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bschnzl
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Why doesn't everyone compile directly Reply with quote

OK!

You guys ought to have some ideas about this. It is a serious question that should be answered in a "sales" discussion. Why don't more people build their binaries from source.

Comments about this sux or that is lame will not help this discussion. Closed source may impact the theory behind this argument, but hopefully this will be the only mention of a certain "software" company from the "upper left". I am looking for input to help bolster the argument for using Gentoo.

I have been using Gentoo for over a decade. I have never had performance on any other machine like my gentoo boxen. I run them in production, and they are the pillars of my systems. I have RPM & DEB boxes around, and am reasonably proficient with them. The maintenance does not seem all that faster with binary distributions. Perhaps it is just because there tend to be less packages on a Gentoo box.

So why do people cling to the lack of control and "supplier" direction issues of the binary distro's? What issues are there in portage that are not found in every other package manager? Is the code repository any more or less secure? Are the dependencies any more or less complex in binary distro's?

I am sure I can not list every question that could apply here. That is why I am asking this question. Why is Gentoo NOT the default install on the net?

B.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Compiling takes time especially on slow/resource-lacking machines (running Firefox on 1GB of RAM is possible, building Firefox on 1GB of RAM is ugly). Some people don't want to spend any more time than they have to, if it works good enough, it's good enough. Also as witnessed by the plethora of questions on this forum, being able to compile and hack in your custom changes produces a support nightmare, where binaries are fixed and there's only so many things you can do to make it go bad.

To each their own...
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that I am experiencing that right now. I have a Pentium III 500 that hosts backup space that has not been updated in 240+ days. It is a SLOW mess! It does not even run X. But the only time I notice the lack of speed is when I update it. Otherwise, it still types way faster than I do!

So I guess the default install has to be a desktop machine. My lappy has an Core2 i7 and 16 GB of RAM. The PIII has 512 MB. Both run Gentoo for different jobs. If we are to limit the "default install", we should also limit it to current machines. So slowness is a matter of target machine selection ($$$, et al). I see that as a vote for Gentoo. It may be slow to install, but man will it scream when you are done!

Most folks don't build their own time/dhcp/dns servers either, but there is no other distro' that will let you install those, and only those. Here we address the "average" user, and the learning curve. If you want a TV, go to WalMart. It is generally considered that complexity is the enemy of security. But bastions increase security, and thinner bastions are harder to break. As households increase their use of digital networks, security will become more of an issue. The art of deploying sustainable systems is becoming more and more necessary for the average user.

Currently we are at the peak of "copyright", IMHO. Texas just passed a law requiring warrants for location records (on the big end). People are waking up to the functions in their devices. Learning about the functions gives you more ownership of those functions. Wisdom + Ownership = Liberty (Fair Use). The nightmare is a pleasant dream for those who innovate. At least it is possible with Gentoo. Personal Experience shows the difficulty of innovation on a fixed binary system.

Which poses the question: When is "good enough" no longer "good enough"? That truly is a "to each their own". No one truly forces one to buy any OS. Which leaves room for more of my original question. Why is Gentoo NOT the default install?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently people do not want to deal with compiling. That's the end fact. People apparently don't care that things are built custom for them. They don't care that the source is available - they just want a working product. To each their own, that's what they want, that's what they get when they select and pay for an OS.

Also people do not want to pay for computers it appears. Look at today, apparently people pay more for movies, music, and software than computer hardware. So they end up with crappy hardware like that are on phones, tablets, etc. that are just not pleasant to build today's software (pretty much all ARM CPUs are just crappy slow. I was benching my N900's 600MHz Cortex A8 ARM and found that it was no faster than my Celeron 500 - that was released almost a decade earlier and lower MHz). They nose up on an core i7 because it eats too much power and takes up too much space/too heavy. What the heck? It's minor in the whole slew of things, but they just want portability - even you want portability in your laptop.

I actually have a whole plethora of machines from Linux desktops to phones. I don't really have a compute bandwidth problem to build binaries so Gentoo is fine for me. Even firefox builds fairly quickly on my 8-thread overclocked to 4.1GHz Core i7. Compare to my junk PC that I do microcontroller dev work on (celeron 1.2GHz, it's an old machine because I mess with the ports on it and don't want to break or short out the faster machines), takes about an hour or more to compile firefox from source, yet this machine is still fast enough to do some rudimentary web browsing. Really I should build a binary on my faster machines and copy to it, even I really don't want to wait for it to build - it buys nothing especially the fact that selecting the features you want takes time as well.

