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!

Is Gentoo in crisis?

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the well-yeah-probably dept.

Operating Systems 199

TheCoop1984 writes "A recent article on distrowatch, and an extended thread on the gentoo forums, have pointed out that gentoo is not what it used to be. Daniel Robbins came back and went again after only a few days, developer turnover is as high as ever, personal attacks on the mailing lists are common, and people are generally not happy about the current state of affairs. Is gentoo rotting from the inside, and can anything be done about it?"

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

Teenagers (2, Funny)

skorbutrage (983250) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314869)

Honestly... It's just a teenage tantrum. Just ground them for a while, that should do it.

Re:Teenagers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314943)

If it's rotting, you wouldn't know it by the quality of the software. I'm a loyal Gentoo user, have been for years, and it works better than any distro I've ever seen.

I'll believe it when I see tangible results: anything else is just FUD.

Re:Teenagers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18315013)

Ground them? Do you know how long it takes to scrub a racing stripe from a cpu?

And it was fun, fun fun, till his daddy took the tweakin' away

CAPTCHA: grievous

A More Pertinent Question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314895)

Does anyone care if Gentoo is in crisis?

Re:A More Pertinent Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314913)


Re:A More Pertinent Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18317765)


Re:A More Pertinent Question (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314923)

I do, when I did my rounds trying various Linux distros, it had the fewest dependancy-hell type errors. I found it the least difficult to get working as I needed it, and to keep it working.

Re:A More Pertinent Question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18315703)

That's why most people use gentoo. It looks good, ostensibly. People never stop to consider the long-term. Consider this: A timeline of 365 days of gentoo.

Days 1-3, install.
Day */3 - Recompile $pkg for security vulnerability or new version. Re-edit this pkg's config file because options have changed. Some renamed, some deprecated, some added, some removed. Re-attempt to get your server back into the state it was two weeks ago without having to revert to a vulnerable package.
Day 365 - suicide.

Now, compare this to debian:

Minutes 1-10, install.
Days */10, apt-get upgrade (assuming a cron of apt-get update).
Day 365? At the beach, not even thinking about your servers.

Repeat after me: Gentoo is not a server OS.

Re:A More Pertinent Question (0, Troll)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315737)

That should be more correctly Linux/Debian to distinguish is from HURD/Debian.

Re:A More Pertinent Question (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316263)

Day */3 - Recompile $pkg for security vulnerability or new version. Re-edit this pkg's config file because options have changed. Some renamed, some deprecated, some added, some removed. Re-attempt to get your server back into the state it was two weeks ago without having to revert to a vulnerable package.
Actually, every seven days, my cron daemon runs
emerge --rsync
emerge --update world
emerge --clean world

Re:A More Pertinent Question (1, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317725)

You do unattended package upgrades without testing on a server? Do you also want to be on the beach on day 365, unemployed?

Re:A More Pertinent Question (2, Informative)

Magada (741361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317697)

Ever heard of glsa-check [] , ? Did you ever consider that with gentoo you can roll your own updates from upstream and test them without fear of major breakage instead of waiting for a distro-supplied .deb to finally come out three days after the vuln is made public? Do you claim that distro-provided defaults are sufficient configuration for your servers or that somehow debian automagically removes the need to edit config files when changes in their format/content appear once in a while and you have (gasp) new options to consider?

No? Ok, then please take your ubuntu superiority myths (I don't believe for a second that you're running vanilla debian) and stuff'em where the sun don't shine. Why the heck were you doing updating a production server just to get a new version on day three after deployment anyway?

flameeyes / Diego (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314949)

The post linked to is much more amusing with context [] .

Too many SUV socialists. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18315027)

Also, there are too many socialists and communists with rich mommies and daddies on the Gentoo forums. It's annoying.

Re:flameeyes / Diego (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315353)

Considering both posts together I think this is sign of healthy community.

I personally would vote for the people who have remained with Gentoo: I believe that you can make something better only from inside. External critique is also very important - but it is rarely constructive. And to be really constructive you have to be in loop - you have to be part of it. (But of course that make sense if the loop isn't broken already.)

No way! (2, Insightful)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314963)

When people with strong personalities leave an organization it becomes more attractive for people that would rather not deal with them. I expect Gentoo will see a trickle in of new developers.

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18317689)

You'd think that. Anecdotally, I've seen the opposite occur more often. Usually when someone leaves, there is a power vacuum or general apathy, a lack of focus as to the organizations purpose; also that someone tends to have a following that people do not acknowledge, which was why they had any weight in the organization in the first place--those more passive folks often leave or give up and move on to something else.

It takes awhile to rebuild, if ever. Particularly too, followup power struggles end up removing more people or destroying balancing organizations with one group pretending they'll take over the other's roles and duties. Usually, what happens is that they don't, thus lose more people and manpower, and the group becomes a shell or a figurehead for more powerful groups.

It's *much* better to migrate from one leader to a less annoying but still intense one.

As of now, there is really nothing particuarly special Gentoo has or does; other distros have caught up, are more stable, do things better, etc. Gentoo was on my distro roadmap 2-3 years ago; my latest migration, I didn't even think, remember, or consider them, and that's sort of sad given I'm from the BSD camp for most other non-desktop things.

Hope it doesn't pass away (4, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314971)

I hope gentoo doesn't pass away as it's a clever idea and a good system but really who was it appealing to? Even as a geek is wasn't really interested in compiling my own packages because there is so little to be gained by it. Probably the best solution is to have a system where you can compile your own easily when you want to but generally take the precompiled offering - basically what Debian does. The performance that Gentoo claimed never really appeared AFAIK and I think that would be the only reason for the system.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (4, Insightful)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315029)

Well I've been hearing people say for years now that for most users computers are more than fast enough. Perhaps the extra few percent increase in performance of running specially optimized, self-compiled binaries is just not so visible these days when multiple GHz-speed machines with gigabytes of memory are everywhere.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315565)

This is very true. The people who really need the speed, those running clusters and such, aren't using Gentoo. People who use up all their CPU cycles are probably the only ones who would benefit. Most of the people running gentoo just seem to be home users who think they're seeing a speed increase, but would probably get more work done if they didn't spend so much time compiling and tweaking.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (3, Interesting)

Billy the Impaler (886238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315699)

...probably get more work done if they didn't spend so much time compiling and tweaking
Not that all the compiling and tweaking is necessarily a bad thing. Many people like to fiddle with computers in that was as a hobby. They don't see it as a distraction from more useful endeavors, rather, they see it as something interesting to do.

I actually see this more with Windows users than Linux users, though. Somehow some guys get interested in speeding up their computers or protecting it from slowdowns via things like malware and it blossoms from there. Soon enough the guy's running adaware scans three times a day and he's made dozens of registry edits to free up resources (resources which, IMO, were probably being used for a reason).

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316685)

And then wonder why NewApp 1.0 won't work on their "fast, souped-up" system, and how FancyHardware is the buggiest piece of shit because they can't install the driver for it.

