Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

10-Day Gentoo Installation Agony

kdawson posted more than 8 years ago | from the rtfm-and-join-the-channel dept.


lisah writes, "The Linux distribution Gentoo has a hard-core following, and with good reason. Gentoo is known for its configurability and choices. It's not known, however, for its easy installation. NewsForge's Joe Barr outlined his painful installation experience with Gentoo in an article that explains why, after 10 days, he finally gave up and went with Debian Etch. From the article: '[B]ack in the day, Gentoo users first had to rip the source code from the bone with their teeth before compiling and installing it, but now the live CD had sissified the process to the point that anyone could do it... I exaggerated the ease of installing Gentoo.' And: 'Gentoo doesn't ask what it can do to make things easier, it asks you exactly what it is that you want it to do, and then does precisely and only that.'" Slashdot and NewsForge are both owned by OSTG.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

10-Day Installation Agony? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140243)

What about the 100-day agony of using Gentoo?

Re:10-Day Installation Agony? (2, Informative)

The Real Toad King (981874) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140351)

I've been using Gentoo for what I guess about 100 days now, and except for me totally screwing something up early on (I think it was the X server) and having to reinstall the entire thing, I've had a good experience with it.

Re:10-Day Installation Agony? (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140400)

I've been using it for years...and it is VERY easy to do now. I mean, it might be a little difficult for a complete Linux noob, coming from a mac or windows machine where you might not know what hardware you even have on your box...but, any Linux install would prove a little difficult for a first timer.

The Gentoo of today, starts you off with either a gui install (have not tried it yet) or CLI...but, they start you off with a stage3 tarball...and you actually get a running config quite rapidly. I actually had to research to find out how to get it to bootstrap like it did in the old days and built "everything" from scratch from source. (That link HERE [] .

But, far as Linux installs go...Gentoo is about as easy as any I've tried. With any of them, you often have to do a little research on the chipset of some component you have on board...hell, you need to know that for many items on a simple kernel config....and everyone has to do that sooner or later....

Re:10-Day Installation Agony? (1)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140504)

"But, far as Linux installs go...Gentoo is about as easy as any I've tried."

I can't say how easy Gentoo is today. But I ran it some years ago on a Powerbook when the choices for Linux on the powerbook were few. But the latest Ubuntu install I did for someone was as easy as it can get. I can't imagine Gentoo being that easy. But maybe someone with recent experience on both can elaborate.

Re:10-Day Installation Agony? (5, Informative)

Darby (84953) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140489)

I've been using Gentoo for what I guess about 100 days now, and except for me totally screwing something up early on (I think it was the X server) and having to reinstall the entire thing, I've had a good experience with it.

Something you might want to do. Once you get your base system (plus X, KDE/Gnome/whatever) installed, do a stage 4 backup.
Basically, just make a tarball out of your partitions.

If you have to reinstall, just boot off the CD, mount your partitions, chroot, copy the image over and untar it.
Reboot, and you're good to go. Saves a lot of hassle with reinstalls.

Quick, cheap and dirty, but it works well.

Re:10-Day Installation Agony? (3, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140548)


What this article fails to mention is that done right, Gentoo rivals FreeBSD in the stability department. That isn't to draw flames either. When you're counting 9's, that is just plain awesome.

Odd (5, Funny)

Psycosys (886125) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140245)

My install experience with gentoo took less time than that and I spent 3 days figuring out that my motherboard was defective.

Re:Odd (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140293)

So only six days to install then?

Re:Odd (4, Interesting)

SCO_Shill (805054) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140366)

" asks you exactly what it is that you want it to do, and then does precisely and only that."

I took me less than 10 days for my very first Linux install (the author mentions using about nine different versions of Linux) using Gentoo a couple of years ago.

This was a Stage 1 install (the one that takes the longest and requires the most user input/interaction) on an old AMD K6 laptop with some heavy optimization, and included building X and a bunch of useful apps (I can't remember which ones I compiled at the moment), and it really did exactly what I told it to do. Which is what I would expect.

Maybe I just had a better experience than the author.

10 days (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140645)

I built OpenOffice on my 1GHz Duron machine -- that alone took 10 days. Now I use OpenOffice-bin.

But seriously, Joe Barr:
1. Did not RTFM
2. Was impatient and gave up his first attempt while it was still running.

There are alternatives. I have used a chroot approach to building a system while running under another distro. This works well, is low risk and is documented.

Gentoo is only hard to install... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140269)

... if you're too dumb to follow the instructions.

Exactly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140390)

That man is a stupid whiner.

Re:Exactly! (4, Informative)

vandon (233276) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140626)

From TFA:
You will hear, see, and read "RTFM" dozens of times before you're done

I've been using Gentoo for 2 years now and the only RTFM I've gotten was a 'Read the forums, man'. One quick search on, and the answer was in the second post, spelled out step-by-step. Every problem I've had on any of my Gentoo boxes has been answered on the forums. 95% of the time the answer is already there and you just have to post the error string into the search box.

Either this guy doesn't know Linux as well as he thought, or this story is just trollbait.

What a whimp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140286)

If it's too strong, then you're too weak.

That's why there are so many distros (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140623)

Ubuntu for mere humans, gentoo for bleeding edgers, and others in between.

It is silly to bitch about Gentoo not being an easy-peasy install. That is not Gentoo's mission. If Gentoo-ites spent all their time making Gentoo all soft and cuddly it wouldn't be Gentoo any more. Likewise, if Ubuntu was as configurable as Gentoo it would be a bitch to use and would no longer be Ubuntu.

Be thankful you have choices. In MS land you get exactly no choice at all.

OH NOES!! (5, Insightful)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140292)

I don't want to learn!! It's hard to read the documentation!

This guy wants everything handed to him, and there are plenty of distros for that. What I don't understand is that he complains about having to RTFM, then he installs Debian. I could have sworn they were the worst offenders for telling noobs to RTFM.

Re:OH NOES!! (5, Funny)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140356)

I guess he'll understand when I don't read TFA

Re:OH NOES!! (2, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140437)

"then he installs Debian. I could have sworn they were the worst offenders for telling noobs to RTFM."

I've heard that about the Debian forums. That is one very nice thing about Gentoo....the people on the forums are very nice, and helpful...yes, even on questions that have been asked 100's of times before.

