indexes, storage engines, and features/extensions that you won’t find in MySQL.

  • How to Install Sysdig on Ubuntu 20.04 - LinuxCapable

    Sysdig is open source, system-level exploration: capture system state and activity from a running Linux-based system such as Ubuntu 20.04, then save, filter, and analyze that is particularly useful for system analysis, inspection, and debugging, amongst other uses. Sysdig is scriptable in Lua and includes a command-line interface and a powerful interactive UI using the command csysdig that runs in your terminal. In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Sysdig on Ubuntu 20.04 and 21.04.

  • How to Install Oracle VirtualBox on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

    As we know Oracle VirtualBox is a famous desktop virtualization tool which allows us to run multiple virtual machines or guest operating systems. It is used for test and development environment where Linux geeks create and delete virtual machines based on the requirements. VirtualBox is a cross-platform tool available for both Windows and Linux operating systems. VirtualBox gives us the option to create host-based networking for virtual machines. In this post, we will discuss how to install latest version of Oracle VirtualBox on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (focal fossa) system. At the time of writing this post, VirtualBox 6.1.26 was available.

  • How To Install Wing Python IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Wing Python IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Wing Python IDE was designed from the ground up for Python, to bring you a more productive development experience. Full-featured Python IDE with the intelligent editor, a powerful debugger, remote development error checking, refactoring, and much more. The wing was designed from the ground up for interactive Python development. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Wing Python IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

First Arch Linux ISO Powered by Linux Kernel 5.13 Is Now Available for Download

Arch Linux 2021.08.01 has been released today and it’s the first monthly ISO snapshot of the popular GNU/Linux distribution to ship with the latest and greatest Linux 5.13 kernel series, which is now used by default. Linux 5.13.6 is included in this snapshot, but the Linux 5.13.7 point release already hit the testing repos at the moment of writing and will soon land in the stable channel for you to update your new installations to the latest kernel. As you can imagine, Linux kernel 5.13 introduces better hardware support, which means that Arch Linux is now compatible with more systems and components. Highlights include FreeSync HDMI support for AMD GPUs, ACPI 6.4 support, support for Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Tablet Thin keyboard, Apple’s Magic Mouse 2, or Amazon’s Luna game controller, as well as new virtio drivers for some audio devices and Bluetooth controllers. Read more