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Live on 64-bit Raspberry Pi 4 with Gentoo

August 15, 2019 — Jesse Harris

I recently wrote that the site is now hosted from the raspberry pi 4.

That was running Raspbian OS, a 32-bit debian derivative. For a long time I've preferred Gentoo as a Linux distribution, but until now, all versions of the Pi were limited in RAM, with the upper limit being 1 Gb.

While 1 Gb of RAM is entirely sufficient for running a headless home server, you can quickly run out of RAM when you compile software with 4 cores (MAKEOPTS=-j4 in Gentoo's make.conf)

Now that a 4 Gb model of the Pi exists, I felt I could switch to Gentoo as my primary Pi OS without compromise. Initially I planned to buy the 1 Gb model and then a little later grab the 4 Gb model.

Ironically, I couldn't wait for the 4 Gb model to try 64-bit Gentoo and while the -j4 option does induce significant swapping and causes the OS to become unresponsive, I have found that -j1 is probably a better option anyway so that the site can continue to be served during upgrades.

A final note and side-effect of switching to Gentoo on arm64, my overlay is slowly being updated to support arm64 and as such, PowerShell is the first to be updated

powershell on arm64

Tags: gentoo, raspberry-pi, linux