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dab_s_bad
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:48 pm    Post subject: Need Guidance on an AMD Geode LX800 System Reply with quote

Greetings to All,

First of all, I am not sure if this is in the right forum section as I am torn between selecting "Installing Gentoo", "Kernel & Hardware" and "Gentoo on Alternative Architecture".

anyways, I have an AMD Geode LX800 System and is very similar to that of Alix SBC's.
to enumerate what I have:
[*] AMD Geode LX800 (i586 variant processor)
[*] CS5536 Companion Chipset
[*] Gigabit LAN RTL-8110SC/8169SC
[*] 512Mb RAM (removable)
[*] onboard VGA, sound, 3x USB, normal internal IDE header + compact flash card slot
[*] 512Mb CF Card [will be using the 120Gb 2.5" ide hdd instead]
[*] have 8Gb usb flash drive (just in case) [will be using the 120Gb 2.5" ide hdd instead]
to have a good idea how it looks like, google these: "tr2350 futro a220"

downloaded the 486 iso 'install-x86-minimal-20150310.iso', used unetbootin to transder the iso to usb, booted and it detected all things needed.
I am leaning towards installing Gentoo on this little marvel of yesteryear's :), but I have some 'minor' problem(s) in my current device setup.

The Limitations:
[*] can't use regular HDD's and I'm limited into using the 512Mb CF card and probably with the 8Gb flash drive (512Mb + 8Gb combo) [cancelled]
[*] can't upgrade/buy another CF card, too expensive[cancelled]
[*] uclibc maybe a good option but I'd rather stick with the normal glibc
[*] minimum console 'ncurses' support, X is optional
[*] was thinking also 'BuildRoot', 'OE' 'yocto/poky' but seems out of my league already :)
[*] tinycore/microcore is also good as this is what is currently inside the CF card but I'll be migrating to Gentoo for this time

The Guidance/Advise that I need are:
[-1-] So, I need advise on the partition scheme for the 512Mb + 8Gb combo media that I have.
[-2-] building/compiling with these devices will take 'ages' to complete the whole installation thing, what I have in mind is to setup distcc and/or crosscompile on another machine to help speed the process but am a TOTAL noob on distcc/crosscompile. What would you advise on this?
[-3-] since the destination medium are CF and usb flash drive, how to prevent wear and tear? tmpfs?


The finished product will serve as a mini Music Jukebox and as an SMS Centric stuff, facilitating like:
[*] SMS forwarding
[*] SMS to IM and vise versa
[*] any other SMS service I can think of :)


hoping for the guidance/advice/directions on this subject matter, thanks in advance!


Last edited by dab_s_bad on Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 512MB storage may be a problem. Likely the best way to start this is to bootstrap with another system, perhaps with a VM and transfer to this machine.

I have an AMD SC520 with a 2GB CF card (and also a Geode GX1 on an ATX dev board, but I think the SC520 is more of a problem). I bootstrapped on a 1GB "486" -- a virtual machine on my Core2 Quad machine. Then I copied the image to the CF card, and started it that way. However since I did use a stage3, this install is a full Gentoo install with the full portage toolchain and because that, it'll be hard to get even a text only system below 450MB due to all the stuff Python and Perl drag along...which will make it hard to get it to fit on a 512MB card and still have space to do anything else. Part of the problem is the huge installed package database, and this isn't even including the /usr/portage/ tree - I have it mounted via NFS - nor temp space for compiling. NFS has to provide that space too.

Was the intent to make this machine self-hosting Gentoo or will you be updating this box by pulling the 'disk' and upgrading via a bigger box?

The intent of my 2GB CF install was the latter, as the SC520 only has 64MB RAM on it... but the install would be done via a VM versus a non-self-hosting stage1 install where python is omitted.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
The 512MB storage may be a problem. Likely the best way to start this is to bootstrap with another system, perhaps with a VM and transfer to this machine.

I have an AMD SC520 with a 2GB CF card (and also a Geode GX1 on an ATX dev board, but I think the SC520 is more of a problem). I bootstrapped on a 1GB "486" -- a virtual machine on my Core2 Quad machine. Then I copied the image to the CF card, and started it that way. However since I did use a stage3, this install is a full Gentoo install with the full portage toolchain and because that, it'll be hard to get even a text only system below 450MB due to all the stuff Python and Perl drag along...which will make it hard to get it to fit on a 512MB card and still have space to do anything else. Part of the problem is the huge installed package database, and this isn't even including the /usr/portage/ tree - I have it mounted via NFS - nor temp space for compiling. NFS has to provide that space too.

