DEC
16
2005

KDE Dot News: Sponsored by OSU Open Source Lab

I'm happy to announce that KDE Dot News is now fully hosted and supported by the OSU Open Source Lab. OSUOSL have graciously provided us with both server and network hosting, although of course, OSUOSL has long been hosting us on their network while we had been sharing the Ark Linux webserver. As we outgrew the Ark Linux server and ran into resource limitations however, OSUOSL also graciously offered us new server hosting. The dot is now significantly more responsive and we should definitely be seeing an improvement in uptime as well. A big thank you to OSUOSL and all the great guys on their support team -- it's been a true pleasure working with you.

For those interested, the OSUOSL server hosting has been provided to us in the form of a Xen virtual machine running Gentoo Linux. I must say I am truly impressed by the combination.

Xen is completely transparent to the typical VM user and if I didn't know better I'd think we had a dedicated machine -- no doubt the OSUOSL staff are also to thank for making it all work so smoothly. Performance has been fantastic although it will be interesting to see how things progress as the machine gains more users.

I've never used Gentoo before but I am finding it to be a well thought out distribution. Everything just works and it has some nice touches out-of-the-box such a colorised bash shell (unfortunately I'm a tcsh guy and experiencing colour in bash made me quite reluctant to go back to my black and white world). We were initially provided with a fairly barebones Gentoo system but it has been extremely easy to pull in and configure any extra software we needed -- a simple emerge usually does the trick. emerge even comes with an rpm-compatible command line interface in the form of epm. However, the fact that emerge compiles everything from source is starting to get a little old -- nothing like waiting for XEmacs to compile on your production box. It'll be worth investigating emerge binary packages, if those exist.

Finally, another thanks to for having hosted us for so long despite their limited resources.

Comments

Gentoo dodges a lot of issues binary distributions by having everything built from source. If binary compatibility is broken, that doesn't mean a half dozen packages need to be re-released. And USE flags replace multiple packages for the same software with different features.

...but anyways all this makes binary packages probalematic for complicated software. Your neighbors Gentoo box might be quite different. You could create binary packages yourself on a non-production box and then install them with emerge.


By Ian Monroe at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

> It'll be worth investigating emerge binary packages, if those exist.

If you want to use mostly binary packages, don't use gentoo. Being a source distribution is the heart and soul of gentoo. All the flexibilty gentoo offers (using different USE flags to customize the packages to your needs, different CFLAGS to use processor specific features and optimizations, alltough the effect of these is often overrated, being able to reverse rebuild library dependcies, etc. ...) depends crucially on using a working gcc toolchain to install the packages.

So the way to go for a server, if that should use it's resources fully for the offerd services und not for compiling new packages, would be to have another gentoo box (or even a compiler farm, ou can easily integrate your laptop using distcc) producing the binary packages for the server, even crosscompilng for a different architecture is not a big problem.


By furanku at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

> It'll be worth investigating emerge binary packages, if those exist.

Mmm... I think I should add that you can try Gentoo installing it with precompiled binary packages... in order to avoid you compilations the first time.

Later, if you like Gentoo, you can compile programs in the background while you use the system, in order to get an optimized system in speed and memory (you only load the drivers you need, and so on).


By Frank at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

(you only load the drivers you need, and so on)

What? Are you implying that other distros don't only load the drivers you need??


By blacksheep at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

Just another gentoo ricer :-P


By anon at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

> Just another gentoo ricer :-P

Instead of publishing unjustified comments, I would give you the advice of justifying them (if you can) :-P

Excuse my English :-)


By Frank at Mon, 2005/12/19 - 6:00am

> What? Are you implying that other distros don't only load the drivers you need??

I said that compiling for your system only install the drivers you need. For example if you use kernel binaries already prepared... you'll get drivers you don't need in your kernel.


By Frank at Mon, 2005/12/19 - 6:00am

The USE flags are what Gentoo is all about (not '-funroll-loops').

I love Gentoo but I probably would avoid it for a production server, Gentoo feels far more flexable than Fedora and SuSE to me (though it does make you look forward to new releases of KDE a whole lot less ;-)


By Corbin at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

right up untill you want to uninstall something....

Gentoo has a lot of good things going for it, but I'd like to see the package management actually completed. I shouldn't have to troll through the forums to find a third party script just to uninstall something + everything that depends on it - and then it shouldn't take hours.


