Gentoo 2006.1: A Thing of Dreams?


Gentoo Linux 2006.1 is now out offering users the latest in package updates
for the community-built meta-distribution.

The release also offers support
for an interesting processor, the Hitachi SuperH, which is included in
Sega’s long-dead Dreamcast game console.


The 2006.1 release is the second official milestone release from Gentoo this
year and follows the 2006.0 release by six months.

Unlike other Linux distributions, Gentoo
developers considered their distribution to be a “meta-distribution” since
users can customize their distributions with the Gentoo Portage system of
more than 6,000 continuously updated packages.

The release serves as a marker for progress made in the
Gentoo project.


“As with all new Gentoo releases, this one brings new packages to the ‘out
of the box’ install,” Gentoo Developer Christel Dahlskjaer told
internetnews.com

“The most noteworthy aspects of this release will
be that it’s built with GCC 4.1 for AMD64, x86, HPPA, and 32- and 64-bit
PowerPCs.”


GCC 4.1 was released in March and provides a high degree of
optimization.

Originally standing for GNU C Compiler, GCC now refers to GNU
Compiler Collection and is in every GNU/Linux distribution. The 2006.0
milestone used GCC 3.4.

By using GCC 4.1, Gentoo developers were able to achieve a certain degree of
improvement in their release.


“Although I am not a toolchain chick, some improvements worthy of mention
are faster code on some architectures, better conformance to various
language standards and improved optimization for C and C++,” Dahlskjaer
explained.

“As well as library support for a large number of the features in
C++ TR1, support for Fortran 90 to mention some.”


The installer in 2006.1 is also improved over the one that first appeared in
2006.0.

When 2006.0 was released, Gentoo developer Daniel Ostrow told
internetnews.com that the installer was still pre-1.0 and, as such, it may have a few rough edges.


Dahlskjaer noted that the installer was ready for prime time, otherwise
the Gentoo project wouldn’t have released it as the default method for x86.


“However, at that time we weren’t confident to ship it with any other
archs,” Dahlskjaer said. “For 2006.1? Absolutely!”


2006.1 also now supports the Hitachi SuperH embedded processor, which is
found in some HP PDAs as well as in the discontinued SEGA DreamCast gaming
console.


Don’t expect to be able to turn that old DreamCast you’ve got lying around
into a Gentoo-based Linux supercomputer just yet, though.


“Technically speaking, yes, it can run Gentoo if
you’re inclined to tinker about with it a bit,” Dahlskjaer said. “However,
we do not yet support Gentoo on the DreamCast.”

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