Good enough is always good enough. It takes quite a bit of persuasion to change someone from thinking their setup is good enough to not good enough. I just don't see regular people thinking that compiling from source buy them any value.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Compiling everything doesn't work once the increasing bloat in software outpaces the average user's hardware. For instance, I used to have Firefox on my netbook until version 10 or 11 but now I'm left with just Chromium, because Mozilla doesn't know how to write software that compiles within a 32-bit address space any more (let alone 1GB of RAM, which is enough for almost everything I install).
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who cares about custom builds? I see quite often even on these forums people asking for support and posting their emerge --info, i5 and i7 machines with 8+ GiB of RAM running 32-bit with -march=i686. And these are people who have successfully installed Gentoo, how an average computer user compares to that?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sticking with this eccerr0r.

So when you speak of "people do not want to deal with compiling", is it ok if I extrapolate that out to "The Market". I do not buy that people care one way or the other how their machines are built, as long as the benefits are ignored. I do place a big chuck of the responsibility for the current direction on "fashion". In that respect, in terms of the market, the "lemming" circuit gets activated! It is not so much that a choice is being made, as it is that benefits are being hidden in order to make a buck, and everyone is just following everyone else.

There is nothing wrong with making a buck, as long as the decision is informed. No one wants to admit to being a lemming, so determining the truth can be difficult. But I digress...

I do feel the pain of setting up a new OS, but more so because I realize that that is as fast as it will ever be. It makes me wonder if more folks would be willing to put forth some effort for a machine that will get better at what they want it to do for a much longer period of time. It does not help when the lemming sales guy denies that fact, for whatever reason.

Feature selection is the essence of the Art of deploying sustainable systems. Ultimately, end users are responsible for what they deploy. A little more attention there would make things much more efficient.

Persuasion can come in many wrappers. Mine was opened by a Nikon SLR that was given to me because it was broken. I fixed it and gave it back in an hour (to my Uncle). I did not make a buck, but it was my Uncle. Call me an odd duck!

To close a loop, my portability is limited to my user interfaces, and most of those have 17" screens and a keyboard. Even my phones have keyboards! (another "to each their own") My network connections are lined with bastions. I chalk that up to hyper sensitivity to Fair Use!

The effort to inform "The Market" about compiling is beyond expectation. There is no one to pay to advertise GCC. But I think the generic performance benefit of compiling is recognized (able). You can see it in the ARM devices that would grind if they had to run a full OS. I like that my Android is running 3.0.8, but I would love it if I could install 3.8 without nasty notes from the phone company. That is just one of the more esoteric benefits of compiling that should be more widely understood! The level of support required would decrease in the case of more information.

I get that the market drives a lot of the demand for fixed binary systems. I guess I was hoping for a more technical vector. The Market is a mob, after all. Is that the only reason why Gentoo is not the default install???[/quote]
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P.

Ant P. wrote:
Compiling everything doesn't work once the increasing bloat in software outpaces the average user's hardware. For instance, I used to have Firefox on my netbook until version 10 or 11 but now I'm left with just Chromium, because Mozilla doesn't know how to write software that compiles within a 32-bit address space any more (let alone 1GB of RAM, which is enough for almost everything I install).


Have you tried Opera or Epiphany or any of those? I do use firefox by default, but that is because my wife understands where her butter comes from! Hopefully you will be so lucky soon!

Other than that, I am also thinking of other devices more informed users deploy. I am assuming that users will get more informed over time, all other things being equal.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaglover -

I guess if it works "good enough".

Jaglover wrote:
Who cares about custom builds? I see quite often even on these forums people asking for support and posting their emerge --info, i5 and i7 machines with 8+ GiB of RAM running 32-bit with -march=i686. And these are people who have successfully installed Gentoo, how an average computer user compares to that?


I really hate to say this, but folks who get that far down the road in that shape need to sit through a reinstall. It may sound cruel, but it is remedial training. I will admit to requiring remedial training on occasion, but hopefully not in the future!
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bschnzl wrote:
Have you tried Opera or Epiphany or any of those?

Every few years I try them for 5 minutes and then go back to programs that respect the native theme and have some semblance of usability.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
bschnzl wrote:
Have you tried Opera or Epiphany or any of those?

Every few years I try them for 5 minutes and then go back to programs that respect the native theme and have some semblance of usability.


Yeah ... I don't like them either, but I haven't spent the effort to find out why! LOL! I do know folks that swear by Opera.

But they are choices, even if they are bad choices. Kinda like installing 32 bit Gentoo on an i7. Examples of people doing silly things are not really germane tho'. A significant portion of a population making a bad choice is germane.

A single actor can have a significant impact if that actor is a software house that bloats their code (i.e.; Grr). But they are just one, and there is an alternative, from what I hear. In any case, compiling would seem to increase the availability and efficacy of that choice! This vector also appears to support Gentoo as the "default install".
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run 32-bit Gentoo on my i7 with 8GB RAM as well as my Core2 Quad 9550S with 4GB...
They compile Firefox just fine... My Core2 Duo E6700 however is running 64-bit Gentoo...