I do with the search on the forums was a little better...I often find it deletes some of my search terms...and I dunno why.

Re:OH NOES!! (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140554)

Not only that, but this guy can't even give up right!

Debian Etch?! Pfft... If you're gonna slack, do it right and use UNBUNTU!

Follow the Directions! (5, Informative)

lefticus (5620) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140302)

I've installed Gentoo several times now and have never had a problem when I FOLLOW the DIRECTIONS. I've known two other people, one professional Linux developer who could not get it installed because he refused to follow the directions step by step and another, the VP of marketing at my company, who installed it easily after following the directions.

It's really not complicated, just tedious.

Re:Follow the Directions! (1)

sammyo (166904) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140430)

Yes, exactly.

Don't get tired. Don't miss a step. Don't loose patience.

I missed a step... so it was dig through network details, restart from
the beginning, or, take a beat, be up with ubuntu in another
20 minutes.

Another happy ubuntite.

ps. I'll dig in to gentoo on another project that is more
performance oriented (and where I'll have a gentooguru on call)

Re:Follow the Directions! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140450)

I've installed Gentoo several times now and have never had a problem when I FOLLOW the DIRECTIONS.
I've been using Linux for around 10 years now and when I looked at the install instructions for Gentoo I just rolled my eyes and went back to Debian. It's like Gentoo users get a kick out of making their install as complex and unforgiving as possible in some lame attempt to make their penis look larger. With my Debian install I can kick back, hit enter through all the screens and be done with an install in under a half hour depending on my network speed. I don't have time to sit around fucking around for hours or days while my god damn packages compile from scratch to get additional features not included in the base packages (which SHOULD have been enabled by default in any sane release).

Re:Follow the Directions! (4, Informative)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140464)

Gentoo has the best documentation in the Linux world too. I refer to it even when configuring other distros.

Re:Follow the Directions! (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140517)

the VP of marketing at my company
I believed your words right up to that point ;)

Re:Follow the Directions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140525)

The thing about gentoo is the install sucks, but it is the last install you'll ever have to do. I installed this system over 2 years ago and it is as up to date as linux gets.

Re:Follow the Directions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140599)

Debian has the same thing, and the install is easy.

Re:Follow the Directions! (5, Funny)

Darby (84953) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140526)

It's really not complicated, just tedious.

Heck, it doesn't even have to be that tedious.


  it only takes three commands to install Gentoo
  cfdisk /dev/hda && mkfs.xfs /dev/hda1 && mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && chroot /mnt/gentoo/ && env-update && . /etc/profile && emerge sync && cd /usr/portage && scripts/ && emerge system && emerge vim && vi /etc/fstab && emerge gentoo-dev-sources && cd /usr/src/linux && make menuconfig && make install modules_install && emerge gnome mozilla-firefox openoffice && emerge grub && cp /boot/grub/grub.conf.sample /boot/grub/grub.conf && vi /boot/grub/grub.conf && grub && init 6
  that's the first one

Re:Follow the Directions! (2, Informative)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140558)

You hit the nail on the head my friend. Many years ago, I installed Gentoo and got it up and running *HAVING NEVER USED LINUX OR ANY TYPE OF UNIX BEFORE.* I followed the directions.

Re:Follow the Directions! (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140560)

I know what you mean. Reading the article, I was laughing when I realized he hadn't frobnozled the prepalpitator scripts with the correct USE -octaroon -dingo flags. I just knew that would come back to bite him on the ass latter. Simply follow the directions, people! Perfectly easy, my grandmother has severe alzheimer's and she managed to get gentoo installed from source in under 15 seconds.

Seriously, it's not just incredibly tedious, it's also complicated unless you are doing a stock vanilla install with exactly and nothing but the recommended options. But I was doing stuff like that with Linux before there was even a gentoo, just for fun. It is fun, for a certain type of person. But, like masturbation, it's a very personal kind of fun that doesn't contribute anything very useful to society at large. And most normal people really, really don't want to hear the gory details about how you did it and how much fun it was.

Re:Follow the Directions! (3, Interesting)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140580)

I actually install Gentoo for fun!

It was my very first attempt at Linux, and it worked great. In fact the difficulty of the installation process causes me to recommend it to new users, because it forces newbies to learn the ins and outs of the system from the get-go.

As a hardcore Gentoo fanboy [] , I was also greatly saddened that they "sissied" the process with the fancy GTK installer.

Re:Follow the Directions! (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140595)

I was actually going to comment that the author is in fact just an idiot. That could be the same thing as "can't follow directions" for the purposes of installing a distro. For example:

The live CD didn't like the video card in my machine. I noticed as I booted that the text began about three-quarters of the way across the screen, then wrapped around to continue on the left side. When the GUI display appeared, it was similarly offset. Using the monitor's auto-image adjust feature, I was able to set the display properly.

This isn't a live CD problem. This says the resolution/h and v-freq the live CD happened to pick to drive your card at was not the same as what you had been running, and your monitor's adjustments for the old timings were off. The fact you talk about auto-image adjust fixing it tells me that the image that was being output was just fine, but the user observing it is not "just fine."

His ending comment about "a good programmer" is funny considering he tried to build his system like a bad programmer programs. He tried to compile everything as one blob and then is distressed one package broke (in programming: write whole app, test later). Duh. You install the least you have to (ssh, kernel, screen, grub, and associated libraries) then reboot under the real OS not under the live cd. Then ssh in, start a screen, and emerge what you want to have. You can monitor it remotely and kick it if needed.

Particularly handy if you find during the compiles that your hardware is slightly flakey and will bomb out a compile ever so often, but that when you restart it, it compiles fine.

Re:Follow the Directions! (2, Funny)

slapout (93640) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140643)

I tried to install Gentoo once, but I couldn't understand the directions. In fact, I couldn't understand the directions that told you which set of directions to follow!

Really? It was easy for me to install (3, Informative)

The Real Toad King (981874) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140312)

After one day of partitioning my Windows hard drive, and an hour reading through the installation manual online, I managed to install Gentoo without any problems after figuring out what exactly to do. (Except for having to download ndiswrapper manually from Windows to port over to Gentoo, because my wireless router doesn't have any native Linux drivers for it, so I couldn't download any updates.) This was also the first time I installed any Linux distro.

