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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:36 am    Post subject: Advice for smaller HDD? Reply with quote

I have an old Intel Celeron 2.80GHz laptop with a gig of RAM running Debian Wheezy I want to upgrade to Gentoo. It has a 40GB IDE drive with 512b physical sectors, so i can use smaller block sizes. I was thinking maybe a gig or two with a 1k block size for /var/tmp/portage, 1GiB with 1k block size for /usr/portage, but I am unsure what to use for /usr/portage/distfiles and /usr/portage/packages. I would like, if possible, 75% of the drive for /home.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laptop? Put portage on NFS. Do you upgrade your installation when on the road? I guess not. You do it when you get back home.
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Better yet, use a cross compiler. You really don't want to see the compile times on that thing.

Also, for something like this don't get partition happy. Using 3 partitions (/boot (64 mb) swap (2-3 gig) and /) is going to give you the best possible allocation of space. If you really must use more, look to lvm since you are going to need to grow your partitions like crazy or risk running out of room.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I can't put modern Gentoo on the older laptop without external storage for those four partitions? Also, i have a fairly FHS standard setup I use with multiple partitions which has always worked for me. Yes, even on THAT laptop, with Debian and before that Slack.

How would I cross-compile for the laptop?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So I can't put modern Gentoo on the older laptop without external storage for those four partitions?
You could. It is just a pain in the neck.

Also, you may have noticed, but Gentoo has a significant increase in size requirements. Also, power is needed for building. It makes in a real pain.

I spent something like a week making a similar attempt, although that was purely for entertainment.

Quote:
Also, i have a fairly FHS standard setup I use with multiple partitions which has always worked for me
The issue isn't that you can't do it, but rather that you are more likely to run into trouble as your file systems grow in ways you didn't predict.

Most notably, Gentoo requires more packages than Debian or Slack to work properly due to the requirement of housing the toolchain.

Quote:
How would I cross-compile for the laptop?
Basically, you would build compatible packages and then use an nfs share or similar to privde them to portage on the laptop.
Some reading material
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have gentoo on ancient 30 GB drive with ancient PIII CPU. It does work pretty well, but:

1) don't bother making separate partitions for everything. You mght consider separate /home or separate nothing. Any other option is a waste of precious space.
2) don't bother syncing portage. Just create a directory manualy, so you can mount portage when you need it.
3) Compliling on that machine is also going to take ages. Use something stronger for doing the hard work. There are easy ways of lending your cpu power to other machines, distcc or NFS will do fine.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I may give Slack a shot on this one then. I'll keep Gentoo on more modern systems like my work laptop. Thanks for the help, people!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you keep it minimalistic it probably wouldn't be all that bad. For instance no DE and instead a minimal WM instead such as fluxbox. Not only will it save space but will also make the compile times far better. Then emerge world only every 3-5 weeks to minimize the pain.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries, I've wanted to try Slack recently anyway. This gives me an excuse. I still run Gentoo on my modern hardware.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why so complicated? Just give 10G to the root partition, and the rest to /home. Maybe a small /boot partition (50MB should be enough). Unless you install a lot, that should work just fine. You could create some space in your home partition for temporary portage needs, when necessary.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of years ago I installed Gentoo x86 with Xfce on an old Gateway 9300 laptop with Intel Mobile Pentium III Coppermine (800 MHz), 288 MB DRAM, ATI RAGE Mobility-P (16 MB SGRAM) and 10 GB HDD and it was fine for browsing the Web and typing the odd note. Merging Firefox from source was out of the question, of course, but installing Firefox via firefox-bin was fine. If I recall correctly, I set up a 100 MB partition for /boot, a 500 MB partition for swap, and the rest for a root partition.

So an old laptop with an Intel Celeron 2.80 GHz CPU, one GB RAM and 40 GB HDD should run Gentoo with e.g. Xfce quite well, I would have thought.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait, the firefox-bin package did build (or appeared to build) on my systems. I had to use it because the "firefox" package is archaic! Can an admin or dev tell us once and for all what the difference is here?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do not build firefox-bin, it is a binary package, all you do is unpack and install. Obviously, it cannot be customized by you.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth wrote:
Wait, the firefox-bin package did build (or appeared to build) on my systems. I had to use it because the "firefox" package is archaic! Can an admin or dev tell us once and for all what the difference is here?


