Tales from beyond the .network


Official kernel packages for Gentoo?

In comparison to other Linux distributions, Gentoo handles kernel installations and upgrades quite differently. While other distributions deploy new kernel release over their package management, Gentoo only packages the kernel sources. It’s up to the user to compile and install the kernel in a second step. Gentoo developer Michał Górny is about to change that with the introcution of an official Gentoo kernel.

Traditionally, configuring and installing the kernel is done either manually or simplified by using genkernel. While configuring the own kernel allows a high level of adjustment to the hardware in use or to specific workloads, genkernel creates a more “generic” kernel.


Updating my ScummVM build server

Since a few months I’m running my own build server for the Windows versions of ScummVM. Originally, the server was intended to replace my previous toolchain based on MSYS2 and to provide self-contained (avoiding DLL hell) and continuously updated Win32 binaries.

In the meantime, this project evolved quite a bit. Currently, the official Windows versions of ScummVM as well as the Nightly Builds are built by this server. As you can imagine, the term “experimental” doesn’t really fit anymore, even though I’m still referring to this server as my staging environment.


Redirect multiple domains to the same website

Over the last couple of years, I aquired a nice collection of various domains. Since I only keep them for historical purposes, I decided to redirect all domains to this blog domain. Usually, you can achieve such a redirection by simply pointing all your domains to the same virtual host within your webserver configuration in case you are using WordPress. However, this won’t work when using some caching plugins. Some .htaccess magic will help though.


Apache2: mod_autoindex and UTF-8

For my ScummVM nightly server, I’m using the apache2 module mod_autoindex. I noticed that – even though I enabled UTF-8 support in the apache configuration – one vHost was still served with ISO-8859 encoding.

The problem is that the autoindex module simply ignores the global charset settings. Instead, it insists on using ISO-8859 for the vHost without further configuration.

In order to enable UTF-8 for sites generated by mod_autoindex, the parameter Charset=UTF-8 must be added to the IndexOptions of the specific vHost configuration.

Gentoo: use git for portage synchronization

By default, Gentoo is using the rsync protocol to distribute it’s portage tree. For synchronizing a lot of smaller files, this protocol is rock-solid.

However, this method comes with a small drawback. To ensure the integrity of the downloaded files, they are signed with an OpenGPG key. First, the files are downloaded into a quarantine directory. Afterwards, portage is trying to validate the signatures and only if the signatures match the local portage tree will be overwritten with the newly synced files. The problem with this method is that the signature check is pretty slow, especially on lower-end systems. In my experience, it can take up to several minutes until the update is completed.

Fortunately, we can tell portage to use git instead of rsync for updating the portage tree.