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.

emerge – ERROR: 17.1 migration has not been performed – upgrade from 13 to 17.1

When upgrading to 17.1 profile you need to perform additional steps to get to a healthy Gentoo portage system using profile 17.1.
Here what we stumbled when we tried to upgrade from 13 to 17.1:

>>> Emerging (1 of 3) dev-libs/elfutils-0.177::gentoo
 * Fetching files in the background.
 * To view fetch progress, run in another terminal:
 * tail -f /var/log/emerge-fetch.log
 * elfutils-0.177.tar.bz2 BLAKE2B SHA512 size ;-) ...                                                                                                                [ ok ]
 * Please follow the instructions in the news item:
 * 2019-06-05-amd64-17-1-profiles-are-now-stable
 * or choose the 17.0 profile.
 * ERROR: dev-libs/elfutils-0.177::gentoo failed (setup phase):
 *   ERROR: 17.1 migration has not been performed!!
 * 
 * Call stack:
 *        ebuild.sh, line 591:  Called __source_all_bashrcs
 *        ebuild.sh, line 410:  Called __try_source '/usr/portage/profiles/default/linux/amd64/17.1/profile.bashrc'
 *        ebuild.sh, line 467:  Called __qa_source '/usr/portage/profiles/default/linux/amd64/17.1/profile.bashrc'
 *        ebuild.sh, line 112:  Called source '/usr/portage/profiles/default/linux/amd64/17.1/profile.bashrc'
 *   profile.bashrc, line   6:  Called die
 * The specific snippet of code:
 *              die "ERROR: 17.1 migration has not been performed!!"
 * 
 * If you need support, post the output of `emerge --info '=dev-libs/elfutils-0.177::gentoo'`,
 * the complete build log and the output of `emerge -pqv '=dev-libs/elfutils-0.177::gentoo'`.
 * The complete build log is located at '/var/tmp/portage/dev-libs/elfutils-0.177/temp/build.log'.
 * The ebuild environment file is located at '/var/tmp/portage/dev-libs/elfutils-0.177/temp/die.env'.
 * Working directory: '/var/tmp/portage/dev-libs/elfutils-0.177/homedir'
 * S: '/var/tmp/portage/dev-libs/elfutils-0.177/work/elfutils-0.177'

As you can see there is news, which consists of 12 steps to perform a successful upgrade to profile 17.1.
You can read the news with (the news output is included at the end of this article, just for completeness):

eselect news read 28

Specific note for our upgrade – in fact, our Gentoo installation was a chroot and it had not been updated for three years. The profile was 13.0 and portage supported only EAPI 5, which is a real problem. The new portage tree (we installed the latest) has no profile 13.0 and our emerge was half broken. We have preliminary steps described in Failed to install sys-apps/portage – Called pkg_preinst – portage._compat_upgrade.default_locations

Because we upgrade from 13.0 to 17.1, first, we need to perform the 17.0 upgrade (check the original steps here – https://gentoo.org/support/news-items/2017-11-30-new-17-profiles.html)

STEP 1) Select the previous profile 17.0 temporarily.

srv ~ # eselect profile set default/linux/amd64/17.0

You won’t be able to build any GNU GCC and you cannot continue with the next step.

STEP 2) Upgrade to GNU GCC 6.4.0 or later.

Our current GNU GCC is really old – 4.9.3. The latest version is gcc-9.2.0-r1 and we are going to use it.
Keep on reading!