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Gentoo Reviewed

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the drink-the-koolaid dept.

Linux 438

An anonymous reader writes "Nick Petreley over at LinuxWorld.com gives the uninitiated an excellent view of what the world of Gentoo is like."

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emerge -p first_post (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982257)

[ N] net-www/first_post_0.23

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982258)

first post

Poop!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982264)

Ha-ha Poop!! Poo-Poo!!!

Rolling Down The Streets (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982270)

Smokin' indo, sippin' on Gin & Juice.

*Laidback*

Re:Rolling Down The Streets (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982407)

With my mind on my money and my money on my mind.

amazingly, the world of gentoo (0, Flamebait)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982282)

looks a LOT like the world of *BSD, only more poorly documented, choatically put together, and under a more restrictive license.

Re:amazingly, the world of gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982338)

Is is similar to all the other versions of linux ;)?

What makes this one worth trying?

Re:amazingly, the world of gentoo (4, Interesting)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982586)

The other two distributions that are similar to Gentoo would be Linux From Scratch(LFS), and Sorceror Linux (now Lunar Linux, I think). LFS mercifully doesn't require you to design and manufactur a CPU from scratch, but that is about it. Gentoo and Sorceror/Lunar are significantly more advanced, partially due to different priorities the LFS. LFS is designed to be an educational distribution.

As a disclaimer, I don't use LFS or Sorceror/Lunar, so this information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

Re:amazingly, the world of gentoo (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982362)

The docs are just fine for getting the job done. Your grandmother won't be able to use Gentoo, but she shouldn't be, either.

The step by step install docs are easily ten times more understandable than my first install of Slackware back in 1994. I have yet to see any *BSD install docs that rise to that level.

Chaotic? Hardly. Get something like Kportage (there are GNOME manager applications too) and it makes a lot of sense and is easy to throw in new ebuilds which work out of the box, and run well since they are compiled for your arch. It's pretty nice to have multiple versions available of different libraries and applications, which will auto-update based on emerge -u world.

If you hate the GPL that's your own religious issue.

Re:amazingly, the world of gentoo (2, Insightful)

pillohead (553676) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982587)

I have yet to see any *BSD install docs that rise to that level.

Have you even seen the freebsd handbook [freebsd.org] ? That's one of FreeBSD's greatest strengths, its solid documentation.

s/Gentoo/FreeBSD/ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982286)

'nuf said

Oh great, I just finished tweaking my system... (5, Funny)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982287)

And now another distro comes out to tempt me...back...back I say!

Oh well, I'm treating my home machine with Linux installed as kinda that old car you're trying to cherry out, tinker with, adjusting the carb...things like that.

I don't do this for a living, but hey, it keeps me off the streets.

Re:Oh great, I just finished tweaking my system... (0, Troll)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982314)

If you really feel that way, never EVER visit ibilio.org ... particularly the linux distro area ! :p

Quick cut'n'paste of the story (1, Redundant)

parkanoid (573952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982291)

A new distro in town: Gentoo emerges victorious By Nicholas Petreley Originally published May 16, 2003 Printed from LinuxWorld.com http://www.linuxworld.com/site-stories/2003/0516.p etreley.html Summary The 'meta-distro' Gentoo makes it possible to compile and configure everything on your system exactly the way you like, providing you with more structure and tools to ease the process and automate updates. Do I still like Debian? I absolutely love it. But until further notice, Gentoo is now my flavor of Linux. (1,900 words) Advertisement (LinuxWorld) -- A relatively new distribution called Gentoo Linux is gaining a rapidly increasing, rabidly loyal group of users. The increasing popularity of Gentoo is almost difficult to explain, given that it's clearly a distribution by geeks, for geeks and for nobody but geeks. Obviously a geek can set up a Gentoo system for a non-geek, so you may find novices using Gentoo. You just won't find many novices installing it. To be more precise, Gentoo Linux is not really a distribution but a meta-distribution. You don't usually install pre-compiled binaries when you add software to a Gentoo system. You most often compile and build the binaries yourself, according to your own personal optimization and configuration settings. Gentoo gives you the ability to treat almost the entire system this way, but it also lets the less-patient users start with a basic pre-compiled system. After that, you can build your own higher-level packages on top of that core installation. This may sound a lot like another project called "Linux from scratch," but Gentoo has an important difference in philosophy. While Gentoo Linux makes it possible to compile and configure everything on your system exactly the way you like, it also provides you with more structure and tools to ease the process and automate updates. The heart of Gentoo is its packaging system, Portage. Portage is similar to the BSD Ports system in that it installs software by retrieiving source code and building it on your system, resolving any dependencies as necessary. If any given package is available only in binary form, Portage grabs and installs it that way. Gentoo considers the process one of merging software into your system, so the basic command for installing software is emerge, which is mostly intuitive. If you want to get rid of some software on your system, you use the command emerge unmerge, which isn't entirely intuitive, but it works. Installation If you have any familiarity at all with the process of partitioning hard drives, mounting partitions and basic Unix commands, it isn't all that difficult to install Gentoo if you simply pay careful attention to the instructions. However, the process certainly isn't "easy" when compared to mainstream distributions. You can't just pop in a CD-ROM and answer a few questions; you have to get your hands dirty. Just how dirty depends on the version of Gentoo you are attempting to install, as well as your choice of installation methods. If you want the most-optimized system possible, installation will be a long and tedious process. If you can deal with a generic base system for Gentoo but want to optimize most of the high-level software, it will still be a long and tedious process, but less so. I installed Gentoo Linux 1.4 rc4, which is available for a few different processor types, but the x86 support is only generic x86. Under normal circumstances, Gentoo offers a choice of optimized base systems for a variety of x86 processors so that you don't have to compile everything from scratch to get enhanced performance on Athlon, Pentium 4, or other systems. You can still compile everything from scratch if you like, but installing an optimized base system makes it easier to get a performance boost without as much time and trouble up-front. I chose the quickest installation, which sacrifices a little performance. The basic software on my system is pre-compiled for a generic x86, but most of the rest of the software is optimized according to my preferences. For example, XFree86, KDE and most of the applications I use daily are all compiled for my Athlon system with the optimization switches I like. There's no point in walking you through the installation process, because it is fairly well documented on the Gentoo Web site. But it might be useful to share some of the highlights and difficulties I had -- and how well Gentoo held up under the stress. The Gentoo documentation does an excellent job of walking you through the process of setting up an Ethernet card so that you can start grabbing things off the Internet almost immediately. The instructions may not be adequate for someone who has anything but a reasonably vanilla system, but anyone likely to be satisfied with Gentoo is also likely to be able to figure out how to handle such differences. Like I said, Gentoo is not for novices, and novices should avoid it unless they are interested in using the experience to graduate from their novice status. I encountered a number of problems that were the fault of my hardware and motherboard BIOS, and the end result was that I could not boot directly into Gentoo after finishing the initial installation. I was concerned that I might have to reinstall everything from scratch because Gentoo is such a "from scratch" approach in the first place. That wasn't the case. I rebooted the Gentoo CD, got to a command prompt, mounted a few critical partitions and everything I needed to fix the problems was right at my fingertips. Mother please I'd rather not do it Gentoo uses GRUB as the default boot loader. At first I thought that was a bad choice, because I couldn't make GRUB work. It turns out my Biostar motherboard won't allow me to boot from the third hard drive (the primary IDE drive on the second IDE port, which is /dev/hdc). I solved the problem temporarily by adding a Gentoo boot option to the LILO configuration I use to boot Debian from the second drive. But in the long run, I had enough problems with the Biostar motherboard that I finally swapped it out for an older but more workable Asus. Once the new motherboard was in place, the system booted Gentoo directly from the third drive without problems. Once I had the basic system installed and running, the rest was just a matter of getting used to the Gentoo way of doing things. If you want to install a package in Gentoo, you can usually find the package you want by typing emerge -s . Then you can install the package by typing emerge . The Portage system will resolve all the dependencies, download the source and compile it for you according to custom options you specify in choice Gentoo configuration files. There are other utilities available, such as qpkg, to manage packages, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. In some respects, Gentoo is more hands-on than distributions like Debian or Red Hat. For example, when you install a package in most other distributions and that package has to be initialized at boot time in one of the runlevels, the package manager usually puts the startup script in the appropriate runlevel directory, automatically. Gentoo makes you do this yourself, but the process is not manual. If you want to run ntpd at boot time by default, you would issue the command rc-update add ntpd default. This puts a link to the ntpd startup script in the directory /etc/runlevels/default. Notice also that this is not the traditional Unix SysV path for runlevel scripts (one fewer reason for SCO to think it can sue the Gentoo folks, I guess). Likewise, when you install a package that makes changes to files in the /etc directory, you should run etc-update. Unfortunately, this utility is far less intuitive than rc-update, and I still haven't got the hang of it. I had a problem with the custom Nvidia kernel module for XFree86, as it would frequently hang. I have the same problem with Debian, so the issue is probably related to the card itself or to the kernel module. The nasty thing about the custom Nvidia driver is that it replaces all your OpenGL libraries with custom Nvidia versions, so it can be a pain to switch back to the original XFree86 driver. Someone at Gentoo was thoughtful enough to make this process easy. There is a Gentoo utility called opengl-update that lets you switch between the default OpenGL libraries and the custom Nvidia libraries with a single command. Hurry up and wait Naturally, there is a down-side to Portage. It takes a long time to compile some things. For example, OpenOffice took at least two days to finish building. Gentoo fans will no doubt point to the fact that this process is hands-off, but that isn't always true. The OpenOffice installation warns you that OpenOffice is sensitive to some compiler optimizations, which means it may fail. If so, you may have to modify your build options and install it again. Naturally, you can always get a pre-compiled copy of OpenOffice from some other source and install it. It even appears as if Gentoo itself offers a slightly out-of-date verison of OpenOffice in pre-built form. Nevertheless, this is not the sort of approach that works for those in a hurry to get software running. In the long run, however, Gentoo benefits from the law of increasing returns. Once you have all your favorite software installed, you will rarely find yourself twiddling your thumbs waiting for a fat installation build process to complete. Philosophy 101 Whenever someone who hasn't used Linux asks me to recommend a Linux distribution, I usually say Red Hat, the de-facto standard. It's a win-win proposition. Once you know your way around Red Hat, it is easier to figure out if another distribution is better suited to your tastes. If you don't find one you like better than Red Hat, then you end up with intimate knowledge of the most-popular distribution, and that can't be bad. Debian has been my favorite for the past few years, but although I could certainly change my mind after a few more months of use, I already like Gentoo more than Debian. Gentoo and Debian are very much alike in some respects. Debian has three branches: stable, testing and unstable. Gentoo has one branch, with options that will determine whether or not you end up with stable or unstable software, from the kernel to high-level applications. Anyone who likes to use the latest and greatest software won't see much difference between Debian and Gentoo in terms of things that work and things that break, because they're most likely to track the unstable branch of Debian and the latest software for Gentoo. I'm anxious to see how Gentoo plays out over time. Two things about Debian are annoying. First, there is a philosophical snootiness in its software design that makes things far less intuitive and friendly than they should be. Second, there is an adolescent snootiness developers often exhibit toward each other whenever a conflict arises. The Debian bug list archives are filled with guttersnipe comments where instructions on how to solve a problem should appear. Maybe it's that way among Gentoo developers, too, but I haven't seen any Gentoo list archives. Maybe I just missed the link on the Gentoo Web site, or perhaps they're hidden... and for good reason. Do I still like Debian? I absolutely love it. But for the time being, Gentoo has emerged victorious. Until further notice, Gentoo is now my flavor of Linux. If you have three days to a week to devote to Gentoo, and you're up to the challenge of installing it, I highly recommend it. About the author Nicholas Petreley, a computer consultant and author in Asheville, NC, is the founding editor of VarLinux.org (www.varlinux.org). He can be reached at nicholas.petreley@linuxworld.com.

