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A Portage with binary packages available?
Great!
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Sucks!
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Don't really care
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paranode
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:37 pm    Post subject: Binary Portage? Reply with quote

I was thinking the other day about how popular Portage has become. It's the best package manager to hit Linux, in my opinion. I think it's better than apt, and leaves RPM in the dust. The only thing it's missing is a binary branch. Personally, I like compiling everything from scratch with my own optimized settings. However, there are people out there who just have slow machines and can't keep up with it, or maybe mission-critical systems that can't deal with compilation from source for whatever reason. Imagine if there was on option in Portage to select a binary version of a package, there would be almost no reason to ever use Debian, Red Hat, etc. I think Portage is the future. The only gripe other distro users have about Gentoo is that it takes so long to do anything on slow computers. I think if we eliminated that one caveat (while still keeping source as an option), it could eventually be the most used and popular distribution. I know this would take a lot of human resources to compile all the packages, and ideally we'd still want an option for each processor for best optimization. I'm sure there'd be plenty of users/developers willing to chip in though. What do you all think of this possibility?
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plate
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Err, what do you think this is? Straight from /etc/make.conf:
Code:
# Portage uses PORTAGE_BINHOST to specify mirrors for prebuilt-binary packages.
# The list is a single extry specifying the full address of the directory
# serving the tbz2's for your system. Running emerge with either '--getbinpkg'
# or '--getbinpkgonly' will cause portage to retrieve the metadata from all
# packages in the directory specified, and use that data to determine what will
# be downloaded and merged. '-g' or '-gK' are the recommend parameters. Please
# consult the man pages and 'emerge --help' for more information.
#PORTAGE_BINHOST="ftp://login:pass@grp.mirror.site/pub/grp/i686/athlon-xp/"
#PORTAGE_BINHOST="http://grp.mirror.site/gentoo/grp/1.4/i686/athlon-xp/"
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Liathus
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only have one gripe about a binary branch. Optimizations arn't the big draw to portage in my opinion. Its the USE variables. When you use portage to compile say proftpd, if you have Mysql in your USE setting, portage will compile proftpd with mysql support. This is a feature that I can't see working in a binary type system.

I still think that a binary branch would be a good idea however. Most of the time the defaults work, and for those other times you could always use a ebuild.
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paranode
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plate wrote:
Err, what do you think this is? Straight from /etc/make.conf:


Isn't that only for like a handful of huge packages?
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Last edited by paranode on Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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christsong84
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole basis of Gentoo is compiling frmo source made easy with portage...getting an optimized system...

yet at the same time, it's a great model just to keep upgrading your software so perhaps a binary option would be cool...

but downside of that would be, if you were to make it viable for everyone while sticking to the main gentoo policy of optimized systems, you would have to have separate binaries for each architecture (pentium3 pentium4 sparc...) which takes a LOT of diskspace and would probably make some people lazy and let others do their compiling for them at the same time the binaries are being compiled under perhaps a different set of optimizations (--whatever-that-no-loops-option-was) etc...then you'd have to create multiple versions of each set of optimizations thus taking even more space and...

well...you get the idea...
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

christsong84 wrote:
The whole basis of Gentoo is compiling frmo source made easy with portage...getting an optimized system...


I can't disagree more. Getting an optimized system (as in optimized binaries) is nothing more than a side effect of what I think Gentoo is really about: the USE flags. The performance gains from compiling from scratch are probably nowhere near as good as you think. What's making your system faster is that all that cruft in a stock build of a package is gone if you don't want it. For example: distcc. If you were to download a pre-built version of distcc, it would probably include the GTK+ client. However, if you're installing distcc to your headless server, this is completely unnecessary. So you have two options: use Gentoo and specify USE="-gtk", or use a different distro and compile from scratch. In essence you're doing the same thing in either case... Gentoo just makes it ridiculously easy.

