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Pyro for i586 coming

May 30, 2017 — BarryK
I have released alpha builds of "Pyro64", Quirky Linux and Easy Linux built from binary packages compiled in OpenEmbedded.
This is for PCs with a x86_64 CPU.

OpenEmbedded is a cross-compiler, so in theory I can just change the specification for the target architecture, and off it will go, compile all the packages for that architecture.

So, I have given it a first test. I am running Quirky 8.1.6, a x86_64 distro. I configured OpenEmbedded to compile for a target i586 CPU.

I started the build last night. However, about 1am before going to bed, in my sleepiness I accidentally turned off the power to the PC. Grumble, had to clear the caches and start if off again.
Now 10am, it is almost finished, just compiling LibreOffice.

LibreOffice, incidentally, takes longer to compile than all of the other packages put together. It ends up, there is just one task running, LibreOffice compiling, and it seems to be using only one CPU core at that stage.

I am planning to support "old" computers again, with this i586 build. However, had to make a decision with the kernel. I configured the kernel for i586 and a RAM size limit of 4GB. That is fine, but also chose to support SMP (multi-core) CPUs.

It is that latter one that I was uncertain about. There are, I think, a lot of PCs with x86 32-bit multi-core CPUs, mostly two cores I think.
The SMP-enabled Linux kernel will run on uniprocessor CPUs, however, I do recall that it failed with some uniprocessor CPUs. I don't recall any more details.

So, I guess it is a tradeoff. It is nice to use the two (or more) cores if they are available. If I had chosen to configure the kernel to be uniprocessor only, it will run on multi-core CPUs but only use one core.

If you have any thoughts on my decision, you are welcome to post here:

Changing the subject, I am getting to like LibreOffice so much, can't consider doing a build without it. Awhile back, I had to fill in a form that was a MS .docx file -- LibreOffice handled that beautifully (whereas Abiword is useless).
I constructed some nice diagrams in LibreOffice, for the "How Easy works" page.

Yesterday, I was unable to insert colour-highlighted shell code into my "How easy works" page using SeaMonkey Composer (it insisted on removing all of the formatting). So I used LibreOffice, and discovered that it is a very nice WYSIWYG HTML editor.

LibreOffice compiled in OE is version 5.0.x, a bit old. I found that it embedded png images into the html page, was unable to keep the links to external images. I fixed that later, however, found support for external links is in Libreoffice 5.2.0.

So, the plan is to compile the latest LibreOffice soon.


The entire build went through, just one failure, which I fixed.

The failure was ROX-Filer, which is tricky to compile in a cross-compile environment. Anyway, figured it out.

The next thing to do is import the binary packages into woofQ, which I plan to do tonight.

It's great, the whole lot compiled, kernel, libreoffice, everything. Except, there are about a dozen packages not yet imported into OE. For those, I will have to use binary packages from the April x86 build in T2 (done in 2015).

Of course, after having created the i586 Pyro distro, I can compile packages in it and create PETs. That's an alternative to doing it in OE. A few packages I have to do that anyway, as so far unable to compile them in OE -- that includes 'pup-tools', that has some utilities written in BaCon.

Tags: oe