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  1. SPI Inc. logo

    As of this March, Gentoo Linux has become an Associated Project of Software in the Public Interest, see also the formal invitation by the Board of Directors of SPI. Software in the Public Interest (SPI) is a non-profit corporation founded to act as a fiscal sponsor for organizations that develop open source software and hardware. It provides services such as accepting donations, holding funds and assets, … SPI qualifies for 501(c)(3) (U.S. non-profit organization) status. This means that all donations made to SPI and its supported projects are tax deductible for donors in the United States. Read on for more details…

    Questions & Answers

    Why become an SPI Associated Project?

    Gentoo Linux, as a collective of software developers, is pretty good at being a Linux distribution. However, becoming a US federal non-profit organization would increase the non-technical workload.

    The current Gentoo Foundation has bylaws restricting its behavior to that of a non-profit, is a recognized non-profit only in New Mexico, but a for-profit entity at the US federal level. A direct conversion to a federally recognized non-profit would be unlikely to succeed without significant effort and cost.

    Finding Gentoo Foundation trustees to take care of the non-technical work is an ongoing challenge. Robin Johnson (robbat2), our current Gentoo Foundation treasurer, spent a huge amount of time and effort with getting bookkeeping and taxes in order after the prior treasurers lost interest and retired from Gentoo.

    For these reasons, Gentoo is moving the non-technical organization overhead to Software in the Public Interest (SPI). As noted above, SPI is already now recognized at US federal level as a full-fleged non-profit 501(c)(3). It also handles several projects of similar type and size (e.g., Arch and Debian) and as such has exactly the experience and background that Gentoo needs.

    What are the advantages of becoming an SPI Associated Project in detail?

    Financial benefits to donors:

    • tax deductions [1]

    Financial benefits to Gentoo:

    • matching fund programs [2]
    • reduced organizational complexity
    • reduced administration costs [3]
    • reduced taxes [4]
    • reduced fees [5]
    • increased access to non-profit-only sponsorship [6]

    Non-financial benefits to Gentoo:

    • reduced organizational complexity, no “double-headed beast” any more
    • less non-technical work required

    [1] Presently, almost no donations to the Gentoo Foundation provide a tax benefit for donors anywhere in the world. Becoming a SPI Associated Project enables tax benefits for donors located in the USA. Some other countries do recognize donations made to non-profits in other jurisdictions and provide similar tax credits.

    [2] This also depends on jurisdictions and local tax laws of the donor, and is often tied to tax deductions.

    [3] The Gentoo Foundation currently pays $1500/year in tax preparation costs.

    [4] In recent fiscal years, through careful budgetary planning on the part of the Treasurer and advice of tax professionals, the Gentoo Foundation has used depreciation expenses to offset taxes owing; however, this is not a sustainable strategy.

    [5] Non-profits are eligible for reduced fees, e.g., of Paypal (savings of 0.9-1.29% per donation) and other services.

    [6] Some sponsorship programs are only available to verified 501(c)(3) organizations

    Can I still donate to Gentoo, and how?

    Yes, of course, and please do so! For the start, you can go to SPI’s Gentoo page and scroll down to the Paypal and Click&Pledge donation links. More information and more ways will be set up soon. Keep in mind, donations to Gentoo via SPI are tax-deductible in the US!

    In time, Gentoo will contact existing recurring donors, to aid transitions to SPI’s donation systems.

    What will happen to the Gentoo Foundation?

    Our intention is to eventually transfer the existing assets to SPI and dissolve the Gentoo Foundation. The precise steps needed on the way to this objective are still under discussion.

    Does this affect in any way the European Gentoo e.V.?

    No. Förderverein Gentoo e.V. will continue to exist independently. It is also recognized to serve public-benefit purposes (§ 52 Fiscal Code of Germany), meaning that donations are tax-deductible in the E.U.

  2. Larry the cow with packages

    End of December 2023 we already made our official announcement of binary Gentoo package hosting. The initial package set for amd64 was and is base-line x86-64, i.e., it should work on any 64bit Intel or AMD machine. Now, we are happy to announce that there is also a separate package set using the extended x86-64-v3 ISA (i.e., microarchitecture level) available for the same software. If your hardware supports it, use it and enjoy the speed-up! Read on for more details…

    Questions & Answers

    How can I check if my machine supports x86-64-v3?

