Preparing a router; improving Gentoo

I’m finally working on setting up my home gateway with a Gentoo-based system, as I wrote about some time ago, since I didn’t find anything that looked even barely like what I wanted, off the shelf.

But since the router is going to be working on CF flash drives, I’m also using some tricks to get it up, and this is binging me to find even more problems within Gentoo, but that’s as usual and to be expected, isn’t it?

The first problem is that I don’t want to have superfluous stuff in the router: Portage (I don’t want to live update it), Perl, Python, autotools, other build-related tools, all that stuff should not be there at all. So the obvious is to buil dup my own profile to reduce the system set. This is actually quite boring and a problem in my opinion. Given the stage3 is system itself, to have autotools in the stages (which we do want) we need to have them in system… but they shouldn’t be.

The second problem is that not having either Portage nor autotools in the final system means that the dependencies over Python and Perl of the rest of the packages need to be perfect: no more and no less. Unfortunately sys-apps/file depends on Python unconditionally and util-linux installs a Perl script without depending on it (or having a perl USE flag). If the runtime dependencies are not properly expressed, my router won’t work as intended and that’s going t make me sad, depressed, and probably very angry with those who don’t express dependencies fully. And C++ dependencies will also be a problem.

I’ll be posting some tips and tricks soonish, for now I’m still working on defining what should I add to my router, and how. In particular I’ve been able to do stuff like enabling graphite n the GCC used for building, but not enabling it on the gcc needed on the system, so that it won’t bring in ppl and cloog-ppl, in a quite decent fashion.

Again, being able to prepare this kind of systems programmatically needs more work than just a few tricks and a lot of fighting so you probably will read more about this, and find more bugs about this in the future.

And as a bottom-line: since this is working mostly on stable tree, I also noticed that a few packages that should have been stable already weren’t… so I started opening a few stable requests for my packages; I really need to find a way to make sure they don’t excessively slack off…