2009-12-22

Ubuntu One on Gentoo

And now for something completely different ! (ie not banshee related)

For years now, I've been running Gentoo Linux on my desktop machine, and I'm mostly happy with it. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to get my hands on a cheap used laptop : an Apple iBook G4. First thing I did with it was a clean install of Ubuntu.

Since then, I've been looking for a way to easily synchronize files between my desktop and laptop. Obvious alternatives like Dropbox wouldn't work, because they don't provide PowerPC binaries for Linux.

So when Ubuntu One came out, it seemed like a perfect fit. I just had to get it running on Gentoo !

This being all about sharing, I also wrote some ebuilds, so that others might also enjoy it.

Installation instructions

My ebuilds are grouped in an overlay, which translated from Gentoo-speak to Ubuntu-speak would be something like a PPA.

First you have to install the layman tool, to help manage your overlays :
  emerge layman

Then you can add my overlay :
  layman -f --overlays http://gitorious.org/gentoo-ubuntu-one/gentoo-ubuntu-one/blobs/raw/master/gentoo-ubuntu-one.xml --add gentoo-ubuntu-one

This will also fetch the content of the overlay. If you want to update the overlay later, just run "layman -s gentoo-ubuntu-one".

You then have to edit your /etc/make.conf, so that this new overlay can be found. Just add this line at the bottom :
  source /usr/local/portage/layman/make.conf

What's left now is just to actually install the Ubuntu One client :
  emerge ubuntuone-client

This should install all necessary dependencies. You probably have to restart nautilus for the Ubuntu One integration to be visible.

To start it, just go to Applications > Internet and click "Ubuntu One". This will open a page in you web browser, where you'll have to sign in and add your computer to your Ubuntu One account.

Caveat emptor

  • The packages for Evolution contacts synchronization are not included, because I don't need that feature and it looks like it the dependencies could be tricky.
  • The Ubuntu One applet has a tendency to take 100% of my CPU. After killing it, synchronization still works. Further investigation is needed on that front.
  • These are my first serious attempt at writing ebuilds, so they might be broken in various ways. I'd be happy to hear about your experience anyway !
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