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Gentoo

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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exGENT Live Distro Makes Gentoo Linux Fun to Use in 2021 with the LXQt Desktop

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Gentoo

About eight months since the last update to the exGENT distribution, which aims to offer the Linux community a live and installable operating system based on Gentoo. I’ve highlighted live and installable because Gentoo no longer generates regular live ISO images you can try without installing the system.

The exGENT 2021 release makes things even more interesting since it uses the latest Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series, which automatically translates to better hardware support and support for newer hardware. However, the kernel included in the live system is Linux 5.6.7 and Linux kernel 5.10 LTS will be used in the installed system.

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Gentoo 2020 in retrospect & happy new year 2021!

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Gentoo

2020 has featured a major increase in commits to the ::gentoo repository, and especially commits from non-developers. The overall number of commits has grown from 73400 to 104500 (by 42%), while the number of commits made by non-developers has grown from 5700 (8% of total) to 11000 (10.5% of total). The latter group has featured 333 unique authors in 2019, and 391 in 2020.

The ::guru repository has thrived in 2020. While 2019 left it with merely 7 contributors and a total of 86 commits, 2020 has featured 55 different contributors and 2725 commits. GURU is a user-curated repository with a trusted user model. Come join us!

There was also a major increase in Bugzilla activity. 2020 featured almost 25500 bugs reported, compared to 15000 in 2019. This is probably largely thanks to Agostino Sarubbo’s new tinderboxing effort. The total number of bugs closed in 2020 was 23500, compared to 15000 in 2019.

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Also; Distribution Kernels: module rebuilds, better ZFS support and UEFI executables

In a Major Shift, Gentoo-based Sabayon Linux is Rebranding Itself to MocaccinoOS With a Focus on Containerization

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Gentoo

First of all, many of you might not be familiar with Sabayon Linux and most have probably never heard of it at all. Sabayon Linux is a Gentoo-based Linux distro from Italy. Gentoo is a very different distro because all of the software you install (and all of the updates) are compiled from source on your system. There are no precompiled packages.

Unlike its source, Sabayon is designed to be more user friendly and have a more of an “out of the box” philosophy. It has pre-compiled applications available for quick and easy installation. Sabayon also has its software repo and package manager (Entropy). (So, they are the Manjaro of the Gentoo world.)

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Console-bound systemd services, the right way

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Gentoo

Let’s say that you need to run on your system some sort server software which instead of daemonising, has a command console permanently attached to standard input. Let us also say that said console is the only way for the administrator to interact with the service, including requesting its orderly shutdown – whoever has written it has not implemented any sort of signal handling so sending SIGTERM to the service process causes it to simply drop dead, potentially losing data in the process. And finally, let us say that the server in question is proprietary software so it isn’t really possible for you to fix any of the above in the source code (yes, I am talking about a specific piece of software – which by the way is very much alive and kicking as of late 2020). What do you do?

According to the collective wisdom of World Wide Web, the answer to this question is “use a terminal multiplexer like tmux or screen“, or at the very least a stripped-down variant of same such as dtach. OK, that sort of works – what if you want to run it as a proper system-managed service under e.g. OpenRC? The answer of the Stack Exchange crowd: have your init script invoke the terminal multiplexer. Oooooookay, how about under systemd, which actually prefers services it manages not to daemonise by itself? Nope, still “use a terminal multiplexer”.

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Distribution kernel for Gentoo

Filed under
Linux
Gentoo

The Gentoo Distribution Kernel project is excited to announce that our new Linux Kernel packages are ready for a wide audience!

The project aims to create a better Linux Kernel maintenance experience by providing both ebuilds that can be used to configure, compile, and install kernel entirely through the package manager as well as prebuilt binary kernels.

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Portage 3.0 stabilized

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Gentoo

We have good news! Gentoo’s Portage project has recently stabilized version 3.0 of the package manager.

What’s new? Well, this third version of Portage removes support for Python 2.7, which has been an ongoing effort across the main Gentoo repository by Gentoo’s Python project during the 2020 year (see this blog post).

In addition, due to a user provided patch, updating to the latest version of Portage can vastly speed up dependency calculations by around 50-60%. We love to see our community engaging in our software! For more details, see this Reddit post from the community member who provided the patch. Stay healthy and keep cooking with Gentoo!

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Also: Gentoo's Portage 3.0 Stabilized With Much Faster Dependency Calculations

Portage 3.0 stabilized

Filed under
Gentoo

We have good news! Gentoo’s Portage project has recently stabilized version 3.0 of the package manager.

What’s new? Well, this third version of Portage removes support for Python 2.7, which has been an ongoing effort across the main Gentoo repository by Gentoo’s Python project during the 2020 year (see this blog post).

