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Gentoo Linux Musings

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the looking-back-looking-ahead dept.

Links 395

ChaserPnk writes "Gentoo has been in the news recently. First with the news that Daniel Robbins leaving Gentoo and then with Gentoo Linux 2004.1 being recently released. Have you ever wondered how Gentoo got started? An article at IBM DeveloperWorks explains how. Get to know the history of Gentoo." darthcamaro wrote in with a related story that suggests that Gentoo is preparing to change directions soon: "Is Gentoo gearing up to be the third major enterprise distro? That's what an article running on internetnews.com points to. They talked to the head of Gentoo's enterprise efforts. For those that think that Gentoo Enterprise is far off, Gentoo's guy figures if they had the cash they'd be up and running in 6 months."

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Bearing Bad News... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015512)

Sorry but Gentoo Is Dying [google.com] (link requires IE 5.5 or better).

Copyright (c) 2004 Mike Brona, MCSE, MCDST, MS Office Specialist, Well-Respected VBScripting Guru

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

maybe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015520)

that's because all democrats are fags? Yes, I think that's it.

gentoo sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015521)

gentoo sucks.

I always have liked Gentoo (4, Interesting)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015532)

There is something very appealing about a distro that is so source-code driven (for lack of a better tem). It embodies all the best things about open-source software.

I have been extremely happy with Gentoo. It's rock-solid stable, and its the speediest of any distro I have tried (no doubt due to all your applications being optimized for your specific system).

If they came out with an "enterprise" version I think I would give it a whirl, I can see it easily being a great fit in my server room. I wish them all the best.

Re:I always have liked Gentoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015554)

If they came out with an "enterprise" version I think I would give it a whirl, I can see it easily being a great fit in my server room. I wish them all the best.

Dude, are you on crack, or very stupid? Maybe you should go back to windows!

Server room? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015659)

Is that what you call that extra room in your parents' basement now?

Seriously, Gentoo on a server?

Need new software now? Ok, wait an hour for a compile. Need to upgrade to a new version of some server software because there is a vulnerability? Wait for compile... Source based distros have no place in the 'server room.'

Re:Server room? (5, Insightful)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015692)

Need to upgrade to a new version of some server software because there is a vulnerability?

Actually I almost always compile key stuff from source anyway, because I want to know that features I want are compiled in.

Need new software now? Ok, wait an hour for a compile

And if you, as an admin, take less than an hour to test your rpm (or whatever) software installation, on a mission-critical server, you're not doing your job. I will give you that it takes a long time to compile most things, but in my book, it's time well spent.

Re:Server room? (2, Insightful)

ImpTech (549794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015772)

What admin needs new software now? You (gasp) TEST things before you implement them! Which is why you have a TEST machine, on which you can do any compiling you may need to. Moreover, it really doesn't take that long to compile most programs on modern hardware. Ok, maybe it takes a while on that old 200MHz machine in the basement, but barring that... and its not like you build KDE every day (or at all on a server).

Why it's appealing to me (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015747)

I think it's insane to reformat and reinstall a Linux distro every year a new version comes out.

The way Gentoo is set up, you never have to do that, ever. You upgrade as you go. Gentoo 2004.1 came out, but that's just the installation CDs...I installed using 1.4 CDs months ago, and I'm up to date as one would be if they installed this weekend (I love doing "emerge -upD world" and seeing what's new).

Re:Why it's appealing to me (0, Informative)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015755)

You're kidding right? You know you can do this in every other distro too.

Re:Why it's appealing to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015814)


$ emerge -upD world
-bash: emerge: command not found

Uh (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015832)

Wow, so you mean I can upgrade Slackware 8 from Slackware 9 with no problems? How about Red Hat 7 to Red Hat 8?


Re:Uh (2, Informative)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015848)

Ummm. I stick the RH8 discs in a RH7 box and choose "upgrade". Or I use yum or apt and take it right to FC1 or rawhide.

Re:Uh (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015861)

Better yet, RedHat 8 to RedHat 9..... If you have a free weekend, try that. It is good wholesome fun for the whole family, lemme tell ya!

In case you care, it doesn't work cuz RedHat added the native posix threading thing as of 9 and applications built against 8.0 or earlier libs will not work (with a few exceptions, I hear).

Have you ever wondered how Gentoo got started? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015534)


Right... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015536)

And if *I* had the cash, I could be up and running in 6 DAYS!!!

Whats his point?

My feelings on gentoo. (2, Insightful)

JoeShmoe950 (605274) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015538)

I first looked at the install procudure, and freaked out. After moving on from mandrake, and instlaling debian a few times, and getting the hang of linux a good bit more, I actually gave gentoo a try. The install, although tedious and quite slow, was straight forward and somewhat enjoyable. Finally, I had a bootable system. Unfortuneatly, I couldn't get it to detect my network card, so I tried to get the network driver of the live cd. Next, I couldn't find my cd-rom. Finally, I found that (it started with s instead of cd something like I expected), I got the network working. I than gave it a try. Its a great system, but I got annoyed at the compiles and such, and I thought that if I was just going to use binary packages I might as well use debian. All in all, if you like the advantages of compiling, use it, but if you hate compiling, no real reason to install it in the first place IMO.

When (2, Insightful)

odano (735445) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015540)

When I used linux, I used gentoo. If I had a choice now, I would probably use debian, but the "emerge" command and portage tree in gentoo was just awesome and really made linux a lot easier, which for me was nice because I was using linux soley as a development environment.