    The easiest way to do this is to use glibc’s dynamic linker:

    larry@noumea ~ $ ld.so --help
    You have invoked 'ld.so', the program interpreter for dynamically-linked
    ELF programs.  Usually, the program interpreter is invoked automatically
    when a dynamically-linked executable is started.
    Subdirectories of glibc-hwcaps directories, in priority order:
      x86-64-v3 (supported, searched)
      x86-64-v2 (supported, searched)
    larry@noumea ~ $ 

    As you can see, this laptop supports x86-64-v2 and x86-64-v3, but not x86-64-v4.

    How do I use the new x86-64-v3 packages?

    On your amd64 machine, edit the configuration file in /etc/portage/binrepos.conf/ that defines the URI from where the packages are downloaded, and replace x86-64 with x86-64-v3. E.g., if you have so far

    sync-uri = https://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/binpackages/17.1/x86-64/

    then you change the URI to

    sync-uri = https://distfiles.gentoo.org/releases/amd64/binpackages/17.1/x86-64-v3/

    That’s all.

    Why don’t you have x86-64-v4 packages?

    There’s not yet enough hardware and people out there that could use them.

    We could start building such packages at any time (our build host is new and shiny), but for now we recommend you build from source and use your own CFLAGS then. After all, if your machine supports x86-64-v4, it’s definitely fast…

    Why is there recently so much noise about x86-64-v3 support in Linux distros?

    Beats us. The ISA is 9 years old (just the tag x86-64-v3 was slapped onto it recently), so you’d think binaries would have been generated by now. With Gentoo you could’ve done (and probably have done) it all the time.

    That said, in some processor lines (i.e. Atom), support for this instruction set was introduced rather late (2021).

  3. Gentoo Fireworks A Happy New Year 2024 to all of you! We hope you enjoyed the fireworks; we tried to contribute to these too with the binary package news just before new year! That’s not the only thing in Gentoo that was new in 2023 though; as in the previous years, let’s look back and give it a review.

    Gentoo in numbers

    The number of commits to the main ::gentoo repository has remained at an overall high level in 2023, only slightly lower from 126682 to 121000. The number of commits by external contributors has actually increased from 10492 to 10708, now across 404 unique external authors.

    GURU, our user-curated repository with a trusted user model, is still attracting a lot of potential developers. We have had 5045 commits in 2023, a slight decrease from 5751 in 2022. The number of contributors to GURU has increased clearly however, from 134 in 2022 to 158 in 2023. Please join us there and help packaging the latest and greatest software. That’s the ideal preparation for becoming a Gentoo developer!

    On the Gentoo bugtracker bugs.gentoo.org, we’ve had 24795 bug reports created in 2023, compared to 26362 in 2022. The number of resolved bugs shows a similar trend, with 22779 in 2023 compared to 24681 in 2022. Many of these bugs are stabilization requests; a possible interpretation is that stable Gentoo is becoming more and more current, catching up with new software releases.

    New developers

    In 2023 we have gained 3 new Gentoo developers. They are in chronological order:

    1. Arsen Arsenović (arsen): Arsen joined up as a developer right at the start of the year in January from Belgrade, Serbia. He’s a computer science student interested in both maths and music, active in many different free software projects, and has already made his impression, e.g., in our emacs and toolchain projects.

    2. Paul Fox (ris): After already being very active in our Wiki for some time, Paul joined in March as developer from France. Activity on our wiki and documentation quality will certainly grow much further with his help.

    3. Petr Vaněk (arkamar): Petr Vaněk, from Prague, Czech Republic, joined the ranks of our developers in November. Gentoo user since 2009, craft beer enthusiast, and Linux kernel contributor, he has already been active in very diverse corners of Gentoo.

    Let’s now look at the major improvements and news of 2023 in Gentoo.

    Distribution-wide Initiatives

    • Binary package hosting: Gentoo shockingly now also provides binary packages, for easier and faster installation! For amd64 and arm64, we’ve got a stunning >20 GByte of packages on our mirrors, from LibreOffice to KDE Plasma and from Gnome to Docker. Also, would you think 9-year old x86-64-v3 is still experimental? We have it already on our mirrors! For all other architectures and ABIs, the binary package files used for building the installation stages (including the build tool chain) are available for download.