But that's besides the point. This is not "fashion" or "lemming like behavior" - it's purely just to save time. If you could get the binary installed and running in 5 minutes (does it even take that long to install Firefox on M$ Windows?) versus build Firefox that takes 15-20 mins on that same machine, and both versions of Firefox work exactly alike (or at least both work imperceptibly different) most people would save that 10 minutes to do something else, that's just fact. And even then there aren't that many options that you can pick and choose within Firefox for Gentoo, and those that do, they have considerable build headaches that can pop up (ever had USE flag conflicts?) And those USE conflicts, to resolve, can require building those ebuilds again too, adding more time.

So why not have a one size fits all binary? And you will never have to deal with those conflicts or figure out why the conflicts happened...

My challenge to you is to ask the general population to go ahead and use Gentoo instead of Windows. Or better yet just wipe their hard drive and give them a Gentoo mini installer. My *guess* is that:
A - 70% of the people will groan at you and force *you* to reinstall their disk back to WINDOWS no matter how you try to convince them of the benefits.
B - 10% will not care and if you install Linux they'll use it, else they will install Windows back.
C - 10% will grudgingly install Gentoo.
D - 10% who have unlimited time to burn wouldn't mind running Gentoo.

Note- this may not totally be a good example since Windows vs Linux, they'd rather use something compatible with their existing softwares... but it is an extreme of closed source vs source based distribution.

I actually was one of those in the "C" class when I first started running Gentoo. I knew compilation time would suck, and another OSS distribution would have done that compilation for me saving me time. However I also knew of the advantages of having the code available. This is a boon because I have hacked source code to tailor to my needs and it's an extra step if I have to rebuild it - since I do know how to program, this is a viable option if software does not do what I want it to do. Having a distribution like Gentoo or SourceMage or even ports from BSDs makes integration much easier as everything is known to be there - no dependency hell - it's all ready for hacking.

However not everyone is a coder or wants to learn to code, they would be happy enough getting a binary that Just Works... or at least don't mind wool pulled over their eyes... not to mention software writers that, in fear of someone making a competing product, want to pull wool over users' eyes in case they're a competitor.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r -

So do you run multi-lib, multi-boot or straight 32 bit kernels. If you run a 32 bit kernel, you will need PAE to use all 8 GB of ram, and it will cost 50% of your RAM performance! That is just the math! It is not near as bad as the hit from swapping, but it is noticeable if you know where to watch. 64-Bit compiled firefox is better behaved in the system!

I think Ant.P was trying to compile on a lesser equipped machine, and did not want to use one with, say, a CPUID or something.

I also think you are conflating the issues a bit here! The fashion and lemming comments referred to the choice of devices and the fact that they are sold as "black boxes". There is no option. As a matter of fact, the Library of Congress copyright office has issued an opinion that the carriers must approve "unlocking" phones. When the phone company controls which network you connect to, you cannot own a phone, you can only rent it!

It does take an eye for system performance to see that the bloated browser I run is not stealing resources from the other apps. Browser speed is almost totally network bandwidth related. Mobile code can also slow the rendering, and impact other apps, but that is what noscript is for. The difference is in uptime, and speed of the other jobs. In any case, a browser is a poor app for judging binary production methods.

The primary component for judging binary production methods is the kernel, and high load operations like compiling and searching. My PIII just took 81 minutes to compile the kernel. Granted, it is not running X Windows. It greps 300 MB log files in 40 seconds through Apache. There was a time when it took that box three hours to compile a kernel!

Use Flag issues are easy compared to tracking library versions in "a normal" computer. Supporting Foxpro still gives me nightmares. Maintaining package.use files is a comparative vacation.

A "one size fits all" binary requires more ram to load the binary. It takes longer to read that binary from disk to start the program. If you cache your most recently used binaries to start faster, your lesser used programs suffer! Heck, notepad takes two minutes to load a 300 MB log file before I can search it in Windows! I have to load cygwin to get a streaming parser. If you want to see system performance degrades from other bloated apps, load cygwin before and after your browser has started (Yes, you will have to reboot to clear RAM to properly execute this test). And uptimes dependent on good electrical power make up for an awful lot of rebooting.

As I said previously, if you want a TV, go to WalMart! Loading Gentoo is only for the highly motivated learners at this point. It is a sad statement on our education system that more folks aren't motivated to learn better! I know the current state of the Market, and I hand those ready to break out of windows a Knoppix disk. If they get passed that in a month, I send them to Ubuntu. My wife is still on Windows.

There is much to the Gentoo way other than having the source code. I have alluded to some above. The USE flag system is a very powerful choice mechanism. I code when I have to, but I am happy to just get all the cruft out so the system can do only what I want it to do. What makes it lemming fashionable is when the wool comes out.