Mod parent down!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015628)

He implies that he no longer uses linux.

Re:Mod parent down!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015690)

So? What's wrong with not using Linux?

I like Gentoo... (5, Interesting)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015541)

I've been a Gentoo user for about 9 months, and it certainly has a promising future regardless of direction.

The portage system takes one of the best features of FreeBSD and actually *improved* on the idea rather than creating a poorly ported system. Decided you want to try out a few optimizations to see what your server likes best? Just 'emerge -e world' and you've got yourself a freshly recompiled system. Dreading the release of 2004.2? No sweat...Gentoo isn't like other distros (read: Redhat/Fedora) where upgrading remotely is a nightmare...just update the system through portage and it's essentially the same system. No need to worry about how you're going to upgrade your hosting servers to the newest release or worry that it will come to an EOL and you're no longer getting your juicy security patches.

It seems the most common complaint is the time it takes Gentoo to compile anything. The flexibility this system provides is well worth the extra few minutes rather than installing *.deb or *.rpm files and entering dependency hell.

Yes, yes...let the distro wars begin.

Re:I like Gentoo... (2, Redundant)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015576)

Oh god.... dependency hell? DEPENDENCY HELL? You do realize, don't you, that when you use *emerge*, it automatically compiles package dependencies as well (exactly the same as apt-get, natuarally)? It's not as if dependencies have simply ceased to exist in your distribution.

You also realize that if you uninstall a package in Gentoo, it doesn't check for whether that will break other packages' dependencies, right? Unless they've changed that since last time I had it on a machine.

I don't even have a problem with Gentoo, I thought it was ok. But seriously, you guys sound like a god damn commercial sometimes. Are all of you posters at the top of this article on some kind of Gentoo Streat Team OR WHAT?

Re:I like Gentoo... (1)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015647)

I'm well aware of the fact that portage compiles the dependencies as well, thank you for assuming my level of stupidity.

Although, I'm sure you also realize that apt-get installs binary packages...which isn't the same as compiling source.

As for uninstalling...ehh...I can't really think of the last time I actually had to uninstall anything...probably because I only install what I absolutely need and it *never* gives me any problems!

If I sound like a commercial its probably because I 1) am being paid to like Gentoo, or 2) Genuinely like it.

Funny how all the Debian zealots that seem to oppose Gentoo (Notice I didn't say ALL DEBIAN ZEALOTS) seem to rant and rave like children...

Re:I like Gentoo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015757)

How much is Gentoo paying? I will like Gentoo if the price is right.

Re:I like Gentoo... (3, Informative)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015835)

So he'd use apt-build instead.

If Debian zealots rant and rave like children, Gentoo zealots assume that they're the only distro that can compile things from source.

Re:I like Gentoo... (2, Informative)

ophix (680455) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015598)

redhat/fedora isnt difficult to upgrade to a newer version remotely. there is this great tool called APT that was started by the debian project...

i have used apt to upgrade from a redhat9 box to a fedora core box _while i was still using the system_

Re:I like Gentoo... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015613)

You say it like it's easy. I installed Gentoo. The place that I got stuck was where the script errors didn't match what the instructions told me to expect. What a piece of shit, I'll stick to Debian thank you very much.

Re:I like Gentoo... (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015695)

Dreading the release of 2004.2? No sweat...Gentoo isn't like other distros (read: Redhat/Fedora) where upgrading remotely is a nightmare...

You mean updating your repositories in Synaptic, then just hitting upgrade all? Yes, upgrading remotely used to be a problem for some distributions, but I can think of very few that haven't worked out a nice system for making it simple these days.

The flexibility this system provides is well worth the extra few minutes rather than installing *.deb or *.rpm files and entering dependency hell.

I don't recall ever being in dependency hell with *.deb - apt seemed to take care of all of that for me. Of course apt is now available for rpm, or you can use yum if you want. Throw in urpmi and I think we can safely say most distros have dependency hell sorted... unless you want to go installing random third party rpms. Of course, if you try and install random third party rpms on a Gentoo system...

Portage is a neat system, and compiling everything from source does have some advantages, but don't pretend that other distros haven't neatly handled the same sorts of issues in different ways.


Re:I like Gentoo... (1)

ImpTech (549794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015805)

APT, yum, Portage, et al only save you from dependency hell if all the packages you need are in their repositories. I still run into dependency problems much more often with RedHat/Fedora than I do on Gentoo. Why? Because Gentoo has by far more packages in its repository than any other distro I've used, even Debian.

FreeBSD (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015761)

Speaking of FreeBSD, I'd love to see Gentoo's Portage ported to FreeBSD. I know about ports, but I just like how Portage works. Feels more elegant to me.

It seems the most common complaint is the time it takes Gentoo to compile anything. The flexibility this system provides is well worth the extra few minutes rather than installing *.deb or *.rpm files and entering dependency hell.

Not to mention that Portage readily installs binary packages just fine if you do a Stage 3 install.

Re:I like Gentoo... (2, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015788)

The portage system takes one of the best features of FreeBSD and actually *improved* on the idea

Until it's safe to do an "emerge --unmerge", it's not an improvement. Portage has some nice polish, but a few basic pieces simply aren't complete.

