Jump to content

Install Gentoo Prefix on the Pro1 (running SailfishOS)

Recommended Posts

I think there is a time limit on edits on this forum, so I'll post updates on this page instead.

Here's a guide on how to get Gentoo Prefix running under SailfishOS. I've made it for the Pro1, but you might be able to use it for another device.

If you know what Gentoo Prefix is, do not expect it to be the smooth ride I'm sure it usually is.

If you know what Gentoo is, but not what Gentoo Prefix is: the short of it is that this basically lets you install Gentoo as a normal user in the directory of your choice, minus the kernel (since one is already running). You cannot mess up your SailfishOS install with this, so it's pretty safe to play around with.

If you don't know what Gentoo is, it's a distribution aimed at power-users that lets you customize quite a lot of stuff. Basically, a dedicated group of maintainers ensure that the configuration of your usual programs can be done through simple keywords in a standardized fashion (e.g. "ssl" to indicate you want your package to have the ssl options enabled). In practice, you basically have a set of text files in /etc/portage/ that describe the system you want, and a package manager (Portage) which will tell you if that's doable, or why not, and make it happen if it is. The downsides being that you are expected to have a coherent set of files in /etc/portage/, so you'll often face a "nope, you need to allow this in /etc/portage/ before I can do that" kind of issue if you're not careful. Also, since you really can personalize stuff, packages have to be compiled, which can be annoying when installing new software (not so much when updating, since you can just let it compile in the background). This also means you can tailor your programs to your hardware to get better performance. There is somewhat of an expectation for users to read documentation, so if you don't want to take the time to learn what things are and how they work, you shouldn't be trying to customize them, and thus probably shouldn't be using Gentoo. Oh, and the TL;DR of compiling on a phone: it wasn't a good plan 20 years ago, but you have a gaming PC in your hands nowadays, so the only issue is the rewrite limits of flash memory. Just use tmux or Screen when merging huge packages (e.g. llvm, xorg, firefox, webkit-gtk, icedtea, ...) so that you don't lose progress if the Sailfish terminal application stops for some reason (I've noticed it did that sometimes, and that was even before I installed the Prefix).

SailfishOS runs a 64bit kernel (aarch64) with a strictly 32bit userland (armhf). I'd ask, but I don't know who to.
Whatever. The point is: you're not easily getting a 64bit toolchain set up on that, so this guide goes for a 32bit Gentoo Prefix (armhf). Now, the interesting thing is: Gentoo is very good at setting up cross-toolchains, so it might be possible to use the 32bit Gentoo Prefix to create a 64bit toolchain that you could use to install a 64bit Gentoo Prefix (this... is to go... even further beyond!). You can see what your toolchain is by running "gcc -v".

Note that ${EPREFIX} refers to the folder you want your Gentoo Prefix installed in. Mine is /gentoo, so if you see that in this guide, assume that this means you have to actually write the name of the folder and not use the environment variable (and only in this case, otherwise, prefer using the env variable). You should export this environment variable (which you'll need to do anyway):

$ export EPREFIX="/gentoo"

For reference, commands starting with "#" (e.g. "# mkdir ${EPREFIX}") are commands ran as root, whereas commands starting with "$" (e.g. "$ mkdir ${EPREFIX}") are commands run as nemo (or any normal user). You shouldn't be using root for anything past "Getting Started".

Getting Started

Setting up an SD Card

I strongly recommend using an SD card (and one targeted at dashcams, so that it withstands a lot of rewrites) to store your prefix. If you don't want to, feel free to skip this step and create the EPREFIX folder.

This assumes you've just put a dedicated SD card in your phone. If this is not the case, make sure the SD card is formatted in something that can support a Linux system (e.g. ext4).

Formatting the SD card:

# cfdisk /dev/mmcblk0

Choose Linux as partition type. Write the new partition table.

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mmcblk0p1

This makes your partition use ext4.

Preparing the Prefix folder:

# mkdir ${EPREFIX}

This creates the folder (if you didn't know that, it's a strong sign that you should probably not be trying Gentoo yet).

As root, edit /etc/fstab to add the line:

/dev/mmcblk0p1  /gentoo ext4    defaults 0      0

This will make it be mounted automatically at boot.

# mount ${EPREFIX}

This mounts it right now.

# chown -R nemo:nemo ${EPREFIX}

This makes it owned by nemo, meaning that you don't need root privileges to read or write in there.

Installing the required packages:

SailfishOS has a package manager called pkcon. I'm very new to that OS, so there may be a better one, but this one will do.

You will need to install "make", "gcc", "gcc++", and "python" (that last dependency is not standard for a Gentoo Prefix install, but you'll need it for a workaround).

# pkcon install make gcc gcc++ python                                                              

I've actually done that with one command per program installed, but I assume you can use a single call.

Tinkering some stuff in the install script:

 Download the Gentoo Prefix bootstrap script from https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Project:Prefix and put it in ${EPREFIX}.