I think we are in "violent agreement". You wouldn't be here if there wasn't some value to using a directly compiled distro'. If "the Market" wasn't dead before, it is now.

My contention still stands, IMHO, that the time to prioritize emerge world lists is made up in operational efficiency (reboots, et al) in the long run, dependencies still plague the fixed binary distro's, and the software repositories show little, if any difference.

B.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before you claim PAE is 50% performance drop across the board, you need to try it with the workload other people have. I can say that my Core2Quad 9550S is still significantly faster than my Core2Duo 6700 in single thread applications despite one using PAE and other 64-bit. The main reason is that I don't use enough RAM to warrant constant remapping of hidden pages. The cache will help greatly.

In fact this is the general problem with the argument you're presenting, you're only looking at it from your point of view, and not the user. I don't see any problem with the users using what junk other people are giving to them as long as it works. I personally do not want the wool covering my eyes but others don't care and don't need to care. They'd rather be looking for their next stock tip to make that $1000 windfall over deciding whether to compile btrfs into their kernel. They'd rather it all be in there and use the $1000 windfall to buy more RAM or better CPU.

I still have to make it clear, the number of permutations of USE and MASK in portage leads to a LOT of untested and untestable combinations. When dealing with binaries, it's either there or not there and thus a lot easier to test combinations. I don't know how long you've been using Gentoo but I've been through one heck of a lot of portage snafus that require a bit of work to clean up. Some like the recent udev issue, resulted in a no-boot situation requiring a manual kernel rebuild, whereas a binary distribution would simply have included the correct kernel dependencies.

And there still is the problem of proprietary secrets. Without the secrets being kept under wraps there would be no incentive to continue to build better software/hardware so they can have their little monopoly for a while when they design something new to recuperate their expenses.

To each their own... Let the user decide. Go educate them there's an option. But likely they'll "MEH" it and go for something they don't have to think about configuring, working on stuff they really want to do, and paying for more expensive hardware to run the unoptimized software. It keeps me busy. I like it when people buy hardware I make...
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a bit like asking everyone to build their own houses, fix their own cars, fabricate their own furniture or even cooking their own food. The skills and urges of every user are quite different, and that variance is what shapes the Linux ecosystem. Each distro is a scratch for someone's itch.

Regarding the dependencies, the thing depends just on what glass you look through. Some may argue that dependencies in binary distros are a hell (sure they are), because of the fixed amount of dependencies that a given package might have. Well, there's another way to look at it: in binary distros a given package has a fixed number of dependencies, and they are always the same. They are decided by whoever packages the software and afterwards they are invariable. In Gentoo no one knows for sure what dependencies a given package might have beforehand. The dependencies vary depending on USE flags, architecture, overlays and a few other things. People don't usually realize how complicated this is at infrastructure level, even though we (meaning we, the users) hardly ever have to worry about this any longer. That's because of the degree of maturity that Gentoo has reached. You have a degree of power that matches Linux From Scratch with just a few commands at your fingertips.

As with everything in life, the word "complex" here can mean one thing or the opposite. :o
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now. That is why we communicate, to share our points of view. I don't think I am ready to accept myopia in the mix just yet. Nor do I want to eliminate choices. Although the title of the thread is absolute, the question is "Why is Gentoo NOT the default install on the net?"

I specifically did NOT claim a 50% across the board performance hit. The hit is in RAM access because of the translation. There, all other things being equal, PAE has twice (at least) the work to do. Now that you mention threads, a single threaded op may need to be that way for any given reason, but that limits one to one eighth of the available clock ticks. These can only be mitigated by caching or adding memory, et al. My Android has a multi-processing pre-emptive kernel, making management tasks likely to occur at the same time as a translation or single threaded app on my handheld! These are mountains in the terrain that everyone must deal with. For that reason, I think the impact to the choice of OS or binary production method is minimized. The original stator brought it up to show that these were possible in Gentoo. But I bet one CAN do the same with any distro.

The possible answers to the question involve choices made by the various people involved, and hard technical issues. The hard technical issues involve the position in the stream of binary production. The question about the people's choices is not that they exist. The question implies that most folks ARE using binary distro's. I meant to examine the impact of distributing a product before that actual compilation was performed. I lean toward the concept that it is possible to reduce that impact to the point of irrelevance.

There is no question that more choices exist in Gentoo. It obviously takes longer to install a Gentoo box. But the primary value of any distro' is the package manager. Portage can be called mature at this point. I doubt it will be certified at any level, tho'. The money is really scarce! Knowledge management and innovation are obviously occurring!

I have installed the latest and greatest 2.4 kernel along side portage. The compiler in Gentoo is a dream to work with, because it HAS to be set up right in order for the distro' to be viable. I have lots of experience with poorly implemented compilers on other distro's. I have untangled my share of use flag issues, but I have also had to reinstall Slackware from scratch. It has been a while, but in the end, each could be traced to my own choice, not the developers. Use Flags save a lot of effort by recording your choices.