Was the intent to make this machine self-hosting Gentoo or will you be updating this box by pulling the 'disk' and upgrading via a bigger box?

The intent of my 2GB CF install was the latter, as the SC520 only has 64MB RAM on it... but the install would be done via a VM versus a non-self-hosting stage1 install where python is omitted.

@eccerr0r, thanks for the reply, intent is for a self-hosting Gentoo system.
anyways, I also have a 8Gb usb flash drive, can this be used as "/"?, if no then I might be forced to use an HDD (which will make it ugly)
I know using a USB hosting "/" is not good, I may just have to use an HDD then since prices here for CF cards are too high
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the portage tree itself (/usr/portage) will exceed 500MB or so, likely you will need to use the 8G flash to be completely self hosting and not depend on NFS.

On a side note, I have a USB 16GB Flash memory that will boot my machines and run completely from it as rootfs is on that media. It's self hosting (I can emerge anything on it, as if it were a regular machine - a bit different from a livecd or liveusb). Its install size was 9GB or so, and has a full portage tree, X11/XFCE desktop, Firefox, 1GB swap, etc. I'm not sure how long this thing will last but it has been working OK, though it is a bit slow due to write speeds.

It's a Lexar branded USB stick if it matters, maybe it'll last a while, who knows. Theoretically there should be wear leveling on USB just like on SATA SSDs.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dab_s_bad,

You can put the portage tree into squashfs to keep the size down. You can also --exclude branches from emerge sync.
There is no need to have the whole tree. You do need the space to make the squashfs image somewhere from time to time.

8G is very tight. I have an Acer One netbook from 2009 with the 8G SSD.
It has space for a Gnome2 install but that is achieved by building elsewhere and leaving behind /usr/portage and /usr/src
That comes to about 6G. The toolchain is still there but no portage tree or distfiles.

cross distcc just works but with such a shortage of resources. I would build on more capable hardware, then move it across.
That can be in a chroot or in a VM.

USB sticks are slow you really don't want to build there if you can help it.
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dab_s_bad
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the inputs @NeddySeagoon and @eccerr0r

I really need to re-think the HDD portion of my system and may resort to use my 2.5" ide HDD for this.
will do this on the weekend.

the problem I have now is the install part and the update part to make it i586 (to satisfy my OCD inside :) )

which is better to use for the installation (to speed up)? chroot version or doing it in VM?, does doing chroot does not affect CHOST and CFLAGS?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The nice thing about VM is that you can tailor the environment to match (or at least closer match) the target.
The bad thing about VM is that it can be slightly slower computationally.

The nice thing about chroot is that it runs mostly at native speed (though I find chroot disk access slightly slower, but not slower than the VM).
The bad thing is that if there are any buildtime processor detection, the packages may be built for the wrong CPU.

The third method is using ROOT= and that's really, really buggy, but it's pretty much the only way to do a stage 1 bootstrap. Buggy in that it sometimes gets confused between the ROOT= and the main system (wrt use flags, and also suffers from buildtime processor detection), but when it does works, this is theoretically the fastest build as no emulation is going on, and does not need bind mounts to /proc, etc., to work.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
The nice thing about VM is that you can tailor the environment to match (or at least closer match) the target.
The bad thing about VM is that it can be slightly slower computationally.

The nice thing about chroot is that it runs mostly at native speed (though I find chroot disk access slightly slower, but not slower than the VM).
The bad thing is that if there are any buildtime processor detection, the packages may be built for the wrong CPU.

The third method is using ROOT= and that's really, really buggy, but it's pretty much the only way to do a stage 1 bootstrap. Buggy in that it sometimes gets confused between the ROOT= and the main system (wrt use flags, and also suffers from buildtime processor detection), but when it does works, this is theoretically the fastest build as no emulation is going on, and does not need bind mounts to /proc, etc., to work.

can you point me to a direction/link(s) for 'method 3'?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi dab_s_bad

I use a similar architecture (Linutop 2, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linutop). I use it as a download server mostly (transmission & amule daemons and the matching remote GUI on my main system). I decided to attach a USB HDD for /home and /var/ filesystems. /boot and / are located on the SDCard. See the filesystems on the AMD Geode below:
Code:
Filesystem     1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2         952680    465324    421744  53% /
tmpfs              48060       240     47820   1% /run
dev                10240         0     10240   0% /dev
shm               240288         0    240288   0% /dev/shm
cgroup_root        10240         0     10240   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sdb5      103081248  88337364   9484620  91% /home
/dev/sdb2         999320     31616    898892   4% /var
/dev/sdb1      984175032 623815820 310342928  67% /mnt/temp
/dev/sda1          14871     11103      3000  79% /boot

I kept OpenRC on this system, though I use systemd on my main system.

