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jerann
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:57 pm    Post subject: Suggestions for using one master gentoo server on a LAN Reply with quote

So, I have quite a few computers on my home network. My main desktop is a Core2 E8500, but I have assorted old crap still hanging around - a prescott-based Celeron D, my Atom-based netbook, an Athlon64 AND an Athlon64-X2, and I'm pretty sure that hanging around somewhere is an AthlonXP. Not all of these computers are up at the same time, but sometimes I need a computer to play DVDs, a file/web server, things like that.

I prefer Gentoo as my Linux distro of choice, but compile times can get really unbearable on Mesozoic-era computers. Also, at least two of them get really loud when their CPUs are maxed out. My Core2 desktop runs Windows 8, but I'm finding that Gentoo plays very nicely in VirtualBox, so what I'm thinking of doing is setting up one virtual gentoo machine on that desktop, then using it as a kind of master server for the rest of the network. I have in the past set up Portage so that one machine on the network syncs with the Internet, and the rest sync with that one machine (that's fairly easy), and as I understand it Portage can also be set up to build binaries for distribution. If I pick CFLAGS that will be compatible with all the machines in question, stick with a standardized set of USE flags, and basically keep the configuration of each machine similar, I figure I should be able to maintain the whole network using Gentoo without having to compile on anything but the VM.

One thing I'm still unsure of though is how I want to handle installation. All of those older computers either do not have Gentoo installed now or are so out-of-date I'll want to wipe out and reinstall Gentoo anyway. If I already have a computer running Gentoo on the same arch with compatible binaries, is it possible to copy that install over to another computer? I'm thinking the way I'd go about it is to boot from the install CD, partition/format the disks, mount the server filesystem somehow (probably nfs), and just cp the whole thing over. But I know that will have at least a few implications - I'll need to change the hostname, and somehow reconfigure sshd so they're not all using the same private key. I only think of sshd since I know it generates a unique key on install, but there are probably other packages I should be concerned about that do the same thing. Has anyone done something like that before? Are there other pitfalls I should be aware of? Also, if anyone has experience setting up a master Gentoo server like I'm describing, I'd love to hear how it's going and if there are other problems you've experienced.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jerann,

You need to fix ssh, the net file, if you use static IPs, fstab, the hostname, grub.conf, install grub to the MBR.
I'm building on cloning Virtual Machines and getting it wrong :)

Set up a binhost in your VM. Set FEATURES="buildpkgs" (check that name) then untar a stage3 to your targets to install, and emerge -K from the binhost.
You will need two binhosts, a 64 bit one and a 32 bit one. Thats either two VMs or a single 64 bit VM with a 32 bit chroot.

You could also use distcc, so that the VM does all the hard work when another machine wants to build something.
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forrestfunk81
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go for Distcc. You can use different use flags on the machines, take advantage of compilier optimizations and do cross compiling. You wrote that you have ancient computers and new ones, do you really want to run them all with same CHOST? The least common denominator should be i386. If you want to take advantage of newer boxes cpu features you should cross compile with distcc.

Disadvantage of distcc: Some work is always done on client machines (download, configure etc), only compiling runs on the host maschines. With a decent compile farm the configure-time can take longer than compilation.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

forrestfunk81,

See pump mode distcc.
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jerann
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... you know, somehow I hadn't thought of using distcc. I did try it once many years ago, but I didn't realize you could completely offload compiling to another machine with it.

I'm still thinking I'll use a single master machine like I was planning on - I'm fine with using the same arch/cflags/use flags between machines. I figure I'll probably end up with four different computers at a time running Gentoo, so for instance if I want chromium on each of them (I probably will) and was leaning on distcc, I'd have to compile it four times to install, then again every time I upgraded the version.

On the other hand, if I'll probably still set up distcc so that I could, if I wanted to, still deviate from the standard config on a per-package basis.
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