aaaaahhhhhhhhhh (1, Funny)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982324)

One big paragraph!?!? AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! MY EYES!!

Have you no shame?

:o)

Re:Quick cut'n'paste of the story (1)

parkanoid (573952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982466)

Why did this get modded redundant? The two comments with the text made two minutes after this one are modded up. Of course, I do deserve to be smacked for pasting it as a solid block (mozilla acting up).

The problem with Gentoo (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982292)

It lacks to the l33t factor. Either you're dealing with people who have no clue what Gentoo is, or you're dealing with people who will know what it is and laugh at you. That's why you have to pick a real distro like... Slackware. That makes your fellow geeks take notice and salute you.

Re:The problem with Gentoo (2, Interesting)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982352)

That's why you have to pick a real distro like... Slackware. That makes your fellow geeks take notice and salute you.

Except you wont notice that salute, because youll be too busy looking at man pages. I ran slack for three years - Gentoo is just superior in my opinion. Most software is available through the ports system. Some builds are buggy but get fixed quickly. Dependency checking is no longer a headache and all software installs in a "locked down" but still usable configuration. The forced optimization via clean compile during install breathes new life into old hardware as long as you get your hardware flags right. The support forums are great and full of pretty damn knowledgable people. I love this distro and wouldn't go back to slack.

I realize Im biting at a troll - but hey Its Saturday . . .

Re:The problem with Gentoo (0, Troll)

tzanger (1575) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982564)

The only time I've had trouble with Slack was at the very beginning... Mind you my beginning with Linux was back in '95.

The only other distro which has made me stand up and take notice has been SuSE; it's almost a totally different Linux than Slack -- built for the corporate environment -- but between setting up SuSE for people who don't want to know the nitty-gritty and then using Slack for myself to keep my edge (well and LFS for my CompactFlash firewalls), the rest of the distros can go to hell; they're either a less featureful version of SuSE or a gone-too-far vesion of Slack. :-)

I LOVE Postgresql! (0, Informative)

FUCKING FAG (583496) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982293)

Did you know that the "q" in qmail stands for "queer"??? That's SO cool!!!

Top results for one-letter google searches as of Sat May 17
a : Apple [apple.com]
b : B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the ... [btselem.org]
c : CNET.com [cnet.com]
d : D-Link Systems, Inc. [dlink.com]
e : Welcome to E! Online [eonline.com]
f : Welcome to F-Secure, Securing the Mobile Enterprise [f-secure.com]
g : G*Loomis [gloomis.com]
h : H-Net, Humanities & Social Sciences Online [msu.edu]
i : Yahoo! [yahoo.com]
j : J-??? [j-phone.com]
k : KDE Homepage - Conquer your Desktop! [kde.org]
l : LEXPRESS.fr : l'info au quotidien. L'actualité économique, ... [lexpress.fr]
m : 3M Worldwide [3m.com]
n : SBC Pacific Bell Knowledge Network Explorer : Online Learning : ... [pacbell.com]
o : www.oreilly.com -- Welcome to O'Reilly & Associates -- computer ... [oreilly.com]
p : Alfred P. Sloan Foundation [sloan.org]
q : Q4music.com - The World's Greatest Music Magazine Online [q4music.com]
s : GNU's Not Unix! - the GNU Project and the Free Software ... [gnu.org]
t : AT&T [att.com]
u : The whatUseek Network [whatuseek.com]
v : Welcome to Bobby WorldWide [cast.org]
w : Welcome to the White House [whitehouse.gov]
x : Netscape.com [netscape.com]
y : Yahoo! [yahoo.com]
z : HealthAtoZ - Your Family Health Site [healthatoz.com]

Re:I LOVE Postgresql! (-1)

(TK)Max (668795) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982366)

Warning; goatse.cx links above.