I used the chroot method on my core i7 desktop system (http://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Project:X86/Chroot_Guide) to generate the bin packages. I mounted the portage tree of the main filesystem in the chroot environment so that it is not duplicated and I only need to sync once for both. I use 2 scripts to enter the chroot:
  • first one on the main system (named chroot-linutop):
    Code:
    echo "Mounting 32bits portable chroot dirs"
    mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo_linutop/dev >/dev/null
    mount -o bind /dev/pts /mnt/gentoo_linutop/dev/pts >/dev/null &
    mount -o bind /dev/shm /mnt/gentoo_linutop/dev/shm >/dev/null &
    mount -o rbind /proc /mnt/gentoo_linutop/proc >/dev/null
    #mount -o bind /proc/bus/usb /mnt/gentoo_linutop/proc/bus/usb >/dev/null &
    mount -o bind /sys /mnt/gentoo_linutop/sys >/dev/null &
    mount -o bind /tmp /mnt/gentoo_linutop/tmp >/dev/null &
    mount -o bind /var/tmp/portage /mnt/gentoo_linutop/var/tmp/portage >/dev/null &
    mount -o bind /usr/portage /mnt/gentoo_linutop/usr/portage >/dev/null &

    echo "Copying 32bits chroot files"
    cp -pf /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo_linutop/etc >/dev/null &

    linux32 chroot /mnt/gentoo_linutop /bin/bash

  • second one in the chroot (named chroot-initenv):
    Code:
    uname -m
    source /etc/profile
    env-update
    export DONT_MOUNT_BOOT=true

Inside the chroot, I configured /etc/portage/make.conf to adapt to the architecture. I decided to keep the system minimal. I read somewhere that it was better using i486 architecture instead of i586, but the there was support for mmx & 3dnow. I also removed as much documentation as I could and limit the python dependencies (unfortunately, I received a duplicate recently):
Code:
CFLAGS="-O2 -march=i486 -mmmx -m3dnow -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"
CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}"
CHOST="i686-pc-linux-gnu"

USE="-doc -nls -X -alsa -ipv6 -pulse -berkdb -gdbm -gtk -gtk2 -gtk3 -opengl -qt -qt3 -qt3support -qt4 -kde bindist python3"
CPU_FLAGS_X86=""

PORTDIR="/usr/portage"
DISTDIR="${PORTDIR}/distfiles"
PKGDIR="${PORTDIR}/packages/fengalintop/packages"

# compilation on core i7
MAKEOPTS="-j9"
#MAKEOPTS="-j2"

FEATURES="buildpkg nodoc noinfo noman"

PYTHON_TARGETS="python3_3"
PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET="python3_3"
USE_PYTHON="3.3

With this configuration, you can download a minimal x86 base system and emerge system and world to update to the architecture. Then, just emerge individual packages just like you would on the target system.
For the kernel configuration you can activate these:
Code:
...
#
# Non-8250 serial port support
#
...
CONFIG_HW_RANDOM_GEODE=y
...

#
# Frame buffer hardware drivers
#
...
CONFIG_FB_GEODE=y
CONFIG_FB_GEODE_LX=y
...

#
# Random Number Generation
#
...
CONFIG_CRYPTO_HW=y
...
CONFIG_CRYPTO_DEV_GEODE=y
...

I transfered the kernel and system root tree to the AMD Geode system using the USB HDD and SystemRescueCD on a USB pendrive. When you update the kernel, remember to also transfer the kernel modules (/lib/modules/...). Now that the system is up and running, I use NFS to share the bin packages:
  • On the core i7 / generation system /etc/exports:
    Code:
    # /etc/exports: NFS file systems being exported.  See exports(5).

