The Gentoo Pandora Project becomes Neuvoo

September 7, 2009
Posted by: gruso

After nigh on a year of sweat, tears and beer, Viridior, JavaJake and the rest of the Gentoo Pandora team have restructured, repurposed and renamed their project Neuvoo. (Newbie tangent: What’s Gentoo? It’s a linux distro which, if your geek-fu is strong, you can install instead of Angstrom). The new broader focus will see other platforms join Pandora on their target list (think Beagleboard, Touchbook), giving their code more fields to frolic in, and its users a wider range of software. In addition, they’ll be bending over backwards to make sure you don’t need “I compile source code for breakfast” printed on your t-shirt to get in the door, with a binary repo in the works so you won’t miss out on the Pandora apps your Angstrom friends are using. Bravo.

Source | Neuvoo website


  1. Not really au fait with Gentoo, more of an Ubuntu man myself. Anyone care to give a rundown/general overview of what Gentoo offers?

  2. @kaprikawn

    First link in Google search “gentoo compared ubuntu”:

    But maybe it’s better to start here:

  3. Shame there’s no videos of it in action. Will defo be checking out all the operating systems to see which I prefer when I finally get my Pandora πŸ™‚

  4. Hey, thanks for the comments.

    @kaprikawn: There are quite a few differences, I might not be able to post enough here. I guess that the biggest advantage to Gentoo vice other popular distros is that it is more of a meta-distribution. There is no “official” OS. Gentoo provides tools and packages with the ability to build your own OS tailored to what you want (and therefore remove what you don’t). Therefore it is fairly easy to take Gentoo and tailor it to an embedded environment instead of a PC. Most of the programs available to a PC environment simply need a recompile and they are available to us. Gentoo also has support for debs/rpms/ipkgs/etc. So if we haven’t included it in the binary repo, then you can always grab from the others. Feel free to talk to me in FreeNode#neuvoo if you would like to know more.

    @puppydee: As soon as I have a stable build I’ll post some videos. We are going eith e17 for our desktop OS. Beyond that we will be installing functional programs beyond that, but we haven’t drawn the line on what we are/are not going to include in our defaults. I have repeatedly asked the community for their preferences, and as soon as we get there I will ask again. I’ll make it a point to ask gruso, et. al. to post any updates here.

  5. Cheers viridior and the rest of the crew. I’ll look forward to seeing it in action. Man i can’t wait for my Pandora to be finished.. Cheers gruso aswell as always πŸ™‚

  6. Well, I might have something fairly soon. Right now I’m using a Beagleboard as a dev board since I didn’t get one of the Pandora dev units. But, I should have my Touch Book by tomorrow so I might be turning around images quickly! πŸ™‚

  7. Can Neuvoo for pandora be made to use KDE instead of e17, or is KDE too resource-hungry? Sorry if it is a stupid question, I just like what the KDE desktop environment has to offer.

  8. i think its possible but im sure it wouldnt be as fast or as eyecandy compared by what youre used.

  9. Paul, are you talking about KDE 3.5 or 4.x?

  10. Either one, I guess, I was running (I believe) KDE3.5 on a 600MHz Celeron with 256MB RAM (no extra video cards were installed), it ran fine. The Linux that KDE3.5 was attached to was PCLinuxOS (MiniMe ver.). I wasn’t talking about using any extra-fancy effects, just stuff like Amarok and the very basic windows with the simi-transparent Vista-style frames, also I liked using Konqueror as a web browser. I kinda liked the style of the icons too.

  11. You can use Amarok and Konqueror with E17.

  12. Neuvoo! Well that’s riche!

  13. Thanks for all the hard work guys.

  14. The beauty of Gentoo is that every install is unique; you can make it look exactly Like Ubuntu if you like, or you can make it unlike anything else. So a screenshot/video would show you what one install looked like but there’s no reason why that would have to look anything like your install.

    I’ve been using Gentoo for years, and really like it, but I’m confused by the Neuvoo name. Is Neuvoo the name that’s been chosen for prebuilt Gentoo ARM images using the pandora overlay or is Neuvoo something else?

    The last time I tried to use a fork of Gentoo, GentooX, it was a waste of time and I ended up just using regular Gentoo (which worked fine). I hope Neuvoo isn’t another GentooX.

  15. Sorry for the late response, had a busy few days. Good news is that when I get home today I should have my pre-orderd Touch Book! Hopefully videos will come shortly afterwards.

    @Paul: I am not much of a KDE user myself, but I see no reason why KDE cannot be compiled and used on the OpenPandora. This is assuming that there are no inherent x86-only code within KDE that would make it break while compiling on ARM. I’ll ask around our group if anyone planned on KDE and see where it goes from there. If you or someone you know is interested in joining us to work on KDE then you/they are most welcome.

    @ben dash: We are not a fork of Gentoo. We use the standard portage tree and a ARM overlay for patches that haven’t been pushed to the main tree. Neuvoo is simply the name we choose for our group of gentoo embedded devs. Since Gentoo is so flexible, many people get confused and think that Gentoo is purely a compile-only OS among other misconceptions. We at Neuvoo are using Gentoo and building a end-user OS similar to what most end-users would consider a desktop OS. These definitions aren’t a part of Gentoo, but its the product that most people see and judge. So Neuvoo providing users with a desktop experience, but unedited Gentoo is under the hood, just tweaked and configured at our level. If you have Gentoo experience then you will be completely at home.

  16. @Viridor
    Would it be fair to say Neuvoo is close in philosophy to Sabayon, in that it’s giving Gentoo a stronger end-user focus without being a fork of Gentoo?