Now expand that idea to a large program like mozilla. Look at the output of
Code:
emerge -pv mozilla
and you'll see how USE flags make configuring something like mozilla at compile time much easier than learning the nuances of the ./configure script.
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christsong84
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

carambola5 wrote:
christsong84 wrote:
The whole basis of Gentoo is compiling frmo source made easy with portage...getting an optimized system...


I can't disagree more. Getting an optimized system (as in optimized binaries) is nothing more than a side effect of what I think Gentoo is really about: the USE flags. The performance gains from compiling from scratch are probably nowhere near as good as you think.


perhaps I just notice it more 'cause my machine is sloooow (I'm in college and thus very poor... ;) )..I know enough about linux to build my own distro if I wanted to...changing source is not a problem for me...from my tests, I've made a noticable gain...but perhaps that's just me and my box.
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avenj
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Binary packages are a nightmare to build, QA, and distribute. Additionally, mixing source and binary packages on the same system typically results in various hard-to-debug problems. On top of all that, attempting to distribute binary packages - even just in the form of GRP - sucks up manpower and development effort that would, I feel, be better spent in other areas.

I feel that Gentoo should focus on being very good at specific things rather than mediocre at everything; attempting to be everything to everyone doesn't work.

(The usual "opinions are my own and not those of Gentoo Linux" disclaimer sure as hell applies here...)
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masseya
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

avenj wrote:
Binary packages are a nightmare to build, QA, and distribute. Additionally, mixing source and binary packages on the same system typically results in various hard-to-debug problems. On top of all that, attempting to distribute binary packages - even just in the form of GRP - sucks up manpower and development effort that would, I feel, be better spent in other areas.
I have agreed with this in the past and my opinion hasn't changed, but every time this opinion is stated it doesn't provide an alternative to the problems of being forced to compile large packages. There are some packages for which it would be nice to have binaries, like OpenOffice and Mozilla, because they take a long time to compile.

Furthermore, being able to setup a full graphical Gentoo desktop in a reasonable amount of time would be nice. I understand that this process can be done very quickly for a person who really wants to setup even a small office if the IT person is smart and has a week to prepare for the switchover. However, for the avid home user it can be a trial to go through the standard install procedure and be without their computer.

I'm not saying that this problem outweighs the issues you addressed about integrating a binary package for each from-source package. I'm simply saying that there are issues with a pure from-source distribution that have yet to be adequately addressed. You probably agree with that last statement at least. ;-)

I think you are right that it would be nice to have the developers spend their time on these issues instead of the binary package system or even GRP. However, I haven't heard any solutions to this problem other than GRP. It seems almost like a necessary evil if you are going to try and solve this problem.
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shm
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liathus wrote:
I only have one gripe about a binary branch. Optimizations arn't the big draw to portage in my opinion. Its the USE variables. When you use portage to compile say proftpd, if you have Mysql in your USE setting, portage will compile proftpd with mysql support. This is a feature that I can't see working in a binary type system.


Debian supports the eqvalent of USE settings by splitting packages. For example xchat can be compiled with or without gtk support. That's why in debian, it's split into xchat-text and xchat-gtk..
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echo6
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I admire the Gentoo team for what they have achieved.

My first experience of Linux was RH5.2, I was lost at the partition stage. Obviously my knowledge has greatly increased since then and I've returned to Linux and been serious about it since XP introduced Product Activation.

I'm still a novice when it comes to Linux, I've installed RH7.2 and above on a number of my systems. I've installed Gentoo on my notebook, and I have to say that it is a great way to learn Linux.

My gut feeling is that GRP is a good move, pre-combiled packages is a good idea providing there is good documentation on how it was built and what the limitations are. I've got a Sony Vaio PCG-FX101 for use at home, it's a Celeron 600 and it's not the fastest. At least with the Gentoo 1.4 GRP I can get up and running a lot quicker than normal and not have to wait days for various packages to compile. OK I could go for a normal distro, but then that is not as much fun and the satisfaction is not the same. At least now there is an option of a quick install. Choice is the most important factor, now I have a choice of getting the system up and running reasonably quickly or concentrating on an optimised system. I can choose whether I want the binary install or wait for the optimised compiled version.