I just wanted to say (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015545)

I started playing with Gentoo a few days ago... and I'm in love. I've been using computers for a while (DOS, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD primarily), and this is the first Linux distro that I've come across that I really like working with. I think part of it appeals to the elitist inside me that wants to compile everything heavily optimized, but it also just feels... right... to me. So, thanks to the Gentoo developers.

third major enterprise distro? (1)

twenty-exty-six (772817) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015546)

I can see this happening. The ease of administration creates lower cost, and Gentoo is the most flexible and pleasant distro I've dealt with. But, then again, I've never used Debian.

Third major commercial distro? (2, Funny)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015553)

Who are the first two major ones? Red Hat and SuSE? Red Hat and Mandrake? SuSE and Mandrake?

(No, I'm not stupid, I'm just a diehard Debian partisan. No jokes, please. ;) )

Re:Third major commercial distro? (2, Informative)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015616)

Enterprise, not just commercial. So that would be SuSE and Red Hat.

This has a lot of potential (5, Insightful)

LucidityZero (602202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015558)

First, I'd like to start off by saying that I currently don't even have gentoo installed on any of my systems. I am not a gentoo zealot.

That being said, while I was reading the article posted earlier regarding Linux Useability [slashdot.org] I actually asked a few friends: Does Portage have a GUI browser/installer yet?

If it did, Gentoo could instantly be turned into the single most user-friendly distro on the planet. The primary problem with Linux (besides game support, etc.) is the ease of program installation. Imagine how easy it would be to code a pretty GUI to allow you to browse the Gentoo Portage Tree (which is already split up into intuitive categories) and install whatever you need.

Gentoo is a phenominal distro. It would take very minor amounts of tweaking to make it incredibly user-friendly.

Re:This has a lot of potential (1)

omicronish (750174) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015608)

If it did, Gentoo could instantly be turned into the single most user-friendly distro on the planet. The primary problem with Linux (besides game support, etc.) is the ease of program installation. Imagine how easy it would be to code a pretty GUI to allow you to browse the Gentoo Portage Tree (which is already split up into intuitive categories) and install whatever you need.

That's a very interesting idea. Strangely enough, I never even considered a GUI for portage because the the emerge commands are so simple, and Gentoo's package page [gentoo.org] provides a sufficient method for me to find packages. However, a GUI will probably be helpful, especially for those intimidated by the CLI or those who hate mucking with switches.

A textmode GUI would also be helpful, since I don't have X installed on my server Gentoo box, although I just realized that I don't install packages that often anyway.

Re:This has a lot of potential (1)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015627)

KPortage was around for quite a while but I heard it got stale. I wouldn't know because I eventually got bored of it, but it was actually quite good in its time. Porthole is the latest offering but I've heard it's GTK-based.

Re:This has a lot of potential (2, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015732)

You mean something that might look a little like this [nongnu.org], with nice descriptions of the packages, and filters to see only upgradable packages, or new packages in the archive or even searches, like this [nongnu.org]?

Right, well, done. It;s called Synaptic. Except it works with apt not portage and is available for debian, fedora, connectiva, and any other distro using apt.

I'm sure a system is being developed for Gentoo - only logical really - but Synpatic has been available for quite some time now to make package management, installation, and upgrade simple.

Gentoo is a great distribution, but don't try to claim superiority for the wrong reasons.


Re:This has a lot of potential (1)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015833)

Yes it has a graphical browser, two actually, you can use the GUI based one, or the web browser based one, your choice!

Graphical installer is in the works (lot of argument about it actually)

Re:This has a lot of potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015854)

Gentoo has a list of packages on their website. There is also an 'unofficial' website at gentoo-portage.com which is very easy to navigate.

Having a GUI to use Portage would be rather strange, as there is no GUI installer for Gentoo (chicken & egg syndrome). Unless done extremely well, any GUI installer and GUI for Portage would be more confusing than just browsing the directories on your hdd. The categories in portage are already fairly well structured, but that structure would need to be visible in a GUI.

Would you rather have someone browse a package list on their HDD, or try teaching them to understand WTH is going on in DPKG for Debian ? I found DPKG a nightmare to even look at, let alone try and use.


Why Gentoo Should Be the next Debian (5, Interesting)

MarkWPiper (604760) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015562)

Debian's true success has been in spawning so many other interesting distros (Knoppix, Libranet, Lindows, and on and on).

I believe however, that Gentoo is even better suited to this task. A fix in the source is a fix for every distro, where as a fix in a package fixes only a single release of a single distro.

With the recent release of catalyst, gentoo makes even more sense in this role.

I guess there are two knocks against Gentoo as a 'distribution base distribution': installation, and packaging. Honestly though, packaging -- once the source has been compiled once -- now works great. That's what the knockoff distros would be doing. Installation, they've left somewhat open-ended. Every distro seems to make an installer though, so I can assume it'd be easy to make one for a Gentoo knockoff.

Gentoo's source database is simply of the highest quality. I think it is the distro to watch, but because it is so useful as a technology to create truly customized, useful distros.

Re:Why Gentoo Should Be the next Debian (1)

John Hurliman (152784) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015632)

Distribution packaging is as easy as --usepkg. I think something should be added to portage to allow cataloging of install CDs, then saying "please insert CD X", but it's almost there. Gentoo's source based distribution doesn't force you to compile everything from scratch, it's just the default option.

Re:Why Gentoo Should Be the next Debian (1)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015640)

Setting up for an installation is trivial, you just need to create a snapshot of your filesystem after following the install process. Then put that on a CD, and make an installer whose only job is to copy the files back to the hard drive. A new install just means uncompressing the file, syncing and updating the system. :-)

Enterprise Gentoo Linux? (5, Interesting)

Inhibit (105449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015569)

Actually, it's kind of odd thinking of Gentoo in an enterprise setting. It's always billed itself as a "meta distribution" in the sense that it's something solid distributions could be culled off of.