Which inevitably leads to the method most Windows users resort to when their computer seems irrevocably mangled -- Format&Install.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (2, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318335)

As an old-school Windows tweaker, I can say there are a ton of on-by-default services that will never used by the 'typical' desktop user. It only takes me around 1 hour to get everything setup from scratch. Its finding the changes that make a difference that takes a long time. Once you have it, there's no need to tweak endlessly. Now the only thing I don't worry about is video card tweaks. Many of the third party tweaking tools makes that quite a large job.

As for Linux, I used to tweak around quite a bit with GNOME back in the 1.x days. When they bumped it up to 2.0 series, I found that there just wasn't anything annoying enough to worry about (Except for window roll-ups earlier on).

I think one of the reasons is that Windows throws most of its things in without asking, making the user hunt out things they don't need. Most distros give options as to what they want installed from the get-go so if I don't want something, I can just choose not to install it.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (5, Insightful)

matt74441 (1000572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316067)

I'm a home user using Gentoo on two of my computers and I'm not doing it because I'm trying to get as much speed as possible, I'm using it because I like to be able to customize everything. Theres something I like about being able to build a system (almost) from the ground up, as I know exactly what is there. Oh and I don't spend all of my time compiling and tweaking, to me that is one of the weakest arguments against using Gentoo. When I hear that argument from someone, I know that they have failed to understand the purpose of Gentoo. The ability to compile everything and tweak everything on your system IS NOT A WEAKNESS of Gentoo, but its greatest strength. I would rather spend a day compiling X and KDE on my system when I know that it has been built with everything that I need, rather than installing a package that has been compiled with every option and have unnecessary dependencies cluttering up my system. Maybe I'm just more patient than most people, who knows. As for the article, Gentoo is not in crisis, one relatively unimportant developer is not going to take the entire project down. I wish him luck in whatever he moves onto, I just hope he tells the other developers that hes a freaking drama queen and they should censor all criticism from him.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316277)

But nothings really stopping you from compiling the source code on any other distribution either. Simply download the source and compile it. Sure Gentoo does this for everything, but we don't really need this for everything. For the packages that do require it, go ahead and compile, you can do this on any Linux system. And as for things like KDE, most distros that I've used don't have a single "KDE" package. They have about 100 packages (or more, or less, never bothered to count) that you can choose to install or not to install, based on what you want to include on your computer.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (4, Insightful)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316633)

You are right, but Gentoo makes it easy. It has the best package management system ever done -even better than apt-get IMHO and surely at least on par with it.

Having the easiness of a great package manager with included ability to fine tune your packages is the strength of Gentoo.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (5, Interesting)

Curtman (556920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317259)

You are right, but Gentoo makes it easy.

I second that. Very easy. I was never able to master the art of creating .deb's effortlessly in Debian/Ubuntu. In Gentoo I can whip up a 10 line ebuild that will fetch the source, patch it with whatever fixes for annoying things I care to (Such as making the preferences window resizeable again in Gaim - Damn you HIG nazi's), compile it, and install it in a minute or two. And I didn't need to browse a million tutorials with a million different ways of creating packages to do it. It just works.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (2, Insightful)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316635)

Simply download the source and compile it. Sure Gentoo does this for everything, but we don't really need this for everything. For the packages that do require it, go ahead and compile, you can do this on any Linux system.
Although I understand what you are thinking here, a lot of the time it's not practical... Mostly because of the way that the package manager handles dependencies. For example, do not install from your repository. Install it from source, then try to install a program [say, via RPM] that depends on it's libraries.

The program will hiccup and complain that X is not installed... but really it is. If there was an option to 'emulate' a package, I think that would be a terrific system. However, some distro's like to put things in different places, and you would have to explicitly compile a package to conform to where your distro likes to put things. EG: In Gentoo the portmap config is in /etc/conf.d/portmap, in Ubuntu it is /etc/default/portmap [I think?]

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317769)

. Mostly because of the way that the package manager handles dependencies. For example, do not install from your repository. Install it from source, then try to install a program [say, via RPM] that depends on it's libraries.

The program will hiccup and complain that X is not installed

This is not because of how the package manager handles dependencies, but because you don't know how to correctly install from source on a system with a package manager. Of course you have to tell the package manager in some way that the package is there. Every PM has the option. Or try checkinstall.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318155)

I don't want to have to

# ./configure
# make
# make rpm
# rpm --install $PROGRAM.rpm
When I could:

# ./configure
# make
# make install
Or even:

# emerge -av $PROGRAM
The point I am trying to make is that you shouldn't have to bend over for a half-baked package management system. Sure, I know sometimes it's handy, which is why I used SuSE for over 3 years. But I just got tired of having to build my own packages, then install them over the old RPMs... It's a pain in the ass, I'd rather just install it from source in the first place and be done with it. But then again I also like to build installs from LFS [] . As I am a compile nerd. :-P

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318369)

As I am a compile nerd. :-P

Oh ok then, That's something different :)

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1, Redundant)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315079)

The advantage to compiling your own packages is that there is less of an issue with dependancy hell, since you have less to worry with them being compiled to slightly different libraries. Also, while most machines are fast enough you don't /need/ to compile your own packages, the performance boost in general with KDE, Gnome and especially Open Office is very noticable and extremely nice.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318751)

Bloody moderation system. These new buttons have no way to cancel a moderation. I misclicked Insightful and hit Funny instead, so this post should at least undo it...

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18315163)

Oh man, that 'was' in 'who was it appealing to' hurts! Gentoo isn't going anywhere. It's not a 'was' yet. It's appealing to lots of people, myself included. I first started using it when I got a 64 bit Athlon and wanted to actually take advantage of its 64 bitness. At the time, Gentoo was the only distro that could actually do that. Honestly though, under normal day-to-day use, I wouldn't say there's a noticeable speed difference. It's when running processor-intensive jobs (which I do quite often) that it pays off. However, speed aside, I got hooked on Gentoo because system administration is so easy! It's all set up in ways that make a ton of sense. The documentation they've got up is *wonderful*. Portage is awesome. I used to use apt-get but I've come to like Portage better. You obviously have to wait a while for it to compile everything but it's very easy to use and handles dependencies really, really well.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (4, Insightful)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315379)

Gentoo is very appealing to me and my lab because it offers unprecedented flexibility in how I want to build and configure my system, and reliable tools to keep it up-to-date and secure. Compiling from source is just one aspect of this flexibility - with just a couple simple steps I can modify the source code of any package and deploy it on my system, a much harder task on any other distro. Personally, I also consider it the epitome of the open source ideal.

Back to the appeal question, our lab will soon be deploying Gentoo on a PXE booted HPC cluster with over 256 cores, and this is on the low end of the scale where Gentoo clusters come in (I know of people responsible for its deployment on 512+ node, 2K-core clusters). I won't even begin to list other places where Gentoo comes in as a first choice because of its flexibility.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

ZenShadow (101870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316693)

If you have a clean NFS root solution, I'd love to know more about it.

