Gentoo with EFIStub, encrypted BTRFS, swap, dracut or genkernel initramfs, open-rc.

Posted on by AJ Ianozi

Hello! It’s been a while since I wrote a post; life has been busy I’m working on a better blog management system and I finally got a desktop! Hopefully more updates to come both here and on Seldom.Travel! Stay tuned for more updates.

Also, I must apologize for the lack of wrapping on this blog entry. This blog will be 11 years old next month, and I plan on updating the theme soon. Please bear with me.

Recently, I built a Gentoo system with an efistub (no bootloader) and ZFS natively-encrypted rootfs. It was great until I ran into a bug on kernels below 5.14 where the zfs system would get currupted. OpenZFS’s answer was “Update to 5.14” (apparently Gentoo’s stable was 5.10), and if I’m updating out of whatever is stable I’m going all the way and trying 5.15… which isn’t supported yet for ZFS. Result? I scrapped the whole thing and decided to just use btrfs!

This is heavily inspired by this post (shout out to William for putting that together) except I plan on using btrfs with zlib compression instead of ext4, I plan on having a module-free kernel, I want an encrypted swap partition, and we can no longer use eudev (because they’re retiring it). I also don’t want to use lvm, it’s just another layer of complexity that I don’t need, and I’ll be showing how to use dracut as well as genkernel depending on the route you wanted to go. We’ll be extracting the resulting initramfs, and building it into the kernel. (Read more)

Push notifications on linux with cronjobs and smartmontools

Posted on by AJ Ianozi

Up until very recently, I was having smartmontools (and other cron processes such as backups) email me when a hard drive was failing. For some reason my already-finicky mail-forwarding setup ended up failing and I couldn’t get it to consistently send again, so I thought to myself: What other ways can I have my server notify me in an obvious way? The answer was Push Notifications!

Now, I wouldn’t attest to knowing the details behind post-notifications; my quest was for a quick and easy solution for Android: Simplepush.io.

Pros of Simplepush:

  • Super easy to set up
  • “Just works”
  • Supports end-to-end encryption
  • Works for android


  • Costs $4 $10/yr
  • Doesn’t seem to work for iOS (works for iOS now)
  • Isn’t a self-hosted solution, if that matters to you.

I did find a free solution that would also work with iOS using Telegram, and maybe I’ll do that if simplepush.io ever disappears: Telegram API: Send Message – Personal Notification Bot

Anyway, let’s get into how I did this! (Read more)

Backups with rsnapshot and SSH

Posted on by AJ Ianozi

This is a simple schema on how I configure backups over SSH between my various servers. The howto on this stuff can be found all over the web, I’m mostly consolidating it here for my own records, in case I want to do it again later. Big thanks to a few guides on helping me put this together, if you’d like some further reading:

All devices in question run Gentoo, but this should work on anything with rsnapshot and openssh. (Read more)

A source-based distribution OS -- Gentoo!

Posted on by AJ Ianozi

Well, after getting off college for winter break, I decided to try something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now – switch to Gentoo as my primary Operating System.

For those of you that don’t know, Gentoo is a linux-based distribution that relies entirely on source packages. This means that if I wanted firefox, I’d need to download the firefox source code and compile it. Installing Gentoo took a few days, because I had to download the source code of the linux kernel, configure it, and compile it. I had to build the filesystems, everything from scratch.

I think I’ve learned much more about linux than I ever did; I find myself using the console much more, and I recompiled the kernel 3 times so far – it’s fine-tuned for my PC now.

Just yesterday, I was able to get OpenBox running as my default windows manager, and then I installed Tint2 and Trayer for my “taskbar”. I have almost nothing on this box so far; only reason I can type this, is because I just got done compiling/installing FireFox; my only means of communication before then, was talking to some friends in IRC though my console-based system.

Next step is getting Pidgin up and running, and after that, a music player (so far, I’m using mp3blaster) – it’s proving quite a task, since I can’t just download an executable.

But one thing I can say for sure about this new setup: It’s fast!