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Gentoo

The future of Python build systems and Gentoo

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Development
Gentoo

Over the years, the distutils stdlib module has been used to build setup.py scripts for Python packages. In addition to the baseline functions providing a build system CLI for the package, it provided the ability to easily extend the build system. This led both to growth of heavily customized setup.py scripts as part of some packages, as well as third-party build systems based on distutils, most notably setuptools.

This eventually led to deprecation of distutils themselves (see: PEP 632). Python 3.10 is already warning of distutils deprecation, and the current plan is to remove it in Python 3.12. Ahead of that, the development has moved to a dedicated pypa/distutils repository, and the copy of that is bundled within setuptools.

setuptools still uses the stdlib distutils by default. However, some packages already switch to the bundled copy, and upstream plans on using it by default in the future (see: Porting from Distutils).

At this point, I don’t think there is an explicit need for Gentoo to act here. However, it seems reasonable to avoid using distutils as the build system for Gentoo projects. Since the setuptools copy of distutils is different from the one included in CPython (and PyPy) and at the moment it does not carry the full set of historical Gentoo patches, it probably makes sense to test package compatibility with it nevertheless.

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Redcore Linux Still Aims to Bring Gentoo Linux to the Masses, Now Ships with Linux 5.14

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Linux
News
Gentoo

Over the past five years, Redcore Linux’s goal has always been to bring the power of the source-based Gentoo Linux operating system to the masses, offering users up-to-date and hardened live ISO images with the most recent KDE Plasma desktop environment and a carefully selected set of applications for office, multimedia, gaming, and Internet browsing needs.

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Gentoo-Based Porteus Kiosk 5.3 Released with Hardware Video Decoding, Virtual Keyboard

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Linux
News
Gentoo

Porteus Kiosk 5.3 is here about six months after Porteus Kiosk 5.2 to add several new features, including experimental hardware video decoding support and virtual keyboard for both Mozilla Firefox ESR and Google Chrome web browsers.

While the hardware decoding feature can be enabled in remote config with the hardware_video_decode parameter, the virtual keyboard feature comes as an extension and will pop-up automatically when clicking an input field on a web page. Users can control the virtual keyboard in remote config with the virtual_keyboard parameter.

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How upstreams should learn to stop worrying and love uncompressed manpages

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Gentoo

Portage (Gentoo’s primary package manager) allows me to choose my own compression command using the variable PORTAGE_COMPRESS in make.conf(5). As it happens, right now, it defaults to bzip2.

The vast majority of man pages on my system are therefore compressed with it. This is because most packages don’t bother compressing their man pages - they accept the consensus that it’s for distributions/a user preference. It’s handled by my package manager at the point of installation.

But it doesn’t stop with choice of algorithm. What about compression levels? What if I choose to use say, pbzip2 instead (notably the same algorithm)?

i.e. Even if an upstream correctly guesses the right tool I’ve been using to be consistent with my other man pages (and I love consistency), they may end up doing it wrong anyway.

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Experimental binary Gentoo package hosting (amd64)

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Development
Gentoo

As an experiment, I've started assembling a simple binary package hosting mechanism for Gentoo. Right now this comes with some serious limitations and should not be used for security or mission critical applications (more on this below). The main purpose of this experiment is to find out how well it works and where we need improvements in Portage's binary package handling.

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Gentoo eudev adopted by Eudev Project

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gentoo

A recent LinuxQuestions thread discusses the depreciation of the eudev fork which was created by Gentoo a few years back in order to keep systemd at bay. This step by Gentoo sparks some serious doubts among LQ members about what Slackware should do – is the inclusion of systemd near, now that eudev is dead?

Short recap: In November 2015 Slackware replaced its no longer maintained original udev with this new eudev (a standalone extract of udev out of the systemd sources but modified so that every dependency on systemd is removed). This change was actually my chance to announce the liveslak project as a ‘celebration to say farewell to udev‘.

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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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More in Tux Machines

Kernel and Graphics: Linux Stuff and GPUs

  • Facebook/Meta Tackling Transparent Page Placement For Tiered-Memory Linux Systems - Phoronix

    Back during the Linux 5.15 cycle Intel contributed an improvement for tiered memory systems where less used memory pages could be demoted to slower tiers of memory storage. But once demoted that kernel infrastructure didn't have a means of promoting those demoted pages back to the faster memory tiers should they become hot again, though now Facebook/Meta engineers have been working on such functionality.  Prior to the Linux 5.15 kernel, during the memory reclaim process when the system RAM was under memory pressure was to simply toss out cold pages. However, with Linux 5.15 came the ability to shift those cold pages to any slower memory tiers. In particular, modern and forthcoming servers with Optane DC persistent memory or CXL-enabled memory, etc. Therefore the pages are still accessible if needed but not occupying precious system DRAM if they aren't being used and to avoid just flushing them out or swapping to disk. 

