I’d like to announce a new initiative within the mips arch team. We are now supporting an xfce4-based desktop system for the Lemote Yeeloong netbook. The images can be found on any gentoo mirrors, under gentoo/experimental/mips/desktop-loongson2f. The installation instructions can be found here. The yeeloong netbook is particularly interesting because it only uses “free” hardware, ie. hardware which doesn’t require any proprietary code. It is manufactured by Lemote in China, and distributed and promoted in the US by “Freedom Included“. It is how Richard Stallman does his computing.
I’m blogging because I thought it was important for Planet Gentoo to know that mips devices are currently being manufactured and used in netbooks as well as embedded systems. The gentoo mips team has risen to the challenge of targetting these systems and maintaining natively compiled stage4’s for them. Why stage4’s? And why a full desktop for the yeeloong? These processors are slow, so the time from a stage3 to a desktop is about three days for the yeeloong. Also, the yeeloong sports a little endian mips64 processor, the loongson2f, and we support three ABIs: o32, n32 and n64, with n32 being the preferred. This significantly increases the time to build glibc and other core packages. I provide two images, a vanilla one and a hardened one. The latter adds full hardening (pie, ssp, _FORTIFY_SOURCES=2, bind now, relro) to the toolchain and userland binaries as we do for amd64 and i686 in hardened gentoo. I have not ported over the hardened kernel, however.
I allude above to “other” targetted devices. I am also maintaining some mips uclibc systems (both hardened and vanilla) which are on the gentoo mirrors under experimental/mips/uclibc. But I will speak more of these later as part of an initiative to maintain hardened uclibc systems on “alternative” architectures such as arm, mips, ppc as well as amd64 and i686.
You can read the full installation instructions, but here’s a quick summary, since it doesn’t follow the usual Gentoo method of starting from a stage3:
- Prepare either a pen drive or a tftp server with a rescue image: netboot-yeeloong.img
- Turn on the yeeloong and hit the Del key multiple times until you get the firmware promt: PMON>
- If netbooting, add an IP address and point to the netboot-yeeloong.img. If using a pen drive then point to thei image on the drive and boot into the rescue environment.
- Partition and format the drive.
- Download the desktop image from a mirror via http or ftp. Its about 350 MB in size.
- Unpack the image. It contains not only the userland, but also a kernel.
- Reboot to the PMON> prompt. Aim to the kernel on the drive. PMON will remember your choice and you will not have to repeat this step.
Once installed, you will log in as an ordinary user with sudo with username and password = “gentoo”. The root password is also set to “root”. It is an ordinary Gentoo system, so edit your make.conf, emerge –sync and add whatever packages you like! File bugs to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a CC to email@example.com.
If you have a Yeeloong or go out and buy one, consider trying out this image.