--S (running 800+ gentoo hosts in production ;-)

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316741)

I haven't deployed it yet, but it does work just fine on my test boxes: []

Text search for "Micro-howto: Creating master and slave nodes for clustering". Everything up to the double newline is relevant.

Any particular problem you've run into?

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

perenaurel (681620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315667)

Well if the binaries installed from gentoo livecd is not enourgh for you, you may be interested in those gentoo-based distributions:
sabayonlinux: []
BinToo: []
vidalinux: []

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315909)

I used it for the kick-ass package management system, and an array of packages that remains the best I've ever seen.

I always looked at most compiling (save the Kernel and maybe the base of X) as an irritation--the cost of using the distro. Even with the compile time, it was STILL worth it.

It would seem that I got in just at the beginning of Gentoo's "golden age", and left just before it ended. I switched to Ubuntu, which is lean and well-designed while having EXACTLY the bells and whistles that I want (if automount and such count as "bells and whistles") pre-configured, and few or none of the ones that I don't. Even so, I really miss Portage and the 50 Gatrillion packages available in Gentoo :( No more popping in Unreal Tournament and typing "emerge unreal-tournament" or something similar to install the game, or seeing some obscure text editor that I'd like to try and finding it already available in the repos.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316013)

To add to my earlier comment, the flexibility I speak about is not just superficial, control panel type stuff. I routinely write ebuilds for various packages in my scientific field, for both internal and public use, and it's much easier to do than with any packaging system I know of. The Gentoo mainline repository has more packages in many specialist fields than any other distro, and the overlays have much more. For any package, Gentoo offers the choice of staying with the solid, well-tested version, the cutting-edge version that came out yesterday, or, if you're that crazy, even something from the svn trunk - all with a single command. Most packages are also much better tested against various configurations than on other distros, due to the system being a moving target. (The flip side is that sometimes stability does suffer, and you need extra precautions to deploy Gentoo on mission-critical servers.)

And finally, I couldn't care less about the ability to pass some souped-up compile flags to gcc (although compiling for core2 does give a performance boost in some code compared to i686). But a platform that integrates cross-compiling and environment configuration tools into every install, and provides easy tools for porting to any architecture, is a valuable tool for a developer.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318229)

although compiling for core2 does give a performance boost in some code compared to i686

i686 would be nice. Compare it to i386 though, which strangely enough is what most x86 distro's are still compiled for these days. Does anyone still have a working 386?

Re: Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316911)

While USE flags and such things are quite useful IMO, my primary reason for using Gentoo is the extreme ease with which the while system is updated through distro versions. In Fedora, this is virtually impossible (I've tried the distro upgrade a few times, but it always requires booting from the installation CD and invariably breaks things to the point where it's more convenient to reinstall the entire system and redo everything from scratch). In Ubuntu, it is possible, but it generally requires update ~150 packages and rebooting, and it might still break minor things. In Gentoo, you just change the /etc/make.profile symlink and do a normal update, in which normally about five or six packages have changed a bit.

Gentoo does leave quite a few other things to be wished for, but in my mind, that alone is reason enough to use Gentoo. I definitely don't hope it goes away.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317565)

Use flags && emerge -aU world && revdep-rebuild && multiplatform support are the reasons people use gentoo. Not so much for the compilation flags.

Now they should standardize on bzr or darcs backing up the /etc/ and ~/ directories and it would be perfect! :)


Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18317599)

Who is Gentoo appealing to?

Let's see..
People think it's all about compiling shit from source. Well, it's not.
I don't know of any distro that implement the config layout Gentoo does, and SO WELL AT IT.
Clean init scripts, clean text config, very clean implementation, the possibility of "slotting" versions, so you may run a shitload of stuff in parallel without having to re-compile it all or worse, change all directory/links by hand.

I've used almost every big distro out there (don't point me to 144+ distros that won't survive 1-2 years), and NONE get's even close to the layout presented by Gentoo.

Fuck those losers that pull pr-stunts to leave the project. Gentoo is FAR from dead, if you DON'T consider ex-forum-fanboys and sir-commiter-superstar who cries reading mails. If that shit counted, hell, gentoo would be dead 5 years ago.

Just my $.0000000001 cent.

PS.: Slashdot editors: Please, link to non-biased shit when posting this kind of crap, ONLY and, IF ONLY you want to post it. You present one side of the story only, and it looks BAD if you don't know the reasons behind it, which in this ocasion is stupid.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317639)

Well I use Gentoo on all of my Linux systems. One thing I like about compiling from the source is that I can modify the ebuilds and insert my own small patches on the local system without a lot of work.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

deaton (616663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318215)

Neither do I, I was a gentoo user since version 1.1a (2002 I think) and loved it, but I have recently switched to ubuntu. I switched because I was seeing broken packages in portage, and because of package bloat, I no longer had the time to wait for everything to compile, also my boxen were beginning to show their age. But I'm a much smarter linux user, and a better admin, because of gentoo. If it was easier to install pre-compiled packages I might not have switched at all. I have (mostly) fond memories of gentoo, and hope it's development continues, especially on portage.

Re:Hope it doesn't pass away (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318395)

Gentoo is mostly compiled from scratch, but I never really believed it was for performance gain as far as software speed and responsiveness goes, but rather as features builtin to the software goes.
Other people have already pointed most of that out, but the whole point of gentoo/portage is the USE variables, that let you quickly select what your system is going to be built for.
Want it as a multimedia box? easy, just add all the multimedia-relevant use flags into your make.conf, then start emerge mplayer or whatever other media player you like, want a server? Just say so: USE="-X -gtk -qt apache2 xml php " and emerge -av apache2 php, etc.
That's the whole point. Portage is just plain EASIER to deal with, imo, than any .rpm or .deb distro.
Also easy for you to create builds of non-official packages with the overlay.
That's what Gentoo's about, and I don't think it'll die. It's just too easy to use to let go.
Sure the mailing lists are not that great, but the forums are among the best I've found, and #gentoo when it's not too crowded is pretty good too. Doesn't mean it's going to die out.

NOO!! (1)

scubanator87 (1023313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315065)

They can't leave! If they do, I will have read the 45 page install manual for nothing!

Re:NOO!! (1)

FreeGamer (1001924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317041)

They can't leave! If they do, I will have read the 45 page install manual for nothing!

Not at all. What most people do not realise about Gentoo is that most of the value is educational. Like most people, I used it for a while until I got sick of so much compiling, but what I learnt from the installation procedure (installed it a few times) and from the various challenges / problems that such a cutting edge distro is hampered by when it comes to getting things to work, I learnt an incredible amount about Linux.