By mabinogi at Sun, 2005/12/18 - 6:00am

You don't need a script at all, it's build in portage;
emerge $package_name -C && emerge --depclean && revdep-rebuild


By LB at Sun, 2005/12/18 - 6:00am

Hmmm... Intuitive.

I can see why they didn't go for:

emerge -r package_name


By Tim at Sun, 2005/12/18 - 6:00am

I usually just run "emerge unmerge packagename". Maybe the other commands listed in the parent's parent are a better general practice, but unmerging (uninstalling) doesn't require them. Not so unintuitive after all, at least for those who understand the commandline....

P.S. "unmerge" is an alias for the flag "-C"
P.P.S. There are GUI frontends for emerge, it doesn't have to be totally commandline.


By Pingveno at Mon, 2005/12/19 - 6:00am

http://google-code-updates.blogspot.com/2005/12/jingle-bells.html

Jingle Bells:
Exciting things are happening around Google Talk today. First, Jabber has published the experimental draft Jingle specs, which extend XMPP for use in voice over IP (VoIP), video, and other peer-to-peer multimedia sessions.

Now, I hope kopete can do voice and video communciation (p2p way) using jingle :)

And many thanks for hosting "dot" at OSUOSL...


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

I guess you already put this in Kopete's bugzilla as a WISH, didn't you?

Please try not steal the thread anymore...


By :-? at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

"Xen is completely transparent to the typical VM user and if I didn't know better I'd think we had a dedicated machine"

That's what it's there for.

"Gentoo system but it has been extremely easy to pull in and configure any extra software we needed"

It certainly is a nice system to run as a server. The only reason why I run Suse is because many people around me need to have some graphical configuration tools......

"However, the fact that emerge compiles everything from source is starting to get a little old"

How much do you emerge on a production server? I emerge very, very little these days.


By segedunum at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

i suspect you want to keep your system up-to-date, esp for security. so you'll have to emerge some stuff now and then. and for a desktop system, i can do this at night - i don't use it when i sleep anyway (do you?). but a server is working most (if not all) of the time, so having to emerge stuff (thus slowing its work) is imho a waste of cpu/mem/etc. i love gentoo, but wouldn't run it on a server.


By superstoned at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

Note that OSUOSL has allocated us enough resources that so far it hasn't really been a problem. I don't think it was noticeable to outsiders while I was compiling XEmacs, for instance. It isn't a "best practices" approach however, as you point out.


By Navindra Umanee at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

> I don't think it was noticeable to outsiders
> while I was compiling XEmacs, for instance.

Yep. Just a "The server is over a big load. Come back later." message.


By David Costa at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

Nothing to do with it.


By Navindra Umanee at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

Make sure you set "PORTAGE_NICENESS="19"" in make.conf so your emerges will have as little impact as possible, also having ccache installed will reduce the time to upgrade a package (especially if the difference between the one installed and the new one is only a 1 line change to fix a bug).


By Corbin at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

Handy hints there. Also do the practical thing - schedule this kind of thing when there's as little activity on the system as possible. With all your experience of running the dot you'll know when this is.


By segedunum at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

"i suspect you want to keep your system up-to-date, esp for security."

Occasionally, but very little. You usually emerge on a test server first just to see what will happen of course, and do a quick search around for any problems before you do it. Compiling most popular server software doesn't take anywhere near as long as you'd think. Xen and VMware makes having a replica server a doddle.

"i love gentoo, but wouldn't run it on a server."

I'm the opposite :-). Gentoo makes a great server, the tools are first rate as is the really nice documentation. On the other hand, I just really cannot be bothered to compile stuff on a desktop - and desktop stuff really does take an absolute 'age' to compile.


By segedunum at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

As an Oregon resident and a KDE user, I am very happy that OSU is supporting KDE. Kudos to OSU OSL!!!

Osho


By Osho at Sat, 2005/12/17 - 6:00am

On my Gentoo install, even the tcsh prompt is colorful.


By Donnie Berkholz at Mon, 2005/12/19 - 6:00am

Good to know! I suppose you either have a different version or something is broken on my install.


By Navindra Umanee at Tue, 2005/12/20 - 6:00am

TERM=linux

should do.

Make sure ssh or Putty aren't messing up the term settings.

Daniel


By Daniel at Tue, 2005/12/20 - 6:00am

No luck...


By Navindra Umanee at Wed, 2005/12/21 - 6:00am