thing is portage already has support for binary packages and binhosts. the only difference is that then those capabilities would go to use instead of being vastly idle as they are now. nothing about gentoo says apps must be compiled; if portage has support for binhosts and binary packages then those are components of gentoo itself. plain and simple.
Yes that is my opinion, too. Gentoo gives you all possibilities to do it on your own and to tweak the system in every way, but this is not a must. A problem seems to be that binary packages support in Portage is not that mature in some ways.
The problems can be:
- CHOST, CFLAGS, USE differences are unchecked and you may decide on your own, if you install a binary package. In the case of some dependencies this can be deadly and you most likely do not know what you do, if you install an incompatible version. Portage should check that first and maybe ask you then to ignore the problems or it simply rejects the binary package and uses sources instead.
- Dynamic linking problems. Since your machine may use newer/older libs than the binary distributor, you may get broken packages (which can be found via revdep-rebuild). This is very dangerous, too, and Portage should not install packages, which do have certain linking issues. Once again it should fall back to sources.
- Ebuild differences. The *.ebuild file may sound the same on two different machines, but if you use an overlay for example, a binary package may not contain the same package then the source installed overlay package. That can give some issues, two. Therefore we should check the digest of the original ebuild file with the one on the installing machine.
- Configuration issues. I don't know exactly if installing binary packages respects the configuration protection, but for distributions like Sabayon, there should be a possibilitiy to add a script to tweak your configuration in the 'right' way. Debian and Ubuntu do this in some ways, e.g. in the case of X11. It could be really helpful. You could even integrate a Python/Ruby/Kommander script to give a graphical wizard for configuration of the binary package. Of course this only makes sense on binary sub-distributions like Sabayon not on Gentoo itself ( see below ).
I've posted all that in the PDF document on my blog in more details. As it seems this is not very interesting here, these are still VERY important problems. We have to solve them first, which should not be too hard, once we've figured them out.
You think that a Gentoo binhost makes sense. Well it may make sense, but in my opinion Gentoo can live without binary packages, since Gentoo is really about tweaking everything and they mostly do that in their distribution and community. In my opinion sub-distributions should preconfigure and tweak Gentoo and therefore they should ship binary packages. Gentoo can stay a source distribution but Gentoo derivates need not to.
A further problem here might be, that a binhost is not the best option for small Gentoo sub-communities. Therefore I propose a trackerless BitTorrent approach.