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danboston
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:27 pm    Post subject: frozen Gentoo for productivity Reply with quote

So portage changed or broke something in a way that pissed me off. This was back in April. I reverted from a backup and was running within an hour or so.

Then I had the brainstorm, a rare moment of brilliance: Stop emerging. No more emerge sync/world.

Suddenly Gentoo changed from a mostly stable system with moments of tension around upgrade time to ... a VERY stable platform that was letting me get things done! For months and months now, it has been rock steady. Nice!

Naturally, one cannot work like this forever, but it occurred to me some time ago that the effort of a fresh install every six months to a year, or so, averages to less effort & problems than one gets when periodically upgrading.

What I had done was turned gentoo into a non-rolling distro. And it's a blast! I call it Frozen Gentoo and I recommend it. :)

Caveats: one will have to recompile some programs that time how long since they were compiled (like seamonkey). Also, one should have in all software that one intends to use before freezing.

Has anyone else tried Frozen Gentoo aside from myself? I am curious.
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Tom_
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did that in the past a few times for a while (weeks or a few months) and for different reasons : productivity (when I was a student I had to work on important projects which required my system to be fully operational), when I'm too busy IRL or even lazyness.

Resuming updates after each freeze is a pain in the the ass : lots of major upgrades (kde, gcc, perl ... ) mean a lot of of conflicts and increase the risk of breaking something!

Now i try to apply updates at least once a week.

When i don't have a lot of time to take care of my gentoo system, i'm pretty careful :
- first, I use lts kernels which makes kernel update easier and faster
- when a major upgrade is available, I wait for a few days before applying these updates

I plan to reconfigure my system to make upgrade safer :
- I'm going to move my root disk to ZFS to take advantage of snapshots (i worked as a solaris admin a few years ago and loved zfs! It's time to use it on my own gentoo system!)
- I'm going to build an alternate (usb?) boot disk to have a ready-to-boot operational backup system (less than 40GB) in case of an emergency!
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asturm
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: frozen Gentoo for productivity Reply with quote

danboston wrote:
What I had done was turned gentoo into a non-rolling distro.

You have turned it into what you get with any piece of software or distribution if you stop doing upgrades.
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krinn
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm doing that a lot, i upgrade packages when i have a need to do that, and that need doesn't comes because a new ebuild is out.
And i have never a trouble to upgrade, using a quiet simple upgrade plan: buildpkg first (the safety), upgrade system with care, upgrade then world with a hammer (--nodeps or -C).
There's no real advantage to get bug by portage trying to figure out impossible conditions because you ask it to update world (that have so many packages and dependencies) or stop because portage refuse to upgrade vlc on a system that have no real need to run vlc while you upgrade.
revdep-rebuild is my friend and always happy to help.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Re: frozen Gentoo for productivity Reply with quote

danboston wrote:
Has anyone else tried Frozen Gentoo aside from myself? I am curious.
I've often wondered about using filesystem snapshots to capture the tree with all necessary files for installed packages downloaded. Then periodic additional snapshots of the tree for upgrade points. What would be really nice if @security was meaningful (maybe I just never have packages with installed security fixes when I remember to try it).
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Myu
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm the opposite, I update daily, I keep frequent backups of my root filesystem (take 5 minutes to take them/shutdown with a script), never had an issue, Gentoo is rock solid.

To me updating daily beat the hassle of freezing your system then sorting out the "delta"
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:30 am    Post subject: Re: frozen Gentoo for productivity Reply with quote

danboston wrote:
Then I had the brainstorm, a rare moment of brilliance: Stop emerging. No more emerge sync/world.
Bah!
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all good, until it ain't.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:14 am    Post subject: Re: frozen Gentoo for productivity Reply with quote

Nothing wrong with not updating, as long as you never connect the system to the internet again...
Quote:
... programs that time how long since they were compiled (like seamonkey) ...

...oh. Hope you've got a very good enterprise IDS setup.
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ChalkboardHero
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I'm super late to the party, but I do a monthly clone just in case I introduce something I can't weasel out of. :wink:

I update frequently and it's been a few years since I've nuked my system.
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davidm
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it probably is hard to believe but it is actually pretty easy to keep updating and to resolve the occasional problem which arises. I have also found that where a issue occurs it is usually something which is my fault. For instance just now I removed qtwebkit:4 and then when I went to do a preserved-rebuild it had issues upgrading kdelibs because I had some old obsolete kde-apps packages from 4/2016 still. I deleted those and now it works fine. I'm on ~amd64.

This is how it usually works. And the knowledge you gain over time resolving these little issues builds and builds and you become more competent. I would encourage you to start updating again and work a little bit to resolve any issues which come up. I believe the small effort needed every now and then is worth it.
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joanandk
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidm wrote:
I know it probably is hard to believe but it is actually pretty easy to keep updating and to resolve the occasional problem which arises.


Full ack.

I update my systems in irregular basis. It is key to update at least within 3-6 months (depending on major changes). I have run multiple times into big issues (for example compiling glibc was stuck with one processor at 100%) but was able to solve them (took many many many ... hours).

Setting the hassle with resolve-time in total uptime/usage of Gentoo, the hassle is negligible (I have over 14 systems running Gentoo).
I am also well aware of the service downtime, but if one stays on the issue, it is resolved very quickly and one has a big learning curve.

BR
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