Striving for greatness

Thoughts on emerging tech, open source, and life

Archive for April 2006

Ha, your Gnome slowdowns are nothin’

Federico, you want to improve Gnome performance? It takes me about 20 seconds (yes, twenty!) from the time I type my password in GDM until my session finishes loading up. This is on a 1 GHz iBook G4.

I’ve got a few applets: clock, system monitor, battery, processor, weather, but the big slowdown is my terminals. My session opens two gnome-terminals, each with 4 tabs, and each tab is a login shell that runs keychain.

This actually got 5-10 seconds slower when upgrading to Gnome 2.14 from 2.12 — it used to only take ~10 seconds to get everything started up.


Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 25, 2006 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

[Gentoo] Old kernels

Just for fun:

uname on a 2.2 kernel

We’ve got ebuilds for really old stuff in our tree: linux-headers-2.0.40.ebuild, vanilla-sources-2.0.40-r1.ebuild, linux-headers-2.2.26.ebuild, vanilla-sources-2.2.26-r1.ebuild. So I decided to see whether they actually worked. The good news is, 2.2 was really easy to get up and running. Here’s the steps I followed in an attempt to get 2.0 working, but they also work great for 2.2:

  • Install from stage3 normally.
  • Set LT_KERNEL_VERSION=”2.0.0″ in make.conf and rebuild glibc. This changes the minimum ABI that glibc will run programs on. If you only want 2.2 compatibility, feel free to change that value to “2.2.0”.
  • Next, rebuild all apps with ’emerge -e world’. You can check app ABI’s with ‘file’ or ‘eu-readelf -n’. If you use ‘file’, it will show ‘for GNU/Linux 2.0.0’. If you use eu-readelf, it will show ‘OS: Linux, ABI: 2.0.0’ once things are built properly.
  • ‘echo “=sys-kernel/linux-headers-2.2* -*” >> /etc/portage/package.keywords’,
    then ’emerge =linux-headers-2.2* =vanilla-sources-2.2*’.
  • Install gcc 2.95; gcc 3.4 cannot compile a 2.2 kernel. This will require that you change your profile to a gcc2 profile. ‘cd /etc; rm make.profile; ln -s ../usr/portage/profiles/default-linux/x86/gcc2 make.profile’ The emerge of 2.95 will switch to it automatically, but remember to run ‘source /etc/profile’ before compiling the kernel.
  • Install sys-devel/bin86. It’s needed to build a 2.2 kernel.
  • Configure and compile the 2.2 kernel. It’s just like a 2.4 kernel: ‘make menuconfig; make dep; make bzImage modules modules_install’, then install the bzImage to /boot/ and set up grub.conf as usual.
  • Switch back to a gcc-3 compiler using gcc-config. Only use 2.95 for the kernel, because a lot of newer apps fail to compile with it.
  • Emerge sys-fs/static-dev since devfs wasn’t really working well, unless you want to apply the devfs patch. ‘echo “sys-fs/static-dev ~x86” >> /etc/portage/package.keywords’. You should be able to leave sys-fs/udev installed, because our startup scripts autodetect what you’re capable of.

Unfortunately glibc 2.3.4 won’t compile against linux-headers-2.0.40, so it will require some more work to drop back to a 2.0 kernel. Maybe glibc 2.2.5 will work.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 7, 2006 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

[Gentoo] Xgl, getting into OSS

Finally got around to trying out Xgl on Wednesday. Used the xgl-coffee overlay (link to HOWTO) and modified ebuilds to be live cvs instead of dated snapshots, so I don’t need to ever bump them. You can get the new ones from my overlay if you want them — x11-base/{xgl,xorg-server,x11-drm}, x11-wm/compiz, x11-libs/{cairo,libdrm}, media-libs/{glitz,mesa}, x11-drivers/xf86-video-ati will get you basically the latest X there is.

After fixing an accidentally applied aiglx-only patch that made all the pixmaps upside-down in compiz, stuff worked quite well on my iBook G4 (Radeon 9600 or so).

The motivation for doing this was a demo to my LUG at the meeting. I also gave a 5-minute talk on how to get involved in open source. I’ve posted the slides [PDF], but they’re quite unhelpful without me narrating.

Written by Donnie Berkholz

April 7, 2006 at 3:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized