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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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