Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 18th Mar 2005 20:10 UTC
Gentoo "Why do I like Gentoo? Simple: Portage package management, the hands-off approach to configuration, the excellent documentation, and the unsurpassed community support forum." Read the article at NewsForge.
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by TLy on Fri 18th Mar 2005 20:30 UTC

"the hands-off approach to configuration"

Mmm, what kind of configuration was he talking about? Because the first couple hours of setting up Gentoo is hands-on configuration.

Re: useful gentoo links
by Jack on Fri 18th Mar 2005 20:50 UTC

Here are some even more useful links:

Flamebait I know, but I still find the last two funny and I couldn't agree more with the first.

emerge isn't unique
by piggy on Fri 18th Mar 2005 20:59 UTC

lol. sounds like he went to gentoo cause he couldn't handle slack.

If a slackware user wants to blow time like a getoo user does with emerge they can always do a
"swaret --compile <packagename>"

Release dates
by Sketchy on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:05 UTC

Shame the release of 2005.0 is a month overdue - Its a significant release especially for AMD64 - I cant sit here with borked symlinks for much longer.

by Surya on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:10 UTC

I intend to use Gentoo when I get another system. Seems very appealing being so hands on and working with the nitty gritty. Also the docs at the website for Gentoo seems detailed so far from what I have seen. Is the Slackware distro just as hands on as Gentoo?

Re: emerge isn't unique
by ralph on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:13 UTC

lol, sounds like you have a serious reading disability.

But you're right, there are other distros that provide tools to compile packages, however simply compiling isn't why the author uses gentoo, as you would have found out reading the article.

funroll-loops rocks.

by mattb on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:13 UTC

gentoo is a fantastic learning distro, (the only one better that i can think of is LFS), but honestly, i dont see the point in taking DIY that far if productivity is at all a consideration. you can optimize the hell out of everything, and possibly get a trivial performance increase, at the expense of an exponentially larger install time.

honestly, not trying to flame or troll here. i would be interested in hearing a gentoo user explain how gentoo is better over a debian system (other then "fun", which is totally valid, but not enough to put it on my main machine)

When it 1st came out, there were hardly any packages available yet (Well... Stable packages).

Has this became usable enough to warrant a reinstall yet?

Just waiting...
by RaisedFist on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:16 UTC

I can't wait for 2005.0 .... my AMD64 box waits for it!

by Chris on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:37 UTC

No it isn't. Most of the gentoo configuration is done rediculously easily, or with some script. Shoot, they don't even put their modules into modprobe.conf directly; they have a script for that!

RE: lmao
by anon on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:38 UTC

i must say the gentoo forum and how-to's are absolutely fantastic. is there a debian equivalent? not sure.

RE: lmao
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:39 UTC

gentoo is a fantastic learning distro, (the only one better that i can think of is LFS), but honestly, i dont see the point in taking DIY that far if productivity is at all a consideration. you can optimize the hell out of everything, and possibly get a trivial performance increase, at the expense of an exponentially larger install time.

You say that as though you're arguing with something. What you said really isn't so far from the author's point of view. If you're looking for a linux desktop with an easy setup and productivity is your main concern, then no, I don't think Gentoo is the distro you're looking for. It's been a while since I've run into anyone actually spouting that you should run Gentoo because it's optimized and will run faster.

However, as you say, it's a good learning distro. Gentoo offers some good documentation and good forums, and if you need a system specialized for a certain purpose, Gentoo gives you a lot of control over your setup, configuration, and management. The meta-distribution idea means there's no need to reinstall in order to stay up to date.

Their packages stay fairly close to standard, whereas some distros modify lots of things heavily, but Gentoo also offers some pleasant tweaks.

So no, Gentoo isn't the best distro for everyone, but it's certainly a good distro.

honestly, not trying to flame or troll here. i would be interested in hearing a gentoo user explain how gentoo is better over a debian system (other then "fun", which is totally valid, but not enough to put it on my main machine)

In the article, the guy says that he had an easier time finding good documentation for Gentoo than Debian. It may seem like a minor point, but it's not so minor to everyone.