Now if I have a problem with my much simpler Ubuntu setup, I have no trouble sorting it out because I'm confident and knowledgeable about the Linux environment I'm working in. I would never have attained that kind of knowledge through using something that hides all the complexities of a Linux system - and those complexities are incredibly intimidating to somebody who hasn't had a learning experience and all of a sudden has a problem with their "easy-to-use" distribution.

I would recommend installing Debian or Gentoo or both to anybody serious about administering Linux environments. There's no substitute for getting your hands dirty. You want to be a mechanic? Get under the car.

Gentoo is dying (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315107)

Netcraft may or may not confirm it [] , since it rarely can tell Linux versions or distros apart anyway.

DEsktop Linux has grown up. (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315133)

For me the point of Gentoo was the USE flags, few programs had plugin support, even fewer had runtime cpu detection. Nowadays it's much better, even oldschool programs like mplayer can be used without recompiling. For the past two years I have been using Ubuntu on the desktop and the only program I compile by hand is hot-babe (most people can live without it). I've compiled the kernel hundreds of times in my days, but not for a couple of years now. Gentoo just isn't worth it for me anymore, it was in the past. The point is I don't lose anything anymore by going with a prepackaged distro.

Re:DEsktop Linux has grown up. (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315491)

Gentoo just isn't worth it for me anymore, it was in the past.

But if you happen to pick some junk PC/Sparc/Apple and would want to put it to better use, you soon would find that only flexibility of Gentoo allows you to make something real out of the junk. Or if you are developer you get instantly all the environment for you ready: with capability to automatically test little but disruptive changes on wide range of applications. It is irreplaceable.

Of course, for end user on new powerful computer it makes little sense of installing everything from sources. For end user overall makes little sense to bother with compilations. But as time passes every computer gets closer to the "junk" status and support by modern distros is withering quicker than one can imaging. And that's when flexibility of Gentoo - and its near perfect documentation - comes very very handy.

Re:DEsktop Linux has grown up. (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315709)

You know, I used to be one of the very people you're talking about: I was running gentoo on a Powermac 7200 (PowerPC 600-series arch, 120Mhz CPU, 64MB RAM) and using it as a DNS, mail, and web server.

I bailed on Gentoo years ago due to problems with the distribution. Examples: Bind 9 was masked in portage for a year and a half after it's release due to a conflict with another package...which was trivially fixable, but no one would accept the patch; bugs in the builds for my arch were ignored since it was a rare setup; and compile & install times were insane (the initial install took 4 days to finish compiling).

It's nice to say that Gentoo's the place to be for rare architectures, but my experience was that it was more trouble that it was worth. For rare architectures, I think Debian's a better bet.

Re:DEsktop Linux has grown up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18315695)

"Hot-babe [] "... "compiled by hand".


Re:DEsktop Linux has grown up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18317497)

I googled the hot-babe app's homepage, but had hard time using google image search to see some screenshots of it in action.

Only using it for three reasons: (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18319139)

Reason #1 is sheer transparency. I can do an ebuild in my sleep, and it certainly makes it a lot easier to dig around when something's wrong. Whether it's because of the binary nature, or because I simply don't know how to use it, I'm just not as proficient with hacking apt stuff.

Reason #2 is g-cpan, and things like it. Ubuntu has to manually go and re-package CPAN libs, Gentoo can automagically generate them for things which don't require special care. In general, Gentoo's philosophy of a package being an ebuild being a shell script makes it a lot easier to use other packaging systems. Did the bastards only provide an RPM? Have your ebuild download the original RPM, unpack it using tools like rpm2targz or even rpm itself, and install it as a Gentoo package. Again, this may be my own lack of understanding, but it seems like this kind of thing is tricker -- both legally and technologically -- with a system like apt.

Reason #3 is laziness. It's already on my desktop and server, and so far, it's been one steady problem after another, but never something that, by itself, takes longer than switching to Ubuntu.

However, I do set up all my new systems as Ubuntu or another debian-derived distro. The main points of Gentoo beyond that are arch-specific compiletime optimizations and USE flags. The machines I really want to perform well are amd64, and that's at the point where you lose pretty much nothing by compiling for generic x86_64 rather than athlon64 -- in fact, I think it's exactly equivalent with the current gcc. For awhile, I was using -O3, then I used -Os because I thought it made stuff faster, then I realized it wasn't making a noticeable difference, and even if it was, hardware is optimized for Windows and bloaty crap, so CPU caches are getting bigger all the time. -O2 seemed the sane compromise -- but most things compile with that anyway, and most of the other optimizations I wanted to try both break things when applied globally and are enabled by things for which they would make a difference anyway (like mplayer).

Compiling your own kernel probably used to give a significant performance boost, and possibly still does if you know what you're doing, but it's just a huge amount of time to spend running through the config dialogs. But even if I wanted to, Ubuntu makes it easier anyway -- make-kpkg is nice.

As for USE flags, they still can control useful stuff -- for instance, whether or not something compiles with an optional GUI. However, unless you really need to save every last bit of disk space, this means nothing. And even if you do, binary distros are able to slice things up a lot finer than source ones have been able to do in the past -- it used to be that installing one little gtk app required compiling a whole X server and all the X libs, whereas on Ubuntu, it installs maybe a meg or two worth of the base X libs (plus gtk, which isn't big either). In fact, one of the biggest uses of USE flags lately has been to deliberately disable functionality you won't be using, just to make stuff compile faster -- for example, if you specify your soundcard, alsa-driver won't compile every single soundcard ever made.

But that's to make livable a situation where the granularity of your package system is limited by what you can compile on its own, and typically, you'll end up downloading the full sources even if you only need to compile 10%, and only actually need 10% of the result of that. Which makes their old "Larry the Cow" slogan sadly obsolete -- with Gentoo, you end up compiling and installing much more than you need, in order to, say, not compile gtk support unless you need it -- and then have gtk compile and install the first time you actually do get a gtk-only app.

And Ubuntu does a better job of this, anyway. Plugins are a great example -- on Gentoo, you might compile xmms with flac support, or flac with xmms support. On Ubuntu, you just install xmms-flac or something -- one package that's just the flac plugin for xmms. I don't use xmms anymore, but there you go -- if you don't want xmms-flac, just remove it, no need to recompile xmms.

There are a few cases where a recompile really is necessary to change something -- but in these cases, there's usually an alternate binary or package provided anyway. A good example could be Quake 3 Arena -- there's a separate SMP binary (probably slower on single-core systems), so you can choose (or have a wrapper choose for you) at launch time, or at least at install time, rather than at compile time. But that's also an example of why I like Gentoo; Q3A and many, many commercial programs can be packaged on Gentoo, even if they can't legally be redistributed as a package -- meaning even if you have to manually agree to a license, or even manually download the program and/or copy files from a CD, you at least get update notifications in the same place as you do for all your other packages.

Regarding hot-babe... interesting. On beryl, the slightest load will cause her to start to strip, which drives beryl CPU usage up slightly, which causes her to strip more, and before you can blink, she's naked and beryl's at 100% CPU. Seem to have fixed that by forcing her to be nice... But this doesn't seem to be an incredibly popular program, as I see no other skins for her.

