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mreff555
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Joined: 10 Mar 2011
Posts: 231
Location: Philadelphia

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:48 pm    Post subject: general thoughts on hardware configuration Reply with quote

I'm looking to install Gentoo on my system again. Until about 2 years ago I used it exclusively for about 6 years. The main reason I switched is because I had less and less time to diagnose problems, really less time to be in front of the computer (kids), and I thought by switching to a simpler package manager this would go away. It didn't. In fact, overly complected distributions made problems even more difficult to diagnose and after running CentOS for a year, decided that there was no point in having a binary package manager if I have to build everything myself or use foreign repositories and risk breaking my system. So, if I'm compiling everything anyway, II might as well be compiling on the fly. So, bottom line, I'm going back to Gentoo. The thing is, when I make the switch I can't afford a week downtime, and since every time I re-installed gentoo, even when I used it regularly new stuff was always emerging so I figured I would ask for a few general opinions regarding my potential setup.

Hardware:

2nd Gen Intel i3 Sandybridge
4GB RAM
192GB SSD
Nvidia GT 520M discrete graphics
Intel N Ultimate wifi 5300

(Yes I know, it's old, but I'm a cheap bastard and I'm going to run it into the ground.)

I generally like to keep a very minimal system only installing what I need. dwm is one of my go to window managers, and I prefer to use the shell whenever possible.

here are the questions:

- I know there are plenty of articles about gentoo and SSD. I didn't have an SSD last time. Is 4GB enough to build most stuff in tmpfs? I know some stuff like chrome will require swap. Also, if I'm doing this, is there any reason to consider btfs? In recent years I've always used ext4 and was happy with the results. I guess I probably need to disable journaling at least huh?

- I've always used init because I was used to it and systemd was still the minority back then. Not so much anymore. Obviously there is a performance increase with systemd and I sorta know it, I just don't like it. Of course I worry about waning support for init as time goes on. Thoughts?

-I need closed source drivers for Nvidia. Mainly just for parallel programming. I might play a game occasionally but I want the Cuda support. What is the best way to go about doing this these days? Last install I did, it was using bumblebee.

In the past I kept my kernel very small (3.2mb), but I could never completely disable module support b/c of closed source video drivers and I kept ethernet drivers as a module as well. How big of a performance hit is this? Is there a better was of doing this?

If anyone can recommend any other minimal, but highly maintained tiling window managers I wouldn't mind trying something new. i3 is Ok, but to bulky. I've heard good things about rat poison and awesome, but I have never tried them.

Thanks,

Dan
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grumblebear
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Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a few comments:
Quote:
- I know there are plenty of articles about gentoo and SSD. I didn't have an SSD last time. Is 4GB enough to build most stuff in tmpfs? I know some stuff like chrome will require swap. Also, if I'm doing this, is there any reason to consider btfs? In recent years I've always used ext4 and was happy with the results. I guess I probably need to disable journaling at least huh?

With only 4GB ram I would not waste anything for tmpfs. Yes, SSDs do survive building directly from them. Mine is only 60GB and is still alive after some years. Btrfs, xfs, ext4 will all work, unless you have the need for a specific feature only one of them provides. These are all journaling filesystems. You will definitely want that.

Quote:
- I've always used init because I was used to it and systemd was still the minority back then. Not so much anymore. Obviously there is a performance increase with systemd and I sorta know it, I just don't like it. Of course I worry about waning support for init as time goes on. Thoughts?

This question always starts a flamewar. IMHO it is easier to go with systemd than to fight against it. It wont't burn your system.

Quote:
In the past I kept my kernel very small (3.2mb), but I could never completely disable module support b/c of closed source video drivers and I kept ethernet drivers as a module as well. How big of a performance hit is this? Is there a better was of doing this?

Using a monolithic kernel will not give you a performance gain. You can and probably should build stuff you do not need to boot as modules.
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eccerr0r
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
Posts: 7127
Location: almost Mile High in the USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4GB RAM is sufficient for most things in tmpfs, but large packages will not build. I just build them on SSD, it was meant to be used anyway.
I have a 2GB machine and the only things that stick out for me is Firefox and I think llvm, webkit-gtk. I think Chrome will also have a problem, and openoffice/libreoffice definitely will.
On my 8G machines, firefox also has issues but can be worked around by increasing the size of tmpfs.
I use ext4 and swap to my SSD when needed.

Gentoo will firmly stand behind OpenRC and gives systemd as an option.

Nvidia (and ATI) Closed source drivers are in Portage and it works... you can install bumblebee if needed. However, recently you can't upgrade to xorg 1.18 with at least the old chipset Nvidia and ATI closed source drivers. Not sure when/if upstream will be updated.

I have no problems with module support, you won't really notice any difference with modules.

I have no recommendations for window managers anymore, all my machines with more than 768MB RAM run full DEs now. I have just one virtual machine that I run fvwm2 as it has no need for a GUI for the most part (though I have firefox installed, mostly to download a clickthrough in the "background").
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mreff555
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Joined: 10 Mar 2011
Posts: 231
Location: Philadelphia

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys, great answers.
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C5ace
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Joined: 23 Dec 2013
Posts: 277
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use XFCE Desktop with Firefox, Thunderbird, Libreoffice, Porthole, Filezilla and Avidemux on 3 laptops, one desktop and as VirtualBox client. The lowest end laptop has only 2Gb RAM. For testing, I successfully installed Gentoo / XFCE as a Virtualbox client with 512MB RAM and aforesaid applications with 512MB RAM. Worked fine, but was very slow. Just needs 40GB for / 12GB swap space .
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goldfinch
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Joined: 16 Oct 2015
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer dwm as a tiling WM.

http://dwm.suckless.org/

Edit: I just noticed you already mentioned dwm. I somehow missed that sentence when I read your first post. :oops: I've used ratpoison in the past. It's kind of fun to play with as well.
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Roman_Gruber
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Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 3806
Location: Austro Bavaria

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
i3 is Ok, but to bulky.


No idea why its bulky. I3 comes with basically nothing. I have only configured the bare minimum wiht i3wm here. I have booted up an ubuntu livecd and I saw several features which are all dead in i3wm.

When I check nvidia-settings the GPU-RAM usuage is the smallest compared with bloated window managers. The ram usuage is the smallest with htop after a fresh bootup. htop uses a bit more ram as top

4gb of ram is enough for gentoo. used ram is cheap you may upgrade if possible

i recommend eudev / openrc / i3wm

--

it seems

Quote:
i3 – wmii fork with XCB, multihead, vertical column, command mode


i3 is a fork and therefore really "bloated" than
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