Side Bar: I made the jump to shaped skis with the Rossignol Bandit XX. Great ski. They do exactly what you tell them to do. So don't tell them to do the wrong thing or you'll wind up on your third-point-of-contact. They were the closest thing to computers I have found outside of computing!

I am not ready to call "USE Flags" any less complicated than the implied function in other distro's. One can, and I have, run ./configure on any given package in RedHat or Debian. In that respect, Gentoo is much farther along. Even if you leave out compiling in other distro's, the configuration management apps remove options I have found necessary. BIND Views come to mind. There are plenty of untestable permutations in the binary distro's.

I think it was Richard Stallman who made his name by predicting that all software would be open source one day. I think that day is today, when you can download any number of operating systems for the cost of the bandwidth. There will always be those who make a buck by keeping secrets, but I can't secure a system I don't know!

So, with the work in the compiler and portage, how far are we from the benefits of a binary distro'? A gap analysis in the various forums would render that answer, I suppose. I don't have that kind of time! I do know that Gentoo has folks that work closely with each packages dev's. Can we approximate the picture beyond the market with more views?

B.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Software will never become totally open source. However someday software will be "free beer" free - it's not feasible to implement copy protection forever. However that's the rub - people are focusing on cloud computing because here they can do software protection with ease - if you don't have a paid account, you have no access to software (or possibly even your data).

So why do people not complain? They'd rather be toting around their underpowered tablets, phones, and laptops due to convenience. And they surely don't want to build their own software - where is the software actually running?

On the servers. Not even their computers.

The choice apparently has already been made by a lot of people - they don't want to compile - they just want to use. They're happy when the options they want are runtime options not compile time options. They don't care about the speed penalty because it's on the server.

If you want to argue this further, pretty much all Gentoo users will agree that OSS built on local machines is the best choice - after all thats why we chose Gentoo after all. Same with the ports/NetBSD/FreeBSD/Sourcemage/LFS users. "Preaching to the choir" ... your job is to convince iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows users that this is a better system and make them feel the time spent configuring and compiling is worth it. For the most part they will say it's not.

And also provide a good story for developers how they can make money off of OSS. That's the other side of the problem that hasn't been addressed...
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r -

I am not "preaching to the choir". I am not going to the extremes. I hoped for genuine input as to why more folks don't take advantage of Portage, or offer an alternative. One of the highest barriers to entry, and hardest nuts to crack is the "enlightened academician" who is actually a lemming! As most of this generation came by its computer clue in college, their idea of what constitutes an open mind is thus warped, as is their grasp of what their tools do! But to get back on track.

The cloud is the cloud, and cheap handhelds work well to stay in touch with momma. That's why I have one! I submit that even cloud builders could be using Gentoo on Xen for their infrastructure. Richard Stallman (I think) made the OSS claim. I just know that I can learn about OSS much deeper and easier in order to more securely deploy it.

Most folks do not care about what is in their machines today. They don't have to. But they should know someone who does. It is that "someone who does" that decides to glop a few binaries together, or to make the whole box fit together by compiling all of the code on it, or at least a similar specimen. So please sir, let the TV buyers go to WalMart!

What I am trying to do now is to understand the value of using binaries, versus a compiler wrapper like Portage. I see that as the direction Portage and Gentoo should pursue. As for making money, that is between you and your end users.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...

So much for that!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYObbJ79VrQ
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bschnzl wrote:
One of the highest barriers to entry, and hardest nuts to crack is the "enlightened academician" who is actually a lemming!

One of the main researchers paid by a large military grant for predator drone piloting and path points back in the early 90s asked me, an undergrad student, for advice on buying new computer hardware to replace his aging expensive workstation (which I believe was an old Sun/Sparc unit). These same people were the most difficult to convince to migrate away from big iron with their projects, most of which could compile and run fine (and probably faster and cheaper) on the newer unix servers available if they were willing to put forth some additional effort to convert. It was because of them that a million+ budget was allocated yearly to IBM's maintenance mojo. Now this guy is extremely intelligent, focuses almost entirely on military grant research and remains a highly regarded Comp. Sci. Ph.D worldwide, but obviously his only care to apply his noggin remained on a specific focus only. He couldn't be bothered to follow trends, etc. when other people under him are paid to do that for him.

bschnzl wrote:
The cloud is the cloud, and cheap handhelds work well to stay in touch with momma. That's why I have one! I submit that even cloud builders could be using Gentoo on Xen for their infrastructure.