Honestly, I don't think anyone here (at least not me, and doesn't sound like the author of the article) is saying anything like, "Debian sucks! Gentoo rules! Everyone switch to Gentoo!" He's just saying, "I use Gentoo. I like it. Here's why."

Gentoo > Slackware
by ShakyJake on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:43 UTC

I use to use Slackware and I will say with confidence that Gentoo was signficantly faster. I think Slack is great for older machines, but if you have a fast, modern system (reason I say this is due to compile times) then Gentoo totally destroys all other distros. The complete ease of package installation is what I love, as well as only having the packages *I* want installed.

@Anonymous (IP: 209.73.236.---)
by mattb on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:49 UTC

yeah, i reread what i wrote and it came off a bit more aggressive then i intended. possibly because ive had quite a few flame wars with gentoo zealots, and am still a little touchy about it. anyways, i apologize, but what i said still stands.

the author says that he uses it as his workstation os because of good config scripts, good package management, and a good community/documentation. i find all those things extremely important in a distro as well(which is why i use ubuntu).

what i was trying to get it is that those things exist in quite a few other distros, and those other distros dont require a redicules amount of configuration to get working, and offer well optimized pre compiled binaries.

anyways, i just wouldnt really consider gentoo a good choice for a "workstation os".

by m on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:53 UTC

If I wanted to use Linux on the desktop, I'd use Xandros. If I want to tinker and squeeze everything out of the machine, I'd rather use a FreeBSD. Easy installation, excellent documentation, and the desktop is very responsive.

compiled packages
by rmg on Fri 18th Mar 2005 21:57 UTC

Why does no one ever comment on the fact that you have the option of installing binary packages with gentoo?

re: emerge isn't unique (@piggy)
I think the difference between emerge and swaret is that emerge had the goal of compiling and binary packages were a side effect/after thought, but with swaret and slack's package management, the compiling is a means to the binary end.

oh great, now I'll sound like a fanboy..

Obviously I use gentoo, but unlike the ricers in the crowd, I started off with LFS and switched to gentoo, in much the same way higher math forgives the use of a calculator, because you COULD do it by hand, but really, why would you at this point?

take this lightly ;-D
by Martin on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:00 UTC

Gentoo Linux causes global warming! Needlessly recompiling everything uses power. Fossil fuels are used to generate that power. Hug a tree, use Debian!

... thats what the dpkg bot on #debian at told me.

RE: lmao (@mattb)
by chazwurth on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:05 UTC

To expand on what Anonymous mentioned re: finding documentation, and mention some other reasons:

I use both Debian and Gentoo; Debian on my laptop and Gentoo on my server. The laptop is my primary workstation; the server functions as file server, a development box for several people, and a CVS repository for a small private project.

I find that when I have a problem, or I need to figure out how to do something, it is usually easier to figure out a solution for my Gentoo machine, for two reasons. First, I find Gentoo's official documentation to be more accessible, and second, the user community (both web forums and IRC) is extremely helpful. Often, the solution for an issue with my Debian machine is easier, but figuring out what to do takes significantly more time.

In fact, I find system administration in Gentoo to be easier in general. I always chuckle when people talk about how Gentoo eats time and is only popular with people who like to watch compiler output. My experience is just the opposite. I find that maintaining a Gentoo box is extremely easy. That's why I'm still using it, not because I think it's faster or 'more optimized!!11!'.

On the other hand, I find Debian Testing to be more 'stable' than Gentoo, by which I mean, less breakage occurs or fewer problems have to be solved during the normal upgrading and installation of packages. I run into fewer bugs under Debian. I think it's almost a no-brainer that their QA is better. If I were relying on my server for more critical things, it would be running Debian; but since I'm not, and since I don't make major changes to it very often, Gentoo does fine.

