Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 22:01 UTC
Gentoo A project to create embedded versions of Gentoo Linux has achieved preliminary releases on x86, MIPS, PPC, and ARM. The releases include native core system binaries, cross-platform toolchains, and, for x86, an optional hardened toolchain. The year-old project needs developers to help add cross-compile awareness to source packages.
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v what no SH4?
by pft on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 22:27 UTC
what's the advantage?
by jared on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 22:33 UTC

Pardon my ignorance, but isn't the big deal about gentoo its portage system? How much software are people going to be installing on an embedded system? They should usually be just the initial setup and then let it go (assuming no problems). Does Gentoo have some custom kernel patches or something that would make it better than say someone who specializes in this sort of thing?

@jared
by Zambizzi on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 22:55 UTC

Actually yes, the Gentoo guys are always releasing tweaked, high-performance kernels.

Gentoo is fast....really fast....as in visibly faster than any other distro I've ever used.

I love Gentoo, I distro-jumped for years until trying it, now I couldn't imagine using anything else.

Portage is *great* and always getting better...I prefer it to any other package manager I've used, including apt.

@jared
by Anonymous on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 23:13 UTC

Gentoo is also highly customizable, flexable, and most importantly its source based nature and USE flags makes it one of the most optimizable distros around, key for embedded use.

RE:@jared
by daijo on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 23:58 UTC

Agree with jared. Are people working with embedded linux even using distros as we server/desktop guys do? Always imagined them building a small system from source, cross complied it and loaded it to the device. "The year-old project needs developers to help add cross-compile awareness to source packages." If they havn't fixed cross compiling yet then what have they achieved?

Why...
by Bascule on Sat 4th Dec 2004 00:04 UTC

Embedded Linux always seemed like overkill to me. With the overabundance of highly popular and mature operating systems specifically targeted for the embedded market like QNX and TRON, embedded Linux alone seems like it fills a tiny niche market, and if you're planning on using embedded Linux, wouldn't you want to use a distribution specifically targeted for embedded devices?

Re: daijo
by Anonymous on Sat 4th Dec 2004 00:11 UTC

Always imagined them building a small system from source, cross complied it and loaded it to the device. "The year-old project needs developers to help add cross-compile awareness to source packages." If they havn't fixed cross compiling yet then what have they achieved?

Well obviously its not a completely done project that will never be worked on again.

What have they acheived? They got all these news sites to report on it so that they can attract more developers for, among other things, adding cross-compile awareness to packages. ;)

Oh, and embedded companies do use distros, though until more recently, they had to create their own for the most part. Building every single embedded project manually from scratch is a rediculous and unnecessary waste of time. Why couldn't one of those embedded distros have a Gentoo origin?

Re:Re:daijo
by daijo on Sat 4th Dec 2004 00:47 UTC

"Building every single embedded project manually from scratch is a rediculous and unnecessary waste of time. Why couldn't one of those embedded distros have a Gentoo origin?"

Guess you're right. I'm just a negative Nancy:) Seems like Gentoo is turning in to the most hyped Linux distro of all time and now this!;)

Testimony
by jp on Sat 4th Dec 2004 00:57 UTC

Ok. I do not like to do this but I have to. I am just finishing installing gentoo 2004.3. I consider myself a newbie. I have benn using linux for 1 year and 1/2 now. I did a stage1 release ( big deal :-)). I have to say something. Gentoo is the most stable distro I have used. I was thinking that everything was a hype. Hell no. I used Fedora and Ubuntu. They cannot compare. I am using a Presario 2100 laptop. The portage sistem, hasnt failed yet. I can compile three applications at the same time, and still use my system like nothing. I am not saying that it is the best distro. Everybody is confortable with their favorite distro (that is linux). However, the hype about gentoo it is well based. I will keep trying some distros, in the search for the one that fits me. But right now, I have to say that gentoo is the best.

Gentoo on embedded makes sense
by Shurik on Sat 4th Dec 2004 01:21 UTC

Gentoo, out of necessity, has created the best build system of all the Linux distros (Debian is in second place). You can build Fedora or Debian or SuSE or whatever from scratch - but it's much more error-prone and labor-intensive than building Gentoo from Stage1. So some Gentoo devs had the brilliant idea to use Gentoo's build system to cross-compile for embedded devices. Embedded linux, you see, has traditionally had absolutely awful build tools (if you've used old versions of openzaurus, you know what I am talking about). Of course nobody is going to be compiling a kernel on a 200 MHz ARM7. However, Gentoo would let you easily compile the embedded OS on your desktop, and then transfer it to your embedded device.

RE: Bascule
by tymiles on Sat 4th Dec 2004 01:24 UTC

There are a lot more developers making apps etc for Linux then for Tron and QNX.

So if you use Linux people feel that you can very quickly make applications for your device, phone etc.