A simple user can do that. The firefox-bin is a binary package that does not build since you download the binary and use that.

And actually, the newest version of firefox is basically identical on both of them. The source is an -r1 so slightly ahead at the moment.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth,

methinks you may want considering switching to ~arch.

I came to Gentoo from Debian. I ran stable for three months before switching over to ~arch. Never looked back. The testing in Gentoo is not really what you might think it is. You will not experience any problems running ~arch, you will see occasional build issues, but portage will protect you, whenever the build fails the existing version will be preserved and usable.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Doctor wrote:
The_Great_Sephiroth wrote:
Wait, the firefox-bin package did build (or appeared to build) on my systems. I had to use it because the "firefox" package is archaic! Can an admin or dev tell us once and for all what the difference is here?


A simple user can do that. The firefox-bin is a binary package that does not build since you download the binary and use that.

And actually, the newest version of firefox is basically identical on both of them. The source is an -r1 so slightly ahead at the moment.

Odd, you are correct, but when I first installed the "firefox" package, it was version 21 or 24, and now they're the same. I must have messed up during that initial install and not synced. I am curious as to why a binary version is offered then?

Jag, I thought Arch was upstream of Gentoo? You say I won't have as many issues, but currently my only real "issue" with Gentoo (may be a KDE issue) are my CPU temperatures not being reported to the widgets in KDE, but sensors output is fine.

*EDIT*

Wait, you're referring to a branch, I see that now. I may give it a shot on my next install. Can't hurt and I am enjoying Gentoo immensely, despite my occasional hiccups. My boss is absolutely in love with his laptop now that he has Gentoo on it.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My laptop has a 2.2ghz celeron And Gentoo runs fine on it. Firefox takes 4-5 hours to compile for example. That's not too big of a deal for me. Looking at your original post, I would stick another gig of ram in it (I've never filled 2 gigs) and a bigger hdd and just run as normal.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth wrote:
I am curious as to why a binary version is offered then?

Some of the applications in the Portage tree are also made available in a pre-compiled package, as an alternative to the source-code package, because they would take a very long time to compile on less-powerful hardware. Firefox is one example, LibreOffice is another. For example, on the old laptop I mentioned in my previous post, the command 'emerge firefox' would still be running twelve hours later, whereas it took just a minute or so to install the binary by using the command 'emerge firefox-bin'.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you dedicate the whole disk to Gentoo, 40GB is more than enough without special tricks.
I've got a lot of Gentoo installs on single 12GB to 20GB partitions that fit easily. Make sure you have at least 1.5GB of virtual memory (1GB real RAM, 512MB swap) though. For a laptop you should think about having 1GB swap with 1GB RAM... so someday you're ready when you want to hibernate your laptop...

Honestly speaking I'm even using libreoffice-bin on my i7... Just not patient enough to download and compile all of it... though I do build firefox. I've even built firefox on my 36GB 384MB Celeron before - now that is painful...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe I will give Gentoo a shot on it. Yes, I will benchmark everything. My boss' laptop has an AMD Athlon64x2 and it took two days to build everything. I want to build the stuff, that's why I chose Gentoo over Slack, so I don't mind letting it build FF or LO overnight. I am thoroughly enjoying Gentoo thus far, and the community seems to be great!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an old tower in the basement with an AMD k6-III+ at 450Mhz with 384M memory. the hard drive is an ancient 80 G WD800JB . It dual boots with Win XP with Grub.

The disk layout is

partition 1 Windows 10.5 G
partition 2 /boot 2G
partition 3 swap 4G
partition 4 / 63.5G

For your drive and assuming no Windows;
partition 1 /boot 2G
partition 2 swap 4G
partition 3 / 34G plenty of space if your not storing video

For the k6 I found that compiling with march=k6-3 made a BIG difference from binary distros like RedHat that are tuned for Pentium. Don't know if your celeron would show that much difference.
I run firefox-bin on all my boxes because after comparing for years, I can't tell any difference between firefox and firefox-bin except firefox is a PITA to compile even on a 3.2G six core.