Text incase of Slashdotting (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982294)

A new distro in town: Gentoo emerges victorious
Nick Petreley sans Debian may seem like cereal without the milk, but Gentoo is the new kid on his box
May 16, 2003

Summary
The 'meta-distro' Gentoo makes it possible to compile and configure everything on your system exactly the way you like, providing you with more structure and tools to ease the process and automate updates. Do I still like Debian? I absolutely love it. But until further notice, Gentoo is now my flavor of Linux. (1,900 words)

By Nicholas Petreley
Page 1 of 3 Advertisement

(LinuxWorld) -- A relatively new distribution called Gentoo Linux is gaining a rapidly increasing, rabidly loyal group of users. The increasing popularity of Gentoo is almost difficult to explain, given that it's clearly a distribution by geeks, for geeks and for nobody but geeks. Obviously a geek can set up a Gentoo system for a non-geek, so you may find novices using Gentoo. You just won't find many novices installing it.

To be more precise, Gentoo Linux is not really a distribution but a meta-distribution. You don't usually install pre-compiled binaries when you add software to a Gentoo system. You most often compile and build the binaries yourself, according to your own personal optimization and configuration settings. Gentoo gives you the ability to treat almost the entire system this way, but it also lets the less-patient users start with a basic pre-compiled system. After that, you can build your own higher-level packages on top of that core installation.

This may sound a lot like another project called "Linux from scratch," but Gentoo has an important difference in philosophy. While Gentoo Linux makes it possible to compile and configure everything on your system exactly the way you like, it also provides you with more structure and tools to ease the process and automate updates.

The heart of Gentoo is its packaging system, Portage. Portage is similar to the BSD Ports system in that it installs software by retrieiving source code and building it on your system, resolving any dependencies as necessary. If any given package is available only in binary form, Portage grabs and installs it that way.

Gentoo considers the process one of merging software into your system, so the basic command for installing software is emerge, which is mostly intuitive. If you want to get rid of some software on your system, you use the command emerge unmerge, which isn't entirely intuitive, but it works.

Installation
If you have any familiarity at all with the process of partitioning hard drives, mounting partitions and basic Unix commands, it isn't all that difficult to install Gentoo if you simply pay careful attention to the instructions. However, the process certainly isn't "easy" when compared to mainstream distributions. You can't just pop in a CD-ROM and answer a few questions; you have to get your hands dirty. Just how dirty depends on the version of Gentoo you are attempting to install, as well as your choice of installation methods. If you want the most-optimized system possible, installation will be a long and tedious process. If you can deal with a generic base system for Gentoo but want to optimize most of the high-level software, it will still be a long and tedious process, but less so.

I installed Gentoo Linux 1.4 rc4, which is available for a few different processor types, but the x86 support is only generic x86. Under normal circumstances, Gentoo offers a choice of optimized base systems for a variety of x86 processors so that you don't have to compile everything from scratch to get enhanced performance on Athlon, Pentium 4, or other systems. You can still compile everything from scratch if you like, but installing an optimized base system makes it easier to get a performance boost without as much time and trouble up-front.

I chose the quickest installation, which sacrifices a little performance. The basic software on my system is pre-compiled for a generic x86, but most of the rest of the software is optimized according to my preferences. For example, XFree86, KDE and most of the applications I use daily are all compiled for my Athlon system with the optimization switches I like.

There's no point in walking you through the installation process, because it is fairly well documented on the Gentoo Web site. But it might be useful to share some of the highlights and difficulties I had -- and how well Gentoo held up under the stress.

The Gentoo documentation does an excellent job of walking you through the process of setting up an Ethernet card so that you can start grabbing things off the Internet almost immediately. The instructions may not be adequate for someone who has anything but a reasonably vanilla system, but anyone likely to be satisfied with Gentoo is also likely to be able to figure out how to handle such differences. Like I said, Gentoo is not for novices, and novices should avoid it unless they are interested in using the experience to graduate from their novice status.

I encountered a number of problems that were the fault of my hardware and motherboard BIOS, and the end result was that I could not boot directly into Gentoo after finishing the initial installation. I was concerned that I might have to reinstall everything from scratch because Gentoo is such a "from scratch" approach in the first place. That wasn't the case. I rebooted the Gentoo CD, got to a command prompt, mounted a few critical partitions and everything I needed to fix the problems was right at my fingertips.

Mother please I'd rather not do it
Gentoo uses GRUB as the default boot loader. At first I thought that was a bad choice, because I couldn't make GRUB work. It turns out my Biostar motherboard won't allow me to boot from the third hard drive (the primary IDE drive on the second IDE port, which is /dev/hdc). I solved the problem temporarily by adding a Gentoo boot option to the LILO configuration I use to boot Debian from the second drive. But in the long run, I had enough problems with the Biostar motherboard that I finally swapped it out for an older but more workable Asus. Once the new motherboard was in place, the system booted Gentoo directly from the third drive without problems.

Once I had the basic system installed and running, the rest was just a matter of getting used to the Gentoo way of doing things.

If you want to install a package in Gentoo, you can usually find the package you want by typing emerge -s . Then you can install the package by typing emerge . The Portage system will resolve all the dependencies, download the source and compile it for you according to custom options you specify in choice Gentoo configuration files. There are other utilities available, such as qpkg, to manage packages, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

In some respects, Gentoo is more hands-on than distributions like Debian or Red Hat. For example, when you install a package in most other distributions and that package has to be initialized at boot time in one of the runlevels, the package manager usually puts the startup script in the appropriate runlevel directory, automatically. Gentoo makes you do this yourself, but the process is not manual. If you want to run ntpd at boot time by default, you would issue the command rc-update add ntpd default. This puts a link to the ntpd startup script in the directory /etc/runlevels/default. Notice also that this is not the traditional Unix SysV path for runlevel scripts (one fewer reason for SCO to think it can sue the Gentoo folks, I guess).

Likewise, when you install a package that makes changes to files in the /etc directory, you should run etc-update. Unfortunately, this utility is far less intuitive than rc-update, and I still haven't got the hang of it.

I had a problem with the custom Nvidia kernel module for XFree86, as it would frequently hang. I have the same problem with Debian, so the issue is probably related to the card itself or to the kernel module. The nasty thing about the custom Nvidia driver is that it replaces all your OpenGL libraries with custom Nvidia versions, so it can be a pain to switch back to the original XFree86 driver. Someone at Gentoo was thoughtful enough to make this process easy. There is a Gentoo utility called opengl-update that lets you switch between the default OpenGL libraries and the custom Nvidia libraries with a single command.

Hurry up and wait
Naturally, there is a down-side to Portage. It takes a long time to compile some things. For example, OpenOffice took at least two days to finish building. Gentoo fans will no doubt point to the fact that this process is hands-off, but that isn't always true. The OpenOffice installation warns you that OpenOffice is sensitive to some compiler optimizations, which means it may fail. If so, you may have to modify your build options and install it again.

Naturally, you can always get a pre-compiled copy of OpenOffice from some other source and install it. It even appears as if Gentoo itself offers a slightly out-of-date verison of OpenOffice in pre-built form. Nevertheless, this is not the sort of approach that works for those in a hurry to get software running.

