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Installing gentoo on 4 years old laptop – is it practical?
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Shark82
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:32 pm    Post subject: Installing gentoo on 4 years old laptop – is it practical? Reply with quote

Hi

I have a laptop ASUS K50IJ with this specs:

    Celeron(R) Dual-Core CPU T3000 @ 1.80 Ghz
    2 GB RAM
    Intel gma4500M integrated graphic card


For two years now i am running Arch Linux and i am very satisfied with speed, performance and overall concept. But i am also really curious and that is why i want to try gentoo. Now, i have never been on source based distro before tough i have compiled packages and kernel before. I have also read quite a lot pages of gentoo handbook so the installation process should be straighforward. What i am really concerned is compilation time. In Arch Linux configuration i have this configuration:
Code:
CFLAGS="-march=native -O2 -pipe -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2"
CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}"

LDFLAGS="-Wl,-O1,--sort-common,--as-needed,-z,relro"
#-- Make Flags: change this for DistCC/SMP systems
MAKEFLAGS="-j2"
#-- Debugging flags
DEBUG_CFLAGS="-g -fvar-tracking-assignments"
DEBUG_CXXFLAGS="-g -fvar-tracking-assignments"


and for me to compile customized kernel, stripped off for about 20% options than original one, take me about 1,5 hour. Now, i have KDE and i am willing to try lighter DE or WM but i also need Libreoffice, GIMP, Inkscape and those are really heavy. I know that my question is somehow silly and "unreal" but would compilation of all this packages take me couple of days? Also, how harmful is to use source based distro on laptop in terms of hardware faillures (if any) because of constant compilation?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shark82,

Welcome to Gentoo.

I run Gentoo with firefox, libreoffice and GNOME all self built on an Acer One aspire. It has has a memory upgrade to 1.5G, but its just an 32bit 1.6G atom CPU. I don't build on the 8G SSD, rather I build on a USB 'spinny' then udate the SSD install leaving behind all the sources and portage tree.

There are binaries for some of the big packages, so you don't have to build them yourself. The down side is you don't get to choose options for them either.

I think your CPU is a 64 bit CPU as celerons are just pentiums with much of the cache removed.
As you CPU is cache poor, make a 32 bit install, that will improve your cache hits and performance.

I'm not a KDE user so I don't know how long it will take to build. However, you can use twm while KDE builds. twm is very small and very ugly but it just works.

As to effect on the life of your system, it really depends on how it it gets and for how long. Every 10C rise tom operating temperature halves the component life. If your CPU gets to 100C its time to worry. Install lm-sensors and keep an eye on things.
Your system probably has CPU thermal throttling too, which reduces the clock speed to reduce the CPU tempreture.

In Gentoo, you can usefully use MAKEOPS="-j3".

Distcc is worth trying too. I don't use it for my Aspire but its a big help on ARM systems like the Raspberry Pi.
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Shark82
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

My CPU is 64 bit and i am running Arch 64 bit version. I didn't know about the cache ...

My average temp when compiling is about 60° celsius so for now that is not an issue. I am really accustomed to update the system every second, third day and i am wondering what are the recommendations for Gentoo since it is a rolling release?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shark82,

I update between weekly and monthly and I use ~arch everywhere.

With stable, you should be good with updates every three months. I mean that there will not be too much pain with the updates.

With 2G RAM, you are at the point where switching from a 32 bit install to a 64 bit install makes sense because of the extra overhead in memory management in a 32 bit system with more than 2G RAM. If you plan a RAM upgrade, go with a 64 bit install now.
If you will stick with 2G RAM, go with a 32 bit install, as you get more in your limited CPU cache.

There is no 32bit to 64 bit upgrade path, its a reinstall.
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NeddySeagoon

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Vorlon
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is that compiling a complete system (kernel, KDE, Libreoffice, etc) will take about 24 hours of compilation time. Extend that by about double or triple to allow for when the compiliation stops at 1:00 AM ad you don't check the computer until 7:00 AM.

Building a Gentoo system is great fun, but it is not for those who demand instant gratifications.

Here's an article I wrote about installing Gentoo on an Eee PC (1.8 GHz dual-core atom) http://blog.nerdworld.org/?p=10

You will be able to build Gentoo, but it will probably be a multi-day affair.

Good luck!
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Shark82
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for help and advices. I decided, especially efter reading Vorlon's blog, that i will probably install Gentoo later on because as it seems it will take quite a lot of time – days :), esspecially if problems occur.

BTW - Vorlon, you wrote an excellent and really readable blog.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
[...]
With 2G RAM, you are at the point where switching from a 32 bit install to a 64 bit install makes sense because of the extra overhead in memory management in a 32 bit system with more than 2G RAM. If you plan a RAM upgrade, go with a 64 bit install now.
If you will stick with 2G RAM, go with a 32 bit install, as you get more in your limited CPU cache.

There is no 32bit to 64 bit upgrade path, its a reinstall.

Don't forget the other options: 64-bit kernel with x86 or x32 userspace. It's also possible to start with a 32-bit install and switch to a 64-bit kernel easily, it used to require passing some ARCH_* variable to make but I think there's a menuconfig option in 3.9 now.
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