Reason for the trouble? (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315199)

If Gentoo is in trouble because of petty squabbling, that's truly unfortunate. If, on the other hand, it's in trouble because it's no longer useful to its core constituency, then perhaps it's better that the project is in decline. Either a major shakeup will occur or it will die a natural death. So which is it?

Re:Reason for the trouble? (1)

iggy_mon (737886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317633)

So which is it?

i don't know... i was just thanking you for posting a comment that was actually on topic... all the comments above yours are off topic (and the usual (boring) rants about ThisIsBetterThanThat-Lier!ThatisBetterThanThis)

some of the distros out there are run by a "dictator" (of sorts) and the community rallies around this person and supports them (knoppix (if i recall correctly, among others). seems like a good idea as it organizes the community.

though i'm sure it's to late for gentoo, linus' way of working with the community seems the best way. he started it, he makes the choices. why not have a Gentoo mm (for example) that is a sandlot for ideas and VGentoo (Vanilla Gentoo) for stable releases?

an aside: why don't the vocal minority trouble makes (in every project) just leave and create an OpenGentoo? lmao

a second aside: every, and i mean EVERY, vocal asshat makes a poor, POOR leader. ... every MBA also ;-)

Yes (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315267)

When drobbins left the first time, the distro headed toward the toilet and this situation does not improve things.

The Portage tree continues to have broken ebuilds in stable because of changes to the scripts. This puts the lie to the entire notion of 'stable'. Constant changes to syntax in scripts are also occurring. I don't see a damned good reason why 'emerge sync' is now deprecated, for instance. It worked fine for years before. What's the problem now?

If I have to hack theoretically stable ebuilds to get them to compile, exactly why aren't I just using LFS?

It all stinks of a lot of juvenile e-penis crap. This kind of thing just did not happen when drobbins was running Gentoo. The structure he put in place makes it just like Debian with the politics but with less concern for quality. The distro is doomed because i'm on the hairtrigger of moving all my boxes off of it after almost 5 years, which makes me think many people have done so already, and will do so.

Re:Yes (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315947)

The 'emerge sync' thing is somewhat understandable: What if you want to emerge a package called 'sync'? Debian's apt-get at least does it unambiguously, as you say "apt-get install package". In Gentoo it's weird because the action executed depends on whether it's an internal command or not. It also means that you can't add a new command to emerge with a name that clashes with an existing package name.

Re:Yes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18316385)

They've changed it to emerge --sync as to prevent issues like this. It's just 2 more characters.

Re:Yes (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316199)

The distro is doomed because i'm on the hairtrigger of moving all my boxes off of it after almost 5 years, which makes me think many people have done so already, and will do so.

I second that.

I ran Gentoo for 3 years. Switched to Kubuntu last year and haven't looked back. I was just tired of it breaking all the time, simple as that.

Re:Yes (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316957)

I think that FreeBSD handles the whole source-based thing a little better. Offering binary packages for those without patience is always good, and not subjecting the base system to the stupidities of package management seems like such a good idea I wonder why any Linux distro hasn't picked it up.

the last gentoo council meeting (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315287)

council meeting sumary, taken from gentoo-dev /20070208-summary.txt []

full log /20070308.txt []

for me, gentoo is still more healthy than any other platform ever

What's the big idea? (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315543)

It seems to me that a project like this has to be driven by a "Big Idea".

The big idea doesn't have to be a valid one -- although it helps. What it has to do is attract and retain contributors. It has to keep them working together despite their differences. Differences between people who are working toward the same goal can be a good thing, if their commitment is strong enough that they eventually try to to see the other side. If not, then they end up standing in the way of progress until they decide to leave.

Each successful distro has a big idea.

Fedora: bring the most up to date technology to Linux, both for users and others who want to make specialized distros.

Debian: create the freest possible operating system.

Ubuntu: promote a free operating system like Debian, but with more frequent releases so that users have the benefits of newer technology.

Slack: place the highest value on design simplicity; assume the user knows what he is doing and stay out of his way.

CENTOS: provide a completely free operating system that will also allow any user to run enterprise software (e.g. Oracle) without paying any unnecessary license fees.

Knoppix: make it possible for everybody to try a free operating system without the hassles or issues of a hard disk installation.

and so forth. Each of these ideas not only has merit, it has contributor appeal.

The big idea of Gentoo is to create a distribution in which components are distributed in source code form only, and compiled by the user. The idea has both its merits and problems. But the real question is whether it has enough appeal to motivate people to overcome their normal differences. Time will tell, but I have my doubts.

For one thing, the Gentoo goal is achievable and has been achieved. In many other distros, the big idea is like the horizon; it keeps receding as you move towards it.

Re:What's the big idea? (2, Informative)

jamiethehutt (572315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316357)

The big idea of Gentoo is to create a distribution in which components are distributed in source code form only, and compiled by the user.

I've been a Gentoo user for about 4 years and that's never been the goal, that's the means through which it achieves its goal.

Gentoo is a system designed to allow a user to easily put together their own personalised system aimed at doing whatever they like on whatever they like (hence the big pile of supported architectures). It's about providing as much choice as possible.

With source packages you can compile binaries to be as stable as possible (leave out GCCs optimisations) as fast as possible (turn them all the optimisations on) or even to compile small binaries (for better performance on systems with hardly any cache). See? Choice.

Re:What's the big idea? (2, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#18319115)

I think Gentoo should focus on it's embedded offering. The benifits of being
able to compile all your packages from source and combine your system however you
want and do it all from source really shines.

Re:What's the big idea? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318073)

Not necessarily.

Gentoo supports binary packages in Portage. The core purpose of Gentoo was to allow a user a means to have exactly the system they want. The most important and powerful facet of Gentoo are USE tags.

No other distro provides the level of customization that Gentoo does.

Honestly, in a perfect world, I'd like to see every major distro tie into Portage, which is the best repository system out there. Most distros look down their nose at Gentoo for being silly, unprofessional, and a "ricer" distro, but the USE system could easily allow for multiple distros to use one repository at once.

Not only could I theoretically pull Debian packages with a Debian USE flag, but also I could have a USE flag for the official release so that I pull the correct packages for that release. A SUSE user could then do the same.

Everyone would have the ability to build from scratch, or pull binaries, and installing on Linux could be semi-universal. "emerge package" and there you go.

Furthermore, those that want to see updates, or live on the bleeding edge a bit don't have to wait for fully put-together beta installs, or even reinstall for a new release ever again. Just emerge your updates, and there you go.

Portage/Gentoo/USE allows for a great deal of flexibility, and I hope that other distros catch on some day.