Also, if Gentoo were to introduce a more stable branch, I'd feel comfortable using it all around.

My 2 cents.

RE: lmao
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:14 UTC

> gentoo is a fantastic learning distro, (the only one better that i can think of is LFS), but honestly, i dont see the point in taking DIY that far if productivity is at all a consideration. you can optimize the hell out of everything, and possibly get a trivial performance increase, at the expense of an exponentially larger install time.

> honestly, not trying to flame or troll here. i would be interested in hearing a gentoo user explain how gentoo is better over a debian system (other then "fun", which is totally valid, but not enough to put it on my main machine)

Documentation: Gentoo's official docs are really detailed, and the forums often have solutions to whatever problem you're running into; not always, but surprisingly often.

Package management: Gentoo does it reasonably well. I like it better than any package management system I've used on BSD/slackware, much less RPM-based; debian's is also good, though it obviously makes different design choices. Specifically:
* Flexibility: USE flags can't really have an equivalent in a binary distribution.

* Ease of adding packages: writing a basic ebuild is a fairly easy process.

A downside is that more bugzilla and forum posts seem to go unanswered for much longer than they used to.

In terms of productivity: Gentoo makes a rather nice desktop system, and some people like running it as a server; with a central system to build packages and have other systems use the resulting binaries, it's not even that severe of a hit timewise. Personally, I had a slackware firewall, which was great, but the machine it was on died; I tried using Gentoo as a firewall, but after a round of upgrades broke port forwarding I switched to FreeBSD for that host; it's been easy to maintain, and I like ipf much, much better than iptables or ipchains. YMMV.

A lot of things work by default after being emerged, which users of some other distros seem to spend inordinate amounts of time fiddling with; nvidia drivers and mplayer are two obvious examples.

Gentoo requires someone at least moderately technically inclined to be happy with it, unless they have someone else updating the system, etc, for them. It's linux; it won't magically have a lot of drivers which other distros won't. I find it nice enough to use that it's been my primary system for a few years now; I'd never install it on the systems of some people I know, because it does take a bit of handholding. Hopefully, the ability to just update for security issues will be automated soon; that would be a big step in the right direction.

RE: emerge isn't unique (@piggy )
by chazwurth on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:15 UTC

If you think that all emerge/portage does is compile things, I'd suggest you read the man pages.

Additionally, how does using it waste time? The time is the CPU's; it isn't my time. Once a box is set up, I never need a package installed immediately. The compile time doesn't cost me anything.

I think Slackware is a fine distribution. I like it. But I also think that system administration with Gentoo is much easier, and, ultimately, wastes far less time.

by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:18 UTC

yeah, i reread what i wrote and it came off a bit more aggressive then i intended. possibly because ive had quite a few flame wars with gentoo zealots, and am still a little touchy about it. anyways, i apologize, but what i said still stands.

No real need to apologize, I don't think. I don't think you said anything offensive, but it just seemed like it was responding to things that weren't in the article and hadn't yet shown up in the comments.

I myself, am an ex-Gentoo user, current Ubuntu user (hoary). I've used each on my personal "workstation" (I guess we might argue about what that word means), and I'd certainly have good things to say about each.

Now, the box in question is a bit of a test-system (I screw around on it a lot), but once I get things set up, I'm roughly equally productive on either distro. (really, I'm running most of the same packages, so what's the big deal?) Ubuntu is a much quicker initial install, but I've actually found that it's been easier to set up certain things on Gentoo, as well as having an easier time fixing things when they break (maybe that's not even inherent to the system, but again because of the documentation and the forums). So when it's all said and done, I think I'd rather run Gentoo.

So why am I running Ubuntu? Well, I've been experimenting with some different distros (like I've said, I screw around with my system a bit) and I wiped out my Gentoo install to do so. I just haven't had a couple days worth of free time to set aside for a fresh install, and I'm not really itching to do it since Ubuntu is getting the job done. However, sooner or later (especially if they come out with a means to ease the initial install) I may very well switch back to using Gentoo.