I also admire the achievements of Red Hat and some of the other distro's, but I'm now a total Gentoo fan.

I don't think it viable for the Gentoo team to please everybody, I just think that they have done a fine job providing the options. Clearly stated objectives and limitations are a good way of satisying the curious :-)

Not quite the same a LFS but pretty darn close.
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sindre
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2003 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shm wrote:
Debian supports the eqvalent of USE settings by splitting packages. For example xchat can be compiled with or without gtk support. That's why in debian, it's split into xchat-text and xchat-gtk..

If the package in question is a dependency of another package you want to install, how does apt know whch package you prefer?
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shm
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2003 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sindre wrote:
If the package in question is a dependency of another package you want to install, how does apt know whch package you prefer?


It would install both, just like portage with..
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Ari Rahikkala
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

masseya wrote:
There are some packages for which it would be nice to have binaries, like OpenOffice and Mozilla, because they take a long time to compile.


Not to mention that especially OpenOffice compiles tend to be very fragile. Providing a separate openoffice-bin package is probably the Right Thing To Do because it can take a long time to get your USE flags, CFLAGs, libraries, headers, JRE, etc. right so that OO can be compiled (only the lucky and the conservative get it to work on the first try).
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marty
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2003 3:30 pm    Post subject: precompiled ccache package system Reply with quote

Perhaps distributing a precompiled ccache cache directory would be
a useful way to implement a faster optional installation mechanism for
gentoo packages.

In this way, the bits and pieces of the binary are pre-compiled and only code that depends on configuration options would need recompilation. The idea is to retain the configurability of gentoo (ie. by respecting the machine's USE environment) but without the hassle of having to compile everything from scratch.

If this is the case, perhaps one day "emerge" could be configured to pull ccaches (based on the users CFLAGS) as well as sources... sort of a middle ground between binary packages and compilation from scratch.

By selecting between various ccaches based on CFLAGS, one could take advantage of the hours of processor time spent by other users with the same optimization settings, and result in an equivalently optimized system.

I've emailed Zach Welch (the gentoo ccache-maintainer turned zynot guy) bout the feasibility of such a system, but I would be interested in hearing other's comments.
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masseya
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: precompiled ccache package system Reply with quote

marty wrote:
Perhaps distributing a precompiled ccache cache directory would be
a useful way to implement a faster optional installation mechanism for
gentoo packages.
This is an interesting idea. On the surface it sounds like it would work, but that it would have even more issues in terms of Q&A and testing than having a set of binary portage packages.
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shm
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2003 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: precompiled ccache package system Reply with quote

masseya wrote:
marty wrote:
Perhaps distributing a precompiled ccache cache directory would be
a useful way to implement a faster optional installation mechanism for
gentoo packages.
This is an interesting idea. On the surface it sounds like it would work, but that it would have even more issues in terms of Q&A and testing than having a set of binary portage packages.


AFAIK, ccache is highly dependent on machine-specific things, including things like header files, much more so than binaries themselves are.

So, for example, if somebody were to package a ccache directory of something like OOo, which depends on libpng, it would depend on the exact specific version of libpng that is installed on the machine that produced the ccache data. If it didn't match between the two computers, then ccache would not give a successful cache hit, thereby nullifying the effect.

Now, compare this to binaries. In order to work, one would have to have a binary compatable version of libpng (i.e, libpng 2.x), not the same exact version.

Finally, consider the fact that larger programs (i.e, Mozilla, KDE, GNOME, OOo) have a multititude of dependencies. Using ccache between systems, if only one header file is changed (that is referenced from the target source), then the whole cache becomes invalid. So, theoretically, the ccache idea could work with programs with few dependencies, like autoconf, but would not have a chance in working with something like KDE or GNOME. I don't exactly see people crying out for binary packages of autoconf anyway, since it's actually probably as fast to compile it than to install it.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the usage of binary packages and a server for it is usefull for companys with lots of similar Computers. They really cant afford to compile everything new on every machine.