Due to it's ever changing and rotating nature, it's about dead opposite the rock solid Debian distribution. While it *could* be a Enterprise distribution, it'd be easier to create a solid locked branch built off Gentoo and kept clean of the nasty problems that tend to have (often) entered the portage tree in the past. And then it wouldn't really be Gentoo proper.

Re:Enterprise Gentoo Linux? (4, Informative)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015651)

If I understand their strategy correctly, the idea is to keep a 'stable' CVS tag in the manner of FreeBSD, and to distribute that to the enterprise portage tree. The same CVS repository would still be used for all the files, it would just be pointing at a different tag. And as long as it's using Portage, it's Gentoo. :-)

Re:Enterprise Gentoo Linux? (1)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015691)

You do know that Gentoo has varying levels of stability built into the portage system right?

For the uninformed, you simply state whether or not you want the stable or the buggy version, and you get it. They do a fair amount of testing for each version of any program to make sure it's stable. For instance, gnome 2.6 still hasn't hit the stable setting. Even the 2.6 kernel isn't the default kernel for some sources (the gaming sources come to mind).

They have a great system, if you ask me.

Re:Enterprise Gentoo Linux? (1)

Inhibit (105449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015764)

Sure, good enough to run my servers on :). Most people don't get a kick out of fixing up gcc though.

I tend to have to do my own testing and check out the package versions for issues. Another level of stability should address that though. Good stuff.

Re:Enterprise Gentoo Linux? (1)

justMichael (606509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015866)

emerge grub from .93 to .94, reboot your machine and come back and tell me that stable means stable in the gentoo portage tree.

Don't get me wrong, I use and like gentoo, but as I have said before, you gotta watch your ass with gentoo.

They seem to have a hard time upgrading packages without screwing up configs and no there wasn't anything to be done by etc-update after the emerge and there were no messages about potential issues.

Gentoo isn't for businesses right now... (3, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015581)

Businesses want support, stability and a minimum of fuss, not exactly areas where Gentoo enjoys advantages over other Linux distributions such as, say, Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake and Debian.

At the moment, it's not positioned to compete against the major distributions for a share of the business market. It may be so at some point down the line, but it certainly isn't so right now.

Re:Gentoo isn't for businesses right now... (5, Informative)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015677)

We've been using Gentoo exclusively on both servers and workstations for well over a year now. The reason we chose Gentoo?

-- Stability
-- Scalability
-- Flexibility
-- Customizability
-- Support

We had a mixed RedHat/Mandrake shop before that. From our point of view, we hope other businesses share your opinion. It gives us the competitive advantage.

Actually they want marketing (1)

GoClick (775762) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015913)

PHBs and Small Business owners tend to be a more interested in flashy marketing than anything else.

Interesting start (4, Interesting)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015583)

It's interesting to see how Daniel Robbins went and, on his own, built Enoch, and how he went from there to a distro as popular as Gentoo. It's also encouraging for many of us--when he started with Linux, he was just an NT sysadmin; this sure encourages me that I don't need to be a guru with assembly and C to make contributions.

I suppose the other valuable lesson, though, is that he did make it that far not just because of enthusiasm or hard work, but because he had a good idea (ebuilds). I see a lot of knock-off distros--yet another CD-based router, for example--that just don't have any great ideas behind them. Sure, that's the point of Linux--I've got no complaints with people doing what they want, but it strikes me that the valuable lesson here is that a good idea can go far--but without that idea, you've got nothing.

(That's the best I can come up with--just trying to focus the freakin' discussion on something other than ``I like Gentoo'' ``I don't!'')

WAY off topic, but I gotta ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015631)

With a name like KrispyKringle, you just GOTTA be a KDE user, right? :-)

(BTW I use KDE too, I'm not trying to flame you)

Re:WAY off topic, but I gotta ask (1)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015726)

haha, sometimes. Not at the moment--broke it recently while dicking around and haven't bothered to fix it. GNOME is actually a lot nicer than when I had last used it.

I just think it's kind of a funny name (though few others seem to agree). You know, like Kris Kringle? Old Saint Nick? Only, you know, lightly roasted. Or something. ;)

Gentoo over dialup (3, Interesting)

ajutla (720182) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015590)

I'm pretty new to Linux in general, but am not afraid of trying out something difficult or heavily CLI-based. I started with Mandrake and Fedora, but found them too bloated / Windows-esque for my taste, and am now relatively happily using Debian sarge, and have been eagerly awaiting its release. However, due to, er, some recent stuff, I'm getting slightly annoyed with Debian, wondering if the wait for Sarge might in fact be quite long, or indeed, interminable, and am looking at trying another distro. Gentoo looks rather appealing--it seems well-documented and so on, and looks like it might be pretty fun to set up. One thing, though: I have a dial-up connection. Is it possible/desireable to easily install Gentoo this way? I've got a fast connection at the University, and it seems [from reading the docs] that one can download ISOs containing binary packages built for Gentoo. But, er, doesn't that entirely defeat the purpose of installing Gentoo? Should I take the plunge? Is it a good idea to use Gentoo over dialup? I'd be interested if anyone has any thoughts on this.