So why am I telling y'all this? Just to say that some of your choice in distros is taste, some of it's fashion sense, some of it's the documentation, some of it is what you're accustomed to, and sometimes one distro is a little better/easier for specific things. In no case do I see the point in distro flame-wars or talking people into/out-of using a specific distro.

Re: Re: useful gentoo links
by David on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:22 UTC

Here are some even more useful links:

Flamebait I know, but I still find the last two funny and I couldn't agree more with the first.

They're certainly useful for people who don't really know what they're doing in the first place, or just don't understand Gentoo at all. The first one just doesn't comprehend at all how building some software from scratch can be part of QA. If I build a package on my system, and it compiles, I can be reasonably confident it will run correctly. All the right things compiled in or out, no nasty surprises. Of course, you have to balance that against the time taken to compile, but most of the time it is nowhere near as great as some people make out, especially for a server and you can also install binary packages as well without a problem.

The documentation is also, hands down, the best I have seen anywhere for just about any distribution with Gentoo - Debian definitely included.

The last site is obviously funny, and absolutely hilarious. Yer, some people who use Gentoo think like that, but honestly, if you think compiling from source with fifteen dozen GCC flags is going to give you anything then you are a ricer. And then you'll whinge on the forums when with all those flags you have some obscure bit of software that crashes and burns when you try and build it. Gentoo is not like that I'm afraid.

The worrying and pretty sad thing is that this guy has way, way too much time and effort to put into a site like that.

by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:31 UTC

I've been thinking about it, and part of the reason I like Gentoo is that it was the first distro that I was able to get EVERYTHING to work. Before Gentoo, I would switch between Mandrake and Redhat and SuSE, and there was always something that just didn't work. Some driver wouldn't load, or one of the programs would crash. Even though I'm pretty technical and had been playing with Linux for a couple years, I wasn't a LFS guy, and I just couldn't get everything to work.

So I eventually bit the bullet and tried Gentoo, and not everything worked, but the couple of things that didn't, I found the solutions in the forums very quickly.

Some of my good luck with Gentoo might have been the result of Linux distros getting better, since I've noticed recently that I can get everything to work in other distros. However, at least some of the reason I can get the other distros to work now is because of what I learned from being a Gentoo user (and I still use Gentoo's forums sometimes, even for other distros).

So that's my 2 cents.

gentoo & flags
by brian on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:38 UTC

The nicest thing about gentoo isn't the ability to add highly optimized compiler flags, it's the ability to set the USE flags to rip all the crapola you DON'T want out of your system.

Case in point, I'm running a debian based server. One of my web processes needs freetype in order to render fonts for website images. Well, good old debian decides that it wants to install substantial portions of xorg onto my server system just so's I can get freetype.

With gentoo this type of stuff doesn't happen if you set your use flags to negate as much GUI garbage as you can. USE="-x11" does the trick.

Now one thing that gigantically sucks about gentoo is the speed of compilation. If gcc were blazingly fast & could compile kdebase & kdelibs in 2 minutes instead of 2 hours I could see gentoo easily borging the whole linux world.

Gentoo/AMD64/GCC4/KDE 3.4
by jp on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:48 UTC

>>Gentoo Linux causes global warming! Needlessly recompiling everything uses power. Fossil fuels are used to generate that power. Hug a tree, use Debian!

I started with fedora. That was my start with linux. Then I moved to gentoo. My laptop never shutup with windows. With gentoo, it is a cooler. I love portage. However, yesterday I tried Kubuntu. I am in a dilemma. I finally got apt to work for me.

Anyone out there using Gentoo/AMD64/GCC4/KDE3.4, give some feedback, that has to be one fast system.