Just because one guy can't install it successfully doesn't mean the entire thing is flawed.

installation (2, Interesting)

GoatVomit (885506) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140313)

Yes the installation can take a while depending on from which stage you want to do it but considering the documentation available it isn't that difficult. Maybe he should try openbsd next?

Re:installation (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140462)

"Yes the installation can take a while depending on from which stage you want to do it"

The literature today ONLY supporst stage3 actually have to 'dig' to find how to do it from stage1 these, it is much easier than before.

Re:installation (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140552)

I must agree that "it isn't that difficult," but my brother had the same issues (which seem to be an inability to read instructions.) I can progress completely through a stage one install in only a few hours when using distcc.

I, personally, don't care for the gui installation method of modern gentoo live cd's because they are not geared toward complex installations (doesn't use LVM, no raid options, etc.)

I found myself helping my brother with EVERY step of the installation process. The only part he was able to do on his own was burn the live cd and boot the system from cdrom. I've been kicking myself ever since because he refuses to go back to windows (which is where I believe he belongs) and I'm asked to fix his system every time he decides to use emerge (kicking myself for telling him how portage works)

Anyway, It's my firm belief that Linux isn't for everyone, and that Gentoo is for fewer still. RTFM is more than a suggestion when Gentoo is involved. Many users are baffled when they must read anything other than "OK" or "Cancel"

My mom recently asked (because she's constantly having virus and spyware issues) if I would set her system up running Linux. I very quickly said "NO." If I've learned anything from my experience with my brother, it's that Linux is for the patient, resourceful and knowledgeable few.

I've been accused of being elitist before....

It's a shame (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140320)

that no one yet has made an OS that is trivial to get working in a reasonable default configuration, and then infinitely (and relatively easily) tweakable.

(I'm sure someone will suggest that someone has...)

why bother?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140339)

I BT'ed Xandros and had it running in a partition in about 15 minutes with 0.01% headache. Yes I can't run XGL (yet) but hey its a start.

Live CD's, Sissified? (4, Insightful)

corroncho (1003609) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140340)

This is the type of elitist attitude that will keep normal users from adopting Linux. The live CD is one of the best ways to prove Linux's viability as a Desktop OS. I can't count the number of Linux users I know that didn't first try it out on a live CD. " the point that anyone could do it...", isn't that the idea?
Free iPods? Its legit [] . 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! []

Re:Live CD's, Sissified? (1)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140485)

What "normal user" would want to compile the code for *everything* he or she wants to run, or for that matter, even knows what he/she wants to run in a Linux distro? Gentoo, by nature, requires a level of knowledge that is well above that of an average user's. The way I read it was that the Gentoo LiveCD "sissified" using Gentoo, as it didn't require a learning curve.

Furthermore, I must point out that it should have only taken him 10 days if he was running a 486 and tried to compile KDE and other GUI applications. As several have stated here, RTFM and you'll be fine when installing Gentoo. The installation guide literally takes you through step-by-step and does a great job of holding your hand.

To me, it sounds like this guy falls into the "normal user" category and complained than Gentoo didn't fit his needs. Of course, SuSe, Ubuntu, FedoraCore, and many other distro's do, which he also clearly expresses here.

Re:Live CD's, Sissified? (2, Interesting)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140611)

"This is the type of elitist attitude that will keep normal users from adopting Linux."

I'd like to have a dollar everytime I've heard that remark. I believe that remark is the reason users don't adopt Linux.

Same Problematic Experience Here (0, Flamebait)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140345)

Time to install Gentoo: 4 days.
Time to install CentOS: 4 hours.
Time to install Mandrake: Who would do that?

Sorry, when your defense of your distro install is "at least it's not Slackware, go back and RTFM" you've failed to be progressive. You insist that people have to know how to use your very specific tools when there are other distros who manage to automate the same processes, while maintaining configurability. Gentoo package management is ok (I think the etc rebuild is nice), but Gentoo in general sucks for beginners who will learn the wrong way to do things. Do it the Gentoo way or you're out of luck.

Re:Same Problematic Experience Here (1)

bookstack (1002086) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140384)

If you don't fall into the "rpm hell", congratulations, and you are lucky to buy a lottery for youself. Otherwise, Gentoo provides a descent way to maintain, administrate the system.

Re:Same Problematic Experience Here (1)

haeger (85819) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140524)

If you don't fall into the "rpm hell", congratulations, and you are lucky to buy a lottery for youself. Otherwise, Gentoo provides a descent way to maintain, administrate the system.

I hear that a lot. People who swear by portage and how it's the greatest package manager ever created. Having only used it briefly I'd like to ask what's so great about it? What's the benefits over rpm or deb? Yes, rpm-hell is real but that's the package-managers fault. Portage does similar things. I installed something called "darcs" on my gentoo-box and it left a whole lot of build-deps on my system that probably shouldn't have been there.
So, is there a comparison somewhere that explains the greatness of portage? Or can you clear things up for me?


Re:Same Problematic Experience Here (1)

LuckyStarr (12445) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140574)

I used RedHat and Fedora for quite some time and never had a problem with what you call "rpm hell". Apt, Yum and Smartpm are available for almost every RPM distribution and make upgrading a no-brainer. After using a DEB based (Ubuntu) distribution for a year now, I can safely say that I like RPM better than DEB. This could be subjective, but I have the feeling that you can upgrade a RPM based distribution across incompatible glibcs safely because the whole upgrade is done in one step (given that all the set RPM dependencies are sane).

I also do not like DEB for constantly asking me questions... what the hell. :) On the other hand, as a long time system administrator I LOVE Ubuntu, because I do not have to administrate my own desktop anymore. It's a joy to just USE it.

You're right (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140494)

It is much easier to just buy the Compaq on sale at Best Buy rather than build your own computer too. Some people are willing to invest the time to get what they want, however.

Re:Same Problematic Experience Here (1)

eratosthene (605331) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140532)

I fail to see how "Do it the Gentoo way or you're out of luck" can possibly be a detrimental quality. It's Gentoo, so you do things the Gentoo way. If you wanted to do things the Debian or Redhat way, you'd install Debian or Redhat. And seriously, people should really stop judging the quality of a Linux distro by how easy/hard the installer is perceived to be. There's a lot more to it than just that.