Make the script executable:

$ chmod +x ./bootstrap-prefix.sh

Open it in your favorite text editor (i.e. vim).


	if [[ ${PN} == "m4" ]] ; then
		# drop _GL_WARN_ON_USE which gets turned into an error with
		# recent GCC 1.4.17 and below only, on 1.4.18 this expression
		# doesn't match
		sed -i -e '/_GL_WARN_ON_USE (gets/d' lib/stdio.in.h lib/stdio.h

Add before:

	if [[ ${PN} == "tar" ]] ; then
		# drop _GL_WARN_ON_USE which gets turned into an error with
		# recent GCC 1.4.17 and below only, on 1.4.18 this expression
		# doesn't match
		sed -i -e '/_GL_WARN_ON_USE (gets/d' gnu/stdio.in.h gnu/stdio.h

tar won't compile if you don't do that.


Find and comment out:

	[[ ${PN} == "bash" && ${CHOST} != *-cygwin* ]] \
		&& myconf="${myconf} --disable-readline"

bash won't compile if you don't do that.



	einfo "running emerge -u system"
	CFLAGS= CXXFLAGS= emerge -u system || return 1

Add before:

	einfo "fixing virtual/libc"
	CFLAGS= CXXFLAGS= emerge -1 --nodeps -n --ask virtual/libc glibc || return 1

The script won't be able to do the "emerge -u" you just saw without that.



	[[ ${OFFLINE_MODE} ]] || type -P wget > /dev/null \
		|| (bootstrap_wget) || return 1

Add before:

	[[ ${OFFLINE_MODE} ]] || type -P wget > /dev/null \
		|| (bootstrap_libpsl) || return 1

wget needs libpsl to compile.



bootstrap_wget() {
	bootstrap_gnu wget 1.20.1 || \
	bootstrap_gnu wget 1.17.1 || bootstrap_gnu wget 1.13.4

Replace with (yes the extra function should be added):

bootstrap_wget() {
	bootstrap_gnu wget 1.20.1 #|| \
#	bootstrap_gnu wget 1.17.1 || bootstrap_gnu wget 1.13.4

bootstrap_libpsl() {
	bootstrap_gnu libpsl 0.21.0

wget will crash anyway, so let's not lose too much time trying the other versions. We also need to add something to install libpsl, hence the added function.

You're done with pre-installation stuff.

Stage 1

I'll repeat it again, just in case: from now on, no root, only nemo.

Go to ${EPREFIX}

$ cd ${EPREFIX}

Create a file called prefix_env_stage1_2.sh, with the following:

export EPREFIX="/gentoo"
export CHOST="armv7hl-hardfloat-linux-gnueabi"

export CFLAGS="-march=armv8-a -mtune=cortex-a73.cortex-a53"

export PRESTAGE_1_PATH="${PATH}"
export PATH="${EPREFIX}/usr/bin:${EPREFIX}/bin:${EPREFIX}/tmp/usr/bin:${EPREFIX}/tmp/bin:${PATH}"
export LDFLAGS=""
export CFFLAGS=""
export PATH="${EPREFIX}/usr/sbin:${EPREFIX}/sbin:${EPREFIX}/tmp/usr/sbin:${EPREFIX}/tmp/sbin:${PATH}"

If you are indeed using the Pro1, you should only modify the EPREFIX line to match your own. Otherwise, I believe the CHOST is mostly linked to the toolchain provided by SailfishOS and should thus stay unchanged. the CLFAGS must match something that fits your CPU. Do not simply remove them, this will not work here and will force you to restart the whole thing way down the line (can you tell I'm speaking from experience? 😅).

Source prefix_env_stage1_2.sh. You'll need to do that again every time you close the terminal during the stage 1 and stage 2 process (which you have no reason to, but just in case, it's nice to have it available):

$ source prefix_env_stage1_2.sh


Stage 1 is now about to start for real...

$ ./bootstrap-prefix.sh "${EPREFIX}" stage1

If you see a nice logo in ASCII art, you failed to source prefix_env_stage1_2.sh.


Bootstrapping WGET fails:

Yeah, it will do that in this install. I did warn about this not being a smooth ride, didn't I?

$ mv ${EPREFIX}/tmp/bin/wget{,_back}

This renames wget into wget_back. We'll create a shim. Using your favorite text editor, create the file ${EPREFIX}/tmp/bin/wget with the following content:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/gentoo/tmp/lib" /gentoo/tmp/bin/wget_back [email protected]

It is important that you do not use the ${EPREFIX} environment variable here. Hardcode the location.

Make it executable:

$ chmod +x ${EPREFIX}/tmp/bin/wget

Resume stage 1:

./bootstrap-prefix.sh "${EPREFIX}" stage1

Bison will try multiple versions before succeeding.


Missing Profile:

Near the end of stage 1, you'll get a message about the profile for your setup not being automatically found.

$ ln -s ${EPREFIX}/var/db/repos/gentoo/profiles/prefix/linux/arm/ ${EPREFIX}/etc/portage/make.profile

Let's  do everything we need to do in ${EPREFIX}/etc/portage right now, so we don't have to later.