In the long run, however, Gentoo benefits from the law of increasing returns. Once you have all your favorite software installed, you will rarely find yourself twiddling your thumbs waiting for a fat installation build process to complete.

Philosophy 101
Whenever someone who hasn't used Linux asks me to recommend a Linux distribution, I usually say Red Hat, the de-facto standard. It's a win-win proposition. Once you know your way around Red Hat, it is easier to figure out if another distribution is better suited to your tastes. If you don't find one you like better than Red Hat, then you end up with intimate knowledge of the most-popular distribution, and that can't be bad.

Debian has been my favorite for the past few years, but although I could certainly change my mind after a few more months of use, I already like Gentoo more than Debian.

Gentoo and Debian are very much alike in some respects. Debian has three branches: stable, testing and unstable. Gentoo has one branch, with options that will determine whether or not you end up with stable or unstable software, from the kernel to high-level applications. Anyone who likes to use the latest and greatest software won't see much difference between Debian and Gentoo in terms of things that work and things that break, because they're most likely to track the unstable branch of Debian and the latest software for Gentoo.

I'm anxious to see how Gentoo plays out over time. Two things about Debian are annoying. First, there is a philosophical snootiness in its software design that makes things far less intuitive and friendly than they should be. Second, there is an adolescent snootiness developers often exhibit toward each other whenever a conflict arises. The Debian bug list archives are filled with guttersnipe comments where instructions on how to solve a problem should appear. Maybe it's that way among Gentoo developers, too, but I haven't seen any Gentoo list archives. Maybe I just missed the link on the Gentoo Web site, or perhaps they're hidden... and for good reason.

Do I still like Debian? I absolutely love it. But for the time being, Gentoo has emerged victorious. Until further notice, Gentoo is now my flavor of Linux. If you have three days to a week to devote to Gentoo, and you're up to the challenge of installing it, I highly recommend it.

Re:Text incase of Slashdotting (0, Offtopic)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982589)

You whore! Well karma whore at least. I don't think LinuxWorld will get Slashdotted.

Re:Text incase of Slashdotting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982605)

I posted as an AC. How can I be karma whoring?

w0w (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982297)

w0w

My experiences with Gentoo (5, Interesting)

revmoo (652952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982301)

I've taken the plunge in the last week or so, and totally switched my system over to linux.

I decided to go with gentoo, since one of the things that always annoyed me abour slackware(my second favorite distro) was the package management(or lack thereof), and just the overall annoying process of having to compile dependant packages by hand for every piece of software.

The install process was grueling to say the least, it took me forever to get the kernel compiled properly(gentoo is rather picky about kernels), but once I got the system installed, and waited for kde to emerge, I was impressed to see that things "just worked". When I want a new program all I have to do is 'emerge program', and it is installed, no having to deal with dependancies or lenghty configuration processes

In other words, the install takes forever, and does demand a fair bit of linux knowledge, but the process IS worth it, once you are finished. I find Gentoo to be quite user-friendly(though it may be picky who it's friends are :)), and I would definitly reccomend it to friends.

Debian? (4, Interesting)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982354)

It also "just works", but without the long install process.

Just out of curiousity, does emerger also upgrade? If I was upgrading MySQL, would I have to uninstall it first and live without it while recompiling? This sounds rather wasteful...

Nope. (5, Informative)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982381)

The original package is not unmerged until the new one installs successfully (i.e. if the install fails, you've still got the complete original version untouched). Even then, you can turn off the automatic 'cleaning' of packages and keep the old version until you feel like uninstalling it.

Further note (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982571)

Gentoo has possibly the nicest software installation, upgrading, and uninstallation system ever devised. Upgrades work all or nothing, no half-installs, and uninstallation of old versions does not in any way damage the new version. Upgrades work on a running system, even while you're using the software. (Thanks also for linux file deletion and running semantics!) Overall it is truly beautiful. It's painful when I have to return to using Windows. The "easy" installers aren't half as easy, and the uninstallers aren't a tenth as reliable.

Re:Debian? (4, Informative)

revmoo (652952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982406)

Well, Debian is great for servers, I still would use debian for a production server, partially because it is so stable, partially because you don't have to wait for things to compile

However, those who like to run bleeding-edge workstations, and customize their configurations like crazy are the ones that I think Gentoo is aimed at.

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982371)

Same here, I've tried all the popular distros and Gentoo seems to just work. The compiler setup is great and compiles most things better than other distros I've tried. Debian is the only other distro I can tolerate using, but that has some minor compiler setup quirks sometimes (mainly location of some includes, symlinks fix that).

The only downside with Gentoo is if you lose your system partition it takes ages to get the system going again.

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (4, Interesting)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982460)

You know, even though Gentoo is supposed to be a "geek" distribution, it does make a lot of things easier.

For example, I could never compile my own kernel under SuSE. For some reason, I could never get it right. All I would get is a near-endless stream of agony out of the boot console, then the whole thing dying in a kernel panic. Not so in Gentoo. Gentoo makes it easy to get a new kernel going, and to try out different versions. When I want to use my Archos Jukebox - hey make sure you compile in IDS-200 support.

However, I must stress Gentoo is not for everyone. Not everyone has time/interest in getting such a distribution going. But you certainly learn a lot more about what is going on in a linux machine.

My boss always says "using a pc is like going to a movie to look at the projector". I guess that is why he uses a Mac...

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982581)

I can't see how it makes it easier other than unpacking the code for you. But in the next release there will be some kind of script or tool to aid kernel configuration and installation.

I've read of problems people have with compiling kernels on the Gentoo forums, I used to hang out there helping people a little a while back. There does appear to be a lot of less experienced users giving it a try despite it being aimed at more experienced Linux users.

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982606)

I am still quite the n00b at Gentoo, but there are some things I do know. SuSE uses an initrd and some other features in the kernel, so the bzImage wouldn't just boot for me.

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982401)

Since when does it take quite a bit of linux knowledge? The only "hard" part is compiling a kernel. Everything else is outlined quite well in the install documentation; Just do what they tell you and you'll be fine.

Hell, they even provide nano as your default editor (yecch) so you don't even have to know how to use vi in spite of the fact that there is no automated installer. (There should be, though. There's no reason why not.)

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982511)

This is what I have to do in order to install Redhat 9:

1) Pick a time zone
2) Switch CD's
3) Format the drive

The end. And there's an automated installer. As I see it, that's zero "hard" parts, as opposed to reading through the Grand Book of Documentation and Compiler Flags(tm) installing Gentoo.

Fuck you and the install documentation. Even Slackware is easier to get running.

Re:My experiences with Gentoo (3, Interesting)

Majix (139279) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982471)

When I want a new program all I have to do is 'emerge program', and it is installed, no having to deal with dependancies or lenghty configuration processes

And how is this different from Red Hat or Debian when using apt? With apt for rpm or deb you don't have to spend a day compiling OpenOffice or Mozilla. And don't get me started on customized compilations... the performance increase is usually neglible, but you will never recover the time you spent compiling the software.

You also end up with whatever crappy defaults the project maintainers have chosen, BigRedCursor theme in Xfree86 4.3 anyone? Gentoo also has no configuration tools of it's own, just because I've used and mastered samba and iptables for years doesn't mean I want to go editing files or writing complicated rules when my distro can (gasp) do it for me, meanwhile I can hopefully get some real work done.

I loved Gentoo (2, Insightful)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982305)

Granted, I can't tinker with Linux at work anymore (based on NDA/contract stuff), but I really enjoyed the opportunity to truly learn Linux with Gentoo rather than have my hand held like Mandrake does.