You can install PC-BSD in 10 minutes (1)

antik2001 (535940) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140540)

Yes, you can do it in 10 minutes and almost everything is autoconfigured out of the box. 2.0.3. installation with PBI installer took 1 minute. Multimedia video codecs- 30 seconds. Wifi set up for WPA encryption is no brainer- less than minute- with one single command- if you know what you are doing. Then you can install mooooore than 15000 applications from ports- similar to gentoo installation method "emerge"- no dependency hell or whatsoever. Enjoy.

Re:Same Problematic Experience Here (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140546)

Actually when I was a beginner I preferred Gentoo because I got to understand many of the details going on in an OS compile and install. Now I don't want to bother with the details and just get work done, so I use easier-to-install distros. Gentoo doesn't teach the wrong way to do things, just the long and tedious way for those who care about the details.

Re:Same Problematic Experience Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140569)

I run gentoo on my desktop and on my laptop and it works okay for me. Slackware I've run on servers for 6-7 years and I've not once had a problem installing it. Caldera (spit), Debian, Mandrake, RedHat and Suse I did have problems with back in the day. Usually the installers themselves would fail, depending on the hardware.

Try binary install (2, Insightful)

modemboy (233342) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140347)

This guy needs to install from the -bin packages if his computer is that slow or he can't stand to use it while it compiles. I never had a problem doing other things with my machine while it compiled...

I'm a former gentoo user (5, Insightful)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140352)

I can't completely agree with the article. I never had any problems installing it. In fact, the installer was very kewl in that it came with ssh and screen. I even did COMPLETE remote installs for people before. I just call them up and tell them to put the CD in and boot up and set a password. After I'm done with it, call them back and tell them to take the CD out so I could reboot. Done. they were amazed.

Install wasn't my problem.

Maintenance was my problem. As one of the commenters from the article pointed out, you were basically compiling an update constantly. It could be a minor bug fix but if it was in a big package like glibc, it would take a while to compile. You could go about your business, but you noticed it. The next day would bring about another big compile (say, X!?) and on and on it went. The endless cyle of updating. Some would argue that this was a feature of it. Sure, you're always getting the latest of everything. But it was a little bit of a PITA. The worst was when I went away, came back to a LOT of updates. Those updates (during the end of my time on gentoo) started to break things unfortunately. QA went downhill as the distro got too big.

Anyways, I still think gentoo is kewl, with its configurability. However, I've traded some of that control in for maintenance sanity and am currently on Ubuntu for my desktop and debian on my server.

Thanks to the gentoo community for the fun few years. #gentoo was always lively :)

Re:I'm a former gentoo user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140438)

I believe they've started releasing binary packages for things that are known to take forever to compile (X, OOo, etc).

Re:I'm a former gentoo user (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140470)

The worst was when I went away, came back to a LOT of updates. Those updates (during the end of my time on gentoo) started to break things unfortunately.

I just posted a similar set of complaints, but you've touched on one I'd forgotten. The Portage system still works well *if* you're a Gentoo obsessive and emerge sync; emerge -uD world at least once a week. If you get behind, and need to update Portage, layouts, gcc, X and the kernel all at once, you start running into all sorts of really nasty collisions and breakages.

Re:I'm a former gentoo user (1)

FreeGamer (1001924) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140491)

You only need to constantly update if you go "bleeding edge". Like all major distributions, Gentoo has a stable branch. It greatly eases maintainence. Personally I like to stay up to date and found the need to compile so much to be more hassle than it's worth - especially when packages break and then you're in for some waiting - so I switched to Ubuntu which satisfies my needs.

Re:I'm a former gentoo user (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140533)

I agree, Gentoo is a lot of fun to tinker with, if you have the time for that sort of thing. I don't think I would use it on a production machine, and I would definately not attempt to install it on my work machine on the last day of a long weekend.

Re:I'm a former gentoo user (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140622)

As one of the commenters from the article pointed out, you were basically compiling an update constantly.



I found a fix for this (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140630)

I ran into this too on a number of occasions but eventually found how to avoid it. The solution is simple: Do NOT run emerge sync. If you restrict yourself to syncing once a MONTH at most, then you will get a) a largely up-to-date distribution and b) a stable system that isn't changing every day.

Just because gentoo gives you the ability to update daily does not mean you should. In Debian daily updates won't cause many problems since the packages are quite carefully tested but gentoo is another matter.

Whoa... this is news to me (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140355)

I thought Gentoo had gone the way of BSD... had followed it down that lonely path to oblivion after Daniel Robbins left for Microsoft. This is a crazy crazy world.

A few points... (4, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140359)

1) I used to be a big Gentoo fan not because of the (nebulous, in my experience) performance gains but because one you had it set up, it really was the easiest Linux to update. That's no longer the case, with Portage conflicts and things like that getting more and more frequent and serious.

2) A lot of the recent headaches (incuding #1) come from the fact that the project is just too damn big. It was a blast during that year or two when Gentoo usage skyrocketed, but the whole developer/support/user system hasn't scaled well.

3) *The* key to installing Gentoo -- unless you really know what you're doing, you need to install some other distro first and copy the xorg.conf, fstab and grub.conf files to use, or at least reference, for your Gentoo install. I can write an fstab by hand, if necessary, but there's no way I could do that for xorg.conf.

Re:A few points... (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140460)

Last time I checked, xorg made a pretty healthy guess at my hardware. The guess was good enough that I'm still using it...

Re:A few points... (1)

eratosthene (605331) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140604)

fstab and grub.conf? Seriously? The default fstab that's installed is perfectly usable, only thing that needs to change is the device paths and the filesystem types. And if you're installing by following the installation guide (which is not optional), it shows you exactly what to type into grub.conf, again all you have to know is the device paths. xorg.conf is easy, run X -configure, copy the resulting file over to /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and run. If you've got an nVidia or ATI card, you'll need to change maybe two-three lines. Again, if you are reading along in the guide, it shouldn't be that difficult. I would never copy configuration files straight over between distros, there's too much chance that they might not work at all.

