2020 in retrospect & happy new year 2021!
Jan 15, 2021

Gentoo Fireworks Happy New Year 2021! Due to the COVID pandemic, 2020 was a year unlike any other, and this has also impacted many open source projects. Nevertheless, at Gentoo we have made some great strides forward. While we now start into 2021 with fresh energy (and maybe soon antibodies), let’s also take a look back. We’re happy to share with our community the most exciting news of the past 12 months – including numbers on Gentoo activity, our new developers, and featured changes and improvements!

Gentoo in numbers

2020 has featured a major increase in commits to the ::gentoo repository, and especially commits from non-developers. The overall number of commits has grown from 73400 to 104500 (by 42%), while the number of commits made by non-developers has grown from 5700 (8% of total) to 11000 (10.5% of total). The latter group has featured 333 unique authors in 2019, and 391 in 2020.

The ::guru repository has thrived in 2020. While 2019 left it with merely 7 contributors and a total of 86 commits, 2020 has featured 55 different contributors and 2725 commits. GURU is a user-curated repository with a trusted user model. Come join us!

There was also a major increase in Bugzilla activity. 2020 featured almost 25500 bugs reported, compared to 15000 in 2019. This is probably largely thanks to Agostino Sarubbo’s new tinderboxing effort. The total number of bugs closed in 2020 was 23500, compared to 15000 in 2019.

New developers

We’ve finished 2020 with three significant additions to the Gentoo family (in chronological order):

  1. Max Magorsch (arzano)

    Max joined us in February to help out with Gentoo Infrastructure. Since then, he already did tons of work. Just to list a few things, he has redesigned and modernized the Gentoo websites and rewritten packages.gentoo.org into the super cool form we have today.

  2. Sam James (sam)

    Sam joined us in July, and has contributed to a lot of different projects since. He is known as an active member of the Security team and multiple arch teams, as well as someone who fixes lots of bugs in different packages.

  3. Stephan Hartmann (sultan)

    Stephan joined us in September, and immediately started working on our Chromium-related packages. He has pushed commits to upstream Chromium; hopefully he’ll deal with all the specific problems that come up in Gentoo here. Thanks to him we also have finally caught up with Windows, offering our users a packaged version of Microsoft Edge.

The following major changes and improvements have happened in 2020:


  • Distribution Kernels: Gentoo now supports building and installing kernels entirely via the package manager. The new kernel packages also come with an (optional) stock configuration based on well-tested Fedora kernels, to ease the entry barrier and maintenance effort of Gentoo systems.

  • Wayland: Wayland support in Gentoo has progressed greatly, making it possible to run an Xorg-free desktop. Wayland is supported with large desktop environments such as KDE Plasma and GNOME, as well as with lightweight alternatives such as Sway and Wayfire. The latter makes it also possible to use Wayland to a large extent without resorting to XWayland.

  • Lua: A new framework has been created that permits multiple versions of Lua to be installed side-by-side. The vast majority of ~arch packages have already been migrated to this framework. This way, we have finally been able to unmask new (slotted!) Lua versions.

  • Python: We have managed to almost withdraw Python 2.7 from Gentoo, and upgrade the default to Python 3.8. Python 2.7 is still available as a build-time dependency for a few packages. We have additionally patched all the vulnerabilities known from later versions of Python.


  • ARM64: ARM64 (AArch64) support has been elevated to stable status and is no longer experimental. The ARM64 project now provides automatically generated stage3 files, and is usually one of the fastest arch teams to test packages. We have worked to bring more packages to ARM64 and make it more feasible to run a full desktop!

  • PPC64: KDE Plasma is now available on PPC64, thanks to extensive testing and keywording efforts by Georgy Yakovlev.

  • RISC-V: Work on RISC-V support has started, with particular focus on the riscv64 architecture. The RISC-V project provides stage3 files and stable profiles for the soft-float (rv64imac/lp64) and hard-float (rv64gc/lp64d) ABIs, in both systemd and OpenRC variants. The arch team has managed to run Xorg already!

  • Prefix: Gentoo Prefix is once again capable of bootstrapping on the latest macOS releases, and work is underway to modernise prefix-specific ebuilds and merge them back into the main tree - this way ensuring that users get the latest software and that maintenance burden is reduced.

  • Android: The Gentoo Android project has released a new 64bit Android prefix tarball, featuring gcc-10.1.0, binutils-2.34 and glibc-2.31 in your pocket!


  • packages.gentoo.org: The packages website has received many improvements towards being a central source of information on Gentoo packages. It now shows the results of QA checks, bugs, pull requests referencing a package, and a maintainer dashboard indicating stabilization candidates and outdated versions (according to Repology). Additionally, the display can be configured for your personal preferences!

  • Bugzilla: The Infrastructure team has implemented a major improvement to Gentoo Bugzilla performance. The database has been migrated to a newer database cluster, and the backend has been switched to mod_perl.

  • CI / Tinderbox: A second active tinderboxing (build testing) effort has been started, resulting in more bugs being detected and fixed early. This also includes running a variety of QA checks, as well as minimal environment builds that are helpful in detecting missing dependencies.

Other news

Discontinued projects

While Gentoo would like to support as much as our users wish for, we could not manage to continue all of the projects we’ve started in the past. With limited resources, we had to divert our time and effort from projects showing little promise and activity. The most important projects discontinued in 2020 were:

  • Architectures: Alpha and IA64 keywords were reduced to ~arch (i.e. unstable/testing only). HPPA stable keywords were limited to the most important packages only. SH (SuperH) was removed entirely. With very small number of users of these architectures, our arch teams decided that the effort in maintaining them is too great. In case of SuperH, our last available hardware died.

  • LibreSSL: By the end of 2020, we have decided to discontinue support for LibreSSL. With little to no support from various upstream projects, the effort necessary to maintain package compatibility exceeded the gain, especially given that OpenSSL has made a lot of progress since the forking point.

Thank you!

We can here describe only a few major items, and these cover by far not all that is going on. We would like to thank all Gentoo developers for their relentless everyday Gentoo work. While they are often not recognized for this work, Gentoo could not exist without them. Cheers, and let’s make 2021 even more productive!