Gentoo not for enterprise production ...
by Milione on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:52 UTC

Well Gentoo is a great distro but definetly not enterprise production ready. As a test distro it's great - infact I'd love to see some tests done on XEN running Suse Enterprise, Gentoo, and Debian and see what we can come up with.

where did Gentoo 2005.0 go?
by Ben on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:58 UTC

So what happened to Gentoo 2005.0? Last news I heard was that it was delayed a few days, and that seems to be weeks ago.

Gentoo is great for hardened systems too with its combined SELinux, grsecurity, PaX, and what am I missing...?

re: gentoo? Kind of neat
by Usario Clave on Fri 18th Mar 2005 22:58 UTC

I've been installing (and compiling) gentoo on ppc.

The only issue with gentoo is that "USE" variable in make.conf. Sometimes it's not clear when you need something in there or not, and if you forget to add something to "USE" (like pam) you have to rebuild a bunch of stuff.

As an example, I emerged KDE, but forgot to add "kde" to "USE". Doh!

Central repository
by rongten on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:09 UTC

Did anybody mantion that you have only one main repository,
for all intend and purposes? You do not have to track archane repositories to have the package you need and its dependencies. No breakage mixing different repositories, and if a package really is not there, you can write an ebuild for it and submit it to the developers. Now, i find writing
an ebuild way easier than trying to build an rpm.

And I like Gentoo because it is heaven for a programmer wannabe like me, that like simple things.
When I see friends with aptitude, installing tons of binary packages for unneeded dependencies, I get confused. Command line emerge is more than enough for me.

Waiting for portage 3.0, I prepare the champagne.

Best Regards

My $.02
by Beavis on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:21 UTC

As a former Red Hat guy and system administrator, Gentoo has saved me hundreds of hours and my company $1000's of dollars.

The time spent installing Gentoo is _well_ worth the benefits of performance, security, stability, and portage. Additionally, the Gentoo community is the very best when it comes to support and documentation.

If you're thinking of switching distros, think Gentoo... And never look back.

compile time...
by dr d on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:23 UTC

How many packages do you compile? I mean, you can knock Gentoo for compiling everything, but come on.... Once you set up the system, that is it. Keeping update is trivial and things like KDE (yuck) or GNOME (yum) are only compiled once in a very blue moon... Gentoo is the easiest to keep going.

Compiling my Thoughts
by . on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:27 UTC

I came to the conclusion that binary distros are worthless. Don't ask me why. I wanted an OS optimized for my box and with a sophisticated package management system. I didn't want to download a new CD to update my machine every month. I wanted access to a wealth of knowledge via a vibrant community. I wanted access to new and up to date packages. I wanted a clean, customized OS without cruft. Well, I haven't seen any other distro do all the above simultaneously better than Gentoo. Plus it's fast.

Did I mention Portage rocks?

RE: compile time...
by chazwurth on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:28 UTC

Also, when you do need update a large package or a desktop environment, it isn't as if your computer is unusable while you're doing it. Unless your box spends it's time crunching numbers, you haven't lost a thing.

Re: Gentoo > Slackware
by Gent on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:28 UTC

I think you're just asking for it here. Seems apparent that in all your supposed time using slack you never bothered to check out the "expert" option for package selection during the install. This too allows people like myself, under slackware, to have just the packages *I* want.

Furthermore, it allows, as much as any distro does if you really want to do that, a base to then build source over. My system is probably about 20% binary and 80% source, it's a slackware install nearing about 8 months in age, and I have no problem keeping it up to date while avoiding binary packages.

One thing I find the most interesting about Gentoo, and I do rank the distro in my top 3, is how it seems to convince people they're "doing it from scratch." I don't consider a tool which automatically compiles all your software and throws it in place with logical patches etc, to be anything "from scratch." It's more like just taking what is usually reserved for the distributors to do and doing it yourself. They too have all kinds of fancy scripts and tools to do this.

What hasn't been done that the distributor has done really, is really growing it as a system as a whole. While distributors come up with package management ideas, possibly interesting init script methods, etc... you've really done nothing of the sorts.

