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Some more Gentoo activity

Even though I’m spending most of my time working on paid jobs, I’ve returned active in Gentoo, although I’m mostly doing testbuilding for --as-needed lately. Yamato, with its 8-core horsepower, is still building tree, I left it before going to my bedroom to relax a bit that it was finishing the game-arcade catgory. I’ve been committing the most trivial stuff (missing deps, broken patches, and stuff like that), and opening bugs for the rest. The result is that the “My Bugs” search on Gentoo’s bugzilla reports over one thousand bugs.

Also, tonight I spent the night fixing the patches currently in tree so that absolute paths are replaced by relative ones, since epatch now fails if you try to apply a patch that has absolute paths (because when they don’t add up you’d be introducing subtle bugs that might apply to users but not to you). The result has been an almost tree-wide commit spree that sanitised the patches so that they won’t fail to apply for users. It was a long boring and manual job but it was completed, and of that I’m happy.

But it’s not all well. as Mike (vapier) pointed out, trying to just report all failures related to -Wl,--no-undefined is going to produce a huge amount of bugspam for false positives. In cases like zsh plugins, you really can’t do much more than passing -Wl,--undefined to disable the previous option. Which makes -Wl,--no-undefined too much of an hassle to be usable in the tree. On the other hand it’s stil an useful flag to ask upstream to adopt for their ow builds, so that there are no undefined symbols. I think I’ll doublecheck all the software I contribute to to add this flag (as a special exception, this flag needs to be used only on Linux, since on other systems it might well be a problem, for instance on BeOS dynamic patching is more than likely to cause problems, and on FreeBSD the pthread functions are not usually linked in libraries).

This, and the largefile problem I wrote about brings me to wonder what we can do to improve even further the symbiosis between Gentoo and the various upstream. I’m sure there are tons of patches in the tree that hasn’t been sent, and I’m afraid that --as-needed patching will cause even more to be introduced. I wonder if there could be volunteers that spend time checking package per package the patches so that they are sent upstream, checking the Unmaintained Free Software wiki so that if a package is not maintained by upstream anymore there are references to our patches if somebody wants to pick it up.

I could be doing this myself, but it takes time, and lately I haven’t had much; I could try to push myself further but I currently don’t see much of the point since I sincerely have had very little feedback from users lately, beside the small stable group of users who I esteem very much and who’s always around when I need help. Even just a kudo on ohloh would be nice to know my work is appreciated, you know. Anyway if you’re interested in helping with submitting stuff upstream, please try to contact me, so I can see to write down upstream references in the patches that we have in tree.

Also, since I started working “full time” on --as-needed issues, I had to leave behind some things like closing some sudo bugs and some PAM issues, like the one with OpenSSH and double lastlogin handling. I hope to resume those as soon as I free some of my time from paid jobs (hopefully having some money spare to pay for Yamato, which still ain’t completely paid for, and which by this pace is going to need new disks soon enough, considering the amount of space that the distfiles archive, as well as the built chroot, take. I actually hope that Iomega will send the replacement for my UltraMax soon since I wanted to move music and video on that external drive to free up a few hundreds gigabytes from the internal drives.

Once the build is completed, I’ll also have to spend time to optimise my ruby-elf tools to identify symbol collisions. I haven’t ran the tools in almost an year, and I’m sure that with all the stuff I mergd in that chroot, I’m going to have more interesting results than the one I had before. I already started looking for internal libraries, although just on account of exported symbols, which is, as you probably know, a very bland way to identify them. A much more useful way to identify those is by looking at the DWARF debug data in the files, with utilities like pfunct from the dwarves package. I haven’t built the chroot with debug information though, since otherwise it would have required much more on-disk space, and the system is already a few tens gigabytes, without counting portage, distfiles, packages, logs or build directories.

In the mean time even with the very bland search, I found already a few packags that do bundle zlib, one of which bundles an old version of zlib (1.2.1) which as far as I remember is vulnerable to some security issues. Once again having followed policy would have avoided the problem altogether, just like SDL bundling its own versions of Xorg libraries which can now make xorg-server crash when an SDL application is executed. Isn’t it pure fun?

At any rate, for tonight I’m off, I did quite a lot already, it’s 4.30 am and I’m still not sleepy, something is not feeling right.

Comments 6
  1. It’s too bad there isn’t a company that would sponsor you to work on Gentoo. I think upstream and binary distros take us for granted; your recent tree work is making Gentoo robust.

  2. A big “I appreachiate your work a lot” from me (though you probably already know that ;-)Keep on, I think the “send more patches upstream” is really one of the pressing things that would bring free software forward.

  3. Diego, The work your are doing now will greatly help in the long run here. The only issue now is getting those 1000 bugs you have open, closed at some point. Which in itself is a long process. I say, slow down abit and focus on stuff that *you* want to work on (sudo, pam, ruby, etc) and pick it back up when you think that the open bugs are culled down to smaller numbers. cheers =)

  4. Thanks for making Gentoo more robust, and giving the other distros something to emulate. It is the work that you (and others like you) are doing that makes me stick to Gentoo.

  5. Hey, just wanted to say my hi and to add that I’ve recently been following your blog posts on planet.gentoo. While I can’t pledge to help out with the patches, I can say that I’m very happy that you’re working so hard on Gentoo. My thanks!

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