    /var/export/usr-portage    192.168.0.0/24(sync,ro,no_subtree_check)

  • On the AMD Geode (/etc/fstab):
    Code:
    ...
    192.168.0.11:/var/export/usr-portage   /usr/portage   nfs      ro,_netdev,auto      0 0

Here is the modified /etc/portage.make.conf on the target system so that it only attempts to pull bin packages:
Code:
CFLAGS="-O2 -march=i486 -mmmx -m3dnow -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"
CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}"
CHOST="i686-pc-linux-gnu"

USE="-doc -nls -X -ipv6 -alsa -pulse -berkdb -gdbm -gtk -gtk2 -gtk3 -opengl -qt -qt3 -qt3support -qt4 -kde bindist python3"
PORTDIR="/usr/portage"
DISTDIR="${PORTDIR}/distfiles"
PKGDIR="${PORTDIR}/packages/fengalintop/packages"

# compilation on core i7
#MAKEOPTS="-j9"
MAKEOPTS="-j2"

EMERGE_DEFAULT_OPTS="--autounmask-keep-masks=y"

#FEATURES="buildpkg nodoc noinfo noman"
FEATURES="getbinpkg nodoc noinfo noman"
PORTAGE_BINHOST=""

PYTHON_TARGETS="python3_3"
PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET="python3_3"
USE_PYTHON="3.3"

From this, you can install individual packages you have generated on the generation system. Use ssh to access the AMD Geode. I decided not to compile anything on the AMD Geode as it is very slow, so I removed some low level packages by hand.

I hope it helps, cheers,

fengalin
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-march=i586 is okay. -march=i486 is safer.

-march=native would be the safest and fastest though; run this on the Geode if you're using distcc to get an equivalent list that'll work:
Code:
    gcc -v -march=native -x c /dev/null 2>&1 \
        | grep -- '-march' \
        | pcregrep -o "(?<=\s)-(?:m|-param )\\S+"


Note that no amount of CFLAGS will protect you from the fact you have CHOST="i686-pc-linux-gnu"...
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P.

CHOST will 'only' trash the toolchain. If that is never rebuilt and used, it won't be detected.
That its =i686 suggestn that the wrong stage3 tarball is in use, as thats where its set by default.
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fengalin
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks both of you for your clarifications. You're right Ant P., I should update the CHOST on the target system. Like I said, I never use the AMD Geode for generation, so it never caused any issue.

Here is the output of the command you suggested:
Code:
# gcc -v -march=native -x c /dev/null 2>&1 \
>         | grep -- '-march' \
>         | pcregrep -o "(?<=\s)-(?:m|-param )\\S+"
-march=geode
-mno-cx16
-mno-sahf
-mno-movbe
-mno-aes
-mno-pclmul
-mno-popcnt
-mno-abm
-mno-lwp
-mno-fma
-mno-fma4
-mno-xop
-mno-bmi
-mno-bmi2
-mno-tbm
-mno-avx
-mno-avx2
-mno-sse4.2
-mno-sse4.1
-mno-lzcnt
-mno-rtm
-mno-hle
-mno-rdrnd
-mno-f16c
-mno-fsgsbase
-mno-rdseed
-mno-prfchw
-mno-adx
-mno-fxsr
-mno-xsave
-mno-xsaveopt
--param l1-cache-size=64
--param l1-cache-line-size=32
--param l2-cache-size=128
-mtune=geode
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fengalin,

-march=geode should be enough.

You can add -Os or -O2 and -pipe if you want.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the inputs
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, for learning and curiosity sake..., lets say I have installed gentoo faithfully using the x32 handbook/guide and using a stage3 486 tarball.

how do I convert the ENTIRE thing to i586?

I know that doing this 'natively' will take months to complete 8O
I have also read many things about this particular Proc is that its better to have it stay to i486 than to i586
In the future if I'm able to install it successfully with the i486 variant, would definitely be back asking guidance on to cross compile it if time permits.

thanks to all!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dab_s_bad,

Natively, you follow the CHOST changing guide to get a i586 toolchain.
This is really a waste of time, since the CHOST tells what host the toolchain will run on and not the host it will build code for.
That is a CHOST=i486 toolchain will produce code for whatever you put in -march= as losg as its Intel/AMD 32 bit.

You fix your -march= and either let nature take its course with updates or run
Code:
emerge -e @world
to rebuild everything.
Others will tell you you need
Code:
emerge -e @system
first then choose your new gcc but life just isn't long enough.

