The fragile balance between fast and reliable

June 17, 2010 · Posted in Gentoo, Linux · 9 Comments 

Being a Distro developer, or a packager if you prefer, is not always that simple. Many people think that our “job” is quite straight forward. All we need to do is to read the INSTALL file and then adapt the instructions into an ebuild format and we are done. Well it is definitely more than that.

There are a number of factors that should be considered before pushing a package into tree. From {C,CXX,LD}FLAGS, use flags, documentation, to multilib support for amd64 platforms, 64bit stability for common 64bit issues such as implicit pointer conversion and many many more. Due to this, we tend to spend many hours digging around the source code, trying to understand how it works, especially when we need to write patches about it. What we usually do is to fix stuff and then send our patches upstream. To be honest I don’t know how other distros work :)

If someone take a look on our bugzilla he will notice many bugs about version bumps of existing packages, feature requests and many more.  One may consider that bumping a package is a trivial process. Well it is NOT!

Every time a new version is available, a series of tests need to be run to make sure we retain a high level of QA in our tree. Such tests involve multiple compilations with various compilation flags, compilers, use flags, etc etc

However, the pressure to ship a ‘famous’ package to the portage tree  is quite stressful leading to broken ebuilds or badly behaved applications. Whilst I do understand the thirst for bleeding edge packages as soon as possble ( I am still a Gentoo user after all ), I try not to distract from my target for high QA on tree packages.

This is basically a reminder to our users that we ( developers ) are users like them, so we do want new and working packages as soon as possible like they do. We enjoy what we do, we want to do that and we want everything to work as expected :)

So, do you think you have the most beautiful desktop? Prove it!

June 6, 2010 · Posted in Gentoo, Linux · Comment 

So we are back :)

Gentoo is running again[1] a screenshot contest[2] :)

If you would like to show us your pretty desktop, compare it to others, and see it in our official screenshot page[3], join our competition now.

Rules, details etc can be found on the Contest page.

We are currenlty looking for judges ( from the Gentoo user community ). If you would like to become one please contact us at screenshots[at]gentoo[dot]org

Further discussion is taking place on Gentoo Forums[4]

Happy screenshot taking :)

[1] http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/pr/2009-screenshot-winners.xml

[2] http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/pr/2010-screenshot-contest.xml

[3] http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/shots.xml

[4] http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-830956.html

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