  17. @Zeno Arrow: I think thats a bit of a strong comparison. If you want to say that Neuvoo will be providing a “end user” desktop experience without necessarily configuring it yourself, then you could say that it like Sabayon. And we will have a binary repo. However, in everything else we are using standard Gentoo. No separate portage tree. No Neuvoo-only software that runs on top of Gentoo. We hope that everything we do makes it back into the Gentoo portage tree. This is sort of a difficult distinction since “Gentoo” can mean just about anything since its philosophy is “build your own from the ground up”. I’m not really sure what Sabayon is other than applied Gentoo, maybe I’m missing more (I’m not a user).

  18. @Viridior: Sounds good. One way or another I’ll be putting Gentoo on my pandora, and I’ll certainly be giving Neuvoo a try based on what you said about how it really is still Gentoo under the covers. Having a short cut to get the OS installed is great, but I don’t mind having to compile it all myself if I want something unique either. It sounds like Neuvoo may be the best of both worlds; quick to install yet with a huge package repository and great forums.

  19. Still two months?
    Or will we be hearing good news tomorrow?

  20. Listen the good news of “tomorrow” :
    +1 week on the estimation build.
    That’s all kids, go back to work.
    No photos, no videos, not even a word from any developer.

    Why not updating the official website rather than gossip in the forum @#!Β°%# !!!

    I want to see something new with the Pandora or then I could put an extra 100€ now and get something similar if not better right now with hell a lot more support !

    Upsetting bullshit !

  21. Gentoo’s great call to being is you can compile all the binary’s on your own hardware, there by gaining some speed (nothing huge but some) It isn’t a distro I’d try if you have to ask can it use kde… it just wont be your thing. I can see it having a good impact on performance if the distro your running is arm generic and isn’t compiled to take advantage of the Pandora’s specific arm.

  22. @ben dash: Thanks, I hope to see your comments and impressions of what we are doing. I did get a Touch Book yesterday and I’ll be throwing our image on it soon.

    @Focha: Thanks for the constructive comments. Gruso and all or doing their best to inform the community on what is going on. If you want to limit yourself to official updates I’m sure it will be extremely short. Outside of the official OS, most of the work being done are by non-devs trying to push the hardware and options for this device. Feel free at any time to contribute something yourself.

  23. @Fennu: I hope that “its not a distro for the new/weak” is something we can get away from with Neuvoo images. Its Gentoo underneath, but we will be providing configs for all of the major subsystems. So hopefully “it will just work” like other distros you might be familiar with. We expect a huge improvement in speed since we are using ARMv7a Cortex-a8 NEON CFLAGS instead of the more common ARMv4/ARMv5 binary repos (are latest images might include gcc-4.4.1 and glibc-2.10, supposedly a good improvement for ARMv7a and specifically NEON instructions). As far as the KDE question.. its a legitimate one since a lot of distros are initially restricted to one WM or another. Gentoo can use them all, but if your not familiar with it I expect questions to be made as he did. I’ll be more then happy to answer those that I can.

  24. @viridior – sorry for my late reply, my internet connection has been messing up A LOT lately…

    you said: I’ll ask around our group if anyone planned on KDE and see where it goes from there. If you or someone you know is interested in joining us to work on KDE then you/they are most welcome.

    my reply: Well, I unfortunately don’t know anyone who has even heard of Linux… =( & I sadly don’t have any coding skills… =( However, I would be willing to help in any other way that I can to help bring a functional KDE-based desktop environment to OpenPandora (I suppose it’s just the flavor of Linux I’m most familiar with). As far as e17 goes, I guess I just haven’t had any experience with Enlightenment-based desktop environments. I am not opposed to learning more about and exploring e17 and Gentoo in general. Who knows, I might like them even better than KDE+PCLinuxOS MiniMe ver.. If there is a liveusb(or, I guess, a livecd) out there that could let me delve into what e17 & Gentoo have to offer, I would really like to learn more about them.

  25. @Viridior
    I would gladly contribute on something but we didn’t even have SDK or something useful like an emulator !
    And if you insist on the fact that Pandora is SDL compliant then I would say it’s like programming stuff for the Nintendo DS without any clues on the hardware features or compatibilities.

    There is no complain about the necessary and essential work of Gruso for keeping us informed about what’s going on here (thank you by the way, I would already refund if not). But I just feel upset for every people like me who do not receive any clear overview of the official situation. They do find time to answer common subjects on the forum but nothing since month on the official blog.

    There are people with patiences and other without. Hope you understand.

  26. @Paul: I’m happy about your enthusiasm. I have quite a few things that I need to compile first, but I would be more than happy to attempt KDE when I can get to it. It would be great if you can test it and see how it works when we get to that point. Gentoo can be found there http://gentoo.org I would recommend using something like virtualbox at first when you go through the Gentoo Handbook. No reason to erase your working system as your learn/break things πŸ˜‰

  27. @Focha: The SDK is effectively OpenEmbedded, http://wiki.openembedded.net/index.php/Main_Page If you want a working SDK then you can use Angstrom if you have a ARM system. If not then there are guides on getting OE working on a x86 host OS. I do understand the difficulty in building something without the hardware, but its possible to get things going and tweak once it shows up. I understand completely about the lack of information, building our OS hasn’t been easy without guidance but we have done a lot over time.

    I do completely understand about the lack of news, I share the same view-point. I’ve been fortunately enough to have the money to get a Beagleboard and now a Touch Book to do hardware testing, but without those I would be hard-pressed to maintain any amount of enthusiasm as well.

    Hope this helps.

  28. So, it’s September 10. Where are our news from the mould factory?

  29. Oh Kefinan, so young, so naive

  30. Kefinan: The 10th wasn’t an official deadline, it was an unofficial estimate. The mould isn’t quite done yet. I’ve added some notes to the roadmap.

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