Re:A few points... (1)

psxman (925240) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140606)

3) *The* key to installing Gentoo -- unless you really know what you're doing, you need to install some other distro first and copy the xorg.conf, fstab and grub.conf files to use, or at least reference, for your Gentoo install. I can write an fstab by hand, if necessary, but there's no way I could do that for xorg.conf.
Have to disagree with you there; having never heard of any of those until I used Gentoo, none of them gave me any problems except for Grub, which I'm convinced hates me. (LILO never gives me any trouble)

Re:A few points... (1)

antik2001 (535940) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140609)

I can write an fstab by hand, if necessary, but there's no way I could do that for xorg.conf.

# Xorg -configure
# cp /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf

How hard is that?

Yup, it's painful (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140360)

And this from a guy whose installed every HP-UX since 6, multiple IRIXs and XENIXs, RedHats, Mandrake^H^H^Hivas. I don't for a minute subscribe to the "makes a man of ya" or even funnier, "learn Linux" crap. What I love it for, plain and simple, is Portage. I get a versionless, always close-up-to-date system, and I don't spend all my time on patch management. The crazy dependancies of RPM and HPs patches are just ugly memories.

not for newbies (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140365)

If you want a "one size fits most" distro that installs out of the box, gentoo is NOT for you!
go install your Fedora or your Ubuntu and leave the hard-core pipe-hittin linux to the gentoos.


Re:not for newbies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140457)

LOL... more like the delusional wannabes who think they are k3wl and 1337 because they compile their kernel on a daily basis, despite not actually knowing what a 'kernel' does. It's a waste of time. You could be spending that kernel compile time and electricity doing something useful like contributing to another OSS project instead of wanking like a dork over watching your kernel compile.

Re:not for newbies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140458)

For grandma/grampa?
There is nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The closest I could see was Ubuntu, but even that is insanely difficult for them.
But I guess, even Windows installation might be difficult for them.

Only thing that can be used to push Linux along is pre-installed hardware.
I guess it is time for RH/Sun to get really good marketing executives to push DELL to preinstall Fedora/Ubuntu/SUSE whatever.

Gentoo could really use a good installer... (2, Insightful)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140378)

... To be honest, the main reasons I like Gentoo are because it's relatively free from political hassles (you want easy NVidia XOrg drivers? MP3 playback? Win32 Codecs? Go nuts!) and Portage is pretty good enough. Also, KDE is pretty well supported and USE variable settings can catch ./configure flags that I might forget if I were to not use ebuilds.

However, installation really is a bear, and AFAIK the ill-publicized alpha GUI installer is still not stable or reliable (don't want a crash while repartitioning a drive that has a WinXP part to wipe my table). Also, Ubuntu beats it on stuff that Works Right Out Of The Box(tm).

Can I have a distro that's as easy to install as Ubuntu, but uses Portage and standard Linux config files and doesn't give me political hassles? That would be nice.

Re:Gentoo could really use a good installer... (2, Informative)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140562)

To be honest, the main reasons I like Gentoo are because it's relatively free from political hassles (you want easy NVidia XOrg drivers? MP3 playback? Win32 Codecs? Go nuts!)
Don't you still have to compile or install those with Gentoo? How is that different than the other distros that you have to install that stuff, or better than the distros that automatically install them?

Can I have a distro that's as easy to install as Ubuntu, but uses Portage and standard Linux config files and doesn't give me political hassles? That would be nice.
Try Kororaa [] .

I went through the same thing a week ago.. (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140382)

I went through the same thing a week ago and gave up when it wanted me to set each parameter for the kernel (the auto configure kernel failed)..there we like 500 options and I have no idea which ones my IBM T42 supports or not. It was hell. I think proceeded to run back to familiar Windows XP.. /me hides his head in shame

linux is great for servers, i wouldnt want anything else. however in general i think we still have a ways to go..

I'm preparing to switch to Gentoo, actually... (5, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140391)

I'm hoping I won't have much difficulty since I've been using Linux since 1993 and have done my fair share of source compiling, even back when half of the sources were hackjobs from HPUX or AIX or [insert UNIX here] that required you to get an alternate version of make or Imake in order to compile. Somewhere I still have a textfile on building modelines from scratch that I used to use to get fixed frequency monitors too display graphics modes with PC video cards.

But why the switch?

I've been using Fedora Core and before it Red Hat since version 5 (when I swtiched away from Slackware, for good, it would seem). I like it a lot. Fedora Core, in particular, is a no-brain-necessary sort of Linux. I haven't had to touch a configuration file in god only knows how long.

BUT... It's slow. I've had the inkling that it seemed to make my PIIIM 1.2GHz machine just a bit sluggish for my tastes. Gentoo has tempted me for several years as a result, but I always thought to myself: "Well, for a 10% increase in speed as the result of recompiling an entire system, it's probably not worth it..." I've always built my own kernel with proper CPU optimizations and just left it at that.

Then the other day I stumbled on to Swiftfox (do a Google search), which is basically a set of precompiled Linux Firefox builds for specific CPU architectures. I downloaded the PIII Mobile version and launched it in place of the Fedora Core 5 Firefox build.

WOW. The speed and interactivity benefits sure feel like more than 10%. I haven't done extensive benchmarking, but my subjective impression is that Swiftfox is maybe 80% faster than the Fedora Core Firefox build on my personal machine (a Thinkpad T23). It's not just obvious, it's the sort of thing that will make me want to gnash my teeth if I have to go back to the standard Fedora Firefox build.

And now I'm thinking to myself: that's just one app. What about glibc? What about kdebase? Could I be missing out not on 10% speed gains, but on 40-50% speed gains, or more? I don't know, but I think maybe it's time I dust off my inner geek and find out, and Gentoo seems like the place to do it.

Re:I'm preparing to switch to Gentoo, actually... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140487)

I am certainly not an expert on the low levels of compiling and such as my greatest accomplishment in any compiled language I have touched since the days of BASIC and PASCAL is "Hello World", however, my understanding is that you CAN get some performance benefits out of code optimized for your processor since newer processors can do some things more efficiently rather than having the code rely on the backwards compatability. The biggest performance gain in Gentoo doesn't actually come from the processor optimized code, so much as the extensive use flag system and being able to not compile in all the garbage you don't need. When you start stripping support for lots of junk that the "works out of the box" distros need you notice differences. When you cut all the cruft out, fewer libraries are required, and the binaries themselves are smaller, thus ya can stuff more into memory and stuff em in faster :).