If you're going to spend the time and effort to deal with Linux and try to learn it, you might as well go all-out rather than just learning how to install it.

I personally recommend Debian or Gentoo if you want to learn more about operating systems, and I recommended Mandrake if you just want to use Linux (for price reasons or philosophical reasons).

Gentoo is great, but make sure it's the right flavor of Linux for you. I miss Gentoo some days when I'm stuck in Windows with another blue screen.

Linux is just plain fun. Sure, it's not great if you need to get a lot of work done, but it's an amazing teaching tool if you want to truly learn computers.

Linux is great.

Fuck You ekrout (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982313)

You pathetic ricer boy

Re:I loved Gentoo (2, Funny)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982344)

Sure, it's not great if you need to get a lot of work done

So what kind of work are you doing that you can't get done in Linux? Trying to find security holes in the OS or something?

Re:I loved Gentoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982351)

Please befriend me [slashdot.org] if you're an American

You are soo boring

Re:I loved Gentoo (3, Interesting)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982368)

Granted, I can't tinker with Linux at work anymore (based on NDA/contract stuff), but I really enjoyed the opportunity to truly learn Linux with Gentoo rather than have my hand held like Mandrake does.

I agree. I was a former Mandrake user, and my first distro was Slackware, and even then I can tell you, Gentoo makes you learn everything... maybe not quite as much as LFS, but then again, installign Gentoo is actually not unlike installing LFS. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that Daniel Robbins based the whole project on LFS.

Linux is just plain fun. Sure, it's not great if you need to get a lot of work done, but it's an amazing teaching tool if you want to truly learn computers.

Yeah, I personally use two boxes -- one for tickering with Gentoo and one for production work on Gentoo. So that way I can do some good integration testing before going live with it. Using this system as worked out great for me, especially since the hardware is cheap enough.

Re:I loved Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982551)

Since when does being easy to use make a distro un-linux. You can learn everything in mandrake that you can in gentoo. Just because it forces you to learn instead of you using your own curiosity doesn't make gentoo more LINUX than mandrake. I'm sick and tired of the harder to use so it's better crowd. I use mandrake because in 25 minutes i had a completely usable system with everything a workstation could want installed and working and theres nothing gentoo can do that mandrake cannot. The 0.0023 miliseconds you save when loading a program compiled specifically for your hardware (can be done with mandrake as well) does not make up for the days, sometimes even weeks you spent building the system.

you said "I personally recommend Debian or Gentoo if you want to learn more about operating systems, and I recommended Mandrake if you just want to use Linux (for price reasons or philosophical reasons)."

I say, I personally recommend ANY linux distrobution you feel comfortable using and a healthy curiosity if you want to learn about operatings systems and ANY distro to match your skill level if you just want to use linux.

lets recap: mandrake is linux, gentoo is linux. Both can compile programs specific to a certain hardware. Being forced to learn is not better than being curious. Installing linux is not a test of pain, it does not make you better, nor smarter to have spent more time doing it.

Re:I loved Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982563)

I can't tinker with Linux at work anymore

So use FreeBSD.

Re:I loved Gentoo (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982580)

How the hell did you learn anything with gentoo other than running emerge and looking at the forums for answers? If you want to learn a distro, use LFS or Slackware; the actual quantity of what you learn with Gentoo is not exactly all that great.

3 days to a week to compile? (5, Informative)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982316)

I've been a happy Gentoo User for almost a year now, and I can tell you that on my machine 2-3 days is a more accurate time estimate. I just totally rebuilt my machine from scratch a couple of days ago and it took me about 3 days working on it part time to get it going. If I had more time to devote to it, I could have got it up and running in 1-2 days.

One thing Pietrely (sp?) misses though: you need a high speed Internet connection to use Gentoo. If you're on dialup, Gentoo is gonna take a llllooonng time to complete the installation because, unless you're starting from a precompiled base system (GRP), you pretty much have to download everything -- from the kernel, GCC, bash, XFree, KDE, GNOME, whatever.

Also of note, there's very little in the way of GUI admin tools -- no Linuxconf, no graphical init system editor. You'd better get to loving modifying everything with a text editor. For me this was no problem as I'm an oldskool Unix sysadmin. ;)

Anyways, I love gentoo. Emerge ROCKS! No more dependency hell! And the system is FAST! Way to go Gentoo!

Re:3 days to a week to compile? (1)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982461)

Yeah, compiling KDE took me a day or two on my P4... It's slow, but worth the wait.

Re:3 days to a week to compile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982474)

You just built a system? I reckon it's at least marginally high-end. That explains why it's fast, and why it's taken you only a few days to compile everything. Key is, not everyone who uses Linux has a high end machine, and some people (like myself), are still using AMD K6-2's to get things done. 3 days to a week sounds reasonable...

Re:3 days to a week to compile? (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982602)

I suppose my Athlon XP 1800+ is high-end compared to your K6/2 -- which was my previous box and the one I'm currently using as a firewall -- and I can say that on that box, a week to a week and a half for full-featured X11 system with KDE or Gnome. But browse the Gentoo forums and you'lll find that amongst most Gentoo users, my configuration is pretty typical.

That being said also, I think you'll find that you build decent mid-range Athlon system like mine for less than $500.

Re:3 days to a week to compile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982569)

I got it all compiled and configured in 6 hours including xfree and gnome-light packages. (2.5Ghz PIV)

Of course this was the 3rd time because of various fuckups and such ;p

Then I setup my XF86Config wrong and fried my Geforce4 ;( Thank god for warantees!

P.S. KDE is bloated as fook and has many annoying ideosyncrasies (sp? right word? heh)

Review? (2, Insightful)

munter (619803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982318)

Hey, Respect to Nick Petreley, but the summary:

"..First, there is a philosophical snootiness in its software design that makes things far less intuitive and friendly than they should be. Second, there is an adolescent snootiness developers often exhibit toward each other whenever a conflict arises.."

Come ON! Give me a decent reason! You've not got a issue with some debian developers have you? Are you not engaging in "le games politic" yourself???

Re:Review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982482)

does 2 `!' and 4 `?' qualify as snooty?

yup

Obvious? (1)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982341)

It never fails, the first few replys are either "below your current threshold" or they are posted by ACs and make no sense.

In an on topic note, from the article:
A relatively new distribution called Gentoo Linux is gaining a rapidly increasing, rabidly loyal group of users.
Isn't this kind of a given, i mean every possible operating system (OS/2 Mac, Linux, Windows, etc.) has a rabidly loyal group of users. And one would hope they're increasing if it is "realtivly new".

Novices. (5, Interesting)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982346)

You just won't find many novices installing it.

Uhm...I think that's completely innaccurate. I would say that probably half of the people using Gentoo are novices, and that most of them installed it themselves. This is based on my experiences in #gentoo on freenode, and the forums. The documentation for installation, and other parts of the distro is excellent, which, in turn makes it a trivial issue for anyone to install it provided they aren't afraid of the command line, and can read.

Re:Novices. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982389)

makes it a trivial issue for anyone to install it provided they aren't afraid of the command line, and can read

The genius of Gentoo is that filters out more than 50% of the college freshman Linux wannabes.

Re:Novices. (5, Interesting)

JJahn (657100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982434)

Indeed, Gentoo makes you learn what you are doing by installing and using linux, but at the same time provides documentation to guide you. Not sure why a previous poster thought Gentoo is picky about kernels, it details quite specifcally in the docs what you need to turn on (DevFS, which is handy on any linux system).

Gentoo is not for everybody. Some people don't want to tinker with compile settings or kernel configurations at all. But for people who do, it just works. Rarely have I had a problem with an ebuild failing, and even then it was easy to fix. Besides the fact that dependencies are very very well handled.