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Is an umbrella organization a good choice for Gentoo?

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Gentoo

The talk of joining an umbrella organization and disbanding the Gentoo Foundation (GF) has been recurring over the last years. To the best of my knowledge, even some unofficial talks have been had earlier. However, so far our major obstacle for joining one was the bad standing of the Gentoo Foundation with the IRS. Now that that is hopefully out of the way, we can start actively working towards it.

But why would we want to join an umbrella in the first place? Isn’t having our own dedicated Foundation better? I believe that an umbrella is better for three reasons:

1. Long-term sustainability. A dedicated professional entity that supports multiple projects has better chances than a small body run by volunteers from the developer community.
2. Cost efficiency. Less money spent on organizational support, more money for what really matters to Gentoo.
3. Added value. Umbrellas can offer us services and status that we currently haven’t been able to achieve.

I’ll expand on all three points.

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Gentoo-Based PBXware 6.1 Turnkey Telephony Platform Released with New Features

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Gentoo

Based on Gentoo Linux, PBXware is a turnkey distribution that aims to provide small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises, contact centers and ITSPs (Internet Telephony Service Providers) with flexible, reliable, and scalable communication systems and VoIP solutions based on Open Source technologies and software.

PBXware 6.1 is a major update that introduces several new features, such as Directory Sync Management (DSM), which enable validation of users via an LDAP server. This also makes it faster for users to sync Extensions, as well as to allow them to select custom settings for Extensions and apply different changes.

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More in Tux Machines

EasyOS Dunfell 2.6.1 released for x86_64 PC

Yesterday announced EasyOS Dunfell 2.6.1 aarch64 for the Raspberry Pi4: https://bkhome.org/news/202101/easyos-dunfell-261-released-for-the-raspberry-pi4.html Today it is the turn for EasyOS Dunfell-series 2.6.1 64-bit on the PC. This is the first official release in this series. Same packages compiled in OpenEmbedded. Latest SeaMonkey 2.53.6. A different kernel for the PC build, 5.10.11. Read all about it here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/dunfell/2.6.1/release-notes-2.6.1.htm As stated in the release notes, all three streams are being sync'ed to the same version number. The Buster-series 2.6.1 will probably be uploaded tomorrow. I have to compile the latest 5.4.x kernel, and SeaMonkey 2.53.6. As to which you would choose for the PC, it is like asking "which is better, strawberry icecream or chocolate icecream?" Read more

Top 20 Uses of Linux

The Linux OS and its related distros and flavors have transformed it from hardcore software into an industrial brand. Even if you are not a fan of it, the Linux OS might be as common as the air you breathe if you closely analyze your day to day interactive activities. Almost all the modern technologies that transform and innovate the tech industry have a Linux OS DNA imprinted on them. Those that are yet to be branded with their innovative uniqueness and recognition are waiting in line for the famed chance. Therefore, you might boldly claim that the Linux OS does not run your life, but the world around you cannot avoid the flirty pursuits of this open-source and free software. Nowadays, almost anything that can be described as cool is either pursuing Linux or is being pursued by Linux. It is the perfect symbiotic relationship in a world that tries to find a balance in technology and innovation. This article explores the awesomeness and outreach of the Linux OS in the world around us. It might even be an eye-opener for some of us to start taking our Linux skills to the next level. Top500 quotes Linux as the powerhouse or engine behind five-hundred fastest computers worldwide. I do not know of the speed of the computer composing this article or whether it qualifies to be among the listed five-hundred fastest computers worldwide. However, one thing is certain; it is 100% Linux DNA. On this note, let us start parading the top 20 uses of Linux. Read more

parted-3.4 released [stable]

Parted 3.4 has been released.  This release includes many bug fixes and new features. 
Here is Parted's home page: 
    http://www.gnu.org/software/parted/ 
For a summary of all changes and contributors, see: 
  https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/parted.git/log/?h=v3.4 
or run this command from a git-cloned parted directory: 
  git shortlog v3.3..v3.4 (appended below) 
Here are the compressed sources and a GPG detached signature[*]: 
  http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parted/parted-3.4.tar.xz 
  http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parted/parted-3.4.tar.xz.sig 
Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth: 
  https://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html 
[*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the 
.sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file 
and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this: 
  gpg --verify parted-3.4.tar.xz.sig 
If that command fails because you don't have the required public key, 
then run this command to import it: 
  gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 117E8C168EFE3A7F 
and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command. 
This release was bootstrapped with the following tools: 
  Autoconf 2.69 
  Automake 1.16.1 
  Gettext 0.21 
  Gnulib v0.1-4131-g252c4d944a 
  Gperf 3.1 
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Kernel: LWN's Latest and IO_uring Patches