Plus the Linux kernel is moving along and adding new features at a faster rate then other OS's

@Bascule
by Anonymous on Sat 4th Dec 2004 01:31 UTC

"Embedded Linux always seemed like overkill to me. With the overabundance of highly popular and mature operating systems specifically targeted for the embedded market like QNX and TRON, embedded Linux alone seems like it fills a tiny niche market, and if you're planning on using embedded Linux, wouldn't you want to use a distribution specifically targeted for embedded devices?"

because people want to leverage their Linux expertise and Ingo monglar has a patchset very often updated and posted to lkml.org for precisely this. Like it or not, Linux has a viable and growing embedded marke.

gentoo is losig focus
by tech_user on Sat 4th Dec 2004 02:08 UTC

with the live CD and now this embedded version, gentoo is losing focus. why? becuase the point of gentoo is its portage and its so-called optimisations/customisations. the live CD doesn't benefit (why not use knoppix?) and who is going tohave a portage tree on embdedded systems? embedded systems are often static and built cross-compiled and often from scratch. those who know how to build embedded systems won't be using gentoo.

Portage
by Kon on Sat 4th Dec 2004 02:21 UTC

is pretty useless for embedded systems -- except when building your base image to start development from. But that is a task that one has to do regardless, so it doesn't really save any time. However, most embedded distributions have a package configuration toolset which manages squeezing data onto device memory, many taking into account size used when compressed as well as uncompressed and running from RAM. You also want a stable image to build your platforms from - bleeding edge has no place on embedded systems.

Shurik unfortunately has not used a commercial embedded linux distribution and the tools they bring with them, or has never compared it against the alternatives.

The distro I'm working on now blows all the other stuff I have previously used for settop development away - we can implement something in a week compared to what used to take (and still takes the competition) months.

Portage
by Archangel on Sat 4th Dec 2004 05:50 UTC

Who ever said Portage was going to be included in the system? It's probably being used to convieniently build the system, but it's obviously not going to be included.

And please don't drag out the common misnomer that Gentoo has to be bleeding edge - there's no reason at all it can't be stable (the two aren't mutually exclusive anyway).

What it basically boils down to is that Gentoo is capable of being a highly automated LFS, which is going to save embedded developers a lot of time and effort compared to LFS itself.

Gentoo and Familiar Dance
by Aaron Matteson on Sat 4th Dec 2004 07:19 UTC

I hope Gentoo embedded doesn't disappear like familiar linux seems to have done with the disappearance of handhelds.org. I for one make fairly heavy use of Familiar linux on my iPaq 3955 but since Familiar seems to have disappeared I need something else to turn too, Gentoo would be good as it is large and has a large user and developer-base.

I can sum up Gentoo-Embedded in one word: "Cool" ;)

Portage
by anoncoward on Sat 4th Dec 2004 08:10 UTC

"Who ever said Portage was going to be included in the system? It's probably being used to convieniently build the system, but it's obviously not going to be included."
Most seem to assume it (which is incorrect).
It's basically building a crapload of binpkgs up, and using them for creation of the devices fs image- stripping man pages, includes, etc. Cross compiling said binpkgs isn't easy, so automation/higher level handling of it for the user is a good thing.

"What it basically boils down to is that Gentoo is capable of being a highly automated LFS, which is going to save embedded developers a lot of time and effort compared to LFS itself."
I wouldn't label it as a highly automated lfs, but yeah, that's a fairly accurate description of pkg building w/ portage. ;)

Re: "The distro I'm working on now blows all the other stuff I have previously used for settop development away"
Care to let us in on this wonderous distro rather then just stating "the others suck in comparison" ?

Finally, as stated above by others, and restating it- portage != bleeding edge. Technically portage == package manager (you mean gentoo ~== bleeding edge).

That's flat out fud. Unlike some other distros, you *can* choose what versions you care to run. I highly doubt someone doing embedded development *wouldn't* be specifically controlling the versions used. So no, portage != bleeding edge, and gentoo doesn't force bleeding edge (I really wouldn't define stable arch as bleeding edge from the standpoint of bugs anyways).

RE: Portage
by John Nilsson on Sat 4th Dec 2004 10:29 UTC

Re: "The distro I'm working on now blows all the other stuff I have previously used for settop development away"
Care to let us in on this wonderous distro rather then just stating "the others suck in comparison" ?


Did you read the part about competition? It would be stupid to give away an edge like that.

@John
by Anonymous on Sat 4th Dec 2004 11:37 UTC

Did you read the part about competition? It would be stupid to give away an edge like that.

Why not benefit from a common base, while still having your own patches in your local overlay? I guess it will be a way to go for Gentoo, but you may loose competition, if you still invent the wheel again, while others don't have to.

@John
by anoncoward on Sat 4th Dec 2004 16:17 UTC

"Did you read the part about competition? It would be stupid to give away an edge like that."
I was making a point. Don't state xyz sucks in comparison to a nebulous abc, unless you're willing to state what abc is. Otherwise it's pretty much flamebait.

Interesting
by Kon on Sat 4th Dec 2004 17:20 UTC

to see how people are so quick to jump to conclusions and do a lot of waving of hands and pointing of fingers.

