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Funtoo Newsletter, January 2023


drobbins

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Funtoo Newsletter, January 2023

A lot goes on in the Funtoo Community in a month.  Here are some highlights of what happened along the month of January 2023. And the first thing we have to announce this month is the start of this monthly newsletter itself!

Funtoo Newsletter

The lack of consistent and effective communication over time have led even active contributors to remain oblivious for months of certain developments have been put forth by other members. This can make things confusing and even frustrating.

In order to keep everybody up to speed with what's happening, including major software updates, infrastructure upgrades, community rules, new projects and future expectations we will be publishing this short newsletter every month.

Linux 6.1

sys-kernel/debian-sources was upgraded from v.5.18.16_p1 to v6.1.4_p1. This means that now we have '''Linux 6.1''' on Funtoo!  The upgrade was fast-tracked due to issues with Realtek Wi-Fi in the previous official kernel, 5.18.16_p1. You can read more about the Realtek Wi-Fi issues in Funtoo Bug https://bugs.funtoo.org/browse/FL-10937. This issue is confirmed fixed in v6.1.4_p1, but Linux 6.1 brings much more.

The jump from 5.18 to 6.1 brought 15 thousand non-merge commits, with a lot of improvements. Here are some highlights:

  • Official support for Intel 4th gen Xeon and 13th gen Core (Raptor Lake) processor.
  • Support for ARM-based laptops, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chip.
  • Support for the new Intel Arc dedicated GPU's.
  • Better performance for AMD Ryzen Threadripper and AMD EPYC.
  • Better Btrfs performance.
  • Countless new drivers, for devices ranging from GPU's to hardware sound and gamepads.

Whether or not you will see any difference or not depends a lot on your particular CPU, GPU and other devices, but some people did report that everything seemed to run faster on the new kernel.

Plasma-5.25.5 / KDE Gear 22.08.1

These are mostly bugfix releases that came out in 2022's last quarter.  After a good amount of internal testing, the new releases have been incorporated into Funtoo in January 2023.
Thanks to R0B for pushing this forward and all who tested it (Special thanks to Morphmex!) Some minor bugs were encountered after this update during last month, but they were quickly resolved.

Scanner Support for Next

Some dependencies had been “beard-trimmed” from Next-release and the scanner support was broken.

Now, all the Sane Frontends/Backends, XSane and scanner drivers are fully supported on Next, including OCR capabilities.

Development Languages

Funtoo now has Go v1.19.5 and Rust to 1.57.0. Python 2.7 is still available but is deprecated, as there's no upstream support anymore.  Some packages still require Python 2, but we are working towards upgrading or removing those packages.

OpenCL eselect deprecation

Funtoo has an eselect module for OpenCL, which allowed the user to choose among different OpenCL implementations (Mesa, AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, etc.).  However, in most cases that job can be done by dev-libs/ocl-icd and nvidia-drivers now installs files in different locations, which prevent eselect from working.

Some work has already been done towards removing the dependency on app-eselect/eselect-opencl from the ebuilds and we still have 9 ebuilds on the tree that do.  When that work is concluded, app-eselect/eselect-opencl itself will be removed from Funtoo.

Development Model Changes

Funtoo has long adopted the BDFL model (like the Linux Kernel Project), where the decision making was centralized around Daniel Robbins and the staff just followed along.

From December 2022, up to the first half of January 2023, a new system was introduced, where Daniel stepped down and BDFL and the decisions were taken by consensus among the staff, as Daniel focused on moving his family across the United States. In the Funtoo project, it was an interesting experience. There was very good work done by borisp, siris, coffnix, adbosco and others on a technical level -- and things looked like they were going in a good direction. But some problems were encountered.

Daniel jumped back into BDFL role by the end of January. Daniel saw evidence that too much was given to this team, too quickly, with not enough support, training and clear responsibilities. While they did an admirable job in many areas, 1.4-release had some unresolved breakage lasting several weeks, and the python packaging package had been broken and gone unfixed for some time.

While Daniel was originally very upset, he concluded in the end that the staff were put in a challenging situation, performed admirably especially considering the circumstances, and apologized for getting upset in the first place. He acknowledged that he often has unreasonable expectations. More work needs to be done to find the optimal model to allow community leaders to succeed.

This realization gave birth to additional development of a more defined community leadership model, which shall be gradually implemented throughout the next few months. It will likely be a mentorship model and as it takes shape, announcements will be made to recruit people interested in learning and contributing in different areas of the Funtoo Project, and an emphasis will be placed on skill building. Stay tuned!

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