Gentoo definitely is in crisis. (5, Interesting)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18315797)

Currently I still use it myself, since I can handle most of the problems myself and has the flexibility I like. But I stopped installing it for friends and relatives. And I strongly discourage its use in my company. It is just too unstable. It is fine if you are a geek (I am) and have too much time (I don't). For my friends it is kubuntu now.
Gentoo was and somewhat is great, but there hardly is a world update anymore, which goes smoothly. Sometimes things even break silently, so you cannot even be sure when something broke. Constantly the need to learn new configuration syntaxes because the old configuration stops working after an update is very tiring. Uprade/downgrade ping-pong also stops being funny quickly. I could complain because of seemingly egomaniacal decisions of the maintainers to remove widely used packages like xmms, but this would not be fair. If they have not enough manpower to maintain those packages, better remove them, but it still stings to be forced to search for alternatives.

I would not say there is no quality control in the Gentoo development, if I find 10 bugs, there might have been 100 others, which had been caught before release, but it simply isn't enough. I think it is fair to say that the Gentoo project has outgrown the current staff. They simply cannot handle it adequately anymore.

If anyone from the Gentoo staff should read this lines: It really isn't meant as an insult. You did great, but reached a point where your current methods are not sufficient anymore.

Re:Gentoo definitely is in crisis. (4, Interesting)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316701)

Your sentiment is valid. Your points are not.

The first thing to do is to stop emerging world. Emerge things when you know you want them, otherwise just run glsa-check (really "glsa-check|grep '\[N\]'") to scan for vulnerabilities. And if you do upgrade a big package, run revdep-rebuild.

Gentoo is not well-suited for the beginner desktop user or beginner corporate sysadmin. Its features do impart the drawbacks you describe: the config syntax changes would only be encountered by someone upgrading to the next release of a traditonal distro, where they are expected. In general, traditional distros don't have to deal with nearly the same amount of QA testing that Gentoo does. So really, regular desktop users are better off with ubuntu and friends, junior sysadmins are better off with RHEL and friends. It's when you need the flexibility Gentoo can provide that you want to use it.

I don't personally care for the XMMS issue, but since XMMS needed GTK1 and had vulnerabilities that needed fixing because its upstream dev team disbanded, it's really predicated on those two issues (you do realize that it's irresponsible for a dev to keep a package with known vulnerabilities in the tree, right?). You can still install it from an overlay, you can install a modern XMMS clone, and as far as I'm concerned, any package that doesn't support utf8 should get off the face of the earth ASAP.

Gentoo does need new QA tools to deal with the combinatorial explosion of package versioning and configuration possibilities. That, and a bit more immunity to drama on part of the devs (e.g. the ability to tell ciaranm to fuck off), is necessary for Gentoo not to stagnate.

Re:Gentoo definitely is in crisis. (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317957)

The first thing to do is to stop emerging world. Emerge things when you know you want them, otherwise just run glsa-check (really "glsa-check|grep '\[N\]'") to scan for vulnerabilities. And if you do upgrade a big package, run revdep-rebuild.

I would give exactly the opposite advice (Do as many small world updates as possible instead of waiting until updating something you want turns into a whole-ball-of-wax nightmare!) but either way, there's something obviously wrong when the package manager needs to be babysat like that.

Re:Gentoo definitely is in crisis. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318011)

Dude you forgot about XMMS!

Running Gentoo since 2002... (5, Insightful)

quag7 (462196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316197)

You know, I've read several articles online in the last few months which suggest serious problems with Gentoo. But I think it's important to consider the fact that, from my personal perspective and in my own experience, I have had less issues in the last 6 months with Gentoo (except for a hardware failure on one of my main hard drive), than I have had in all the time I've used Gentoo. My system right now is also running more unstable packages than I've ever run, and this is all in amd64.

I admit that I'd stick with Gentoo even if, from my perspective as a user, it was going through a hard time, but on my (KDE desktop) system, which is the main system I use for just about everything, if I didn't read these articles, I would have no idea that anything was going wrong.

I have spent less time maintaining, fixing, or otherwise bringing my system up to date in the last few months than I have in years.

As for interpersonal politics, lack of diplomacy, and immoderate language, I don't think that's anything unique to Gentoo. It may well be that there are some cultural issues which need addressing - not for me to say - and perhaps the departure of key developers may, in the future, affect the user's experience, but for me, this has not yet been the case.

I like Gentoo a lot - in fact, I wound up running it sort of by mistake. As a newcomer to Linux, I'd read (in late 2001) that the Gentoo install was some kind of baptism of fire. I had problems understanding some of the fundamentals of how Linux systems are set up and at the time my Mandrake install was not helping me learn. I installed Gentoo as a lark, with the idea that I might learn some things about Linux that I could apply to Mandrake (which I was running because everyone said, at the time, that it was a great distribution for beginners).

Having gotten it installed on the first try, without any problems whatsoever, I ran it for a little while. Then I fell in love with portage which was - at the time - more reliable than Mandrake's package manager. After a few weeks, I couldn't find a reason to go back to Mandrake. This was just a few months in, after years of being a Windows user (which is why I also take issue with the popular assertion that Gentoo isn't for beginners, because it was ideal for me).

In the time since, I've tried several distributions and use Debian on my router and my file server, because they're old, crotchety machines that I was too lazy to install Gentoo on. But I've yet to find anything which so closely matches my expectation of how my system should work, than Gentoo. Which is why I'd stick with it (that and 5 years of momentum, of course).

For me, Gentoo is about ease of use, and specifically *not* having to spend a lot of time keeping my system up to date. In no way am I suggesting that the assertions of others that "Gentoo is too much work" are invalid, but they certainly have nothing to do with my experience, or that of many other Gentoo users. As for compiling software (for instance), this is a process I run, background, and forget about. Every few months, something a little more involved might require an hour or so of my attention (a major GCC upgrade, for instance) but overall, maintaining my system is simply not a time sink, at all.

And no, I'm not a developer. A computer hobbyist and fan of computers, but hardly some kind of guru. There may be good reasons not to use Gentoo, but I'd hate for anyone to think that these political spats somehow define the distribution or have much to do with the user's experience.

At least, it doesn't, so far, have anything to do with *me*. I still recommend Gentoo wholeheartedly. I have a lot of affection for it. I can and have used other distributions and I could learn to live with just about any distribution if I had to, but I doubt it would be the complete pleasure that Gentoo has been. I don't have hatred for any of the distributions I've tried out (Debian, OpenSuSE, Mandrake, Fedora, Slackware, Kubuntu, and FreeBSD as well), but none of them make me happy the way Gentoo still does. I could probably live with any of these, and get to really like some of them, but I have never considered switching from Gentoo. And that's 5 years down the line.

I hope the issues raised in the article can be addressed and prevented in the future. Gentoo, like most large free software/open source projects, has some strong personalities. But that, alone, doesn't define what can be a remarkably friendly distribution.

Re:Running Gentoo since 2002... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317695)

But I think it's important to consider the fact that, from my personal perspective and in my own experience, I have had less issues in the last 6 months with Gentoo (except for a hardware failure on one of my main hard drive), than I have had in all the time I've used Gentoo.