I'm going to state what many have in the past and present on a bigger scale. Markets are irrational. Markets are always trying to produce a perceived better mousetrap that differs vastly from the prior to stimulate sales. Constant push of forcing out with the old in with the new. Couple that with other things considered trending in a particular decade versus the one prior (and a new generation to begin feeding it off of). If you had said in the 90s that the almost non-existent (as in not mainstream) handheld smart device market (which we then called PDAs) would take off by being masqueraded as cell phones with simple touch screen functionality only, many (particularly investors) would have said you're nuts. But that had less to do with capabilities of said devices now vs then and more to do with planned usage patterns.

There's nothing technical another linux distribution does that Gentoo cannot. Of course you could use it for building cloud centers--the question is if they would want to. New startups with a very confident and past proven lead administrator would have a far easier time making such a decision with the rest of management than larger existing. Google and Amazon are so large and technically minded even high up in their executive structure that they can do pretty much anything they want. They can roll their own as an offshoot of a Linux base, which is what they've done. But other companies will only count on a fully commercialized non-hobbyist 3rd party product which digresses from there in religious arguments on which OS platform (*nix flavors vs everything else). It used to be primarily about hardware first, and sometimes still is. This remains nothing new on the server side in the world of 'business'.

bschnzl wrote:

Most folks do not care about what is in their machines today. They don't have to.

While I find the first statement mostly true, the second is complete folly, be it local to their hardware somewhere or mapped to them 'in the cloud'. User data, especially freely and more often foolishly provided, is the current Gold Rush, subject to the same abuses as in the past and present, legal, financial, moral, reputation factors and all.

bschnzl wrote:
What I am trying to do now is to understand the value of using binaries, versus a compiler wrapper like Portage. I see that as the direction Portage and Gentoo should pursue. As for making money, that is between you and your end users.

The value of binaries is what it has always been, convenience in time and effort needed. The value of source building and a package dependency aware system like Portage to automate is flexibility and choice. The latter can be a very tough sell to most versus the former. The same problems, as we know, plague security.

I doubt very much that Gentoo will pursue the notion of a binary format, it rubs against its very nature and why it was created in the first place. Commercialization also is in the same grain, as it remains one of the reasons Gentoo was created instead of. Besides the legal reasons of being under the GPL.

Getting back to the market side, we have hardware and software platforms. Sun envisioned and pushed for the whole network appliance userbase in the world running specialized JavaVMs on Sun hardware for cheap. A day too early they were before their last dollar short as look where we are now. Had they played their cards more carefully, we could have easily seen Sun as the Goliath of today instead of the big four Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft.

I don't agree with it, but sales drive everything, including market irrationality.

The market has been trying their damnedest to convince you for sometime now that desktop (hardware) computing is dead. It wasn't enough that it has become commoditized cheapened into the ground, you're expected to entirely change your mindset towards simple consumption oriented appliance devices to buy more things with via 'the cloud'. It's called the subscription model, and it's reared its ugly head back in a huge way. In fact, with today's so-called 'social' orientation, this post was already 'too-long-didn't-read' once it went past say 20 words. Tweet tweet. :roll:

Given that, the desktop platform market is shrinking. What remains tends to be laptop centric. This is not only the difficulty of 'encouraging' Linux desktop OS usage as a whole (an adoption by mainstream issue), but also eats into the sales for those big name commercial you know whos. So while Linux overall is everywhere in large amounts, particularly on embedded platforms such as smartphones, the market has continued to keep the consumer very naive ('dumbing down') and oriented more and more towards pressing a shiny button to receive the pellet and pay for the luxury. People don't want anything perceived as 'hard' in obtaining that pellet. It's the perfect environment. Who wants enlightened consumers when selling legally abusively expensive subscription service contracts bound to hardware? :idea: Wow this $200 phone/tablet will cost me over $2k in two years? Not to mention you need to keep paying for subscription service to be of any use and you should always consider throwing it away to start all over, again and again. Multi-billion dollar industries. They spend gobs of money doing this act, repackaging, renaming, etc. Google isn't selling an OS or specific software, they're selling an entire platform (Android) married to non-desktop proprietary embedded hardware. Same with Apple, same with Microsoft. All in their continued attempts to monopolize towards their favor while slowly phasing out their desktop divisions. You're expecting Gentoo to pull some miracle against the fold?

Next is the gaming industry, which besides the Web, drove the desktop computer mainstream. Viewed as a joke or not, it's now a category in the billions. We do love us some entertainment. Sales are dominated heavily towards the little controlling black boxes and subscription models again, by company, something that had been tried before but eventually failed miserably. However, now, titles produced natively for desktop PCs are almost extinct and sales for those closed boxes and their titles vastly outnumber what the gaming industry gained in years past while desktop PCs often get pathetic ports for easy additional gravy profits. That and a newer generation has grown up spoon fed using them and their associated smartphones. This is what they know and they trend towards shunning the older establishments. This is today's active debt oriented purchasing consumer. This is a far bigger issue than just Walmart shopping trends. The obscured black entertainment box especially is an old multi-decade story of booms and busts, but like it or not, this time it's winning.