There's nothing that makes gentoo "from scratch" other than the fact your packages are compiled from source -- and even that action is automated beyond belief.

Would you care to elaborate on that statement?

I've been running a Gentoo stable (x86) server with no hickups for a few years now.

Things become quite nice when you put USE="-*" in your make.conf. Everything else is added in /etc/portage/package.use when needed.

Recently I managed to get rid of PAM too. I have no use for such a beast so the possibillity to not install it is greatly appreciated.

For higher service stability I suggest replacing sysvinit with runit. Runit is based on djb's daemontools which is a great way of managing your daemons.

In summary: Gentoo gives you the power of LFS with nice tools to manage it all.

RE: Compiling my Thoughts
by chazwurth on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:31 UTC

I've yet to see any worthwhile data that demonstrate the speed claims often made about Gentoo. Lots of people say that Gentoo is fast. Can anyone point to a reliable source that has benchmarks?

Of course, testing Gentoo against other distributions for speed would be tricky: what compiler flags would you use?

Always broken
by bman08 on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:35 UTC

I used to have really good luck with gentoo, but I've had some major problems lately that've really turned me off. Getting a system set up is easy if you follow the instructions. Setting up a GUI-less system from stage3 takes less time than installing and patching windows. But after that, I've found one mess after another. I'll readily admit that some of them are my fault, especially some injudicious use of etc-update, but at the same time... why would an update even TRY to replace fstab or net.eth0? Anyway, I've found that meta packages are consistantly broken. emerge gnome will exit on errors five or ten times, and the same is true of trying to do system updates. I felt like I was afraid to breathe on the system once it was going, let alone trying to keep it up to date. In the end, gentoo didn't seem worth the trouble.

Re: Gentoo > Slackware (@Gent)
by chazwurth on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:37 UTC

I think a lot of people confuse "I used the command line to compile all my software" with "I built it from scratch". I think Gentoo's strength is how not from scratch it is; that is to say, the tools it provides are great.

What I don't understand is (and I mean this as a question, not a flame or call-out), why do you use Slackware if your system is mostlyl source-based? What advantages does it give you? Why do you stick with it?

by John Nilsson on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:41 UTC

So Gentoo gave you the rope, and you hung yourself?

Let me guess you ran etc-update with command "-5" and you run emerge -UD world?

RTFM and try again.

Seriously, I have seen many fuckups in Gentoo over the years, but what you describe can only be user error.

gentoo web design contest
by Joe User on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:45 UTC

It's been 8 months that Gentoo was supposed to change its web page layout according to the web design contest. Still waiting.

RE: Compiling my Thoughts
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:48 UTC

CFLAGS="-w -pipe -ftracer -funit-at-a-time -fomit-frame-pointer -frename-registers -fweb -march=athlon -fforce-mem -fvisibility-inlines-hidden -Os -s -fpic -fPIC"

I just added -fvisibility-inlines-hidden a few days ago to test out KDE. Many gaming and benchmarking sites use Gentoo as their test OS, and I think for good reason. However, it doesn't matter what benchmark say, Gentoo is the fastest distro I've used. It's also the most customizable and flexible. Those are requirements that interest me.

@Anonymous (IP: 144.80.184.---)
by John Nilsson on Fri 18th Mar 2005 23:55 UTC

just a heads up:

-fforce-mem is implied by -O2 (which is implied by -Os)

Not enabled by default at any level because it has known bugs.

disregarding that,

have you done any benchmarking testing those flags? Any problems with stabillity? What gcc ver?

Why I love Gentoo
by Androo on Sat 19th Mar 2005 00:03 UTC

It's nothing real specific, I suppose. With Gentoo it's the whole package:

- Wonderful package manager.
- Wonderful documentation, probably the best documentation.
- Very helpful community with central means of communication.
- Packages are almost ALWAYS up to date.
- Very rarely is there not an official package for something.
- There is no installer to bitch about, I can use whatever utilities I want and whichever LiveCD I want to complete the install.
- Portage ebuilds tell me quite a bit about what I need to do after an emerge, if anything in nice bright-green letters.