  • Linux 5.17 To Boast Latency Optimization For AF_UNIX Sockets - Phoronix

    Net-next has been queuing a number of enticing performance optimizations ahead of the Linux 5.17 merge window kicking off around the start of the new year. Covered already was a big TCP optimization and a big improvement for csum_partial() that is used in the network code for checksum computation. The latest optimization is improving the AF_UNIX code path for those using AF_UNIX sockets for local inter-process communication.  A new patch series was queued up on Friday in net-next for improving the AF_UNIX code. That patch series by Kuniyuki Iwashima of Amazon Japan is ultimately about replacing AF_UNIX sockets' single big lock with per-hash locks. The series replaces the AF_UNIX big lock and also as part of the series has a speed-up to the autobind behavior. 

  • Nvidia Pascal GPU, DX12 and VKD3D: Slideshow time! - Boiling Steam

    So Horizon Zero Dawn had a sale recently on Fanatical, and I thought… OK I’ll grab it! It’s time. I first installed it on my workstation that only has a GTX1060 3GB GPU – not a workhorse but a decent card nonetheless for low-to-medium end gaming. I knew very well that Horizon Zero Dawn is a DX12 game and that Pascal architecture (Nvidia 10xx basically) and earlier versions do not play very well with DX12 games running through vkd3d-proton, the DX12 to Vulkan translation layer. Still, I could imagine getting somewhere around 30 FPS on low-to-medium settings, and use FSR if necessary to get to better framerates. Nothing prepared me for the performance I was about to experience.

Linux 5.16-rc3

So rc3 is usually a bit larger than rc2 just because people had some
time to start finding things.

So too this time, although it's not like this is a particularly big
rc3. Possibly partly due to the past week having been Thanksgiving
week here in the US. But the size is well within the normal range, so
if that's a factor, it's not been a big one.

The diff for rc3 is mostly drivers, although part of that is just
because of the removal of a left-over MIPS Netlogic driver which makes
the stats look a bit wonky, and is over a third of the whole diff just
in itself.

If you ignore that part, the statistics look a bit more normal, but
drivers still dominate (network drivers, sound and gpu are the big
ones, but there is noise all over). Other than that there's once again
a fair amount of selftest (mostly networking), along with core
networking, some arch updates - the bulk of it from a single arm64
uaccess patch, although that's mostly because it's all pretty small -
and random other changes.

Full shortlog below.

Please test,

             Linus
Read more Also: Linux 5.16-rc3 Released With Alder Lake ITMT Fix, Other Driver Fixes - Phoronix

Audiocasts/Shows: Endless OS 4.0.0, GIMP, BSD, KDE, and Elementary

today's howtos

  1. How to install FreeOffice 2021 on Ubuntu 20.04 Linux

    One of the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office is FreeOffice, developed by a German software company- SoftMaker. Recently, they have upgraded their Office suite to version 21. And here we learn the steps to install FreeOffice 2021 version on Ubuntu 20.04 Linux using the command terminal. This free office suite is a part of the commercial one from the same developers known as SoftMaker Office 21 (also available for Linux), of course, the premium will have more features but that doesn’t mean the free version- FreeOffice 2021 deprives to full fill all daily office documents (MS-Word alternative) related requirements. It offers a Microsoft office ribbon-like interface and three modules- TextMaker 21 to create documents; PlanMaker 21 to create sheets (Excel alternative) and Presentations 21 for making slides like MS-Powerpoint.

  2. Pin Custom Folders to Left Panel ‘Files’ Icon Context Menu in Ubuntu 20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

    In Windows 10, user may right-click on the ‘File Explorer’ icon on panel to access pinned folders (e.g., Desktop, Downloads and Documents) quickly. Ubuntu has first implemented this feature in Ubuntu 21.10, though it seems to be not working properly due to bug. Ubuntu 20.04 may manually add the context (right-click) menu options so user can right-click on the ‘Files’ icon to choose open favorite folders quickly.

  3. How To Install Perl on AlmaLinux 8 - idroot

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  4. How to play Total War: WARHAMMER on Linux

    Total War: Warhammer is a turn-based real-time tactics video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It takes place in the War Hammer 40K universe. Here’s how you can play it on your Linux PC.

  5. How to install Funkin' Vs. Camellia on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install Funkin' Vs. Camellia on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.