None of which could give a damn about Linux or a desktop computer. And of those tiny few who do spark interest, an even smaller fraction will care much for anything other than whatever is the current very popular commercially marketed turnkey flavor. If it 'works' and is 'easy' and is 'social' is the flavor of the day. Of them an even tinier fraction will give Gentoo some interest either out of curiosity or necessity. And unfortunately, these issues are affecting Linux as a whole, particularly for use in the desktop.

So, when we're speaking about who uses Gentoo, I believe we're talking about the less than 1 percentile.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navar...

Thanks for your input. We can add intransigence to the list of compile-yourself-software barriers. I also agree that the Market is a Mob. That is the essence of fashion! We are finally seeing Alan Turing's machine. (after how long?)

Quote:
focuses almost entirely on military grant research and remains a highly regarded Comp. Sci. Ph.D worldwide


Mind you, I have an inactive Man Number! And, the Itty Bitty Machine company's stock has returned more value and sold more software since the dot.com.boom than that company from the "upper left". A Turing Machine requires "big iron". It's just that quad "U" servers are a waste of space! Your example, I believe buttresses my point.

There is a computer production chain. You can group them any way you want, but the five components must exist. They are 1) need/strategy analysis, 2)coding/programming/testing, 3) production/compiling, 4) distribution, and 5) deployment. There are pros & cons to each grouping. The prevailing academic idea is that distributing source code makes it hard to charge money. That is the (software provider as) middleman model.

Gentoo breaks that model. Many academicians find it hard to wrap their heads around OSS, and most OSS projects exist on shoestring budgets. Gentoo switches, or at least merges, steps three and four. Android (et al) switch or merge steps four and five. But there is no denying the robust quality of the OSS product, unless you are a lemming.

Note that Ownership transfer is not in the chain. That is the whole renting your phone thing. Transferring ownership control is not technically necessary (your subscription model)! Ownership is force that pushes the pendulum back toward "Fair Use".

Oh, and I do have an IPaq running Familiar!

Quote:
Google and Amazon are so large and technically minded even high up in their executive structure that they can do pretty much anything they want. They can roll their own as an offshoot of a Linux base, which is what they've done. But other companies will only count on a fully commercialized non-hobbyist 3rd party product which digresses from there in religious arguments on which OS platform (*nix flavors vs everything else).


This is the trend that will lead business toward the Gentoo model. Here are today's market capitalization scores:
AAPL 403B
XOM 398B.
[...]
GOOG 221B
[...]
AMZN 125B

Google & Amazon are bound to attract attention, and may overtake Exxon-Mobil in the future themselves. Apple... well... never mind! (-38%) That is what happens when the engineering types have a business clue! The folks who truly understand their machines will win if they catch a fair wave.

Quote:
bschnzl wrote:
Quote:

Most folks do not care about what is in their machines today. They don't have to.
While I find the first statement mostly true, the second is complete folly, be it local to their hardware somewhere or mapped to them 'in the cloud'. User data, especially freely and more often foolishly provided, is the current Gold Rush, subject to the same abuses as in the past and present, legal, financial, moral, reputation factors and all.


Actually, if taken from a more generic view, most folks really do not understand their machines, of any type. They know Gas and Go. They know Lever = Pellet. As you said, they foolishly give up their data. It is actually a testament to the quality of a machine that performs well. As well the operators of Google and Amazon lie on the opposite end of the "skill" spectrum, and are thus rewarded.

The Gas and Go types will reap what they sow. In the end the basis of any economy is Caveat Emptor! The Turing Machine has been around since the 1930's. It just took this long to marry up the business side. But the network will always exist, and it is awfully hard to type on a phone! That is why I say let the TV buyers go to WalMart. You can substitute Saturn (http://www.saturn.de/mcs/shop/marken-peaq.html) if you like! Where we are going is Wilhelm Leibnitz's global instantaneous library.

Computing for computing's sake has always been a realm of the few. Be they gamers, lamers, hackers, or crackers, they are the seed of what is to come on the network. It is their propensity to share that encourages Fair Use.

I am pushing toward a finer "value" than the general market. I am looking for input to a business justification for Gentoo over SuSE, Ubuntu, and anything else. Sure, it takes longer to install, and has a relatively unstable code base. So why does any given Gentoo Box stay functional for so long? What specifically makes it so resilient when exposed to the net? What is it that makes the lemmings wrong? Let's grow this to the second percentile!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

try this... people are too incompetent to compile, they are too incompetent to use, but are getting better about that.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is one fact about Gentoo over other distributions and it's not because of its source distribution: Because of the developers work, there is no release version for Gentoo. You're always at latest and never need to fresh-install unless your hard drive breaks (and you don't have a backup). This is NOT because of open source, even binary distributions can do this, but it's harder as they have to keep several versions of certain binaries because libraries change. Granted because of the open source issue, rebuilding the binary that's custom to your library situation is easier to keep straight.