    • New 23.0 profiles in preparation: A new profile version, i.e. a collection of presets and configurations, is at the moment undergoing internal preparation and testing for all architectures. It’s not ready yet, but will integrate more toolchain hardening by default, as well as fix a lot of internal inconsistencies. Stay tuned for an announcement with more details in the near future.

    • Modern C: Work continues on porting Gentoo, and the Linux userland at large, to Modern C. This is a real marathon effort rather than a sprint (just see our tracker bug for it). Our efforts together with the same project ongoing in Fedora have already helped many upstreams, which have accepted patches in preparation for GCC 14 (that starts to enforce the modern language usage).

    • Event presence: At the Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting (FOSDEM) 2023, the Free and Open Source Software Conference (FrOSCon) 2023, and the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage (CLT) 2023, Gentoo had a booth with mugs, stickers, t-shirts, and of course the famous self-compiled buttons.

    • Google Summer of Code: In 2023 Gentoo had another successful year participating in the Google Summer of Code. We had three contributors completing their projects; you can find out more about them by visiting the Gentoo GSoC blog. We thank our contributors Catcream, LabBrat, and Listout, and also all the developers who took the time to mentor them.

    • Online workshops: Our German support, Gentoo e.V., organized this year 6 online workshops on building and improving ebuilds. This will be continued every two months in the upcoming year.

    • Documentation on wiki.gentoo.org has been making great progress as always. This past year the contributor’s guide, article writing guidelines, and help pages were updated to give the best possible start to anyone ready to lend a hand. The Gentoo Handbook got updates, and a new changelog. Of course much documentation was fixed, extended, or updated, and quite a few new pages were created. We hope to see even more activity in the new year, and hopefully some new contributors - editing documentation is a particularly easy area to start contributing to Gentoo in, please give it a try!


    • Alpha: Support for the DEC Alpha architecture was revived, with a massive keywording effort going on. While not perfectly complete yet, we are very close to a fully consistent dependency tree and package set for alpha again.

    • musl: Support for the lightweight musl libc has been added to the architectures MIPS (o32) and m68k, with corresponding profiles in the Gentoo repository and corresponding installation stages and binary packages available for download. Enjoy!


    • .NET: The Gentoo Dotnet project has significantly improved support for building .NET-based software, using the nuget, dotnet-pkg-base, and dotnet-pkg eclasses. Now we’re ready for packages depending on the .NET ecosystem and for developers using dotnet-sdk on Gentoo. New software requiring .NET is constantly being added to the main Gentoo tree. Recent additions include PowerShell for Linux, Denaro (a finance application), Pinta (a graphics program), Ryujinx (a NS emulator) and many other aimed straight at developing .NET projects.

    • Java: OpenJDK 21 has been introduced for amd64, arm64, ppc64, and x86!

    • Python: In the meantime the default Python version in Gentoo has reached Python 3.11. Additionally we have also Python 3.12 available stable - again we’re fully up to date with upstream.

    • PyPy3 compatibility for scientific Python: While some packages (numexpr, pandas, xarray) are at the moment still undergoing upstream bug fixing, more and more scientific Python packages have been adapted in Gentoo and upstream for the speed-optimized Python variant PyPy. This can provide a nice performance boost for numerical data analysis…

    • Signed kernel modules and (unified) kernel images: We now support signing of both in-tree and out-of-tree kernel modules and kernel images. This is useful for those who would like the extra bit of verification offered by Secure Boot, which is now easier than ever to set up on Gentoo systems! Additionally, our kernel install scripts and eclasses are now fully compatible with Unified Kernel Images and our prebuilt gentoo-kernel-bin can now optionally install an experimental pregenerated generic Unified Kernel Image.

    • The GAP System: A new dev-gap package category has arrived with about sixty packages. GAP is a popular system for computational discrete algebra, with particular emphasis on Computational Group Theory. GAP consists of a programming language, a library of thousands of functions implementing algebraic algorithms written in the GAP language, and large data libraries of algebraic objects. It has its own package ecosystem, mostly written in the GAP language with a few C components.