Re:Novices. (1)

Dego (182553) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982477)

Absolutely. I make my students do a Gentoo install, and they can generally do it (tho they rarely set the USE flags) since the documentation is so good. If you have a fairly vanilla system, and you can read and type, you can install gentoo. Now, you may not be able to get DVDRIP to complile or get your wireless card working properly, but thats another story.

Gentoo taught me how to compile a slim little kernel. I know you can do it with all the other distros, but Gentoo MAKES you do it, and it really is for your own good. Of course, the 12th time you do it, you may be singing a different song....

Re:Novices. (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982501)

Well, gee. Your experience with #gentoo and web forums now means you have the knowledge necessary to accurately describe half of all Gentoo users everywhere.

Does anyone knows... (1)

RiverTonic (668897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982349)

..if benchmarks exists so you can see the benefits of using a self-compiled gentoo against for example a pre-compiled Debian?

Re:Does anyone knows... (3, Interesting)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982535)

Well, as some one who recently switched FROM gentoo (1.4rc3) to debian (woody), I sure haven't noticed any real slowdow on my 900mhz Athlon machine with 512MB of RAM. (NB: Before some one pipes in that I 'did't look hard enough', many binary distros (IE: Red Hat) annoy the hell out of me. Personally, I think it has a lot more with a minimilistically setup machine (IE: Only install and run what's truly nessesary) than any real gain in binary performance.

Oh, and apt kicks ass.

Portage does too, but I got tired of the compile times, and thus the OS switch.

So the best combination is... (1)

RiverTonic (668897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982578)

package management from Debian (apt)

very recent packages... (Gentoo - emerge)

that are distributed as binaries

Maybe Gentoo and Debian should join their forces. instead of competing.

Keep in mind (1)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982357)

Gentoo may be the best desktop flavor of Linux these days, but for server Linux I'd highly recommend Slackware.

Dr. Robbins (the creator of Gentoo) said:
"Gentoo is still not the best choice for a server OS (for now at least). So Slackware is still one of the best if not THE best Linux distros as far as server OSes go."
Nonetheless, any version of Linux is probably heads and toes above Windows 2000 or XP Advanced Server considering how superior Open Source tends to be (not a flame, it's true).

Re:Keep in mind (2, Informative)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982414)

There's a stable branch [gentoo.org] of gentoo, developed for server use. :)

Gentoo advocates drive me nuts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982372)

In my experience I've found that there exists no Linux problem so small or trivial that someone won't come along and recommend changing your distribution as a "fix".

Re:Gentoo advocates drive me nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982532)

You know what could fix that attitude problem of yours?

Gentoo.

Love it! (2, Informative)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982379)

I love gentoo... I've been using it for about 6 months now...
the best thing in the world is
emerge sync
emerge -up world
The updates work.. Unlike upgrading from other distros...
If gnome 2.4 came out tomorrow, emerge will have it.

I don't think i can go back to any other distro now.

ChiefArcher

And now, a translation... (2, Funny)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982388)

I know that every single statement on this list will be made at least once, so I decided to post it to get it all out the way now. Enjoy!

Official Gentoo-Linux-Zealot translator-o-matic

NetBSD rules! Anyway, Gentoo Linux is an interesting new distribution with some great features. Unfortunately, it has attracted a large number of clueless wannabes who absolutely MUST advocate Gentoo at every opportunity. Let's look at the language of these zealots, and find out what it really means...

"Gentoo makes me so much more productive."
"Although I can't use the box at the moment because it's compiling something, as it will be for the next five days, it gives me more time to check out the latest USE flags and potentially unstable optimisation settings."

"Gentoo is more in the spirit of open source!"
"Apart from Hello World in Pascal at school, I've never written a single program in my life or contributed to an open source project, yet staring at endless streams of GCC output whizzing by somehow helps me contribute to international freedom."

"I use Gentoo because it's more like the BSDs."
"Last month I tried to install FreeBSD on a well-supported machine, but the text-based installer scared me off. I've never used a BSD, but the guys on Slashdot say that it's l33t though, so surely I must be for using Gentoo."

"Heh, my system is soooo much faster after installing Gentoo."
"I've spent hours recompiling Fetchmail, X-Chat, gEdit and thousands of other programs which spend 99% of their time waiting for user input. Even though only the kernel and glibc make a significant difference with optimisations, and RPMs and .debs can be rebuilt with a handful of commands (AND Red Hat supplies i686 kernel and glibc packages), my box MUST be faster. It's nothing to do with the fact that I've disabled all startup services and I'm running BlackBox instead of GNOME or KDE."

"...my Gentoo Linux workstation..."
"...my overclocked AMD eMachines box from PC World, and apart from the third-grade made-to-break components and dodgy fan..."

"You Red Hat guys must get sick of dependency hell..."
"I'm too stupid to understand that circular dependencies can be resolved by specifying BOTH .rpms together on the command line, and that problems hardly ever occur if one uses proper Red Hat packages instead of mixing SuSE, Mandrake and Joe's Linux packages together (which the system wasn't designed for)."

"All the other distros are soooo out of date."
"Constantly upgrading to the latest bleeding-edge untested software makes me more productive. Never mind the extensive testing and patching that Debian and Red Hat perform on their packages; I've just emerged the latest GNOME beta snapshot and compiled with -09 -fomit-instructions, and it only crashes once every few hours."

"Let's face it, Gentoo is the future."
"OK, so no serious business is going to even consider Gentoo in the near future, and even with proper support and QA in place, it'll still eat up far too much of a company's valuable time. But this guy I met on #animepr0n is now using it, so it must be growing!"

-


Re:And now, a translation... (1, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982425)

Okay, so you're a troll. But anyway; BSD is easier to install than gentoo, but runs on less hardware, unless you mean netbsd, which has less features than (say) FreeBSD, but which is getting better. On some architectures (notably K6) compiling everything for your native architecture is much faster because the K6 is a great chip but it's lousy at being an i386. Depdency Hell, well, you're the one disses it here, by saying oh of course it doesn't work with rpms for which it was not "designed".

Re:And now, a translation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982499)

It's supposed to be funny you humourless twat.

By the way, learn to speak English properly. And yeah, I'm a troll too Sherlock, but it doesn't make you any less stupid.

Re:And now, a translation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982459)

Methinks Ive seen this post before.

Re:And now, a translation... (1)

srealm (157581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982531)

"Let's face it, Gentoo is the future."
"OK, so no serious business is going to even consider Gentoo in the near future, and even with proper support and QA in place, it'll still eat up far too much of a company's valuable time. But this guy I met on #animepr0n is now using it, so it must be growing!"


Thats very amusing. Where I work, we now have 12 Gentoo Linux systems (excluding desktops) and will be converting the other 13 linux machines to Gentoo in the near future.

Gentoo has one huge advantage for business in this regard. Although it takes longer to do the initial setup, maintanence is MUCH easier. Remember, you don't need to compile everything on every machine, you CAN compile it once (make a binary package in the process), and then just distro the binary package you made (which is as simple as supplying a '-b' argument to the emerge command) to all the other systems, and emerge it onto them too. I don't think a sysadmin in the world could fuck that up.

The biggest advantage though, is that we don't need the next version of bsd or (insert binary distro here). We don't need to wait for them to release updates for various software packages, we don't have dependancy hell when we want to upgrade any individual part of the system, etc.

Lets review that procedure:
emerge -b mypackage
for x in $all_my_machines; do
scp /usr/portage/packages/All/mypackage.tbz2 $x:/usr/portage/packages
done
Then on each machine:
emerge mypackage

(assuming you have set PKGDIR to /usr/porage/packages on each of these machines).