However the time that it takes can be long before the system is usable. From the moment that a library dependency breaks, the system could become unusable - this is downtime and may or may not be noticed, and sometimes can be time consuming and require man-hours to fix. Until all those programs are rebuilt, there's a gap in service.

This is why I'm kind of confused why Gentoo is used for servers. Unless they do not update much or allow it to update only critical packages, but critical packages do come down once in a while (like udev). This could unexpectedly break more critical servers...

However this sort of conflicts with the mantra "if it's not broken, don't fix it" - even if it is all OSS software. An awry upgrade can cause downtime which is not for the mission critical, even if it can be eventually fixed (which require man-hours). So if it's used for a server, no updates should be done on critical packages and now you have no reason to go to "latest" and soon end up with a box that emerge --world that's filled with blockers...
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, asking this question is at least similar to asking why everyone doesn't build their own house, why everyone doesn't repair their own car, why everyone doesn't do their own electrical or plumbing work, why everyone isn't an expert on every item they ever use...it just doesn't make much sense. Every day you have to make decisions about what you want to spend your time learning about or doing and the fact that some people choose not to know about their computer and not spend time (many would say waste their time) building or configuring it is understandable.

I have worked in IT for 20 years, in multiple organizations, and I can say that even in the professional world, the majority of people know how to turn their computer on and off and that's about the extent of their computer knowledge. More advanced users might know where/what their usb ports are, how to plugin some peripherals, maybe and I stress maybe how to install software that only requires a click or two...and they don't necessarily understand what they are doing, they can just follow some basic instructions or prompts. When you get to extremely advanced users, they might be able to install Windows, since it doesn't require you to know or understand anything, just click a few times, they might have some understanding of the most basic hardware in their systems, like what the hard drive is, what the processor is, etc. Now I'm sure that most people here will read that and laugh at that being an 'advanced' user but what gentoo users think of as the typical user, let alone advanced users, is in reality probably 1% of the population or less. That's the problem.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have tons of education, a lot of it in IT, I've spent well over 20 years learning about computers, and I have spent endless hours messing around with and learning about Gentoo. It's very easy to make absurd assumptions about what basic computer knowledge and skills are, but the fact remains that if you are even using this forum you are probably already in the top few percent of the general population, as far as computer knowledge and skills. As you start getting into IT experts like sys admins, developers, etc., I don't have any idea what percentage of the population that is but it's obviously way over-represented in the Linux and Gentoo community, and it leads to crazy questions like the one in this thread.

Don't get me wrong, I think the question is probably worth asking, from the standpoint of trying to make Gentoo better, or at least easier to use without diminishing all it's strengths, but if it's asked with any serious expectation that somehow Gentoo would ever be used, as it is now, by more than the tiniest sliver of the general population, then it is absurd. It's difficult to not want to force everyone to see and use what we all think is so great, but like others have posted, everyone has their own unique set of interests and you can't expect everyone to care about this time or put the time and effort into it that most of us do.

One last thing I'll comment on, specifically related to Gentoo, is that it is much more complex than I think most of it's regular users understand. I have taught Gentoo to many people and what I find most difficult is that there is a lot you cannot teach. The problem is something I see in IT professionals every day unfortunately. People want to be told or shown how to do something, and then be able to do that exact same thing every time and get the same result, not have to apply their knowledge to unique situations with many new variables. There's a lot in IT that is more or less cookie-cutter type stuff, where you can read and follow some instructions and always get the same result. A lot of IT is not like that. Your knowledge and experience is always just a foundation for resolving new issues and learning new things on the fly, but you have to constantly be able to apply an adapt all this to new problems. This is way beyond most IT professionals, let alone the general public, and to me this is a requirement to really getting the most out of Gentoo. As an example, I can teach someone how to compile their kernel on a specific machine today, but with the next kernel upgrade, no matter what I taught them, they are going to have to learn something new. When you look 20 or 50 kernel versions forward, what they need to know is going to be so completely different, and I've never seen any great documentation (even within the kernel itself), that would clearly explain to a user how to make decisions about various options. I'm not explaining this well, but all of Gentoo is like this, it's not something you can just read how to use, or be told how to install and maintain, and do it the same way every time. It requires a tremendous amount of continuous learning for as long as you use the product and that's always going to be way too much to expect of the vast majority of users.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
(running Firefox on 1GB of RAM is possible, building Firefox on 1GB of RAM is ugly).

Building firefox on 1GB of RAM is impossible since several versions (no matter how much swap is added - the linker requires RAM)
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