    Physical and Software Infrastructure

    • Portage improvements: A significant amount of work went into enhancing our package manager, Portage, to better support binary package deployment. Users building their own binary packages and setting up their own infrastructure will certainly benefit from it too.

    • packages.gentoo.org: The development of Gentoo’s package database website, packages.gentoo.org, has picked up speed, with new features for maintainer, category, and arch pages, and Repology integration. Many optimization were done for the backend database queries and the website should now feel faster to use.

    • pkgdev bugs: A new developer tool called pkgdev bugs enables us now to simplify the procedure for filing new stable requests bugs a lot. By just giving it version lists (which can be generated by other tools), pkgdev bugs can be used to compute dependencies, cycles, merges, and will file the bugs for the architecture teams / testers. This allows us to step ahead much faster with package stabilizations.

    Finances of the Gentoo Foundation

    • Income: The Gentoo Foundation took in approximately $18,500 in fiscal year 2023; the majority (over 80%) were individual cash donations from the community.

    • Expenses: Our expenses in 2023 were, as split into the usual three categories, operating expenses (for services, fees, …) $6,000, only minor capital expenses (for bought assets), and depreciation expenses (value loss of existing assets) $20,000.

    • Balance: We have about $101,000 in the bank as of July 1, 2023 (which is when our fiscal year 2023 ends for accounting purposes). The draft finanical report for 2023 is available on the Gentoo Wiki.

    Thank you!

    Obviously this is not all Gentoo development that happened in 2023. From KDE to GNOME, from kernels to scientific software, you can find much more if you look at the details. As every year, we would like to thank all Gentoo developers and all who have submitted contributions for their relentless everyday Gentoo work. As a volunteer project, Gentoo could not exist without them. And if you are interested and would like to contribute, please join us and help us make Gentoo even better!

  4. Larry the cow with packages

    You probably all know Gentoo Linux as your favourite source-based distribution. Did you know that our package manager, Portage, already for years also has support for binary packages, and that source- and binary-based package installations can be freely mixed?

    To speed up working with slow hardware and for overall convenience, we’re now also offering binary packages for download and direct installation! For most architectures, this is limited to the core system and weekly updates - not so for amd64 and arm64 however. There we’ve got a stunning >20 GByte of packages on our mirrors, from LibreOffice to KDE Plasma and from Gnome to Docker. Gentoo stable, updated daily. Enjoy! And read on for more details!

    Questions & Answers

    How can I set up my existing Gentoo installation to use these packages?

    Quick setup instructions for the most common cases can be found in our wiki. In short, you need to create a configuration file in /etc/portage/binrepos.conf/.

    In addition, we have a rather neat binary package guide on our Wiki that goes into much more detail.

    What do I have to do with a new stage / new installation?

    New stages already contain the suitable /etc/portage/binrepos.conf/gentoobinhost.conf. You are good to go from the start, although you may want to replace the src-uri setting in there with an URI pointing to the corresponding directory on a local mirror.

    $ emerge -uDNavg @world

    What compile settings, use flags, … do the ‘‘normal’’ amd64 packages use?

    The binary packages under amd64/binpackages/17.1/x86-64 are compiled using CFLAGS="-march=x86-64 -mtune=generic -O2 -pipe" and will work with any amd64 / x86-64 machine.

    The available useflag settings and versions correspond to the stable packages of the amd64/17.1/nomultilib (i.e., openrc), amd64/17.1/desktop/plasma/systemd, and amd64/17.1/desktop/gnome/systemd profiles. This should provide fairly large coverage.

    What compile settings, use flags, … do the ‘‘normal’’ arm64 packages use?

    The binary packages under arm64/binpackages/17.0/arm64 are compiled using CFLAGS="-O2 -pipe" and will work with any arm64 / AArch64 machine.

    The available useflag settings and versions correspond to the stable packages of the arm64/17.0 (i.e., openrc), arm64/17.0/desktop/plasma/systemd, and arm64/17.0/desktop/gnome/systemd profiles.

    But hey, that’s not optimized for my CPU!

    Tough luck. You can still compile packages yourself just as before!

