First, a service comment. Some of you might have read my mail to gentoo-dev today, where I was looking for new maintainers for a lot of my packages. This is not because I’m resigning, but because I need some time for myself in the next future, to relax a bit from personal trouble. I’ve moved most of the packages to their relative herd, where I’m usually in, unless the package is something I don’t care anymore (netatalk, bsdsfv, txt2man), for the rest I’ll still be around and I’ll continue bumping and fixing. I don’t want to resign, not just yet at least, and I want to continue working on Gentoo and providing the best I can, but to do that, I need to move away some of the stuff I’ve been doing, or I’ll end up with no time for me at all, and that’s not something you want.
Today I found a way to boot my Ultra5 while I wait for the IDE-CF adapter and the CompactFlash cards I’ve bought (about €20 for both, which is a good price), by abusing the bootonly CD released with FreeBSD itself. I originally wanted to create my own ISO, but seems like the documentation about creating a SPARC bootable CD-Rom for FreeBSD is a bit vague too (we need more people apt with documentation in Gentoo/FreeBSD, so at least we can get documentation written for these things), so failed that, I decided to do something cool.. I took KHexEdit and hexedited the ISO file to change the content of loader.conf (the only thing I needed to do) to change the root device to the ad0a partition. This does not allow me to update the kernel, so makes impossible to debug the kernel bug I want to, but at least I returned compiling.
When I bumped to 6.2-RC1, I had to remove a patch for freebsd-contrib for SPARC64 support, and that caused it to fail. As the patch was changing only GCC’s code, I decided to look at it and I found my old friend csu, that compiles the crt* files from GCC’s source code.. after looking around for a while, and sent to Mike a mail that I shouldn’t have sent (as I found my own notes about csu I took before, damn me and not publishing all of them as blogs, at least I could have searched for them), I remembered I was already planning on removing that code, as it’s now built directly by GCC itself. Looking more at the ebuild, I was able to remove the useless USE flags (settings were used only to build cvs, and we don’t use that anymore), and remove the need for the freebsd-gcc package, it’s a good result as the package now is lighter and takes less time to build, building less things.
I’d like to actually get rid of freebsd-contrib entirely sooner or later, but the main issue is that I’m not sure where the libdialog in it comes from. I’ve tried using google’s codesearch, but it seems poisoned by our freebsd-gnu tarballs on all the mirrors. If I knew where that libdialog came from, I could add that to portage and be done with it… I’m tempted to move forward and use directly GNU patch as default patch command, as the one currently used seems just to be an old version of it. Removed those two pieces, we’re left only with sort in that package..
Anyway, the sparc gained performance now that’s using a decent SATA drive, that can do UDMA without troubles, and can get over 40GB (the disk itself is 160GB) so I’ll be probably trying a catalyst run sooner or later. I’ve been trying to find which kind of memory the Ultra5 uses, if it could use PC133 SDRAM banks, I can use the one that’s currently on Odissey, as I’ve cannibalised most of it already (well, I can probably put another CD-Rom drive on it and put back the HardDisk now, so I can put it back to use, but maybe 256 MB of RAM more on the SPARC would be useful.. if you never know which present give to people for Christmas, RAM banks seems to be something nobody is ever full of).