On the other Hand Gentoo is not usefull for a Company at the moment, i find Gentoo needs lot of admin-time due to the fast changing portage-tree.
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bcavalieri
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the new tbz2 on demand is going to make Gentoo possible for our company. Teaching our customers to let server compile kde for 24 hours did not work very well. SSH'ing in and placing files in their packages directory was time consuming.

Being able to setup p4-gcc323.domain.com or p3-gcc323.domain.com forbin host in make.conf, allows us to better support our customers, and use Gentoo on our servers.

Is it for everyone? Prob not, bin packages do introduce some problems, ie iptables is built against running kernel. But if done properly, most of Gentoos packages could be built with opts.

Gentoo doesn't have to be just source, I REALLY like portage, I like how all the init.d scripts are consistent, and how easy it is to create them and creating ebuilds WAY easier than rpms.

So a binary repository, whether only used internally by a company, or if we come up with a global mirror, doesn't take away from Gentoo, but compliments Gentoo.

-Bill
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I aggree that it should be possible to get a graphical gentoo system up and running quickly. That's what GRP is all about, and it's good at it's job. Gentoo Linux should always provide the possibility to generate custom GRP binaries for install in a user's network, so that only one PC is charged with the compiling job. The USE variables and the optimizations both are great, and Gentoo is a very consistent distro, but it simply sucks for slow Internet connections and people who only have slow computers. You have to work around these problems, which is tricky and gives additional problems (like blocking the better PCs with building for slower ones).
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really understand the binaries angle, here. I've seen this brought up over and over again. Ok, what is Gentoo? Compiler optimizations, USE flags, and Portage (and maybe add how clean the /etc directory/scripts are as compared to some other distros). So lets look at that with binaries in mind.

Compiler Optimization - No
USE flags - No
Portage - Yes

So out of the three main reasons to use Gentoo, you're only taking advantage of one. To me, adding binary support makes Portage into apt-get. Which is fine, except that.. well, if you want apt-get, why don't you just use it? You're not really getting anything from Gentoo other than automated installs, but Debian is fully capable of that. Red Hat is as well, with apt for rpm. You can use the Red Hat Network to keep your machine updated, or even Ximians Red Carpet. I believe even Mandrake can do automated software installs from cooker.

Basically what I'm saying is that there are already distributions out there that operate using pre-compiled binaries. There is no need for Gentoo to even branch out in that area when others have already done it and done it fairly well. Gentoo is a source based distro and always will be. Thats its niche. This dev team has picked a goal (automated installation from source with added dependancy checking) and have executed it very very well. That is the Unix way. That is the Gentoo way.

Maybe, at last, we can put this subject to rest.
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IINeOII
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 8:41 am    Post subject: YEAH DO IT !!! Reply with quote

first of all i have to say sorry for my english

i think a binary database can something like this, it's an good idear i think:

if someone compilers a programm the emerge funktion schould knew his system and look for what this programm was compilert and then upload it automatikalli (or with interaktive questions on the user) to a master server who gives it to the mirrors

ohhh damn english :)
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Amarookie
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I found the PORTAGE_BINHOST setting, but I can't find any suitable mirrors/servers.

Is there a list of mirrors with the binary GRP packages available?

Amarookie
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swarm
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually, I'm working on something special. I'm also looking for some more developers..... and alot of testers for this project.

send an email to schizoid@metawire.org if you are intrested. if you are a developer let me know your qualifications

more will be revealed......... :wink:
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely agree with a binary portage. What really drives me to gentoo isn't that I'm compiling everything from source, it's that the portage system is so flexible and up to date (although binary distributions inherantly will lagg behind). While I, personally, probably wouldn't use precompiled binaries unless I had to, I completely support this idea.

The great thing about portage is that it's so flexible, and I'm for anything that expands it's functionality, appeals to more users, or makes portage easier to use.

My only key concern for something like this would be that the existing gentoo team not divide their time up around it. While portage could could be helped by the addition of a binary branch, the quality of the existing portage shouldn't be sacrificed. I doubt this would be an issue, however :)
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