Gentoo/MIPS Progress update and LCA news

32-bit Gentoo/MIPS stages for both big and little endian systems are now available for MIPS-I, MIPS-III and MIPS-IV.  For now I’ve got these on my devspace, but I hope to get some of them out to mirrors as soon as possible.  I’d appreciate any feedback on this release.

The little-endian stages should work on Loongson systems.  All stages include a patched binutils binary (see bug #338405) which adds some fixes for errata in the Loongson 2F CPUs and the little-endian stages for MIPS-I and MIPS-III have this fix enabled in the CFLAGS, enabling their use on Loongson hardware.  They will also work on non-Loongson systems.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of testing with the little-endian stages in particular, and have had few problems with getting many software packages to work.

binutils-2.21 already includes the fixes needed, along with lots of other MIPS-related fixes… and so when that is released (they’ve already done a branch freeze for 2.21) I plan to build new stages based on this newer toolchain, and with the newer Perl release.  Current stages use Perl 5.8.8 since I found I hit a few snags at the time which I thought were better dealt with later (some package complained there was “something funny about this Perl version” and bombed out) as the primary concern for the Gentoo/MIPS port at the time revolved around gcc.

I downloaded and installed binutils last night, based on that day’s CVS snapshot.  I’m now trying to see if I can get qt-webkit to build (the biggest sticking point so far) using that, with the view of having a workable KDE-based desktop going on the Yeeloong and the Fulongs here before LCA 2011.  (For now I’ve got FVWM.)  In the meantime I’ll be keeping an eye on the binutils mailing list.

On the LCA front… I got formal confirmation of my payment on the weekend… so I’m definitely a go-er… I’m still trying to find out if I’ll be helping out with any stalls…

There’s a social meeting of the Brisbane Amateur Radio Club this Friday, wherein our involvement in LCA will probably be discussed — club president was supportive of the idea when we discussed it on our 2m net last Wednesday evening… we just need to figure out what we can do, who can do it, and what needs to be done.

I’ve managed to get fldigi going on Gentoo/MIPS, and so maybe interfacing one of the computers I have (either one of the Fulongs or the O2) to a radio transceiver… (perhaps one of the ships’ radios on the HMAS Diamantina… nice mix of old+new-er) decoding some RTTY or PSK31, is an option.  We’ll have to decide this formally.

Those who wanted to drop in… we meet at the Queensland Maritime museum this Friday (and every second and fourth Friday except fourth in December and second in January) at 7:30PM — entrance is via “Service Gate 2” off Lower River Terrace.  We meet in the lunch room under the bridge.  If anything is decided, we will likely make our final decision at the following business meeting, which happens a fortnight later.

BARC Meeting entry point

BARC Meeting entry point... via Service Gate 2 off Lower River Terrace

If Gentoo has a stall, it’d definitely be worth setting up one of the Fulongs there… and for that I’d want a reasonable desktop going (KDE, or maybe XFCE… I know people have done some stunning work with FVWM, but I’m not that good).  I look forward to LCA regardless… if neither Gentoo nor BARC are running a stall in the open day, then I’ll just have a look around and see what it’s all about.  I look forward to the event anyway. 🙂