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Gentoo Developers Exploring The Possibility Of Shipping Distribution Binary Kernels

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  • #31
    Originally posted by rmoog View Post
    I don't think this will pan out. There's no such thing as a universal unicorn config.
    Let's dissect this issue.
    • Your config is for amd64? Great for you. It won't work on other platforms.
    • Your config does not support drivers as modules but instead all modules are built-in? Great for you. It will work on routers, but it will be a problem on pretty much anything else.
    • Your config has nouveau as a built-in module instead of modular module? Great for you. It will blackscreen on unsupported nVidia cards.
    • Your config does not have built-in filesystem drivers? Great for you. It will fail to boot without an initrd. Even worse if your bootloader is something like the Raspberry Pi firmware and needs offsets and lenghts to allocate memory for the decompressed kernel and decompressed initrd in order to even use an initrd.
    • Your config does not need ext4? Great. It will not work for people who use ext4.
    See where I'm going with this? The kernel config always needs to be tailored to the user's use case and there is no such thing as a universal unicorn config that supports every use case in existence.
    Some of these issues can be solved by adding use flags to the sys-kernel/vanilla-kernel package such as "builtin-nouveau", "boot-btrfs", "boot-ext4", etc.

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    • #32
      As a way to reduce the number of issues related to the kernel, I think this is a pretty good idea. It doesn't prevent people from compiling their own kernel with their config if they wish to do so.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by rmoog View Post
        [*]Your config does not need ext4? Great. It will not work for people who use ext4.
        https://bugs.gentoo.org/703438

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        • #34
          Originally posted by ThoreauHD View Post
          I haven't heard of a kernel dev yet that used Gentoo.
          "You do know I’m also a Gentoo developer, right?"
          — Greg Kroah-Hartman

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          • #35
            One of the biggest appeals of Gentoo has always been the ease at which one can compile a custom kernel with the curses based menu configuration. Gentoo was the first system I ever compiled a custom kernel on for an old p4 system I use for a spare. Think I got the RAM usage at the terminal down to 30MB and I was so proud of myself. Compared to FreeBSD where you have to edit a text configuration file that is confusing. OpenBSD goes as far as to basically make it a commandment that thou shall not compile a custom kernel (seriously read how frowned upon it is in Absolute OpenBSD or ask about it on Reddit!). Linux has always been easy to configure a custom kernel and cut out stuff not needed for your hardware. It is one of the things I most love about it!

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            • #36
              Originally posted by grigi View Post
              Honestly, as a long-time gentoo user, I always disliked how high-touch kernel updates were in comparison to everything else.
              A simple emerge @world would just build everything with my last configuration. But the kernel involved manual steps.
              I used Gentoo for about 2 years on custom storage servers before I switched to something else.

              I found package updates were more of a hassle than kernel updates since my preference is to run packages with the least amount of features. For example, on a system that does not have an audio chip (it can only beep a speaker), why compile packages to include audio support? Of course undoing stuff like that or video codecs can unravel a mess of other stuff; it varies by package, probably due to the internal modularity of the software design.

              For kernel updates I had a simple solution that I mostly scripted. I would backup the current dot-config file since I knew it worked. Then step through the kernel upgrade config process; about 2 or 3 minutes, dependent on how deeply I thought about it. Then compile the new kernel and make any necessary changes to boot the system. If aftering booting the new kernel I found that it blew up, then I knew I could quickly recover to the previous working kernel and dot-config with a system reboot and a wee bit of scripting magic.

              Yes, Gentoo updates can be a bit of work, but you should have quickly realized that when you adopted Gentoo as your chosen Linux distribution. Then you could either accept it as the way Gentoo life is or you could have moved to another distribution.

              If you want something as simple as "emerge @world", change over to Debian, Ubuntu, (sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade), or a MAC, or even Windoze 10 (updates done automatcially for you).

              Perhaps consider Arch, but I remember a few Arch updates in the past that required a little bit of manual intervention, but Arch seems good about documenting that.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by eidolon View Post
                Greg KH is my favorite candidate to "vote off the island".

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                • #38
                  Kernel configuration is fairly problematic for a few reasons:
                  • Defaults suck, even for amd64.
                  • There's no easy way to get a generic kernel like other distros ship, things like allmodconfig are utterly broken.
                  • oldconfig is kinda broken too, even if it usually works fine. Sometimes you need to start from scratch or you'll get a mashup of old and new defaults.
                  • It's not at all like other ebuilds. It just downloads sources.

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                  • #39
                    About time -- I stopped experimenting with Gentoo because I was sick of spending so much time compiling the kernel, only to discover that it didn't work and having to do it over again.

                    Code:
                    for ThisIsRidiculous in 0..7 {
                       guess_and_change();
                       compile();
                       swear();
                    };
                    It got to the point where I simply compiled the kernel with pretty much everything that wasn't obviously unneeded (built-in floppy/parallel port/non-$MYCPU-support/etc) turned on, which obviously takes much longer... and then saying, "**** it" and installing a binary Firefox package.

                    Kinda defeats the point.

                    I ended up sticking to Arch, and now Debian Stable, to get away from it. (I don't have Internet where I live, so downloading the ISOs with jigdo-lite is a dev-send, while Arch is... impractical for the desktop.)

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by NotMine999 View Post

                      I used Gentoo for about 2 years on custom storage servers before I switched to something else.

                      I found package updates were more of a hassle than kernel updates since my preference is to run packages with the least amount of features. For example, on a system that does not have an audio chip (it can only beep a speaker), why compile packages to include audio support? Of course undoing stuff like that or video codecs can unravel a mess of other stuff; it varies by package, probably due to the internal modularity of the software design.

                      For kernel updates I had a simple solution that I mostly scripted. I would backup the current dot-config file since I knew it worked. Then step through the kernel upgrade config process; about 2 or 3 minutes, dependent on how deeply I thought about it. Then compile the new kernel and make any necessary changes to boot the system. If aftering booting the new kernel I found that it blew up, then I knew I could quickly recover to the previous working kernel and dot-config with a system reboot and a wee bit of scripting magic.

                      Yes, Gentoo updates can be a bit of work, but you should have quickly realized that when you adopted Gentoo as your chosen Linux distribution. Then you could either accept it as the way Gentoo life is or you could have moved to another distribution.

                      If you want something as simple as "emerge @world", change over to Debian, Ubuntu, (sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade), or a MAC, or even Windoze 10 (updates done automatcially for you).

                      Perhaps consider Arch, but I remember a few Arch updates in the past that required a little bit of manual intervention, but Arch seems good about documenting that.
                      I am prefectly happy with Gentoo, and what I mean by low maintenance upgrades is that once your use flags are all set to how you want/need it, (and using the desired profile) it makes things easy to keep it that way. Especially with all the newer depencency tracking where it auto rebuilds dependants if the library they used is changing incompatibly.
                      On the counter, I have to copy the .config over, tell it to do an autoconfig, build kernel/modules, install kernel/modules, emerge @module-rebuild (only for virtualbox, I'm working on migrating over to kvm2), grub setup. And then eventually reboot.

                      And lo and behold, a new intel vulnerability workaround was implemented that breaks suspend/resume (happend twice this year). Or causes the system to randomly reboot (once this year) Or causes my tests to run literally six times slower (also only once this year).

                      So I am quite loathe to upgrade the kernel. I have had more regressions upgrading the stable kernel than the entire of userspace, and all due to some whack-a-mole workaround that required some special config flag be set in a way that requires me reading lots of docs before system works right again.

                      But, the problem here isn't gentoo per se, alas...

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