Monday, November 28, 2011

New Gentoo Wiki

Just read this today on after taking a week off from work. There's a new (I think more official too) Gentoo Wiki, available at:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A word of advice on x11-libs/vte

You might want to keyword-unmask x11-libs/vte. There are two slots: 0 for gtk+-2 and 2.90 for gtk+-3. Right now Portage pulls in both GTK+ versions, so you'll likely need both vte versions, one for each slot. And apparently the ~ masked builds cause portage not to complain.

If you get errors like:

<x11-libs/vte-0.28.2-r201:0 ("<x11-libs/vte-0.28.2-r201:0" is blocking x11-libs/gtk+-2.24.8-r1)

Then most likely you'll be better off unmasking vte.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Everyday things that make me love Gentoo even more

* Sanity check to keep you from breaking your system:
* Downgrading glibc is not supported and a sure way to destruction
* ERROR: sys-libs/glibc-2.12.2 failed (setup phase):
* aborting to save your system

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New quiet default on emerge

Just a quick one tyo save a few headaches ;)

If you recently upgraded to portage- or 2.2.0_alpha74, you might want to read the Changelog:

*portage-2.2.0_alpha74 (11 Nov 2011)
11 Nov 2011; Zac Medico <> +portage-2.2.0_alpha74.ebuild,-portage-2.2.0_alpha73.ebuild: 2.2.0_alpha74 version bump. This includes the --quiet-build change that's in portage- Bug #210077 tracks all bugs fixed since portage-2.1.x.

*portage- (11 Nov 2011)
11 Nov 2011; Zac Medico <> +portage-,-portage- version bump. The emerge --quiet-build option is now enabled by default. Set --quiet-build=n in MERGE_DEFAULT_OPTS if you want to disable it by default. See the emerge(1) man page for more information about this option. Bug #381649 tracks all bugs fixed since portage-

So for those of you (like me) who want the old behaviour back, just append:


to your make.conf


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

<glibc-2.13 breaks emesene-2.x

For those of you using emesene as IM client, and those who were reluctant enough to use the 2.x version, you may have found out in these past few days that 1.x would not connect anymore. The problem was due (not surprisiginly) to a change on Live servers. A fix is available but only for 2.x, so I had to make the switch (more info on

After putting my credentials, emesene-2.x would segfault. If I set it to auto-login, then afterwards it would segfault upon opening. Running a strace on it showed the last call before SIGSEGV to be to getuid32(). I googled around a bit and asked for some help on #emesene and found the culprit to be glibc (more info here).

After upgrading to glibc-2.13 (previous versions seem to have this problem) the issue was gone. You can test for it by doing

$ python
>>> from gtk import glade
>>> import uuid
>>> uuid.uuid4()

If it segfaults after that, then you probably have this issue.

If upgrading glibc is not an option for you, you can try placing an "import uuid" on, either before or after the os and sys imports. That should work too.

Hope it's helpful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Watch out with mdadm

I've recently bought a new rig (it's been 3 years since I bought any hardware at all, at least for major upgrades), and since I got a new set of disks too, I decided to leave my old PC running while I built the new system (thanks to SysRescCD and SSH).

So I looked once more at Gentoo-Wiki for the proper way on assembling RAID-0 using mdadm (I tend to forget things I do only once every several months). I skimmed through it the same way I skim through the Gentoo Handbook: a furious scroll until I find the thing I need. In my skimming spree, I completeley missed this:
Only <=0.9 has autodetection on startup -> YES you need an initramfs if you choose 1.x - genkernel is your friend!
(Actual content from the time I visited the page may have changed, since the page is down, I got this from Google cache, and I can't exactly remember what it said originally, but it definitely was not this or else I would have seen it)

No, of course genkernel is not your friend. In fact if you're using genkernel for your Gentoo system(s), then I suggest you be a man and start building your own kernels. If you don't have time for that, then maybe Gentoo is not for you.

Back to more RAID-y things: so is this a problem? Not necessarily, unless you are using a metadata version >0.9 for /boot or /, which of course was my case :). I spent hours debugging why Grub-1 (Grub-2.x is still hard-masked on Portage. I am all for testing masked things, but not on such delicate things as a boot loader) would refuse to install itself on the "legs" of my perfectly normal RAID-1 /boot device. And Grub was not helping either. Some error messages I got were things like:
Error 15: Device or resource is busy
Error 17: Cannot find device
Maybe they are not the exact error messages (this was a few weeks ago), but it was something along these lines. I'm putting what I remember here because I spent A LOT of time googling for it and all the hits were related to other things. Moreover, you would need an initramfs for / if you built it with the new metadata version (another thing I'm reluctant to do - initramfs that is).

So, bottom line. Just remember, your real friend is:
mdadm -e 0.90 [...]


Hello, strange reading beings. This is a small space I've set up to share my adventures and misfortunes with Gentoo.

I've been using Gentoo since the end of 2006, and if there's something I've learned in all these years is that you can get the weirdest issues (things you wouldn't usually see on other distros), but nevertheless you can learn a ridiculously huge amount of things while you are sorting these issues out. If you pay enough attention, you'll be in a much better position when tackling issues on other distros, since you'll most likely possess a slightly better low-level understanding of things.

This is why I decided to set this up. This won't be a full guide to installing and using Gentoo (there's already plenty of good doc on that), but rather a place to document the everyday things that make us both love and hate Gentoo at the same time :)

If you're a regular Gentoo user, then I hope you find this space useful. If not, then I encourage you to try it out.