Gentoo Linux Health Report — October 2012 Edition

I guess it’s time for a new post on what’s the status with Gentoo Linux right now. First of all, the tinderbox is munching as I write. Things are going mostly smooth but there are still hiccups due to some developers not accepting its bug reports because of the way logs are linked (as in, not attached).

Like last time that I wrote about it, four months ago, this is targeting GCC 4.7, GLIBC 2.16 (which is coming out of masking next week!) and GnuTLS 3. Unfortunately, there are a few (biggish) problems with this situation, mostly related to the Boost problem I noted back in July.

What happens is this:

  • you can’t use any version of boost older than 1.48 with GCC 4.7 or later;
  • you can’t use any version of boost older than 1.50 with GLIBC 2.16;
  • many packages don’t build properly with boost 1.50 and later;
  • a handful of packages require boost 1.46;
  • boost 1.50-r2 and later (in Gentoo) no longer support eselect boost making most of the packages using boost not build at all.

This kind of screwup is a major setback, especially since Mike (understandably) won’t wait any more to unmask GLIBC 2.16 (he waited a month, the Boost maintainers had all the time to fix their act, which they didn’t — it’s now time somebody with common sense takes over). So the plan right now is for me and Tomáš to pick up the can of worms, and un-slot Boost, quite soon. This is going to solve enough problems that we’ll all be very happy about it, as most of the automated checks for Boost will then work out of the box. It’s also going to reduce the disk space being used by your install, although it might require you to rebuild some C++ packages, I’m sorry about that.

For what concerns GnuTLS, version 3.1.3 is going to hit unstable users at the same time as glibc-2.16, and hopefully the same will be true for stable when that happens. Unfortunately there are still a number of packages not fixed to work with gnutls, so if you see a package you use (with GnuTLS) in the tracker it’s time to jump on fixing it!

Speaking of GnuTLS, we’ve also had a smallish screwup this morning when libtasn1 version 3 also hit the tree unmasked — it wasn’t supposed to happen, and it’s now masked, as only GnuTLS 3 builds fine with it. Since upstream really doesn’t care about GnuTLS 2 at this point, I’m not interested in trying to get that to work nicely, and since I don’t see any urgency in pushing libtasn1 v3 as is, I’ll keep it masked until GNOME 3.6 (as gnome-keyring also does not build with that version, yet).

Markos has correctly noted that the QA team – i.e., me – is not maintaining the DevManual anymore. We made it now a separate project, under QA (but I’d rather say it’s shared under QA and Recruiters at the same time), and the GIT Repository is now writable by any developer. Of course if you play around that without knowing what you’re doing, on master, you’ll be terminated.

There’s also the need to convert the DevManual to something that makes sense. Right now it’s a bunch of files all called text.xml which makes editing a nightmare. I did start working on that two years ago but it’s tedious work and I don’t want to do it on my free time. I’d rather not have to do it while being paid for it really. If somebody feels like they can handle the conversion, I’d actually consider paying somebody to do that job. How much? I’d say around $50. Desirable format is something that doesn’t make a person feel like taking their eyes out when trying to edit it with Emacs (and vim, if you feel generous): my branch used DocBook 5, which I rather fancy, as I’ve used it for Autotools Mythbuster but RST or Sphinx would probably be okay as well, as long as no formatting is lost along the way. Update: Ben points out he already volunteered to convert it to RST, I’ll wait for that before saying anything more.

Also, we’re looking for a new maintainer for ICU (and I’m pressing Davide to take the spot) as things like the bump to 50 should have been handled more carefully. Especially now that it appears that it’s basically breaking a quarter of its dependencies when using GCC 4.7 — both the API and ABI of the library change entirely depending on whether you’re using GCC 4.6 or 4.7, as it’ll leverage C++11 support in the latter. I’m afraid this is just going to be the first of a series of libraries making this kind of changes and we’re all going to suffer through it.

I guess this is all for now.

A change in prospective

You know, it always took me so much time to have opinions on something that I never thought there was a way to change prospective quickly. I changed that opinion, together with many others.

I wrote before about what happened to me this summer, but it was mostly to give a status on my current health, ignoring most of what I experienced in that month and a half I was hospitalised.

I’m not sure what I could write about it, as everything happened for me in a fairy way to begin with, and I was able to understand what happened only by reading my own file, or rather that part of the file that they did allow me to get.

The first changes in my prospective happened while I was in the intensive care unit; the room had five beds, I was the number three, right in the middle of it, in front of the doctors’ “console”. With one exception, I was the only patient in the room who was able to talk (the exception was represented by a man burn on the job, who stayed just one night). There were old men who had trouble while under surgery, one so confused that tried more than once to come down the bed, removing his tubes, there was a boy younger than me that had a car accident (he was the passenger of a Porsche which sped up at 180Km/h), and so on. It made me think.. also because there was little more to do. Sure my mother brought me something to read, mainly Lupo Alberto comics (I love Lupo Alberto), but I wasn’t able to read that much, plus it was difficult to read with the oxygen mask on.

So when I came home I decided I would try to do less boring things, and try to enjoy my time more – that’s why I’m not working on Gentoo as much as I was before – and as soon as spring comes I’ll be trying again to get a driving license. Then, a job and some social life, possibly a job that I enjoy. I also decided that there’s little point in trying to save money for more important thing, as I can’t be sure that I can make use of the long term savings. This is why I maybe have spent more than I should have lately, in DVDs, books and a few more things.

I also decided that the time I spend to maintain farragut here as a server is time that I don’t enjoy enough, so the news is that the blog, the repositories and my site will move out of farragut soon. I’ll keep the blog URL as that’s too bad to lose, even if everything will move to a (paid) vserver soon. My time is worth more than I would be paying to keep it in a vserver, plus there’s electricity bills, noise and heat that I’ll be able to cut down a bit more. And less hardware maintenance. Actually, with this change I might be able to resurrect Klothos (the Ultra5) without buying more expensive hardware: farragut will be once again a testbox, and as a testbox it can use a cheap Realtek network card and a very very cheap SATA controller (as long as FreeBSD supports it), and the two cards now in Farragut will return on Klothos.

And for who’s wondering: an year of vserver rent would be less than the price of the two cards.

I’ll be announcing here when the move will be, I’m still taking contact with the future provider.

This also means I’ll be very welcome if someone else would take over what I was doing before, so that I can dedicate myself to things I enjoy more. Last year at this time I would probably have been fighting with something I don’t enjoy, just to help. Don’t even let me start with maintaining stuff I don’t give a damn about (like, well, PAM :/); you certainly won’t see me returning to maintain CJK apps, or KDE, or whatever. Just what I need, use, enjoy!