Re:Gentoo over dialup (2, Informative)

petabyte (238821) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015668)

Are you going to and from the University or are you just coming home? If you can get on and off that connection you can do an emerge -f to download the packages at the university and continue the compile at home.

The binary packages can also be out of date fairly fast. Gentoo is going to take some bandwidth to get the source files for building intially but assuming you leave them in /usr/portage/distfiles, all you really have to do is emerge sync once a day (equiv of apt-get update) and then emerging new packages. That's also going to take some time to download new files if they are required but you can do other things while portage is doing its thing. I generally go do emerge whatever and then go do other things. Some of those packages can be really big to pull down over dialup but then again, if you've downloaded Fedora iso, you've probably found a way to deal with large downloads somehow.

Re:Gentoo over dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015684)

This is entirely possible. You might want to look at the --fetchonly option of emerge. This will make portage download all necessary files in one go without compiling each one. Then you can simply compile all of them offline. Also, you'll probably want to download one of the install isos that contain a snapshot of the portage tree. This will result in a much faster first 'emerge sync.' Good luck, it will be well worth it...

Re:Gentoo over dialup (1)

speedfreak_5 (546044) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015776)

If you have access to a CD burner, download source tar.bz2 files for the programs you need/want and burn them at the university. Then dump them inside "/usr/portage/distfiles" on your computer. You'll be dointg this every now and then for big packages such as gnome or kde, but for the small ones, dialup should be fine.

I love Gentoo (1)

fox2mike (706370) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015610)

I've been using Gentoo for about 4 months now & I really like it. After using RedHat, Fedora(rpm)...Portage is something that is really amazing. In fact this is kind of freaky since I'm giving a seminar in my college on Gentoo today & I did look up the exact same IBM Article a few days back. Really nice to know how it all started off. Thanks to the chap in #gentoo on irc.freenode.net for giving me the link a few days back ;)

meh Gentoo (3, Interesting)

Vlion (653369) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015645)

Pros of Gentoo:
Perfect for that old system you want to keep using.
If you are clustering, it probably would be the way to go.
Easy to update.

Cons of Gentoo:
Installation- un-believably frustrating.
Ever even seen Red Hat's system? Its SIMPLE and it WORKS. RH and Mandrake both can get my system to boot with grub on first install and boot, but nooooo, not Gentoo.
Too tweak-heavy.

I'm sorry. Gentoo is a great special-purpose distro. If it wants to go mainstream, it must have a better install system.
Go take a look at woody's(Debian) installer, and compare with the Gentoo install scheme.
Gentoo installations are crap.

I've done Gentoo, Debian, Red Hat 8, and Mandrake 10 installs.
Gentoo is the most difficult to install.

Re:meh Gentoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015670)

Most difficult to install if you're afraid of learning something new, as opposed to just doing a 'put in cd and follow pretty pictures' installation.

Re:meh Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015722)

Installation really isn't that bad.

Yes, there are more commands to tweak, but
I feel like things Just Work (tm) better, if you
have proper USE flags and whatnot.

Gentoo was my second install.
First, I tried Debian.
For some reason, I had problems with that.
Gentoo was easier for me, it just required
more typing.

As for Special purpose distro, I agree.
While I've installed gentoo on two home machines,
I wouldn't dream of doing it on work machines.

1) I don't want a new version of the software
every time I sync, I just want fixes, if possible.

2) Installing gentoo on more than 1 machine
every few weeks would make me hate life.

So, in short, it's flexibility and intelligence
make it a great choice for a well-loved home box,
but it's not worth the effort for large installations.

Then again, with it's flexibility it is likely
possible to create an absurdly customized installation, then dupe it out to similar computers within the system. This would be a good use of Gentoo.

Re:meh Gentoo (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015731)

anyone could write an installer for gentoo. it is the smallest part of the process (it's only frustrating if you don't follow the directions which can mostly be typed verbatim from the installation instructions) and really quite trivial amounting to just a handful of commands.

I have installed gentoo on numerous systems including several vmware virtual machines, a network engines roadster lx (slightly weird PC), a compaq presario 1692 laptop (k6-based, I wanted to compile everything to get k6 optimizations), and an SGI Indy. In none of these cases did I need to do any major tweaks. Follow the build instructions, edit the /etc/conf.d/net to suit, and that was it.

Gentoo is the most difficult to install of these, but with a little knowledge it can be done without help.

RedHat has refused to install on many systems I have tried it on. Gentoo has failed on none. Both of us can present only anecdotal evidence but gentoo's lack of an installer means there's no installer bugs :) Plus their initial kernel is fantastic.

Re:meh Gentoo (1)

MisterP (156738) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015744)

Gentoo's install is unbelievably frustrating? Give me a break. In the last 2 years i've done it 4 times total on 4 different machines with different hardware, one being a laptop and it's gone perfectly fine every time.

Seriously. Look at this:
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/gentoo-x86-qui ckinsta ll.xml

Unless you're a setup.exe jockey, and/or you can't read, there is nothing hard about it. 75% of what is on the page is code snippets that can be copy and pasted right into an SSH session.

Re:meh Gentoo (3, Insightful)

gregmac (629064) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015865)

Gentoo's install is unbelievably frustrating? [...] Unless you're a setup.exe jockey, and/or you can't read, there is nothing hard about it. 75% of what is on the page is code snippets that can be copy and pasted right into an SSH session.