Sound kind of like .RPM or .DEB? Well, it is kindof, except the package (no matter WHICH package it is, even glibc) is optimized for your hardware, you don't need to download it to each machine, and you don't have to go through dependancy hell.

Why I like gentoo.. (4, Insightful)

windows (452268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982392)

I'm one of those people who insists on compiling everything myself and not using packages. I do this because I like to have some control over what options are used when compiling and that everything is optimized to run on my machine.

Unfortunately, there's no consistent way to cleanly remove things that I compile. And keeping track of the dependencies is next to impossible to do. I don't like to clutter up my directories with files and directories that aren't needed anymore.

I'm a big fan of the ports collection in any BSD because it solves both of those problems. Everything is compiled on my machine and later it's simple to cleanly remove stuff I'm no longer using.

Gentoo also has a ports collection, which is why I chose it over other Linux distros. Debian is quite nice but I have yet to find a way to use some packages from stable, some from testing, and some from unstable, while still having everything getting along. I like almost everything else about Debian, but that's what frustrates me about it, and why I give Gentoo the nod.

It would be nice, however, to have a more automated install process in Gentoo. I'd like to be able to choose being doing it myself and starting from any stage, or being able to use an automated install program like other distros have. I'm not asking for a lot, but just something as simple as Slackware's install program would be a nice touch.

That being said, I use Gentoo, and I like it a lot. :)

Re:Why I like gentoo.. (1)

Majix (139279) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982554)

I'm one of those people who insists on compiling everything myself and not using packages. I do this because I like to have some control over what options are used when compiling and that everything is optimized to run on my machine.

Using a package manager and compiling everything yourself doesn't have to clash. Every package has a source package, just build those with whatever options you desire. You get all of the benefits of using an package manager, almost every file on the system can be accounted for and queried and you get to be a control freak too.

Check out CheckInstall [asic-linux.com.mx] , this little gem of a program replaces the "make install" part of a normal software installation process. It will create an package for your system (RPM, Deb, Slack tgz...) of the software in the active directory and add it to your package repository. Every file is still accounted for and you can remove the package without any problems later. It's invaluable for maintining a consistent system when most programs don't even include an "make uninstall" target anymore.

Its the Debian Kiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982403)

Seriously, it is! Debian's lost A large amount of users to gentoo, because it gives the users power, and what they actually wan't!

The documentation is better too. Want to get your sound working? Read the comprehensive DOCs, debian will just flame you n00b and laugh at you.

So, while debian is left with it's declining user base, gentoo is finally what the linux leet want, and it's even trying to compete in BSD territory.

nope (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982437)

linux is no more relevant
send it to /dev/null
cheers

Re:Its the Debian Kiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982472)

Gentoo: When you're so 31337 you can run automated scripts and read.

Happy Gentoo User (1)

iso (87585) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982415)

I started a new job where I was allowed to run Linux on my desktop at work. Great. I installed my old (server) standby, Debian. It was alright, but stable (which I use all all my Linux servers) was far too out of date for a desktop system and I had too many problems with unstable (and even it was behind Gentoo I later learned). I tried a few different distros and later settled on Gentoo.

The installation process for Gentoo, as most people echo, is quite lenghty, but it's quite striaghtforward to anybody who knows Linux/UNIX and I found the documentation to be fantastic. Now that it's running I'm in love. It's hands down the best desktop-Linux distro I have ever used. Everything works well, and on the painfully slow Pentium III/500 I have at work it runs quickly and efficiently. I'm a convert--Gentoo rocks! (Though I'm still using Debian on all my servers :).

- j

I take issue (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982432)

Obviously a geek can set up a Gentoo system for a non-geek, so you may find novices using Gentoo.

As a *geek*, I can appreciate Gentoo on its merits. But I know I would never install it for a non-geek, or recommend it for a non-geek.

I love Linux, but most distros are not for the faint-of-heart. Non-geeks are unlikely to appreciate the beauty of Linux, since they'll wish to do nothing more than use Word, e-mail, and chat. And AOL doesn't work with Linux.

And therefore, installing Gentoo for a non-geek is like crucifying myself. Can you imagine the frustrating phone calls? Certainly not my idea of fun...

the dark side of gentoo... (3, Interesting)

guile*fr (515485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982446)

I've been a user of gentoo for some time now... overall its pretty good, init script dependencies, up to date software but there is a few points I dislike:
  • init script is broken. when you want to relaunch a service that died, it says the service is already launched. no big issue but still...
  • gcc is a fscking python script, everytime you compile a file you call python... and i wondered why xfree compilation took so long.
  • no cli to check options in ebuild scripts. read the script, edit /etc/make.conf, build

Re:the dark side of gentoo... (3, Informative)

deeeev (613179) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982473)

Your first point... You realize that you can "zap" services right? Example: /etc/init.d/apache zap would reset the init script so that you can start it up regularly. I figured that out first week using Gentoo and I'm no rocket scientist.

Re:the dark side of gentoo... (1)

guile*fr (515485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982560)

no I didn't... :) I hadn't bothered to read the lenghty help output of init... thanks to your post I finally did, and I discovered "pause" too...
Thank you... :)

Re:the dark side of gentoo... (1)

guile*fr (515485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982509)

in addition to the third point... I'd prefer "opt-in" features. Darwin ports are much more sensible in that area.

Advice for switching wife's computer to Gentoo (2, Interesting)

Speed Racer (9074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982454)

This is a very timely article for me. My wife's computer died (one of the infamous IBM 75GXP drives) a few weeks ago. I didn't have any time to work on it before now so I set her up with Knoppix 3.2 in the interim so she could e-mail and surf. As a side note, Knoppix is a life saver. I'm very impressed with it and I'll always have a copy of the latest release burned and ready to go in an emergency.

Getting back to the story, this morning I asked her what she thought about the "Linux" software she's been using since the crash and she said it's been fine. Of course, she's only been using Evolution and Mozilla AFAIK so that's to be expected. I suggested installing Linux on her machine for good and she said "sure, why not".

I've used Gentoo for a little bit and I'm pretty sure that's the route I want to go. I just finished burning the 1.4RC4 CD and I'm gearing up to install Gentoo this evening and I'm wondering what others do when less computer literate family members start using Linux. Any tips or experiences would be appreciated.

Re:Advice for switching wife's computer to Gentoo (-1)

FUCKING FAG (583496) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982497)

I am sorry to hear that your wife passed away! Maybe now would be a good time for you to try the "other side of the plate", if you haven't already! There are a lot of hot, buff, sweaty guys in the open source community who would LOVE to "break you in", whether gently or not so gently!!!! The choice is entirely yours; that's what free software is all about!!!!

Ettercap is scrumptious!

Re:Advice for switching wife's computer to Gentoo (1)

teklob (650327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982503)

I've set up family members with linux before, and just make sure if they don't know lots about computers, that it all works before you let them loose on it

Re:Advice for switching wife's computer to Gentoo (5, Funny)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982504)

"I'm wondering what others do when less computer literate family members start using Linux"

I take my phone off the hook.

Re:Advice for switching wife's computer to Gentoo (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982574)

Hard to avoid communicating with your own wife, unless you took up bowling...

Re:Advice for switching wife's computer to Gentoo (1)

Speed Racer (9074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982604)

Hard to avoid communicating with your own wife, unless you took up bowling...

I find golf to be pretty effective for that with the added benefit of coming home 4 hours later tired and angry.

Go Gentoo! (5, Interesting)

digicosm2 (672998) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982483)

Whoo hoo!

I've been using Gentoo for a few months and absolutely love it. Once you run the gauntlet of installation a few times and get used to where things are setup in the system, then it's smooth sailing from then out.