Re:I'm preparing to switch to Gentoo, actually... (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140582)

I'm pretty much looking at benefits from compiling for a given architecture. I have piles of RAM and never get into paging/swap, and really there's not much I *want* to turn off. I like KDE, the whole thing. I still have custom .twmrc and .fvm2rc files hanging around from the old days when I LOVED TWM and later FVWM, and a GNUstep directory from the intermediate days when I was running WindowMaker, but these days I like the fully-fledged desktop model.

There's no difference that I can see between Swiftfox and Firefox, it really is just a CPU-specific binary... and it made a huge difference for me in FC5, so I'm very tempted now by Gentoo, since I *can* build an Xorg.conf file by hand or race through a kernel config from scratch without needing to first do a "make oldconfig" to take advantage of the distro shipper's default configuration.

damn how stupid (1)

GieltjE (815903) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140398)

Damn, the gentoo installation is really simple, stage 1 without documentation without errors on first boot! (75 install's total about now). Booting to single user mode, what is this morron thingking? just boot the cd and chroot it!

Gentoo has a built in dumbshit detector (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140405)

It refuses to install if the user isn't smart enough properly understand and
maintain the distribution.

Seriously, though, all he does is say that things failed to emerge properly
or that he was too scared to try to fix his X resolution. He says he's used
about a 1/2 dozen distros, which I guess is supposed to mean that he understands
this kind of thing.

But if he understood Linux and compilation of software, he'd be able to tell
why zlib wouldn't install, and he'd be able to figure out how to set his monitor
resolution without fucking up his computer. So, really, he's just a dumbshit
that likes to bitch about shit he clearly doesn't understand and has no willingness
to learn about.

Stop posting this crap. Or do you need the eyeballs to boost ad revenue?

joe barr = newb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140408)

sounds to me like: NewsForge's Joe Barr is a freckin noob. i can install gentoo in one day :). yup, one day. and that includes modular x, compiling my kernel, and starting kde (minimal).

what a quitter :) (3, Insightful)

toby (759) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140412)

Fifty-odd installs later, I never met a desktop, laptop or server that didn't love teh Gentoo.

The instructions have been tested by hundreds of thousands of people. They work.

RTFM (1)

phoric (833867) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140429)

The Gentoo documentation is extensive and very useful.. RTFM. I can do a Gentoo install in about 2-3 hours, minus Xorg.

You can install gentoo in an hour (2, Informative)

supun (613105) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140443)

They have stage3 tarballs, which contain everything compiled already. You just have to partition the drive, install the stage tarball, compile the kernel, and install syslog, cron, and grub.

Re:You can install gentoo in an hour (1)

fr175 (999487) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140551)

They have stage3 tarballs, which contain everything compiled already. You just have to partition the drive, install the stage tarball, compile the kernel, and install syslog, cron, and grub.
It's so easy, so simple, I don't know why more people don't run Linux. It's a good thing they don't, or they'd all be super villians. []

Gentoo isn't a newbie distro, get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140459)

It's been a while since i've last used gentoo, but when I last did an install I had to boot off the livecd and do the stage1 2 or 3 install by hand from the shell. I assume this is still possible, I remember reading some time ago that a GUI installer was in the works.

Personally, I _enjoyed_ installing it by hand. It gives you both flexibility to change whatever you like and also the advantage of knowing exactly what the install process is doing, and learning a little something along the way.

I really hope that whatever the developers decide to do, or have done (I admit I haven't looked at gentoo to see what has changed, so pardon the ignorance), they will keep the option of installing from the shell. A slick gui would be nice I guess, on the side, but i'd much rather have to work my way through it. The gentoo documentation was always thorough and explained every step of the way. Infact Gentoo probably has some of the best documentation of any distro i've used. Combine that with IRC and forums, the only damn excuse you've got to bitch about the installation process is either a) not knowing anything about linux (you probably should be looking at another distro) or b) you're too damn lazy to RTFM or ask for help.

To me, gentoo is a distro made for the knowledge linux geek who wants to have as much flexibility as possible, while still providing some guidance. I especially liked how the ports system worked, it reminded me of using freebsd's ports collection, and it gave me options to optimize compiles, add patches or whatever I liked (or use alternative versions of a port).

The only reason I stopped using gentoo is that my linux machines are getting a bit old and compiles were quite slow. I use debian or ubuntu for most of my machines, because I like apt and binaries work just fine for most uses. That being said, Gentoo is still a very nice distro, and I hope it remains 'tedious', I enjoyed installing Gentoo and setting things up exactly the way I want them to be. Most distros will install a pile of crap you don't need, which is great if you have no idea what you are doing. But if you've been using linux for years and are familiar with all the common applications, you'll know what you want and what you don't want. It's that simple. If you don't like gentoo's install method, use something else.

well, i'm done ranting :). now mod me down for posting AC (I don't have an account, I could make one I guess, but .. meh) or whatever.

Re:Gentoo isn't a newbie distro, get over it (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140541)

if you have common netcard and dhcp you can switch to a different terminal and browse net while compilation grinds on. options!

Gentoo is not easy... (3, Interesting)

zoftie (195518) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140463)

Gentoo provides a useful way for linux powerusers to configure their packages without lowering themselves to level of downloading and matching up source tar balls, and compiling them in the right order. Process of package building and installation is flexible and anyone with mediocre shell scripting ability can do great things with gentoo. Gentoo after all is very personal distro. Everything you have installed on your computer is going to be be fit exactly the way you like it to be.

Clearly they guy doesn't have the true grit to do gentoo. Gentoo is *NOT* rolling your own distro. Have you ever tried compiling mplayer with all these extensions and libraries? You do need to know your own stuff, but you don't need to get mired down in downloading your own packages and matching them up and compiling them in the right order with right compiler, and have the right kernel branch with proper patchset.

So the guy has it installing, and thinks it is not fast enough, going to try to reinstall it? How clever is that. Yes gentoo is overly flexible, downside being that sometimes you really have to know how things suppose to work. Like configuring Xorg. I was in similar position, but I'll never give up flexibility of gentoo for power desktop.

Gentoo is a hobby, some tell and I agree.

Good night and Good luck,

He has a point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140465)

I'm posting AC because I don't want to deal with the fanboyz and the blowhards who tell me to RTFM. Been there and done that.

