Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sabayon Stabiliser


The following talks about how you can gradually move Sabayon from the testing tree to the stable tree of portage.


Sabayon. Very cool. However, it is a bit disturbing that it bases everything on the testing tree of portage.

In make.conf, there is a line:

ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=~amd64

That last part may read ~x86 if you are on a 32bit platform. In gentoo speak a package is "masked" in the portage tree (the software repository) until it has completed testing. The ~x86 or ~amd64 keyword identifies a packages as being in testing. Once testing is complete, the keyword changes to "x86". Ie, without the tilda.

The line above is essentially saying that whenever you install a package, it should install the latest testing version.

This can lead to problems, as the packages in testing haven't been tested to see if they are ready for release - that they haven't been QAed to work with everything else you may have installed.

So just remove the line from make.conf right? Wrong. The dependencies that packages have on each other are far too complex for this to work. Another strategy would be to work out groups of packages that work together, and roll them back to stable using /etc/portage/package.keywords and /etc/portage/package.mask

Forget it. Portage is the tangled web we weave.

The following approach works on this principle: You accept that you currently have a bunch of testing packages installed,but everything seems to be working. Then take advantage of the fact that lots of people are volunteering their time to ensure that these packages are suitable for release, or fixing them so that they are. So if you could say "Ok, no package can be upgraded from now on until they are in the release tree".

So look at this:

equery -i list | sed 's/(.*)/\>\=$1 -~amd64 amd64/' > packages

This command will get a list all of your currently installed packages, add a ">" to the beginning of each line, and add " -~amd64 amd64" to the end of each line, and output them all to a file called "packages"

So if the package was this:

media-video/vlc-0.8.6-r1

Now it looks like this:

>media-video/vlc-0.8.6-r1 -~amd64 amd64


If this line were put into /etc/portage/package.keywords, it would be saying "remove the "~amd64" mask from this package, and add the release mask, if the version number is greater than the one shown. In other words, don't install any more test versions for this package.

So if the file you generated is added to the end of /etc/portage/keywords then any updates to these packages will not be installed unless they are in the release tree. So now, all you need to do is wait until enough packages are in release that you feel confident you can remove the ACCEPT_KEYWORDS line from make.conf.

Note that for the above file, the first line of the "packages" file will not be valid. Remove the first line. You can append the file to package.keywords with (as root):

cat packages >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

Note that this is not a fire and forget solution. There are likely to be dependency tweaks you need to make as you go along, and you will have to enter a line in package.keywords for any new packages you install, but this at least will stop "emerge world" from ensuring your system is never stable.

2 comments:

Ivan said...

I've played a little with what we've discussed on Sabayon Linux forum...
I had to edit your combo a little to make it to work for me. Here is my proposal:
equery -i list | sed 's/.*/<=& ~amd64/' > package

Paul Koan said...

Yeah, I followed your approach and wrote a new article here:

Stable Sabayon 2


My blog has moved, so this is where any new articles will appear.