The Fossil Vault.

I have recently built two new WWW mirrors containing certain publicly-available software:

1. Historic Gentoo Distfiles.

I have been using Gentoo for nearly all Linux-related work since 2007. It was "the lesser of evils": to my knowledge, no other Linux variant ever offered a comparable level of rodenticidal control, while at the same time providing an adequate means of automatically cutting through "dependency hell".

This uniqueness made Gentoo a target for concerted attack by the Enemy, on a variety of fronts. Through creeping Poetteringism, the cancerous blight of GCC 5+, and the eventual decay -- fostered by corrupt maintainers -- of the portage system into unusability, it became nearly impossible to set up a hygienic Gentoo system from scratch.

The minute you try emerge --sync, you will be force-fed a boiling ocean of liquid shit under the name of "progress". And the machine will have to be scrubbed and re-OSed, if you wish to continue with civilized life on it.

Eventually I resorted to creating "canned" Gentoos using bitwise copies of old installations. (E.g. this system for ARM-64, and this one for AMD-64, are provided for my ISP service customers.)

One obvious problem with the "canned" approach is the decay of the official Gentoo distfiles mirrors. At one time these operated purely by accretion, i.e. added new packages while preserving the old. At a certain point this changed, and the servants of "progress" began to sabotage the ecosystem by deliberately removing "ungodly" packages. Mirror operators which refused to participate in this "cultural revolution" were delisted and you will not find them via the Gentoo WWW -- even supposing their mirrors are still standing (many have simply given up.)

Until and unless a cultural "reset" takes place, and something like what Gentoo tried to be in 2007 again exists as a living entity, I intend to continue the use of my hand-curated "fossilized" variants. And to make this easier for others, I have put together a public distfiles mirror:

... using the contents of my backup tapes from a multitude of Gentoo systems I have operated.

Gentoo users may add this URL to their GENTOO_MIRRORS list in /etc/portage/make.conf; or download any necessary tarballs into their local /usr/portage/distfiles by hand; this is a matter of taste.

WARNING: this repository is offered with no warranty or endorsement of any kind, and certainly contains software with dangerous flaws. It does not necessarily reflect the current configuration of any of the Gentoo machines I presently use (although packages from both the RK and the "Dulap" variant's default distfiles directories are all present.) I have trimmed some -- but by no means all! -- of the obvious garbage. It goes without saying that I am not responsible for the contents of the tarballs, or even their integrity. Please do not use tarballs for which you do not have an authoritative signature for safety-critical work! From this -- or any other public repository.

Any and all questions regarding the above -- I prefer to answer here.

People from my L1 WoT who wish to contribute specimens to this collection, are invited to contact me.

At this time, the Gentoo collection weighs ~16GB.

2. GNAT.

The following mirror now contains a multitude of GNAT and miscellaneous Ada-related packages/dependencies, obtained on April 10, 2020 via JFW's method:

READMEs, as well as MS-Win and Apple binaries have been omitted. Packages with duplicate names are stored in the "dupes" subdirectories (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

The same warning as given for the Gentoo repository applies to this collection.

At this time, the Ada collection weighs ~17GB. Aside from the binaries removal, this set was not curated in any way.

Readers are encouraged to mirror the mirrors. Anyone who has done this, is encouraged to leave a comment here, with the URL of the new mirror.

This entry was written by Stanislav , posted on Saturday April 11 2020 , filed under Ada, Cold Air, Computation, Friends, Gentoo, ModestProposal, NonLoper, Services, SoftwareArchaeology, SoftwareSucks . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

14 Responses to “The Fossil Vault.”

  • Jacob Welsh says:

    Nice. How did you approach the filename collisions in the Ada collection? gnat-gpl-2016-src.tar.gz would be a prominent example, for which I see yours matches ave1's hash.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear Jacob Welsh,

      for f in ada/*
      NAME=`echo $f | cut -d '=' -f 2`
      mv -n $f ./ada/$NAME

      ... and then same on the remnants (i.e. the would-be-clobbered files) in separate directories, finally sorted into dupes-1, dupes-2, dupes-3 subdirs.


  • calculeris says:

    “Until and unless a cultural "reset" takes place, and something like what Gentoo tried to be in 2007 again exists as a living entity, ...”

    I think Guix is doing that pretty well, although there is still long way to go before we get as much packages as gentoo currently offer. But at least they are meant to stay forever, after all it is one of the goals of Guix, and it use lisp, so it's pretty neat.

    Personally i use guix inside gentoo and i find their cohabitation quite pleasant, preparing the way to move toward a more lispy distribution (GuixSD)

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear calculeris,

      As I understand, Guix is not a source-based system a la Gentoo; nor does it support an equivalent of Gentoo's "USE flags". And as such, one cannot, for instance, perma-ban systemd, dbus, and related garbage from the machine.

      Hence, not an equivalent or a replacement for Gentoo's portage.


      • calculeris says:

        From my shallow understanding, Guix does indeed works as a high-level (i.e if a package allways build in a deterministic way, it can instead directly use the binaries instead of compiling it) source-based system (git versioned). Thus we can modify any package definition, and its resulting build if we wish to do so.