My impression is that the people who are running 'emerge -uD world' every week are doing just fine and don't understand what all the fuss is about. It's those of us who update infrequently (I have dial-up at home, and anyway don't usually leave my Mac unless I need Linux for some reason) who hit the intractable problems, go into the forum and find user after user complaining about the same unfixed issue for months.

Re:Running Gentoo since 2002... (1)

quag7 (462196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318057)

That may be - I run emerge -uD world about once a week, but I've got a pretty decent broadband connection. In general, if people have the resources to do so, it is worthwhile to update at least once a fortnight. It's pretty clear that those who update infrequently (including those who don't update files in etc) tend to have more problems.

Beyond which, better to fix an issue or two here and there than face down 7 or 8 at once, which is more likely if you don't update often.

Easy to keep clean (1, Informative)

HuskyDog (143220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316369)

I run Gentoo on five different systems, including a laptop and an Alpha. For me one of the big advantages is that it doesn't fill up with dozens of unwanted libraries. Let me explain: In an RPM based distribution (I have used Mandrake and SuSE) when one installs an application, it will often bring in a host of other dependent RPMs. That's just fine, and Gentoo does something similar, but what happens when you decide that you don't want the application any longer? I often install something to try it out and then decide that it doesn't do what I want. You can remove the application itself, but what about all those libxxxxx.rpm packages which it depended on. I can remove them if I can remember which ones they were, but otherwise they just hang around getting in the way.

"Disks are cheap you Bozo!" Yes, I know, but I keep my systems up to date and unwanted libraries mean unwanted security updates. With Gentoo, this problem is entirely solved with the 'emerge --depclean' command. When I emerge an application its name is added to the world file (/var/lib/portage/world) but not the names of it's dependencies. So, emerge --depclean simply looks for packages which which are not in world (or the base system list) and aren't depended on by any installed packages.

Related points: The wonder of USE flags means that many libraries never get installed at all because I can tell the application that I am not interested in that functionality. My general point also applies to cases where one upgrades an application and the new version no longer depends on a particular library.

If there are RPM (or apt) based distributions which have a similar scheme then I would love to know about it. Mandrake has (or at least used to have) a script called something like 'urpmi_rpm-find-leaves' which gave a list of RPMs which were not depended upon. By filtering the output through 'grep lib' one could get part of the way there, but it would still leave quite a few RPMs to locate by hand.

Re:Easy to keep clean (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316763)

You want
apt-get autoremove

RPM sucks, but as a portage fan, you'll probably be pretty happy with apt. The pinning, building, and cleaning stuff is conceptually very similar to what portage provides, except that apt does it in a more polished, fully implemented way. :) The USE flag support isn't identical, but the apt-build process does provide enough flexibility that you can get pretty close.

Re:Easy to keep clean (1)

thue (121682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316809)

If there are RPM (or apt) based distributions which have a similar scheme then I would love to know about it. Mandrake has (or at least used to have) a script called something like 'urpmi_rpm-find-leaves' which gave a list of RPMs which were not depended upon. By filtering the output through 'grep lib' one could get part of the way there, but it would still leave quite a few RPMs to locate by hand.

Debian (and perhaps Ubuntu) does.

When you install packages with the "aptitude" tool, it will remember which packages you specifically asked for, and which got installed to satisfy dependencies.

When you uninstall a package, all packages which got installed as dependencies, but which are no longer needed, will automatically be uninstalled.

Re:Easy to keep clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18316897)

Debian also has deborphans, which searches for lib* packages with no packages depending on them.

Re:Easy to keep clean (1)

sgar (859603) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316841)

Not exactly what you're asking for, but debian has a package named Deborphan. It's a simple script that checks for packages installed as dependencies, that are no longer being used due to upgrades or removals. It generates a simple list, and leaves it to you to remove anything, in case you have something built from source relying on it, or some other need for them. I run it once a month or so on my machines, just to clean up a bit.

Re:Easy to keep clean (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316995)

I run Gentoo on five different systems, including a laptop and an Alpha. For me one of the big advantages is that it doesn't fill up with dozens of unwanted libraries.

On Debian and its derivatives, that's a feature of the recommended "aptitude" package manager. I can't believe that the major RPM-based distros don't have that functionality in their package managers, too (and no, the "rpm" command doesn't count here).

Re:Easy to keep clean (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317991)

Believe it. I just gave Fedora a shot this weekend, and couldn't last more than a day or two. RPM and Yum are a pretty weak combination compared to .deb and Apt. It took me four hours to install the base system because the installer kept throwing up dependancy errors, and there was no autocleaning mechanism to tidy up after itself once I bludgeoned it into working.

Re:Easy to keep clean (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317487)

Any Debian derivative (using .deb packages) will do this easily.

The package metadata makes it easy to determine when a package was installed to satisfy a dependency. There are also trivial tools for identifying orphans.

There's an extensive discussion here [] .

Methods for keeping your system clean vary, in a way dating those who use them. Some people use the old way:

apt-get remove `deborphan`

Although many modern package management UIs (aptitude is one I'm certain of) will offer to cull your orphaned packages automatically (or just do it quietly by default).

In between, I believe there's even an apt-get command line option for removing orphaned dependent packages when removing a package, but I can't remember it right now.

It's all about the packages... (3, Insightful)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316487)

For me, as a Computer Scientist, it's all about the packages. I _love_ the bleeding edge and the obscure. No other distro out there offers the depth and breadth of packages that Gentoo does. Using anything else is just downright painful as I end up compiling a lot of my own programs _anyway_ by hand (and not managed).

I originally switched to Gentoo because I had given up on using Slackware's package system and was keeping a large library of software current by hand.... Gentoo scratched my itch perfectly.

I really do hope it doesn't die from the inside. There are still a lot of people doing a lot of good work... and a _lot_ of people still benefiting from it. The way I see it, these type of squabbles are just a by product of becoming popular. As your dev team grows you're inevitably going to have personality conflicts... you just hope that over time you find a way to work them out and it doesn't bring the project down in the mean time.


Re:It's all about the packages... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317167)

For me, as a Computer Scientist, it's all about the packages.

For me, as a Baptist, it's not. Just as long as we're tossing out unrelated qualifiers.

No other distro out there offers the depth and breadth of packages that Gentoo does.

Interestingly, I feel the exact same way about Debian, and that's what kept putting me off of Gentoo - the packages I wanted just weren't there.

I like Gentoo and still use it on some very old hardware where the extra 5% performance from "-fomit-instructions" actually makes a difference. Those systems also have so relatively few packages installed that I haven't run into the problems that other people are complaining about here. However, I wouldn't hold it up as the epitome of having everything available. It does a decent job, but no better than some other distros.

it isnt going anywhere (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316517)

Releases are still on track. bugs are being fixed. packages are being maintained. I just switched to Gentoo a couple months ago at home, on my notebook, and at work. All is well from the end user perspective. :)

Gentoo's video card woes (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316605)

This blog [] said a lot I agree with. The Gentoo-relevant part:

Gentoo has given me intractable issues with X configuration. This is to be expected. Once, the Gentoo community was large, and therefore helpful enough to solve my problems. Their only answer for me now is "Your video card is rubbish!".

