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turgid's Journal: Gentoo 10

Journal by turgid

Gentoo is absurd. I've been at it for over 2 hours and I'm just "downloading the kernel source."

In the name of goodness, what were they thinking?

OK, so I wanted something custom for my old K6-2/500 which has 512MB or RAM and a 40GB hard disk. Slackware 12.2 doesn't boot on it.

As an educational experience, I suppose it's worth it, but, by golly, there are some masochists out there.

It's pretty half-impressive, if you know what I mean. So far it's a masterpiece of not-quite-scripting-things-enough but with obviously some fiendishly clever source configuration in the background.

Maybe in a month of Sundays (if the suspense doesn't kill me) I'll have my very own electronic equivalent of an ancient Citroen Saxo with blacked out windows, lowered shocks, alloys with ultra low-profile tires, pointless spoilers, stick-on neon lights, fluffy dice and 1kW of skull crushing techno handbag disco drum and bass.

Update: Well, after about 4 hours of my time and maybe 3 or 4 compiling, the basic system is up and running with a 2.6.27 kernel. It went completely without a hitch. I wasn't confused at all by the instructions and didn't have to try anything twice. It was fairly tedious, but now it "just works." The box is headless again and on the network. I suppose on a modern multi-core machine with lots of RAM the compilation is pretty trivial, and I suppose I might have saved some work by downloading an install image with the graphical installer, but there wasn't one guaranteed to work with the ancient processor.

Incidentally, running SETI@Home on this box is a bit like spitting into the wind nowadays, but for a laugh I put a new client on. The floating point speed has gone from 189 MFLOPS to 262 MFLOPS. The 64-bit dual-core Athlon 2.6GHz is about 2070 MFLOPS per core. The 1.67GHz Athlon XP is 1287 MFLOPS. The dual PIII/550 is 276 MFLOPS per CPU, whereas the 500MHz UltraSPARC II manages 328 MFLOPS.

I need to get me some CUDA hardware.

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Gentoo

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  • Don't dis the techno! :-P

    From what I've been told, Gentoo offers tarball downloads in what amount to different stages of installation. You can build everything from scratch, if you want to; Just grab stage 1. Don't really feel like building everything? Grab stage 3.

    There may (or may not) be a stage 3 tarball you can grab that will support your CPU.

  • Perhaps it would be possible to cross-compile from a non-Stone-Age machine?

    But let's face it, no-one would even try what you're doing if they weren't a very strange sort of masochist anyway. Paying £200 per hour for a middle-aged woman in a plastic dress to spank you would be far more *normal* :-)
    • by gmhowell (26755) *

      It used to be possible, but that was even slightly more masochistic than bootstrapping (if a bit faster)

      • by turgid (580780)

        Don't get me started on compiling gcc on Solaris. The build scripts are broken, have been for years and no one has been bothered to fix them.

        I used to use find and sed to fix them after running configure...

        I put Solars 11 build 104 on my Sun Blade the other day and I see that gcc-3.4.3 is _still_ in /usr/sfw/bin after all these years. (And it's really gcc-3.4.2 with a couple of patches).

    • by turgid (580780)

      *Ahem* I'm not a Tory, thank you :-) And I'm sure Mrs Turgid wouldn't charge nearly as much.

      I'm looking at it as a rite of passage. I've tried setting up a gcc cross chain before but my brain just isn't big enough. Each version of gcc is different and each point version of it and binutils all have their own little quirks and incompatibilities in non-mainstream configurations. That explains the healthy market in commercially-packaged gcc cross tool chains for embedded development etc.

      3 hours in and I'm abo

  • Just use FreeBSD for crying out loud!
    • by turgid (580780)

      Just use FreeBSD for crying out loud!

      That's cheating :-)

      • It's taking the best tool for the job... :-P
        • by turgid (580780)

          At least I can now claim to have installed Gentoo :-) I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon though.

          I really must try to do my own builds of Slackware and Slamd64 some day. It should be dead easy.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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