Uh, thank you for proving his point. No matter how you cut it, copying and pasting code snippets is a pain in the ass (well, not to mention it's fairly difficult to copy and paste to a system that doesn't work yet...). The first time I installed Debian (Woody), I selected "medium" as the question level to use, figuring that I'd like to maintain somewhat strict control over my system. After about the 20th dialog asking me some stupid assinine question, I just started pressing enter to pretty much all of them, accepting defaults, with the reasoning that it would be easier to fix what was broken once I found out it was broken, rather than sit and read through pages and pages of crap I don't really care about or that doesn't even apply to me (of course, you have to read it before figuring that part out).

How hard is it to make a script to do all those actions on that page? Not very.. Though granted, it is a bit more difficult to make a nice installer that recovers from errors and can handle strange situations -- but it's been done before. Debian's new installer for sarge is great. Set it to high question level, and you barely have to touch it and end up with a working system.

Enterprise speaking (or any business, for that matter), it's not worth the performance benefit of compiling cpu-specific code (vs generic 386 code or whatnot) if you have to spend a hell of a lot more hours setting it up. Those hours cost money - and moreso if it's taking away from billable time. On the other hand, hardware is cheap. If it costs more in time than it does to throw a faster CPU or more ram at it to get more speed in the system, then you've lost the benefit.

Re:meh Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015847)

I've done at least 8 gentoo installs in the last 8 months (sure I have too many PCs around the house, but who's counting) I love the gentoo install... I find that it takes about as much effort as clicking through the Mandrake install - assuming that the reader can follow instructions well (I can't speak for any non-english translations).

I love to use gentoo on my desktop box; however, it think we're a long ways off from installing gentoo 1000s of computers in an enterprise or even on servers (for which my vote goes to rock-solid debian)

Re:meh Gentoo (4, Insightful)

m1a1 (622864) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015860)

I find it funny that you say gentoo cannot get grub to work on the first boot on your systems when gentoo does not in fact install grub... you do.

What you actually mean is that left to install grub on your own you can't make it work. Personal problem? I think so.

As a recent convert (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015650)

Let me say that Gentoo is great. I've used Red Hat, Mandrake, and recently Suse. But now that I've tried Gentoo, I wouldn't go to any other distro, at least not for personal use.

Background source-building (5, Interesting)

lwells-au (548448) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015673)

From the "what-I-would-like-to-see" department :)

What I would love to see in Gentoo, or any other distro that is source-based really, is a way of setting up the system from binaries and then have the system transmogrify itself.

What do I mean? Well, after the initial install the distro could start to compile the optimised packages with a preset set of flags and "replace" the existing pre-compiled binaries as it finishes the optimisations.

Why? Well I think this would offer the absolute best of both worlds. It would allow you to get a Gentoo-based system up quickly without waiting hours and hours for compilation. It would then take advantage of unused CPU cycles (and lets face it, I doubt most machines use a large amount of resources more than 5-10% of their operating lives) to compile optimised packages, thus giving the benefits that everyone loves about source-based distros?

Is it possible? I have no idea. Frankly, I don't use Gentoo or even Linux all that often, but it strikes me as very neat solution for the one weakness present in distros that have to be compiled from source.

I think it might also be quite useful in getting acceptence in the business world. Being able to get a system up and customised quickly could be an important selling point, particularly in SME business where there is a diverse range of hardware (and thus ghosting is not necessarily a good option). It such a networked environment, it might even be possible to use a distributed compilation system.

Anyway, that's my little suggestion. As I said, it may not even be practical let alone possible, but it might stimulate further ideas that make Gentoo (and perhaps linux in general) an even better solution. Again, I don't even use Linux (well, only very infrequently) but I strongly support the underlying philosophy behind much of the OSS movement. /rant mode :)

Re:Background source-building (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015710)

Gentoo already does this.

See http://store.gentoo.org/product_info.php?products_ id=38&osCsid=62491a6d8c10e18966ed74cb48351b4a

I should add that you can get all those versions for free off the FTP, but the FTP doesn't offer nice fluffy marketing-speak like that does :)


Re:Background source-building (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015740)

Easily done.

Emerge the binary packages.

Then, set PORTAGE_NICENESS=19 and
re-emerge what you've got.
It emerges in the background, replacing.

Not quite so simple as what you described,
but same effect.

Re:Background source-building (1)

lwells-au (548448) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015767)

Interesting -- admittedly I was not aware of this -- but until its as easy I my original idea I don't think it will be seen as suitable for a business environment.

Perhaps I am just beating my own drum, but simplicity and elegance does have it benefits (as Gentoo as a concept shows, IMHO), and its unlikely that secretary (by way of example) is going to be running emerge tasks.

Re:Background source-building (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015762)

I just did this using the gentoo CDs.

I did a netless install. I install the basics from packages on the CD (KDE, compilers, etc). I got back to work (I just did't have to time to sit and wait).

While working I did "emerge sync; emerge -fu world" which updated the versions and downloaded all the source code.

Then at the end of the work day I logged out (just in case upgrading KDE in-place would screw it up), and did "emerge -u world" at the console.

Voila, my gentoo system was transmogrified with the latest updates.

Pretty cool and I hope they explore this further (i.e., let's have "netless install", "net with precompiled binaries", and "net from scratch").

Re:Background source-building (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015773)

Why don't you just install from Stage 3 binaries, then recompile what you need optimized?

Quoting the article... (1, Funny)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015675)

"People can get ugly" is a headline.
And this comes as a surprise? I mean... come on... we read Slashdot. We don't need to be reminded of our own physical failures HERE.

