I've made a stage4 11 months ago for some servers, and this stage4 is simply amazing! It really works. Tuesday I had to reinstall a server and I did it really quickly. Them I'm using the tinderbox target to generate packages with security upgrades and cfengine to deploy it. Everything works but there are a few cases where I start thinking whether doing the right way.
The big question I want to make here is: what is the right way to maintain (upgrade) a stage4?
Right now I use tinderbox. But, it will not generate a seed for the next tinderbox. If I upgrade something like wvstreams from 4.2 to 4.4, the next tinderbox will not know that, because it's using the very first stage4 as seed. My solution was, after building everything, open the stage4, update it manually, close the stage4 with a new name and use it as your seed. A very manual process.
The second problem is that if something is linked to libwvstreams-4.2.so I will not know, so things can get really messy. The solution here is to build the tinderbox, open the stage4, install the updates and run revdep-rebuild inside the chroot. Keep the resulted package list, close the updated stage4 to another name. Use this updated stage4 as the seed to a second tinderbox target witch will rebuild the affected packages. I never did it, but it seems to be a way to go. There is a chance that will have a big loop here. Again, very manual process, very very error prone, I would like to avoid.
What I noticed is that here on this list there are a lot of people using catalyst to build and maintain a customized version of Gentoo too! What are you people doing? How are you doing kernel upgrades? What about kernel dependand packages (fuse, etc...).
How should I use the tool to make better use of it?