    What settings do the packages for other architectures and ABIs use?

    The binary package hosting is wired up with the stage builds. Which means, for about every stage there is a binary package hosting which covers (only) the stage contents and settings. There are no further plans to expand coverage for now. But hey, this includes the compiler (gcc or clang) and the whole build toolchain!

    Are the packages cryptographically signed?

    Yes, with the same key as the stages.

    Are the cryptographic signatures verified before installation?

    Yes, with one limitation (in the default setting).

    Portage knows two binary package formats, XPAK (old) and GPKG (new). Only GPKG supports cryptographic signing. Until recently, XPAK was the default setting (and it may still be the default on your installation since this is not changed during upgrade, but only at new installation).

    The new, official Gentoo binary packages are all in GPKG format. GPKG packages have their signature verified, and if this fails, installation is refused. To avoid breaking compatibility with old binary packages, by default XPAK packages (which do not have signatures) can still be installed however.

    If you want to require verified signatures (which is something we strongly recommend), set FEATURES="binpkg-request-signature" in make.conf. Then, obviously, you can also only use GPKG packages.

    I get an error that signatures cannot be verified.

    Try running the Gentoo Trust Tool getuto as root.

    $ getuto

    This should set up the required key ring with the Gentoo Release Engineering keys for Portage.

    If you have FEATURES="binpkg-request-signature" enabled in make.conf, then getuto is called automatically before every binary package download operation, to make sure that key updates and revocations are imported.

    I’ve made binary packages myself and portage refuses to use them now!

    Well, you found the side effect of FEATURES="binpkg-request-signature". For your self-made packages you will need to set up a signing key and have that key trusted by the anchor in /etc/portage/gnupg.

    The binary package guide on our Wiki will be helpful here.

    My download is slow.

    Then pretty please use a local mirror instead of downloading from University of Oregon. You can just edit the URI in your /etc/portage/binrepos.conf. And yes, that’s safe, because of the cryptographic signature.

    My Portage still wants to compile from source.

    If you use useflag combinations deviating from the profile default, then you can’t and won’t use the packages. Portage will happily mix and match though and combine binary packages with locally compiled ones. Gentoo still remains a source-based distribution, and we are not aiming for a full binary-only installation without any compilation at all.

    Can I use the packages on a merged-usr system?

    Yes. (If anything breaks, then this is a bug and should be reported.)

    Can I use the packages with other (older or newer) profile versions?

    No. That’s why the src-uri path contains, e.g., “17.1”. When there’s a new profile version, we’ll also provide new, separate package directories.

    Any plans to offer binary packages of ~amd64 ?

    Not yet. This would mean a ton of rebuilds… If we offer it one day, it’ll be at a separate URI for technical reasons.

    The advice for now is to stick to stable as much as possible, and locally add in package.accept_keywords whatever packages from testing you want to use. This means you can still use a large amount of binary packages, and just compile the rest yourself.

    I have found a problem, with portage or a specific package!

    Then please ask for advice (on IRC, the forums, or a mailing list) and/or file a bug!

    Binary package support has been tested for some time, but with many more people using it edge cases will certainly occur, and quality bug reports are always appreciated!

    Any pretty pictures?

    Of course! Here’s the amount of binary package data in GByte for each architecture…

    package data over time

  5. GSoC logo

    Do you want to learn more about Gentoo and contribute to your favourite free software project?! Once again, now for the 11th time, we have been accepted as a mentoring organization for this year’s Google Summer of Code!

    The GSoC is an excellent opportunity for gaining real-world experience in software design and making oneself known in the broader open source community. It also looks great on a resume. Some initial project ideas can be found here, but new projects ideas are also welcome. For new projects time is of the essence: they have to be worked out, discussed with the mentors, and submitted before the April 4th deadline. It is strongly recommended that contributors refine new project ideas with a mentor before proposing the idea formally.

    Potential GSoC contributors are encouraged to e-mail the GSoC admins with their name, IRC nickname, and the desired project, and discuss ideas in the #gentoo-soc IRC channel on Libera Chat. Further information can be found on the Gentoo GSoC 2023 wiki page. Those with unanswered questions should also not hesitate to contact the Summer of Code mentors via their mailing list.