        But it is true that it doesn't have a "USE flags" system, forcing you to modify the package's definition if you want to enable or disable upstream choices. Or said in another way, the upstream doesn't facilitate any packge build customization, except by providing the tools and the source code of their package definition.

        On a more positive side, they seem inclined to this sort of idea (i.e “Parameterized packages”:, even tough they still haven't implemented them.

        > “And as such, one cannot, for instance, perma-ban systemd, dbus, and related garbage from the machine.”

        Yes, it would be pretty daunting to modify or remove dependencies of packages without the support from upstream maintainers.
        But alas, because it's a pretty well designed programmable dependency manager, you could easly detect which packages depend on the ones we don't want to install, and thus neither install them and their dependency [With the result that you may end with very few packages ...].

        In the specific case of systemd, currently i am not affraid, because Guix use Sheperd as Sys-init like (in scheme), instead of systemd, but for the other ones and for the future, i cannot tell, although i think the problem is more socio/political, where we choice what kind of tehcnologie we spend time on. But they use lisp, and so i try to reassure myself and refusing to belive they would. [but maybe i shouldn't:

        • Stanislav says:

          Dear calculeris,

          From your description, it isn't entirely obvious how Guix is a substantial improvement on similar binary package systems, e.g. Debian's. You're stuck with the binaries built by other people: if you want e.g. Emacs without Dbus, or Apache without SSLism, you're stuck building by hand. And when the systemd rot infects the upstream -- which it will, is only ever a matter of time -- you'll be just as stuck with that.

          This (among other reasons: I'm perfectly happy with my SSE2-only Opterons, and don't ever intend to swap them out for Fritz-chipped "modern" rubbish) is why I have no interest in binary-package distros of whatever type.


  • It might not have been very mature back in 2007, but these days, NixOS is unequal in terms of reproducibility and solving dependency hell as well as in rodentless configurability and usability. Unhappily for you, NixOS uses systemd and is thus "Poettering'ed". But maybe you'll like GUIX, which reuses the packaging kernel of NixOS to solve dependency hell and reproducibility, while using Guile Scheme instead of Nix for build configuration, and the GNU Daemon Shepherd instead of systemd for runtime configuration. On the other hand, the GUIX authors drank the GNU kool-aid, so I'm sure you'll find a reason to hate it.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear François-René Rideau,

      > NixOS uses systemd and is thus "Poettering'ed"...

      I would honestly rather work in MS-DOS than with any of the infested Linuxes.

      The entire impetus for my customized Gentoos was the removal of that plague.

      >But maybe you'll like GUIX...

      See the earlier thread. Not interested in non-source-based distributions at all.


  • Nix and GUIX make it pretty easy to override part of a package, or to recursively override the entire configuration. You can compile your own kernel, your own emacs, etc., this way. I have a friend who maintains his own security-minded layer on top of NixOS, with his own init daemon, virtual console control for security, and Lisp-based utilities, etc. Then again, of course, maintaining a fork or a patch of the distribution can become a lot of work, and as code evolves, you find that your patches bitrot and you don't support the latest software or even latest security patches.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear François-René Rideau,

      > Nix and GUIX make it pretty easy to override part of a package...

      Not interested in running other people's pre-built binaries at all. (And that it presently cannot be fully avoided, is a problem to be dealt with, rather than an excuse to behave like a Microsoft victim.)

      > as code evolves, you find that your patches bitrot and you don't support the latest software or even latest security patches...

      The entire point of the item described in this article is to put a permanent end to "bitrot". I am pointedly uninterested in this "evolution", and, as I've found, in "the latest software". Or, for that matter, in "security patches" issued by NSA stooges which introduce three new 0days for each one "fixed". Traditional source-based Gentoo makes it quite simple to patch by hand, on the rare occasions when this becomes necessary on a machine kept free of "latest software" liquishit.


  • St Gregory of Nyssa says:

    For many years now, I have been doing the same thing but for Slackware, and for roughly the same reasons as you have stated above.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear St Gregory of Nyssa,

      I suspect that quite a few people are doing "the same thing". Because the only alternatives, AFAIK, are -- to drown in shit; or to leave off using computers entirely.

      Unfortunately most of these people are doing their thing silently. For instance I have not yet encountered a forcefully-sane public Gentoo repo. Therefore -- decided to make one.


  • Concerned Reader says:

    Will you mirror the TRB patchset now that the Foundation's future is uncertain? [1]
    It is unclear to me that deedbot will continue to host the dependencies indefinitely either... [2]


    While I do have an offline backup, I'm not in the position to host these myself. It would be a shame that such extraordinary effort would someday vanish from the Internet.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear Concerned Reader,

      It is my intention to maintain a reasonably complete mirror of public material which I personally use, or had a hand in creating. (See e.g. here re: my philosophy re mirrors.)

      If you're speaking of TRB in particular -- the patches sum to about 1MB total. (The dependency tarballs are maybe 100MB.) This isn't a massive pile, and given as you evidently have the net access to post this comment, you can probably afford to set up a mirror of your own.

      Currently I do not have a public TRB mirror (would like to first wrap up my attempt at a WWWistic Vtron display a la Phf's, and a few other items) but will certainly put one up immediately if the TBF WWW were to vanish.


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