Modifications in ${EPREFIX}/etc/portage:

Here's my ${EPREFIX}/etc/portage/make.conf. Make yours match so that the compilation succeeds. Note that some of these fields might not be doing anything. Also, don't worry if one of the values do not match the environment variables you sourced before, we don't want them to until stage 3 (hence the name of the sourced file):

# Added by bootstrap-prefix.sh for armv7hl-hardfloat-linux-gnueabi
USE="-X wayland pulseaudio dbus ssl unicode nls"
CFLAGS="-march=armv8-a -mtune=cortex-a73.cortex-a53"
LDFLAGS="-Wl,--dynamic-linker=/gentoo/lib/ld-linux-armhf.so.3 -Wl,-rpath=/gentoo/lib"
CFLAGS="${CFLAGS} -O2 -pipe"
# sandbox does not work well on Prefix, bug 490246
FEATURES="${FEATURES} -usersandbox -sandbox"


=sys-apps/baselayout-prefix-2.6-r2::gentoo ~arm

Not having that will interrupt the install script when it comes time to install that package: they're all marked as unstable and thus, masked.


dev-lang/perl perl

Perl... has some issues getting installed.

${EPREFIX}/etc/portage/env/perl: (You will need to create the directory first)

EXTRA_ECONF="-Dosname='linux' -Dhintfile='linux' -Duserelocatableinc='false'"

Perl considers that any OS with a Linux kernel in which /system/lib/libandroid.so exists must be Android. We need to really insist on being Linux. Also, it'll try and fail to install with incompatible options, so we disable the one that isn't hardcoded in the Gentoo package file.



Not too sure about this being a good idea, but we need one and that matches the numbers I get when I use "uname -a".

Stage 2

We've got one last thing to do before starting Stage 2: fixing some stuff the script did incorrectly.



Does it contain anything related to Gentoo Prefix? The goal here is to get the $PATH you were using before adding the Gentoo Prefix directories to it.

You'll need to edit two files, but their content are the same. Make it so ${EPREFIX}/tmp/usr/local/bin/{gcc,g++} contain only one copy of the three lines (you'll be able to see it clearly if the content has been duplicated). Make it so that their content is similar to:

#! /bin/sh
PATH="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/home/nemo/bin" export PATH
exec "${0##*/}" "[email protected]"

Replacing the value I've put there with the one you have in $PRESTAGE_1_PATH (which is the same if you haven't modified your PATH outside of this guide).

You can now run Stage 2:

./bootstrap-prefix.sh "${EPREFIX}" stage2


Stage 3

$ mv prefix_env_stage1_2.sh prefix_env_stage3.sh
$ echo 'export LDFLAGS="-Wl,--dynamic-linker=/gentoo/lib/ld-linux-armhf.so.3 -Wl,-rpath=/gentoo/lib"' >> prefix_env_stage3.sh
$ source prefix_env_stage3.sh

The binaries we compile from now on have a little problem with finding the right libraries. So we're going to use a dynamic linker that works for them.

You can now run Stage 3:

$ ./bootstrap-prefix.sh "${EPREFIX}" stage3

emerge --depclean failed:
Yeah, and you know what? Let's not bother fixing that. Look at the very last line there. It should tell you have successfully passed stage 3.


After the Install

$ mv prefix_env_stage3.sh prefix_env.sh
$ echo 'export PORTDIR="${EPREFIX}/var/db/repos/gentoo"' >> prefix_env.sh
$ source prefix_env.sh

If you don't do that last part, Portage won't find the packages.

Just source ${EPREFIX}/prefix_env.sh whenever you want to use Gentoo Prefix.

Hopefully, you now have a Gentoo Prefix install on your phone. Happy hacking.

PS: If you're not used to Gentoo on ARM/AARCH64, but use it on some other architecture, you might be surprised by some packages being masked due to missing keyword (e.g. mednafen). Check the webpage for the package, since it might not be available even in unstable for this architecture, meaning that you will need to add a keyword to allow its installation using the package of another architecture.

You'll most likely want to follow the advice of Portage and set your locale in ${EPREFIX}/etc/locale.gen. I'm not going to include much in terms of guides for general Gentoo use, since there are many other better written resources for that. Just know of the "--autounmask" parameter for emerge, which really helps getting quickly over blocked/masked packages: if it tells you that you need to add a keyword looking like "your/package **", this means there's no ARM package available and it's trying to get the package from another architecture. It's not something you usually see when using Gentoo on a PC.


I'll post guides for these once I've reached them, but the next objectives are:

  • Getting Gentoo Prefix applications linked up with the existing Wayland display. I don't know much about Wayland, so don't expect too much, but as far as I know, this is totally doable.
  • Getting XWayland running. This should let you get standard X11 applications running on SailfishOS.
  • Getting Firefox running. Web browsers aren't exactly the easiest of packages to successfully merge.
  • Getting Mednafen running. I want that keyboard driven console emulator on the Pro1, dammit! 😄

If you've beaten me to these, please share how you did it.

The two first steps are somewhat there (this is weston running XWayland and displaying glxgears, all of which are from the Prefix), but without hardware acceleration (don't believe the FPS indicated by glxgear, there's still some stutter), which I really hope can be fixed.

Edited by Raksura
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information