Don't be surprised if your kernel takes eight hours to compile. I usually cross-compile it. Actually I have a 32 bit partition on my six core that pretends it's a six core k6-3 3.2Ghz processor. I can compile the kernel with march=k-6-3 because I never run that kernel except on the real k6-3. Eight minutes beats 8 hours, but you can always leave your laptop on charger and build overnight. Just trim your drivers and file systems to what you actually use.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went with a less extravagant setup this time.

  • / 1.9GiB
  • /boot 128MiB
  • /var 2GiB
  • /var/tmp/portage 2GiB
  • /var/log 1GiB
  • /usr 6GiB
  • /usr/portage 1.5GiB
  • /usr/portage/distfiles 6GiB
  • /usr/portage/packages 2GiB
  • /tmp 512MiB
  • /usr/src 2GiB
  • <swap> 1GiB
  • /home <the rest, about 10GiB>

It is doing well so far. I cannot wait to see how long it takes!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly speaking if you have a single user, small hard drive (less than 500GB) and only one OS (Linux) there's really no sense in partitioning down to little small pieces. All you really need:

1. /boot partition. And this is optional (if your BIOS/firmware supports your whole disk with LBA, not optional if you use EFI)
2. swap partition. This is also optional if you use a swap file.
3. /home - if you really want to just wipe the OS and keep /home...
4. / - and everything goes into root.

Yes, I do have a couple installs that are single big partition, boot, swap, and all.

Why?

You'll only be cursing yourself and not other people when one partition fills up because you'll notice that you have XYZ more disk space in partition CDEF and you can't use it. It's really NOT like someone else is going to try to take down your machine by filling a partition.

Even /home I stick on the same partition. Because there can be metadata that not in /home that make me eventually have to rebuild /home anyway - so I just tar up /home and save it somewhere else and redo it.

For servers with large amounts of disk space and worries about availability you can overcommit disk space and not worry about it. Plus it's better if you have everything on LVM and you can dynamically resize partitions on the fly.

The key comments I have right away about the partitioning you have, which I'd claim is an extremely extravagant partitioning scheme:

/var/tmp/portage will hurt when you try to build Firefox which needs 4GB. You'll end up pointing PORTAGE_TMPDIR somewhere else which defeats the purpose of these partitions in the first place.
/usr/portage/packages will likely be wasted space if you don't binpkg often. I sure don't on my standalone workstations.
/usr/portage/distfiles likely will be underutilized. If you frequently eclean -d to remove files that portage no longer knows what to do with and you don't have installed, you'll stay well under 6GB.
/var/log will also likely be wasted disk space. With logrotate hitting 1GB will be hard.
/ (root) - You won't have much here, most likely, and 1.9GB is mostly wasted disk space.

But to each their own, this is just my opinion on the matter based on all the machines I've worked on. As the sole user of my own machines, having one large pool of disk space is much more useful than lots of little ones here and there. Basically /home needs to have as much disk space possible, all the real stuff happens here. Basically when you need to download a 5GB file and you have 3GB left in /home, and you see 1.5GB unused in /usr/portage/packages and 1.5GB unused in / (root) ...
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a laptop of this spec its not going to be doing much, why bother with a classic setup? Just do boot, swap and /

You seem to of heard the bad points and almost quit once and this was just during setup of basic apps.. Hopefully this is a fun approach for you and not something thats required as it seems a bit odd/rare, get a new laptop :P lol

One thing i will say though and might of been said in the last 1/4 of page i skimmmed that. but this is where gentoo can really excel, 0.0000045 faster on an it compared to an i5, nothing much, but when speed is lacking a properly configured gentoo should outdo most other distros in terms of base speed/hardware usage.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fixed partitions are a harmful anachronism. Fragmentation by design! The damage done is proportional to the size of the partition table.

Apart from the obvious downside (inefficient allocation of space), the read head is forced to make multiple trips across the entire disk for trivial things - like any program that reads multiple config/data files in sequence from ~/, /etc/ or /usr/share/. A single boot will have *hundreds* of events like these.
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