As for me, I once spent four days back in 2002 trying to install Gentoo on a laptop -- never did get X to work. Once I gave up, I had RedHat 7.3 installed in under three hours. I'm not saying Gentoo is a bad distro, but after that experience, I've had serious reservations about trying it again.

Gentoo never was "what it used to be" (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316875)

Just learn how to set CFLAGS when you build a Debian package and quit wasting time with Yet Another Distro.

Re:Gentoo never was "what it used to be" (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317919)

Just learn how to set CFLAGS when you build a Debian package and quit wasting time with Yet Another Distro.

Well, that works for the more modern, bleeding edge Debian packages. I understand that most stable packages are written in assembler or Fortran.

Of course with Debian you don't have to waste time downloading the source tarballs from online repositories like you do with Gentoo. You simply send out a self addressed envelope and the Debian maintainers send you back the punch cards by return of post.

Main problem is portage (3, Informative)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18316887)

Right now there are 220,000 files, some ~100 bytes and others ~0-4k. Just to support portage. Space-age filesystems or not that's a lot of tiny files to be scattered around and updated piecemeal. What happens is that gentoo starts taking more and more time to do syncs and searches, not to mention everything else slowing down.

A good solution would be to put portage into a .zip file. In a zip each file is compressed individually, so you could still do rsync diffs. There's an index at the end so you can do really quick lookups (bypassing the whole slow path of inode / namei). The fs can do read-ahead and caching much better on a single file, and it won't have to do a seek for every file.

This is the kind of real, fundamental problem that gentoo should be solving. Gentoo should be the lightest distro, not a huge sprawling mess.

Problem is the childish devs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18317003)

First let me start by saying that I love Gentoo and have been using it for over 5 years now.

I've submitted hundreds of bugs and fixes, been part of sunrise overlay, and even went all the way down the road to becoming a official developer. (Took the quiz, worked for a few months with other devs)

The biggest problem I ran into was the extremely bad attitudes of existing developers. Several of the herds are filled with out right insulting egotistical children. If you suggest something other than what they like, you are attacked and not allowed into their "clicks." This is compounded by the fact that most of them are high school and college age kids who don't have any maturity.

And it's not just one herd or area either. I've tried to plug in and help with many of them. Each time making a suggestion they turn to insults and ignore different ideas. After literately months of dealing with this I just stopped trying. And I'm not the only one either.

It is very sad to see things like this when Gentoo itself is such a fantastic idea.

Hoping it Sticks Around (2, Interesting)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317491)

I've run Gentoo for about 3 years, give or take. Despite comments that the performance gains of compiling from source aren't worth it, try having a PIII-733 Laptop with 256Mb of RAM (hard limit on that machine) that you want to actually USE as a Linux box. Painful with anything except a well optimized Gentoo installation. I ran that for over a year before I took a trip with that rock-solid little laptop. It was a pleasure to use every day of my trip... the laptop was tiny and therefore was easy to throw in my backpack (I was motorcycling across the UK) when traveling, was light and simple. With Fedora the poor beastie just crawled... and Ubuntu I just couldn't get working reliably on that hardware (ironic, I know!)

I've still got that little laptop, and periodically boot her up to do an "emerge --sync; emerge -u world", maybe compile a new kernel. I don't use it as a daily laptop any more since I bought a Mac last year... but it's still a rock solid little machine that I might take with me this year when I repeat my trip in October.

But old hardware isn't just what Gentoo is good at. I use it frequently; in virtual environments. The host... well that can be Windows, Linux... or ESX... take your pick. However, when I need a slick, fast booting and "built to order" Linux box as a guest then there's nothing better than a Gentoo installation that boots the kernel, the VMWare Tools and then the application the guest is hosting! Fast boot, application isolation and simple package management (I usually set up a centralized Portage tree on the host machine). Believe me, the ability to reboot your web server in less than 10 seconds makes management sit up and take notice, especially when the other groups are using IIS boxes that take five minutes to come back from a hard failure.

But Gentoo isn't for everyone, and isn't for every implementation. I wouldn't call it "granny-friendly", and I would only use in a production environment where isolation is possible and rollback is simple (like in my aforementioned virtual environment... snapshots are a thing of beauty). Having said that, I recently built out a new home server and it got Gentoo almost by default. I thought about Fedora... but the flexibility of Gentoo really got to the geek in me :)

One thing that confused me about Gentoo.... (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317595)

Like most, I certainly understand the many reasons folks graviate towards Gentoo. But, from my experience, it is so damned unstable. I tried to give it a go one more time earlier this year. Because of package masking, even installing kdebase seemed/was impossible. (Both in x86 and ~x86).I assume this sort of thing is more common than a temporary problem. So my question is: Why use Gentoo over FreeBSD?? Yes, I know there is more comprehensive driver support in Linux, but the FreeBSD ports system never fails me. Aside from the USE flags, I also feel like I have enough control with /etc/make.conf in FreeBSD as in Gentoo. Again, this isn't a troll, but...why use Gentoo over FreeBSD???

Re:One thing that confused me about Gentoo.... (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317905)

Just to clarify...I did a base install and was unable to get kdebase to compile. I returned to it about 6 weeks later, resynced with the portage tree and was still ubale to unable to build kdebase. The package masking problems were still there. Again, this is an honest question: how can a distro's implementation of something so commonly used be broken for six weeks???

Gentoo = Debian (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18317605)

I don't see Gentoo failing any time soon due to the distro's that are being based on Gentoo. I see fewer and fewer people using "pure" Gentoo in the future, but more people using distro's based on Gentoo. Face it, Stage 1 Gentoo is hard to set up. Why bother when you can run something like Sabayon or Vida that gives you all the benefits of Gentoo with a much easier installer, provided you set up your use flags recompile after install (or not... your call). Just like few people actually run "true" Debian, many people run Debian based distro's such as Ubuntu, Linspire and so on.

Post vs Comments (3, Insightful)

Sascha J. (803853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318789)

Quite funny that almost everytime when "Gentoo" is the topic, all the talks and comments evolve around (pseudo-)speed, source-distribution and things like that.

The article is about internal problems, and not about how one's computer runs absolutely flawlessly, or not.

Compiling distros is for distro maintainers (0, Troll)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18318823)

Compiling distros is for distro maintainers and people who can't find a distro for what they need. Gentoo's userbase should be much smaller than it is in light of that.
Conclusion: There are a lot of idiots using Gentoo

We'll know within 5 days (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18319047)

After KDE and Xorg has been compiled from Stage 1 so the developer can answer on the allegations.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?