Now, if you add distcc or build somewhere else and set up a BINHOST, thats different.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dab_s_bad,

I forgot to mention: this architecture doesn't use PAE, so make sure to uncheck this in kernel configuration:
Code:
Processor type and features  --->
    ...
    [ ] PAE (Physical Address Extension) Support
    ...

If you boot SystemRescueCD, select a non-PAE kernel.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fengalin wrote:
dab_s_bad,

I forgot to mention: this architecture doesn't use PAE, so make sure to uncheck this in kernel configuration:
Code:
Processor type and features  --->
    ...
    [ ] PAE (Physical Address Extension) Support
    ...

If you boot SystemRescueCD, select a non-PAE kernel.


to fengalin and everyone that contributed,

thanks for the pointers/help/assistance ^_^
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing you could look for is a Microdrive. Basically, it's a 5-8GB Hard Disk in the form of a CF card. You can find them cheaply on eBay. I've used them, and you can put swap on them without fear of destroying your card.

..then.. if you want to.. use parts of the script in my Stage1 build tutorial. That way you can use some features in the processor instead of being stuck with i486. I would highly suggest a decent-sized swap, along with an NFS share for portage.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simba7 wrote:
One thing you could look for is a Microdrive. Basically, it's a 5-8GB Hard Disk in the form of a CF card. You can find them cheaply on eBay. I've used them, and you can put swap on them without fear of destroying your card.

..then.. if you want to.. use parts of the script in my Stage1 build tutorial. That way you can use some features in the processor instead of being stuck with i486. I would highly suggest a decent-sized swap, along with an NFS share for portage.

buying those Microdrive is a very good idea but I don't have the luxury here in the Philippines to buy those :(

link me that script of yours if you have it, thanks
edit:
this the one: https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-830228-postdays-0-postorder-asc-start-0.html
can this still work as of recent?
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

giving some little follow-ups...

I have somewhat made now my geode system be an i586 one and at the same time a hardened one in one go!? :D.
what I did was somewhat like this: [taken from 'change chost' and 'hardened guide']
changed first chost in make.conf
Code:
emerge -av1 binutils gcc glibc virtual/libc

after the ultra long 2~3days it finished :) can't really remember, executed:
Code:
./bootstrap.sh

and after some long 2~3days again, executed:
Code:
emerge -ave @system

and yet another long..., long compile days, it completed without errors gladly :).

anyways, my question is how to test if my conversion to [/code]i586 is good?

sidenote:
I just remembered now that my kernel is still the vanilla gentoo one, need to compile the hardened one.
I have initramfs generated by genkernel since I have lvm, do I need to rebuild my initramfs if I'm using now a soon tobe new hardened kernel?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dab_s_bad,

If your system is not now i586 we are all in trouble. The CHOST changing guide worked for a lot of users when glibc dropped I386 support.
All that really matters is your -march=

You will need to rebuild the initrd every time you update the kernel if it contains kernel modules.
Its actually slightly worse than that as the kernel and its modules must be built with the same version of gcc.

If your initrd only contains userspace tools, it should work with gentoo-hardened too, no rebuild required.
The initrd won't be hardened but does that matter to you?
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
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dab_s_bad
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm somewhat amazed that I have rebooted a couple of times and I'm still able to use my old geode :)

anyways, its not much of use as of now that kernel and initrd is vanilla but I would like it to be hardened also as I'll be using this little thing as a mini server (front facing the internet), I'll be using dynamic dns for this for a mini website perhaps or some ssh capabilities also.

and..., when I tried gcc-config (-l/-c) it points to i586 stuff and I guess its good I think as it did not produce any errors and subsequent builds after gcc glibc binutils all went well...

what would you think!?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dab_s_bad,

Its very difficult to use the initrd as an attack vector. Its not running during normal operation but it might still be in the free memory pool.

If your initrd includes networking, you might be more concerned.
The only good reason for that is console over the network.
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NeddySeagoon

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon,

I have initrd because I have lvm and because I want a filesystem that is I can shrink/enlarge later.

I have read somewhere here also that we can use resize2fs or something. can I use resize2fs on ext4 without lvm to shrink/enlarge an ext4 filesystem?

honestly, I'm a super noob on this, I do not even know the whole purpose of the initrd :( but am still learning :)
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