Linux and BSD are both needlessly hard to install and configure -- even for basic tasks. Want a webserver with PHP/Apache/MySQL? Everyone says it's easy, but there's dozens of different ways to do it, some right and some wrong. Want to add SSL? Dozens more. Want secure e-mail with anti-spam and anti-virus? Triple the time for the install to do it the safest and most-secure way. The right way. I've spent weeks in endless cycles of configure,make, make test/check, make install. If anything goes wrong...back to Google and, gulp, the rudest user forums on the planet.

How do you do that on Windows or a Mac? Double-click. Wait. Configure a GUI. Sit back. Enjoy. Sure, you pay for the privilege, but the software actually works when the installer says it's finished.

Remember, the majority of us want solutions that work best. The tools work best on Linux/BSD/Unices, but they're such a pain in the ass.

I have a wife that I love to spend time with and a son who's growing up too fast. I don't want to fuck with your software all day -- I want solutions that work. I am willing to pay for your products (and I have), but I want my time to be worth something to the developer whose software is causing me discomfort.

I speak for the majority: guys (and gals) give us tools that actually work. Give us installation instructions that actually work. And, give us the opportunity to tell you that the software is actually broken and could be fixed to make our experiences a little easier. Stop screaming at us on support forums, stop telling us to read documentation that isn't there (or is so incomplete/out-of-date to be of no use), and stop making excuses for the cost of your software.

My $0.02 cents from a sysadmin that's been doing this for eight years on Solaris, Open/Free/NetBSD, Linux, Windows, and Mac.

Your turn...

Re:He has a point (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140522)

I agree, general cases for very specific needs ofen don't amount to much usefulness. Performance tuned static serving apache with mod_rewrite. vs application apache with modules up to whonanny, like jakarta,php,perl,python, fastcgi ; request filtering. etc etc. How can you configure that with gui. You sort of can, but if you need threaded vs process bases forking model. Flexibility is a bit difficult, from the looks, but once you start doing it, it just gets there. And you have OPTIONS!

Gentoo is about a little less options, then most powerusers require. Possibilities are there though, you can always modifiy build install script for a package.

What's the Trouble? (2, Informative)

aarmenaa (712174) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140471)

Gentoo's a bit harder than other distros I've tried, for sure. But I'm not exactly a Linux expert and managed to get it installed. Heck, with nothing more than the default install instructions I managed to dual boot it with my Windows install. It did take a while my first time through - 3 days actually sounds about right, but I could do it again in probably a few hours, not counting compile time.

In fact my biggest difficulties installing Gentoo are pretty much common to all Linux distros I've tried. The xorg.conf is an awful sore, and of course none of the config programs will read my monitor's information properly. Ironically, Linux leaves me whishing I had a static IP, becuase that's easier to configure than DHCP. Installing video drives for my ATI card is difficult, requires I do further editing to the xorg.conf, and generally crashes X with really crypic error messages when I don't set it up right. Then there's sound, making hotplug work for USB devices (USB DVD burners are kinda hard, actually), and all those other little pieces of fun.

As a noob, I hate hearing the people who know this stuff (Slashdotters especially) say "it's not hard, rtfm noob!" But in this case, the install is harder than a "normal" Linux distro, but this noob got it installed, and all I did was follow the manual pretty much word for word.

Lame?? (3, Insightful)

moracity (925736) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140472)

Am I the only that thinks this submission is a lame non-event? Do nerds even care about Gentoo anymore? Some tech-writer couldn't follow instructions to install an operating system and that is a surprise? Why am I writing in questions?

I thought Red Hat 7.3 was bad... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140492)

Last night I had the joy of installing Red Hat 7.3 for my Unix Administration class with a two-disc set provided in the Thompson book. Everything was fine until it asked for a third disc. Needless to say, after 25 minutes of loading, I was so screwed. Rebooted, tried to recover, so out of luck. Worst, the hard drive was hosed. I haven't had that much fun since when Red Hat 7.3 was current.

Gentoo has ALWAYS used a liveCD (1)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140529)

TFA said:
now the live CD had sissified the process to the point that anyone could do it...
Since the author does not seem to understand the difference between a liveCD and a graphical installer, I for one, am not at all surprised he had problems installing Gentoo. It is not for the computer illiterate.

The last I heard the Gentoo Graphic Installer sucked bowling balls and ate existing partitions. To be fair, I found the newish Ubuntu Graphical Installer to totally suck also. It seemed to require more than 256 Meg otherwise it would slowly and painfully grind to a halt.

Putting a graphical installer in front of Gentoo is sort of like putting a two-speed Hydroglide automatic transmission behind a 409 engine.

Gentoo Pain (1)

Ian McBeth (862517) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140576)

For me, it wasn't all that difficult to install, but it was horrendously time consuming.

7 hours to compile the kernal.
3 days to compile x
7.9 days to compile kde and then it was glitchy as hell.

It just wasn't worth the time on the machine I had available to run it on at home.
PIII 500 Mhz with 384Mb Ram. Yes I know its not the worlds fastest machine.

So To save Time, I slapped Ubuntu on it. It works and does what I want, and it took me less than 4 hours to install, patch and add packages to get all i needed on it.

Gentoo == Control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16140581)

I like gentoo because it's the only distro (that I know of) that allows me (nearly) complete and total control over what I install.

Said differently, it doesn't include packages and programs and other stuff that I don't want or need by default.

Only 10 days? (1)

A. Lynch (17937) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140586)

Try downloading Slackware images onto a huge pile of diskettes from a shell server via ZModem over a 14.4 modem and a shitty analog line.

Then having a bad disk, rebooting into DOS, re-dialing the server, and getting that disk again. Not to mention the actual install time.

I would have given my left nut to have that done in under 10 days.

(Having said that, I'm a big fan of Gentoo for single-installation environments. And it took about 3 hours to do my first Gentoo install a few years back, and that was on a Powerbook.)

Love hate relationship (3, Interesting)

mr_da3m0n (887821) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140590)

Well, this is my first serious post on Slashdot. I have been reading the comments every day with much interest, and I think it's time I contributed something.

I have a Love&Hate relationship with Gentoo. I switched to it from Redhat a rather long while ago, on my server. Ran it that way on a Pentium 200mhz for a while -- it was painful, but I wasn't really tired of it yet, and I could stand it compiling junk for days, it was only my personal server.