Gentoo on the Desktop and (5, Interesting)

asv108 (141455) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015685)

Debian on the servers. Seriously, after the whole Redhat EOL debacle, I stopped relying on commercial distros for my Linux needs. Both distros have huge packaging systems and sport the ability to upgrade to major OS updates with one simple command.

On the desktop end, I prefer gentoo because it is more lenient with accepting non-free packages and packages with potential legal issues. I also like the optimization abilities of a source based distro. As a java developer, Gentoo is simply the best Linux distro for Java developement. The major jre's are integrated in to the packaging system and the java-config utility allows me to easily switch from multiple jres on the fly.

On the server side, debian provides stability and quality control. Contrary to popular myth, there are quite a few pay support options available [debian.org] for debian.

Gentoo Usage (5, Interesting)

mozingod (738108) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015701)

We're already using Gentoo on about a dozen or so production machines. Its been great. Setup time takes about two business days (system over night, bootstrap overnight), but who cares? We have the installation procedure we use down to the point where we don't even have to look at the screen, our self-made guides have everything written down. All the machines have a common configuration this way too.

I'm currently working on a web based system to very easily keep all these systems up to date and allow us to choose which packages we want to upgrade, so we don't have to get the newest if we don't want.

I hope they do release commercial support for it, we'd be one of the first on the list to purchase!

Re:Gentoo Usage (5, Informative)

birukun (145245) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015777)

You must try distcc - it has saved me tons of time!

www.distcc.org - they even offer a link to Gentoo.org for information on how to install and configure. It is so simple I am still amazed that more people are not using it.

distcc offloads compiler jobs to other machines over the network. My PIII 700 laptop now has a little help - the Athlon XP2100 and the PIII 600 perform alot of the work now.

Another thing I use is ccache - I don't exactly know how it works, but it supposedly adds 20 -40% faster compile times.

I also read somewhere in the forums that it is possible to set up a server internal to compile the packages once for the target machines (if they are all the same) and then perform a binary install to each machine from there.

Use distcc to have all the machines compile the packages once; use the binary package emerge to install locally! *SWEET*
Good Luck!
Birukun (here and on the Gentoo forums)

Gentoo in the enterprise? I don't see it. (5, Interesting)

KJE (640748) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015723)

I had played around with Linux at home, with SuSE and Red Hat and the like. But they were all so big on that 400MHz Celeron. Then I put on Gentoo, and it flew. MythTV, no problem! With the famous pvr-250, and me striping down the system to be a mythtv only box, I was smokin.

But in the server room? Sadly, I don't see this happening. What sells there is support. And for people who don't know, when we talk about someone providing support, we talk about someone to *blame*. "Hey, the server is down, wtf? Well, I'm paying RH $XXXX, I'll let them figure it out." And for the most part, they do.

The whole philosophy of Gentoo seems to go against this though. Red Hat can support it, cause they know you are running RedHat 7.2 with the 2.4.9-31MPT-SP kernel, cause that's what they shipped with. If you buiild your own they'll have one word for you: Unsupported.

Now look at Gentoo Linux, they are at the other end of the spectrum, 100% custom. Who in their right mind is going to support that? How could they? I just don't see it.

Re:Gentoo in the enterprise? I don't see it. (1)

Nooloo (775766) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015750)

Who in their right mind is going to support that? A whole bunch of indians?

Binary flag? (0, Troll)

Nooloo (775766) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015730)

Having used gentoo for near 2 years now and always hearing people complain about the time it takes to compile everything, Ive often wondered why they havent just added some kind of flag to emerge/portage which would specify installing a binary package instead of compiling from source. It would def. be handy for huge compilation tasks like KDE, GNOME, etc...

Re:Binary flag? (3, Informative)

moreon (120076) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015795)

There is already a binary flag for emerge, emerge -k. Certain packages (large ones like GNOME, KDE, Evolution, Mozilla, etc... and their dependencies) are provided by what's called GRP (Gentoo Reference Platform). All you have to do is set your PKGDIR in /etc/make.conf to point to a directory where you have these prebuilt packages (which you download an .iso of off a Gentoo mirror), and you're set. Although emerge currently has the capability to fetch prebuilt packages from a mirror that provides them, there are no public mirrors which do so. If you had a bunch of computers that you wanted to run gentoo on though, you could set up an ftp site with prebuilt binaries, point emerge to the ftp, and use emerge -gK to automatically fetch/emerge the packages you want. Otherwise you have to do what I said before, which is to get an .iso with all those prebuilt packages, and simply mount it.

Re:Binary flag? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015806)

Having used gentoo for near 2 years now and always hearing people complain about the time it takes to compile everything, Ive often wondered why they havent just added some kind of flag to emerge/portage which would specify installing a binary package instead of compiling from source. It would def. be handy for huge compilation tasks like KDE, GNOME, etc...

It's already there.

PKGDIR="path_to_packages" emerge --usepkg package_name, if you have a package of the same version a compile would merge.

Use --usepkgonly to force installation of an older version than a merge would install.

To create binary packages whenever you compile something, add "buildpkg" to your FEATURES= line in /etc/make.conf . Most useful when installing on multiple systems.

Re:Binary flag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9015874)

They have. It's the -k flag, which is also used nowadays for the CD-based installs. emerge will pull the packages from the CD when possible using that flag.

You can build your own binary packages by using --buildpkg.

nonsense (2, Insightful)

treat (84622) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015770)

Enterprise users do not want to compile anything. A Redhat install can be done in under 10 minutes on a fast machine with a fast network. An install that takes two days and requires manual work at every step is simply not reasonable.

