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The official Gentoo repository now has ROX-Filer 2.6, ROX-Lib-2.0.3, and ROX-Clib-2.1.9, and a large number of your favourite applications.

Using emerge

To install ROX under Gentoo, a simple

$ emerge rox

should do as a start. This will get you ROX-Filer. Other applications and applets sold separately, some assembly required.

Gentoo has two groupings of ROX ebuilds 'rox-base' and 'rox-extra'. Most of these ebuilds are still marked as experimental (~x86 ~ppc ~amd64), but are slowly becoming stabilized. Also, there is no meta-ebuild to install an entire ROX-Desktop yet, but this is planned for the not-too-distant future.

For the status of all ROX-Desktop software for Gentoo, see the new "Rox Desktop for Gentoo" project page.

If you have any problems with the Gentoo rox ebuilds, please report problems to the Gentoo Bugzilla.

After installing, you might like to read the The ROX Guidebook.

Using 0Install

There hasn't been a lot of testing done yet on combining 0Install and Gentoo yet, so if you are looking for a know-to-be-good system, either use Gentoo ebuilds or 0Install, not both.

This will be smoothed out in the near future, hopefully increasing the interoperability between these 2 systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I get rox working as my desktop environment?
A. Use ROX-Session, or, alternately, place this

rox -p Default -b Default

in ~/.xinitrc or ~/.xsession (depending on whether you're using xdm or
startx to get X started). Although, depending on which window manager
you are using, your wm might need some tweaking to get it to behave
nicely with ROX-Filer.

Q. How can I contact the Gentoo rox package maintainer(s)?
A. Depends on why you want to contact us:

Q. Why isn't application X in portage?
A. You can request new packages in the Gentoo Bugzilla. When doing so, make sure to mention:

  • That it is a request for a 'rox' application
  • The name of the software you want added, and a link to where it can be found
  • To aid in the process, submit an ebuild that you have already tested in your local overlay.

New Gentoo packages

This page is rather out of date. The Rox Desktop for Gentoo status page is the most up-to-date, and hopefully will remain up-to-date for as long as I'm in charge of it.

Gentoo now has ROX-Filer 2.5 and many other up-to-date packages, with new ones being added on a regular basis.

If you want to still use the Zero Install versions, please bear in mind that you should NOT mix gentoo ebuilds and Zero Install packages. They don't seem to get along very well.

'Rox Desktop for Gentoo' status page:

As you can see, most of these ebuilds are still unstable (~ARCH), and many are currently x86-only. This will be changing in the near future, with the ebuilds going stable on x86, probably ppc, and hopefully amd64 and other archictectures soon to follow.

re: New Gentoo packages

Excellent work. Looks promising. One question I've had for a while is why (for example) python apps are listed as ~x86 or ~ppc when they should be architecture neutral. Doesn't Gentoo have some way of specifying that?

re: New Gentoo packages

I don't think python apps are really architecture neutral. They still end up having strange quirks and depending on external binary applications quite a lot of the time. Take for example, "Archive". I can't support the "rar" unpacking feature on any architecture besides x86, since it requires the binary-only 'rar' package from

ebuild conflicts?

You should NOT mix gentoo ebuilds and Zero Install packages. They don't seem to get along very well.

What happens? Can we fix it?

Use local feed?

I wonder if we can just add a 'feed-for' entry when installing each ebuild (or .deb, .rpm, .tgz for that matter). Isn't there a 0something command that a script could use to set the local feed?

Use local feed?

0launch --feed is probably the command you're thinking of. It would work, provided that:

  • The Gentoo packages still contain the complete application directories (not scattered about in bin, share, etc).
  • Each user would have to run it themselves. There should be a global config directory where packages can install the link to avoid this.

The other option is to keep a mapping from URIs to local binaries. So, if you invoke 0launch then it automatically executes /usr/bin/rox, for example. In that case, running a program through Zero Install would always get its dependencies that way too.

I can add support for either or both of these methods to 0launch.

Rox, Gentoo, and 0install

0install conflicts with ebuilds since ebuilds are intended, like 0install, to provide up to date software when available. In a way, they are synonymous, BUT only ebuilds can write to system directories. 0install would work fine if installed in a user dir, but ebuilds can't update a user dir, nor should it! However, Jim has been doing an excellent job of getting ROX in shape wrt Gentoo, and he is active on the NG as well, so you can be sure that as new versions of ROX sw are available, he'll publish an associated ebuild in a timely manner.

In addition, the Gentoo package manager uses checksums on the files it installs and if somehow 0install overwrote files, there could be problems upgrading or removing packages in the future. Really, in this case, use one or the other, but using both ebuilds and 0install is asking for trouble IMO.

Now, for packages that are not currently supported in Gentoo-land, like devicemanager (and what a headache that is to support (see, it could be installed into a user dir and supported via 0install.

ebuild conflicts

Just to make sure I understand the problem: you're using the phrase "conflicts with" to mean "performs the same function as"? As in "Firefox conflicts with Konqueror because they're both web browsers"?

I don't see how one could overwrite the other's files, though. As you say, ebuilds only write to system directories and Zero Install only writes to non-system directories. If you have an example of a problem, please let me know and I'll look into it.

re: ebuild conflicts

0install does perform similar functions. However it conflicts if it would deposit files over existing ROX files which were installed via ebuilds. OTOH having Gentoo install ROX programs then using 0install would not be possible since write privileges would not exist. Using 0install would only be possible if the user installs rox into a userland directory. As I see it there is no way the two can coexist unless they are mutually exclusive in the applications they manage. For example, I have a setup example where ROX, ROX-Lib and ROX-Clib are installed in system and everything else is installed by users. That way, the core of what everyone needs is in one place, but then there is the flexibility of having a ~/Apps dir. 0install could perform well in this instance.

Otherwise, perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are proposing to do.

Let's move this discussion elsewhere

I like the idea of somehow having Gentoo Ebuilds and 0install play nice together, as it would be useful, as Peter suggests, to allow users to install software locally via 0install while still using the packages installed globally by the sysadmin.

But the 'how' of this is the trick, and probably better discussed on the rox-devel mailing lisst. So please follow this discussion on the rox-devel mailing list (or gmane.comp.desktop.rox.devel) on the new thread I've started called "Gentoo Ebuilds and 0Install"

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