Then I got it on an old Athlon Tbird, and that was better.

And one day, it reached my workstation. And then all of my servers, including that strange, obscene HP LH4r. Quad Xeon machines can have scary clock issues.

I still like it immensely, portage is awesome. But, but but, compiling things got tiring after a while.

I fixed that by buying an Athlon X2. Dual core, MAKEOPTS="-j3" made compiling a breeze, and made me happy. Samba in three minutes was impressive to me.

But then, the quality of packages went to hell, upgrades begin breaking things more and more frequently. Circular blockers, if you felt bleeding edge and tossed a modular xorg in. Unexpected changes in configuration files that were only being mentionned on mailing lists, forum posts, and places where you wouldn't look.

Portage made it so easy to miss something important. Changelog entries are now sloppy. (I.E. "version bump" or "Added stuff from upstream").

And then, there are the slotted packages, that you don't really understand why they are slotted. There are the modular, split ebuilds for KDE. If you don't want the whole shebang, good luck trying to get 3.5 installed and also sucessfully rid yourself of 3.4 easily.

One Gentoo would have been fine. But I now had five. So I set up facilities. Central internal portage mirror (sync server), distfiles on NFS, to save bandwidth. distcc, for distributed compliling.

But I still have to spend the time to keep them updated. Let a gentoo linger in for too long, and it's going to be discouraging, and look more and more like a complete reinstall.

And somewhere in there, you'll do a quick baselayout. But then things will get depreciated and break on next reboot. Why change standards to be fancy?

There's also the -R283 syndrome, which was mentionned earlier by someone else. You get glibc, install glibc, live happy. It takes a while, but that's fine. Next week, you get glibc-r1. Ebuild was sloppy. You get to remerge it.

Then, there's -r3. Fixes an obscure Sparc bug. You still get it on x86. Remerge. ccache becomes your best friend. But it's still time consuming.

And then, there are the serious bugs that get marked as WONTFIX, or the part of the software that you're having a problem with that will just get removed until upstream fixes it, which is rarely done due to the crazy compiling flags one might have.

I now run Kubuntu on my desktop. I welcome updates, they're easier to manage. Also, my primary server will most likely turn into a Debian Sarge box. I haven't decided yet. I'll leave the Quad Xeon running on gentoo. But it's sad how quality lowered.

I really want to still like gentoo, if it wasn't so... time and ressources consuming, once you get more than one.

And these are my home machines. I also have my work machines to support and administer, and god knows I haven't become a network guy just to spend my whole life installing patches.

My problem with gentoo is not that it takes a long time to configure, it is that, if you aren't uncareful, you'll spend way to much time just /dealing/ with the updates themselves. You can't blinding run emerge -uvaD world and hit "Yes" then go back to your buisness like it was no thang...

I miss when gentoo was a little less hectic.

Either... Or... (1, Flamebait)

growse (928427) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140602)

Inability to install Gentoo is symptomatic of either:
  1. Faulty Hardware
  2. An inability to read
Any guesses which it is this time?

I choose to install Debian Etch instead (1)

shareme (897587) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140614)

I had a choice to install something like Gentoo or Debian Etch or etc on VMWare player.. I choose Debian Etch due to the stuff and issues described and very little problem in getting Debian GNU/Linux Etch operating.. ..and that is from someone who has not really touched Linux in about 7 years

My experience (1)

Arceliar (895609) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140636)

I used gentoo almost exclusively for all my computer useage for about a year, and dual booted with another os for another year or so. The only linux distro's I had used before then were slackware (my first), and ed's xebian, a fork of debian for xbox.

You can know virtually nothing about linux, but if you're patient and read the doccumentation, and take the time to learn what hardware is in your machine, you'll be fine with gentoo. The customization potential of the distro is nearly limitless, and because of that, it can be a headache if you don't know what you're doing. In all honest, I think it's the best distro I've ever used. But I don't use it at the moment, because as nice as having the newest of everything is, or having a custom tailored system, at the moment stability is key for me.

For an old or specialized machine (once it's been compiled), or for something you plan to set up once and be done with it (such as a mythtv box), gentoo is great. However, somewhere betwen 5.10 and 6.06, Ubuntu hit a huge performance increase. No, it's not as fast as gentoo, but the time it takes to maintin gentoo finally reached a point where quick and easy package updates offset the performance increase.

If you ask me, installing gentoo is a great way to teach a person to use linux. Hand them the disc, make sure their data is backed up so they wont lose anything, and tell them to knock themselves out. By the end of the third day, they'll take you literally -- or they're the patient type who actually read the doccumentation, and by now they've got a working KDE or GNOME set up. Slackware works almost as well as a teaching tool, but if you ask me zipslack on a fat32 with windows is the way to go, as it forces them to learn the command line in the process of setting up X, which is how I learned (took a few days, but eventually I got the hang of it, then it was just learning the syntax of the programs I actually use).

Gentoo is a great project, but for the average user, who wants things to 'just work' or doesn't think they're the type to actually read all the output that gets fed to your screen, it's not the right choice. If you really want easy package management, go with something debian based (either pure debian or an ubuntu server install work well, and build upon that).

It's not gentoo's fault you're an idiot (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140637)

Gentoo has great documentation outlining the entire installation. If you are incapable of following clear step by step instructions, then I suppose gentoo isn't the distro for you. I attribute almost everything I know about linux to Gentoo. I started out with "easy" distros like redhat, but didn't really learn too much about linux until I did the gentoo install process. You learn very quickly the command line, how things fit together and work. It gives you a good understanding of partitions, the kernel, its modules and such. You see the more advanced side of things, especially if building your system from stage 1. I've since switched to Ubuntu, because I don't have the time to be configuring every part of the operating system, but that certainly is not a knock against gentoo. Anyone serious about learning Linux NEEDS to mess with gentoo for a bit.

Debian apt-build (3, Informative)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 8 years ago | (#16140641)

I've been a long time user and fan of Debian. I very much appreciate Gentoo, but it was never clear to me how this differed from apt-build in Debian. In Debian, the user has the option of downloading pre-installed binaries (apt-get) and building them from source (apt-build or apt-get with some special flags, if I'm not mistaken) using compiler options. For example, here [] is a good 'howto' for apt-building a Debian system.

With that said choice is still good.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?