Kernel building failure – unable to initialize decompress status for section .debug_info

Upgrading the Gentoo system may lead to some glitches especially if not emerge the world slot very often!
In fact, leaving older packages living with the new one using slots may also lead to glitches of the same type! Here is one example, where leaving old packages may prevent the user to build some packages or the Linux kernel itself.

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  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o lib/slub_kunit.ko lib/slub_kunit.o lib/slub_kunit.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o lib/ts_bm.ko lib/ts_bm.o lib/ts_bm.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o lib/ts_fsm.ko lib/ts_fsm.o lib/ts_fsm.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o lib/ts_kmp.ko lib/ts_kmp.o lib/ts_kmp.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o mm/kfence/kfence_test.ko mm/kfence/kfence_test.o mm/kfence/kfence_test.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/6lowpan.ko net/6lowpan/6lowpan.o net/6lowpan/6lowpan.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_dest.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_dest.o net/6lowpan/nhc_dest.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_fragment.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_fragment.o net/6lowpan/nhc_fragment.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_dest.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_dest.o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_dest.mod.o;  true
x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd: mm/kfence/kfence_test.o: unable to initialize decompress status for section .debug_info
x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd: mm/kfence/kfence_test.o: unable to initialize decompress status for section .debug_info
x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd: mm/kfence/kfence_test.o: unable to initialize decompress status for section .debug_info
x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd: mm/kfence/kfence_test.o: unable to initialize decompress status for section .debug_info
mm/kfence/kfence_test.o: file not recognized: file format not recognized
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_frag.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_frag.o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_frag.mod.o;  true
make[3]: *** [/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15/scripts/Makefile.modfinal:59: mm/kfence/kfence_test.ko] Error 1
make[3]: *** Waiting for unfinished jobs....
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_hop.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_hop.o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_hop.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_route.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_route.o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_ext_route.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_icmpv6.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_icmpv6.o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_icmpv6.mod.o;  true
  x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-ld.bfd -r -m elf_x86_64 --build-id=sha1  -T scripts/module.lds -o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_udp.ko net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_udp.o net/6lowpan/nhc_ghc_udp.mod.o;  true
make[2]: *** [/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15/scripts/Makefile.modpost:140: __modpost] Error 2
make[1]: *** [/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15/Makefile:1783: modules] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/build'
make: *** [Makefile:219: __sub-make] Error 2
 * ERROR: sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5::gentoo failed (compile phase):
 *   emake failed
 * 
 * If you need support, post the output of `emerge --info '=sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5::gentoo'`,
 * the complete build log and the output of `emerge -pqv '=sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5::gentoo'`.
 * The complete build log is located at '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/temp/build.log'.
 * The ebuild environment file is located at '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/temp/environment'.
 * Working directory: '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15'
 * S: '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15'

>>> Failed to emerge sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5, Log file:

>>>  '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/temp/build.log'

 * Messages for package sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5:

 * ERROR: sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5::gentoo failed (compile phase):
 *   emake failed
 * 
 * If you need support, post the output of `emerge --info '=sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5::gentoo'`,
 * the complete build log and the output of `emerge -pqv '=sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5::gentoo'`.
 * The complete build log is located at '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/temp/build.log'.
 * The ebuild environment file is located at '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/temp/environment'.
 * Working directory: '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15'
 * S: '/var/tmp/portage/sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-5.15.5/work/linux-5.15'

The problem appears to be leaving multiple old sys-devel/binutils:

 sys-devel/binutils
    selected: 2.31.1-r3 2.32-r1 2.34 2.35.2  
   protected: none 
     omitted: 2.37_p1-r1

Removing the old versions of sys-devel/binutils 2.31.1-r3 2.32-r1 2.34 2.35.2 and leaving only the latest one solves the problem with the above error “unable to initialize decompress status for section .debug_info”.

emerge -vaC "<sys-devel/binutils-2.37_p1-r1"

Of course, an older version of sys-devel/binutils or a buggy one could lead to such an error! Update the sys-devel/binutils or change the version if the above error is hit.

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