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swamprabbit

Opinions on using Funtoo or different distro on my Lenovo Yoga 2 11

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Hello everyone,

 

I know the forums don't get a lot of traffic, but I figured I'd ask anyway because I probably could get some good feedback.

 

Quite awhile ago, I bought a Yoga 2 11, new for $100 less than retail.  I got it for non-work stuff when I travel because my work laptop is very very restricted.

When I got it my goal was for something small and simple to use on the plane and what not. I was going to put Debian on an SSD, but never got around to it,

and really haven't taken it with me on work trips in awhile. I think it is a great little system, other than having Windows on it.

 

http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/lenovo-ideapad-yoga-2-11

 

But recently I have moved to Funtoo on all of my desktops, HTPCs, and laptop.  The only systems I haven't moved over is two servers and the Yoga 2.

I don't feel comfortable moving to Funtoo on my servers yet, only because of my lack of experience with it, and due to time.  But the Yoga 2.....

 

While I know that Funtoo would run great on the Yoga 2 11, a few things concern me with doing that, and I'm not sure if Funtoo is the best option for it.

 

- the Yoga 2 11 only has 4GBs of RAM, which is soldered on, so I can't upgrade it.

- using only an SSD for a source based distro with only 4GB of RAM to use for tmpfs - /tmp /var/tmp, /usr/portage.

- has an SD card slot which could be used, although not sure it is worth the effort.

 

Because of this, I think it maybe more reasonable to install a binary-based distro.

Choosing one would be easy if I didn't have one major requirement... NO systemd, which really limits the options to a degree.

 

 

Overall for a distro to put on it I'm loosely looking for:

 

- no systemd

- binary based

- lean (no bloat unless I want it)

- everyday use: prefer ease of use over time consuming usage

- current packages (doesn't have to be bleeding edge though)

- solid distro which won't go away in a year

- used for basic office stuff, web browsing, media playing, a game and virtual machine here and there

 

I have been looking at trying out Manjaro because they have a community openRC Xfce version, which gets a lot of attention.

 

I am also still looking at giving the following some more time trying out:

Zenwalk, Salix, Slax, PC-BSD, Vector, Alpine

 

But would like some opinions on other options if anyone has any.

 

 

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I run Funtoo on a Dell Latitude 13 with 2G of memory and a 1.3Ghz Celeron.  Originally it had a 16G SSD and it was fine but I installed 128G when I had to replace the drive cable.

 

It takes a while to build everything but I mainly use it as an ultra-portable for travel so there's no reason to update it all that often.

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Thank you for a personal example.

 

 

It takes a while to build everything but I mainly use it as an ultra-portable for travel so there's no reason to update it all that often.

 

That is exactly what I will be using it for, so yes I wouldn't be updating it that often either.

I bought an 250GB Samsung 840 evo for it, which I know I won't fill up, so I will be able to keep spare sectors to reduce write amplification.

 

I assume you do not use any of the 2GB of RAM for /tmp /var/tmp and you have a swap partition on your SSD?

 

I guess adjusting the swapiness, using noatime, using binary packages for things like Firefox, and other minor things to reduce random writes would be a good start and see how it performs.

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Thank you for a personal example.

 

 

That is exactly what I will be using it for, so yes I wouldn't be updating it that often either.

I bought an 250GB Samsung 840 evo for it, which I know I won't fill up, so I will be able to keep spare sectors to reduce write amplification.

 

I assume you do not use any of the 2GB of RAM for /tmp /var/tmp and you have a swap partition on your SSD?

 

I guess adjusting the swapiness, using noatime, using binary packages for things like Firefox, and other minor things to reduce random writes would be a good start and see how it performs.

 

/tmp is tmpfs but that sees minimal use.   Swap and /var/tmp are on SSD.   I don't see a lot of swap use but I don't do a lot of heavy multi-tasking on this unit.  I have it tuned for just two threads on builds because the CPU is really the bottleneck here.

 

Yes, there's some concern about wear on the SSD from builds but all my reading suggests the SSD should easily outlive the useful life of this laptop.

 

Just to be clear, when I say it takes "a while" I mean many hours.  I didn't really keep track of how long the original builds took but an update of 60 packages just took about 10 hours.   This is no big deal for the way I use this laptop. 

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Why not explore distcc?  You've got other Funtoo systems laying around, it's possible to set up the laptop to not even do any of the compiling, just linking, and if you're really concerned about the SSD and don't care how long it takes, you could set up all of the linking to occur over a NFS mount (not recommended...but possible!).

 

Years ago I did something like this between a laptop and desktop both running Gentoo.  It worked well because the laptop wasn't nearly as powerful.  Around the same time I also used distcc in an internship, to farm out compilation tasks from one master server to 40+ slaves (which weren't useful until the software was compiled...), which was awesome because it turned an all day compilation into a 30 minute affair, and none of the engineers understood how I had done it :D.

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Yes, there's some concern about wear on the SSD from builds but all my reading suggests the SSD should easily outlive the useful life of this laptop.

 

Just to be clear, when I say it takes "a while" I mean many hours.  I didn't really keep track of how long the original builds took but an update of 60 packages just took about 10 hours.   This is no big deal for the way I use this laptop. 

 

Thanks!  I have also read that SSD lifespan is far better than what it was when they first came out.  I had issues with a first gen OCZ on a FreeBSD box a long time ago, I think it died from logging too much, which also was probably my own fault.  Just sorta been cautious ever since. :P

 

I would probably update it every other week, maybe once a month, and try and update/upgrade in stages.  I like to keep my systems very usage specific and have noticed that my updates/upgrades have been fairly minimal since using Funtoo to begin with.  Its mostly just been because I am getting the hang fully of using USE flags.