1. I never said portage and gentoo are only bleeding edge (the fact is most people using it for a desktop distro use it in this manner -- for an embedded system you're likely to master the build once and keep it so for a very long time). 2. I never said a linux distribution sucked compared to another (I'm glad to see it - the more the merrier!). If you worked in the settop market you would know most systems (the competition) don't run Linux at all.

If you're lucky you will be running a posix compliant box and can do a little testing/coding under linux. Most times not, its single threaded, and you have to load the flash over a serial port before testing. OTOH with embedded Linux I get to load apps over NFS and kill the processes if they hang as well as all the other niceties that come with using Linux. When I'm done I master the build without NFS and other things used to speed up development.

Theres a lot of shouting about the package manager - yeah its good but move beyond that. You need more tools for the embedded market that aren't there (I've already relayed these to the embedded gentoo folks, I don't think anyone clicked), like a graphical profile manager/builder and flash allocator/burner, subprofiles for different boxes that may be deployed with different hardware, support for embedded hardware (like video outs on settops, etc. -- a lot of this stuff is not standard), '3rd party SDK' (sounds stupid but people always want it -- let people have a writable section on your flash where they can run their own scripts from), and most importantly a compact database of sorts that is stored on a writable area of flash that stores any changes that can be made to the box (i.e. IP address). That way you centralize parameters for all apps running on the box and don't have to worry about building a master all the time). Plus, you need a mechanism to upgrade the master image from a new image transferred to the writable area. Lots of these are specific to fixed markets, but a lot are not. If you want to compete with folks using other embedded or middleware solutions (commercial, linux, or whatever), just saying 'its gentoo' is not enough.

Anoncoward shouldn't throw bricks in glass houses. Its this kind of negativity that turns people away from projects.

Re: Interesting
by anoncoward on Sat 4th Dec 2004 18:24 UTC

1. "I never said portage and gentoo are only bleeding edge"
err.. you implied it with "bleeding edge has no place on embedded systems", hence the rebuttal of that (potentially misinterpretted) generalization.

<shifted out of order>
"Anoncoward shouldn't throw bricks in glass houses. Its this kind of negativity that turns people away from projects. "
"Theres a lot of shouting about the package manager - yeah its good but move beyond that."
"(subject)Portage (comment)is pretty useless for embedded systems -- except when building your base image to start development from."
Err... I took issue strictly with your comments towards portage- I might point out additionally I went after a selection of them also. You're latest post regarding userland apps for finalizing of the flash image, k, fine, that's a seperate issue from the package manager. That's more a comment regarding the maturity of linux tools, not portage as a cross compilation manager (which is basically what emb. gentoo is atm). Note I directed only two comments at you, both of which you haven't refuted. The glass house bit is kind of out there too btw.

re: "The distro I'm working on now blows all the other stuff I have previously used for settop development away", you left yourself open by saying others suck ("blows the others away") w/out actually saying *what* the distro/os you're working on is. As stated above, I just don't view it as worthwhile to say xyz sucks w/out actually explaining why, or at least qualifying what you're comparing it to.
*that* is the kind of negativity that turns people away from projects.
</potshot> ;)

Gentoo
by CaptainPinko on Sat 4th Dec 2004 21:09 UTC

whatever happened to that fork of gentoo some guy was planning years back when he got kicked off the development team?i can't even remember the name...

zynot
by CaptainPinko on Sat 4th Dec 2004 21:21 UTC

the forks name was zynot. http://www.zynot.org/info/fork.html

looks dead

i wonder what the survival rate of distros is? prolly like 30%

@anoncoward
by Kon on Sat 4th Dec 2004 21:30 UTC

Your nick is fitting. As seems typical of your responses, you don't add to the conversation, but instead seek to nitpick, which does nothing but waste bandwidth. It seems obvious you don't know what you're talking about / don't want to listen (I explained that competing systems are not Linux -- the distro is a modded Tuxia), so I won't waste my time any longer trying to explain (feel free to nitpick to get your last word in, and don't forget the passive-aggressive ':)').

RE: zynot
by Paul de Vrieze on Sat 4th Dec 2004 22:27 UTC

Well, the guy was not kicked off, he left angrilly. There have some people been kicked of the team but not this one, and for different reasons too.

About the lack of focus:
- The livecd was partly a mistake from the journalist, but we will look into it (maybe a DVD). Our catalyst makes making such a system quite easy (the job of specifying the contents and making sure it's not too much).
- Gentoo is a rather loose distribution. Everyone can do what he wants, and if that means someone wants to make gentoo work for embedded systems, there is a place as long as nothing else is hindered or the developers agree. Crosscompilation is usefull in general (like for old or less powerfull machines).

re: Zambizzi
by Mezzanine on Sat 4th Dec 2004 23:35 UTC

"Gentoo is fast....really fast....as in visibly faster than any other distro I've ever used."

Placebo effect, nothing else.

Best placebo ever
by jp on Sun 5th Dec 2004 22:26 UTC

>Placebo effect, nothing else

That has to be the best placebo ever. I guess compiling the os for your specific processor has to do with the placibo. That disto is fast. No comments.