But I think the best feature of Gentoo has nothing to do with the distribution. It's the legions of enormously helpful folks who hang out on the Gentoo Message Board [gentoo.org] . These folks sacrifice their time to answer all kinds of questions about the distribution. Moreover, they are all polite! It's the most unique thing I've ever seen on the Internet...

I hope that Gentoo becomes more popular, but I also hope that this doesn't disrupt the stellar community behind it as well. Time will tell.

Ignorance is bliss. (3, Informative)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982484)

If you want to run ntpd at boot time by default, you would issue the command rc-update add ntpd default. This puts a link to the ntpd startup script in the directory /etc/ runlevels/default. Notice also that this is not the traditional Unix SysV path for runlevel scripts (one fewer reason for SCO to think it can sue the Gentoo folks, I guess).

SCO's startup script directories suck, IMHO. I honestly don't see the advantage of filling the filesystem up with all kinds of garbage a la SCO when a simple text file containing a few configuration options will suffice just fine.

Since I will likely get modded down for talking such blasphemy on this screwed up init system anyway, I may as well go ahead and say that FreeBSD's system is really cool. The defaults are read from /etc/defaults/rc.conf and then your overriding settings are read from /etc/rc.conf... As far as all these useless runmodes are concerned... On FreeBSD, the system starts up in Single User mode and then immediately switches to Multi User mode. These are the only two modes that I could ever conceive uses for. I don't understand why all these Linux distros give you 10 different runmodes, of which only one or two are ever used, with five or so of them being used solely for different types of shutdowns and restarts, and in fact, one of the first things I do on any Linux distro is blow all those excessive modes off. Either this machine uses XFree or it doesn't... it's not that hard to start from the command line if you don't ALWAYS use it. Oh, well... Maybe I'm just an ignorant fsck.

Here come the Gentoo love fest (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982485)

but it will take a few days to compile

Gentoo Topic Icon (2, Insightful)

zerOnIne (128186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982491)

I'd say it's about time for a Gentoo topic icon. We've been seeing a fair bit of press about this distribution lately (on here anyway). It has a very active developer and user community, and doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. I mean, if we've got a bunch of different icons for other distributions (including a bunch that no longer exist), why not Gentoo? For fairness, I'm still a Debian user, but I think they deserve a fair shake here now.

To each his own (5, Informative)

infiniti99 (219973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982516)

Gentoo really requires a speedy system if you want to have any fun, as you'll spend so much time compiling things. I have Gentoo on my desktop here, and it is great. I used to use Slackware, and this is definitely an upgrade. Well, for me at least. The great thing about Linux is that there is a distro for everyone, no such thing as 'best'. ;-)

However, on my laptop, which is about half the speed, I use Debian. While Debian has been around for a long time, I only recently tried it, some six months after I discovered Gentoo. I'm very impressed by it, apt-get is as good as emerge as far as I can tell, but without any compilation to wait for. I had a full system, KDE and all, up in just a few hours instead of days.

If you use Gentoo and a friend says to you, "oh you need program X", throw your instant gratification out the window. By the time you have program X, your friend will be asleep, and you'll have to coordinate another day.

I still recommend Gentoo, but I think Debian is probably a better choice if you want easy software installation. Of course, neither of these distros is very user friendly. Setting up Gentoo is almost like LFS, and Debian is sorta like Slack. Give your mom SuSE.

For anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982550)

Gentoo may tought itself as a distro for those who know what they're doing, but with the literature and actual helpful members of the gentoo community, anyone can get it running. Even of crazy Sony hardware (firewire DVDROM that's invisible(magic!)) there is someone out there who WANTS to help you, as opposed to just shoutting RTFM (Soooooo unhelpful) Try it, you'll love it too.

I've switched to gentoo then off and now returning (2, Interesting)

strider3700 (109874) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982570)

I first installed gentoo last november and I loved it after the initial hell of installation. However one day a power outage corrupted the drives in both of my machines and I went to suse 8.1 on one machine and put win2000 back on the other.
kde crashed almost daily so I removed suse and put gentoo back on that box. Everything was great and I decided to ditch win2000 for gentoo.

The install was hell as always and things went fine untill I tried to get alsa support for my sbLive going. I fought with it for 3 days before deciding to try the newly released suse 8.2.

Suse install was great but there is too much installed by default. Divx and DVD movies both skip during playback. They don't on the same hardware under windows, and they didn't under gentoo way back.

So today I'm prepairing to install gentoo on this box again. Hopefully with the new rc4 the hardware detection is improved a little and I can get the sound working.

(the sb live works for thousands of gentoo users so it has to be something I'm doing that is causing it to fail)

Anyways, I love the portage system. If someone would make a nice gui installer for gentoo I'd be loving life.

Parallel Use with Other Distros ? (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982573)

How well does Gentoo work on the same system with other distros? I'd like to try it in its own partition to see if I like it, but I don't want to mess with the partitioning scheme, and my system is running GRUB because Mandrake wanted that - is it easy to add a Gentoo along with that? (It's easy with LILO, but I confess I haven't spent enough time messing with GRUB to be comfortable with it.) And of course it *can't* mess with any of the Windoze partitions, because they've got my tax software and backups of my work system.

What this linux thing, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982582)

Of course, BSD is the one true way. Best convert now, before this [freshmeat.net] happens to you.

Longtime Gentoo user (5, Informative)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982584)

I've been using Gentoo since 1.0-RC3. I switched my whole system completely over to Gentoo about a year ago, and haven't looked back since. Here are the top reasons I like Gentoo:

1) Community support. The Gentoo community is absolutely awesome. forums.gentoo.org is a one stop shop for any problem you might have. To this day, I have yet to encounter a problem I couldn't fix by a quick trip to the forums.

2) Excellent documentation. Everything is very verbose, and the most thinking you have to do is substitute devices names and the like for the appropriate values for your system. Previous Linux distributions I have used (and I've been using Linux since Slack 3.5) almost always required you to deviate a little from the written instructions, but this almost never happens with the Gentoo docs.

3) Great package management system. It easy for anybody that knows a bit of sh to write their own package build scripts (.ebuilds). As a result, the forums are full of ebuilds for the latest software. Thing of forums.gentoo.org as "0-day Linux Warez." Also, the ease of writing your own packages means you rarely have to bypass the package manager, since it's almost as easy to write your own ebuild (or, more often, edit an existing ebuild) as it is to compile the software manually.

4) Thoughtful extras. The NVIDIA Linux kernel drivers autodetect your kernel, and apply the appropriate patches if you're doing something like running a development kernel. It's these little tidbits that just makes life

5) Great configuration system. The init system makes sense. All environment variables are in files in the directory env.d. All module aliases are in seperate files in modules.d. All configuration parameters are in conf.d. Also, great utilities like etc-update for managing configuration files and whatnot.

PS> Note that nowhere in the top 5 is any reference to optimization. I use Gentoo not to be 1337, but because, after an initial investment in installation time, I ultimately get a very low maintenence, customizable, and flexible machine. So you anti-Gentoo trolls can just fuck off.

BITTORRENT LINK TO MATRIX RELOADED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5982595)

Matrix.Reloaded.TS-ESOTERiC.torrent [siol.com]

You're welcome.

Gentoo and its community (3, Interesting)

YokuYakuYoukai (570645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5982599)

Gentoo has one of the best linux communities ive ever seen. I've only experanced the gentoo forums and the #gentoo on efnet but both are full of cool tricks and helpful people. Its simply amazing to find a community of friendly, inteligent and knowledgeable people like this on the internet. It must be some kind of shock and awe type campain.
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