Libreoffice will probably be the biggest package installed on the laptop.

 

Why not explore distcc?  You've got other Funtoo systems laying around, it's possible to set up the laptop to not even do any of the compiling, just linking, and if you're really concerned about the SSD and don't care how long it takes, you could set up all of the linking to occur over a NFS mount (not recommended...but possible!).

 

Thank you for bringing that up.  I am still very new to Funtoo/Gentoo, I read a bit about it, and now that you are bringing it up... I'll have to look at that again.

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I would probably update it every other week, maybe once a month, and try and update/upgrade in stages.  I like to keep my systems very usage specific and have noticed that my updates/upgrades have been fairly minimal since using Funtoo to begin with.  Its mostly just been because I am getting the hang fully of using USE flags.

Libreoffice will probably be the biggest package installed on the laptop.

Libreoffice is definitely one to go with the binary package if possible. There was something I didn't like about the binary package - the branding, I think - so I installed the full package and it took something over 14 hours on my laptop for that package alone.

 

I probably only update my laptop monthly and then only if there's something worthwhile or important.

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nrc, thanks.  I don't need the whole Libreoffice package, so I'll probably install each part separately.

 

I'm going to start an install with a spinning rust drive this weekend to test it all out, mostly because the touch screen, and rotation seems to cause problems on other distros.

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Your requirements list probably excludes all of the binary distros.  I've used Arch/Manjaro extensively and can't agree that they are light in any sense except that the original install is a small base.  After that their packages have the same extensive, all-inclusive, dependencies as Fedora.

 

For me it was impossible to accept anything less than Funtoo for my last notebook installation (Toshiba Satellite with amd dual-core, radeon graphics - 4GB ram).  I did want to know if everything was going to work so I got the latest Calculate Linux iso, partitioned the drive with a swap, two "root" parttiions and a home partition, installed Calculate KDE, and tested the wireless, trackpad, etc.  Calculate could easily be the end of the line; it is built with Gentoo, uses standard emerge and allows you to build packages with your own USE flags if necessary.  It is a really nice and very flexible binary distro that allows you to "lighten" it as much as you need.  Of course it uses OpenRC.  I suspect that it ticks all of your checkboxes.

 

But to get exactly what I want, which is a system that uses openrc and avoids unnecessary or trouble-prone daemons (e.g. avahi, pulseaudio, dbus, kdepim, notifications) I build my own set of binary packages on my workstation and share those via http so that I can install Funtoo on the other partition, drawing packages from my own binary repo.  In order to support different USE flags and CPU_FLAGS_X86 and CFLAGS in the repo than I have on my workstation I do the package building in a chroot, rather like is done with Poudriere for FreeBSD.

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sitquietly, thank you for sharing all of that.

 

I know what you mean about Arch/Manjaro though, the Manjaro OpenRC interests me because sometimes a simple binary based install is good in certain situations.

I usually did my Debian installs from the net install and yes as soon as you get far enough, it gets pretty bloated and cumbersome in the end sometimes.

 

I did look at Calculate Linux prior to deciding Funtoo offered me everything I really want for the most part.  My problem with Calculate was probably because I installed

using the desktop option, rather than start with the core install.  I did this to see what would get installed and how usable it would be right out the box.  It was nice and all

but my main gripe is that it seems to be designed to be connected with a Calcuate Linux server, there are a lot of extras and what not which seem either overkill or

redundant.  The package installation through the gui seemed far more complext than just doing it via the CLI and config files.  I wasn't a huge fan of a lot of the gui tools

right away.  Everything did work out of the box though and I think they are on the right track as far as a Gentoo based distro for ease of use and possibly helping to make

its adoption more spread, but in the end it seemed much easier to built from scratch than rip apart the Calculate Linux install.  I do plan on going back and actually giving

it a long term demo though.

 

For the longest time I have used Debian on my servers, starting from the base.  My desktops, laptops, and HTPCs have mostly either used a full Debian or Linux Mint Xfce install

and I would rip it apart, but like you pointed out you can only do so much.

 

I for sure need to get familiar with the more advanced capabilities that are available like you mentioned in the last part of your post.  I'm getting there slowly but surely with what

time I can spare.  I've learned a lot so far working with Funtoo, I realized that I should have started with a source based distro a long time ago like people I know.  The foundation

of knowledge and experience is built better that way.

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I know I'm late to the discussion but I've been using nothing but sourced based distros on my intel 180 GB ssd asus laptop for  about 2 and a half years now and no compiling in ram. I still get the same read/write speeds as when I first installed and regurlary do emerge -e world, so I don't think its quite as bad as everyone thinks, also have a ssd gentoo server which I don't update as often but haven't had any problems on it either. The only thing I botherd to do was switch my scheduler to noop and added noatime to my fstab.

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Thank you for sharing that!

 

I have been holding off on the install, I am not overly rushed at the moment.  I having been planning the install, will do it soon, and will document it and share it.

 

I was acutally reading the the deadline scheduler can actually be better in some situations than noop.

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hey swamprabbit,

 

looking forward to your feedback/documentation of your laptop installation. i`ve begun installing funtoo on my laptop aswell but i`m a little stuck after a standard setup that i have on my desktop. i would like to hear about good practices installing/configuring of powermanagement and energy saving. connected to this is swap management and the issues of waking up from hibernation.

 

i appreciate every thought. so plz share your experiences. thx

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Just a quick update, I have been overly busy with work that I haven't gotten far with this install.

 

But since my last post, I put in a improvement bug report for a subarch for Silvermont CPUs, and drobbins has been great enough to create a subarch for the CPU used in the Yoga 2 11S!

 

Which means now when I get back to it in the next week or so, it will be an optimized build for the Yoga 2 11S now!

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