  • Resource limits in user namespaces

    User namespaces provide a number of interesting challenges for the kernel. They give a user the illusion of owning the system, but must still operate within the restrictions that apply outside of the namespace. Resource limits represent one type of restriction that, it seems, is proving too restrictive for some users. This patch set from Alexey Gladkov attempts to address the problem by way of a not-entirely-obvious approach. Consider the following use case, as stated in the patch series. Some user wants to run a service that is known not to fork within a container. As a way of constraining that service, the user sets the resource limit for the number of processes to one, explicitly preventing the process from forking. That limit is global, though, so if this user tries to run two containers with that service, the second one will exceed the limit and fail to start. As a result, our user becomes depressed and considers a career change to goat farming. Clearly, what is needed is a way to make at least some resource limits apply on per-container basis; then each container could run its service with the process limit set to one and everybody will be happy (except perhaps the goats).

  • Fast commits for ext4

    The Linux 5.10 release included a change that is expected to significantly increase the performance of the ext4 filesystem; it goes by the name "fast commits" and introduces a new, lighter-weight journaling method. Let us look into how the feature works, who can benefit from it, and when its use may be appropriate. Ext4 is a journaling filesystem, designed to ensure that filesystem structures appear consistent on disk at all times. A single filesystem operation (from the user's point of view) may require multiple changes in the filesystem, which will only be coherent after all of those changes are present on the disk. If a power failure or a system crash happens in the middle of those operations, corruption of the data and filesystem structure (including unrelated files) is possible. Journaling prevents corruption by maintaining a log of transactions in a separate journal on disk. In case of a power failure, the recovery procedure can replay the journal and restore the filesystem to a consistent state. The ext4 journal includes the metadata changes associated with an operation, but not necessarily the related data changes. Mount options can be used to select one of three journaling modes, as described in the ext4 kernel documentation. data=ordered, the default, causes ext4 to write all data before committing the associated metadata to the journal. It does not put the data itself into the journal. The data=journal option, instead, causes all data to be written to the journal before it is put into the main filesystem; as a side effect, it disables delayed allocation and direct-I/O support. Finally, data=writeback relaxes the constraints, allowing data to be written to the filesystem after the metadata has been committed to the journal. Another important ext4 feature is delayed allocation, where the filesystem defers the allocation of blocks on disk for data written by applications until that data is actually written to disk. The idea is to wait until the application finishes its operations on the file, then allocate the actual number of data blocks needed on the disk at once. This optimization limits unneeded operations related to short-lived, small files, batches large writes, and helps ensure that data space is allocated contiguously. On the other hand, the writing of data to disk might be delayed (with the default settings) by a minute or so. In the default data=ordered mode, where the journal entry is written only after flushing all pending data, delayed allocation might thus delay the writing of the journal. To assure data is actually written to disk, applications use the fsync() or fdatasync() system calls, causing the data (and the journal) to be written immediately.

  • MAINTAINERS truth and fiction

    Since the release of the 5.5 kernel in January 2020, there have been almost 87,000 patches from just short of 4,600 developers merged into the mainline repository. Reviewing all of those patches would be a tall order for even the most prolific of kernel developers, so decisions on patch acceptance are delegated to a long list of subsystem maintainers, each of whom takes partial or full responsibility for a specific portion of the kernel. These maintainers are documented in a file called, surprisingly, MAINTAINERS. But the MAINTAINERS file, too, must be maintained; how well does it reflect reality? The MAINTAINERS file doesn't exist just to give credit to maintainers; developers make use of it to know where to send patches. The get_maintainer.pl script automates this process by looking at the files modified by a patch and generating a list of email addresses to send it to. Given that misinformation in this file can send patches astray, one would expect it to be kept up-to-date. Recently, your editor received a suggestion from Jakub Kicinski that there may be insights to be gleaned from comparing MAINTAINERS entries against activity in the real world. A bit of Python bashing later, a new analysis script was born.

  • Experimental Patches Allow For New Ioctls To Be Built Over IO_uring

    IO_uring continues to be one of the most exciting technical innovations in the Linux kernel in recent years not only for more performant I/O but also opening up other doors for new Linux innovations. IO_uring has continued adding features since being mainlined in 2019 and now the newest proposed feature is the ability to build new ioctls / kernel interfaces atop IO_uring. The idea of supporting kernel ioctls over IO_uring has been brought up in the past and today lead IO_uring developer Jens Axboe sent out his initial patches. These initial patches are considered experimental and sent out as "request for comments" - they provide the infrastructure to provide a file private command type with IO_uring handling the passing of the arbitrary data.