Enterprise users do not generally care about performance to the extent that a different compiler option tailored for their CPU will benefit.

Enterprise users do care about the software being tested with the exact same compiler and compiler options and libraries that they are using.

Gentoo will never have widespread enterprise use. The idea is just silly.

Re:nonsense (1)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015813)

I agree nonsense to what you said

you can do the same thing with Gentoo that you can with red hat, compile a binary that will work on most, or all of your systems, and then just, fdisk, and dump a tar.bz2 image on to the systems that you want to use.

If you have two million different sets of hardware, you can easily set it up for that too

thinking that only RedHat, (binarys) can fit on a box "fast", is irrisponsible and antiquated! Nuff said

Re:nonsense (2, Insightful)

mastergoon (648848) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015849)

I'd say the opposite, a lot of enterprise users want to squeeze out every last drop of performance they can get.

Re:nonsense (1)

SavedLinuXgeeK (769306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015857)

Well Honestly, you can create binary packages, if Gentoo does go Enterprise, that may not be too far off. Actually something i've considered personally, and think it would be a great idea is a compiling farm. If Gentoo gets enough funding they can create a system to use distcc to create custom packages on the fly for enterprise users. Or they could just present pre-customized, and pre-set useflags that are most common. Though I think the compiler farm would work the best, and then just distribute the binary packages.

Gentooo..EOOO! (4, Interesting)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015778)

I see the future of Gentoo not only as a meta distrobution, but also as a comunication method between developers and users

The biggest thing about Gentoo for me hasn't just been the fact that I can get anything (fresh out of the oven), but the fact that I can report bugs, and get feedback within hours....I can go to the gentoo forums and get answeres within minutes

It's because I feel the future of linux is in its ability to progess, to find new way's of doing thing s, to find new......on a five year mission to .... well you get the idea.

Gentoo is just plain FUNNN!!!!

My money! bwahaha! (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015798)

Gentoo's guy figures if they had the cash they'd be up and running in 6 months.

If I had "the" money, I'd be up and running with it now!!

we should see how business friendly these OSes are (5, Interesting)

GoClick (775762) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015828)

We will take some random people in the following magnitudes and administer an OS test to see who's really king. Now I agree that Windows has a greater advantage because of market share, HOWEVER that's the real world and the one we play in.

30, 9th graders selected at random
30, Fresh high school grads
60, members of the general population
30, persons age 30-60
30, persons age 60+
30 small business _owners_ not in IT

FYI this is 210 people.

We will have them attempt the following tasks Using the latest versions of

Participants will be timed and rewarded with a prize if they succeed in their tasks, say a candy bar (to simulate a work environment where they would get money)

There will be two tasks to do 1/2 of each group will do each

The first half will have to complete the tasks without any documentation other than what is provided standard ON SCREEN.

The second half with a full printed manual including screen shots and detailed step by step instructions

Our tests will be

Install the OS (I realize this isn't realistic cause every Mac already comes with it but it'll have to do)
Create 5 users
Log in as one of the users and complete the following tasks
Write a complex document with some formatting and colors and save it as a HTML document
configure e-mail and send that HTML document to someone
make a spread sheet and save it to a location and upload it to a website

Users will have to find and install all the software to do these things either durring the OS install or from the Internet, they can make 2 phone calls durring the test

Then we'll see what OS is really easiest and fastest and cheapest, we'll assume these people all cost $0.002 per second... Meaning that the commercial OSes already start with quite an expensive handicap.

I'm sure with some more time and thought one could make this more fair but I personally expect OSX (Followed by Linspire) to win the on screen only event by a wide margin even considering the heavy price tag of the OS (we'll just assume a PC that costs as much G4 to level the feild) Most of us have seen a newbie use OS X and it's almost like they know what their doing..... For the well documented test I would expect Linspire to win followed by RedHat.

Now test could be expanded to setting up a small office network typical to a small business, I once again expect OS X to clean up

Enterprise Gentoo (1, Flamebait)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 9 years ago | (#9015869)

I was a little surprised by the internetnews.com article [internetnews.com] about Gentoo being used in the enterprise. Kurt Lieber (of Gentoo) even claims that "Gentoo is being widely used in corporations today", although his definition of "widely used" may be different than mine.

As great as Gentoo is, it's not high on the list of distros that I would have guessed the business world would embrace. Granted, Gentoo's flexibility does seem to make it well-suited for certain enterprise-level applications; and if Debian can be adapted for commercial consumption in the form of distributions like Xandros, then I suppose Gentoo could as well.

Lieber's target market is a niche market. While I certainly agree that Linux' future shouldn't be arbitrated by one or two vendors, I'm not convinced that the enterprise niche Lieber describes is best served by a commercial version of Gentoo. Regardless, it's unclear from the article whether or not he would actually commercialize Gentoo given the chance.

But the popularization of Gentoo's approach could have other connotations. It's easy to relegate Portage to the realm of Linux curiosities that never could have mainstream appeal. On the surface, it seems that way. But this is exactly the sort of system I would expect to see standardized once our network infrastructure and home computer technology matures to the point at which package acquisition and build time are negligible.

But for the time being, we're still a point at which we're trying to establish some solid standards in the Linux world, and as much as I want RPM to go away, it won't any time soon. So while I don't foresee Portage triggering any revolutions within the next few years, the concept will evolve and its day will come.
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