But the biggest plus for Gentoo in my opinion is that it just doesn't give me any fuss. It's the distro I've had the least amount of trouble with. So I love it.

RE: Compiling my Thoughts
by . on Sat 19th Mar 2005 00:06 UTC

Yes, I have carried out crude benchmarks. No, I do not have stability problems, and haven't had that in about 2 years. Finally, I use GCC-

From GCC manual:


Attempt to avoid false dependencies in scheduled code by making use of registers left over after register allocation. This optimization will most benefit processors with lots of registers. It can, however, make debugging impossible, since variables will no longer stay in a “home register”.

What bugs do -frename-register trigger?

by harper on Sat 19th Mar 2005 00:07 UTC

Another good hands on distro is Lunar linux shares somethings in common with gentoo. But this distro was out first, it is a major feat getting it up and running, as it's very geek, and VERY, VERY time consuming. But I found that Lunar runs on anything. And runs fast.

I know this is slightly off topic, I don't care if I get modded down, I jsut wanted to share this info with my fellow OS News citizens. ^_^

by Scott Shawcroft on Sat 19th Mar 2005 00:19 UTC

I think that releases in regards to gentoo are a common misconception. I'm a gentoo user myself and the release of 2005.0 means almost nothing to me. All it takes is 3 commands to keep my system up to date. I would consider gentoo under a continuous release. The install discs are the only aspect of gentoo released on a quartly cycle. Please consider the following. RS is release schedule. | is a release. TBD=Typical binary distro (in my perception).

Program A RS -----------|----|------------|-----------|
Program B RS -------------|--------|---|---------|-----
Program C RS --|------------------------------------|--
TBD RS ----------|-----------------------|----------------
Gentoo Install----------|--------------------------------
Gentoo |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

My point is that gentoo allows me to feel the pulse of free software NOT the pulse of the distro. When a program comes out its generally in portage within a few days and my system automatically updates. Sync. Compile. Configs. (using dispatch-conf NOT etc-update) Done. Simple.

Been using Gentoo just a couple of months now. Previously did some personal construction a la Linux From Scratch. Knowing what's involved in getting packages to compile and work, I'm very impressed how Gentoo pulls it off almost flawlessly. Sure you can break things, but most likely by admin mistakes, not checking the (very good) documentation, or too adventurous compile/USE flags.

Getting it installed isn't easy, but not as hard as I thought. Keeping it up to date, is a breeze. The source-based approach, portage and USE flags make it (IMHO) ideal for developers, power-users, compulsive tinkerers, and maybe even gamers.

But that isn't everyone. For basic desktop purposes, it's plain stupid to compile everything from source, as opposed to downloading/installing binaries. For maximum stability, you DO need binaries: these can be tested (or even verified to work solid, think LSB or similar), and users then get the same code. Source-based may work very, very well, but ultimately you can't be sure of the result of a compile, too many variables involved. It may work out better than binary-based because it's easier to keep up with latest versions, patches etc., but that's just a management issue. A *well managed* binary-based distro shouldn't come short on stability either. See Slackware, Debian, or *BSD for example. You like speed/lightweight? Try i686 optimized distro's like Arch, Crux or Vector Linux.

That said, Gentoo is one of the best distro's around, and technically very impressive. I think I'll move on to some other distro (Arch? Free/NetBSD?), but I'd hate to see Gentoo leave the scene. Which won't happen any time soon, ofcourse... ;-)

by Mr Goooee on Sat 19th Mar 2005 00:55 UTC

Top article. Good perspective and points on Gentoo's advantages. Really, once you know Gentoo its hard going back to anything else. If you are influenced by Windows or OSX then you won't see the point. One of the best points for me is that I run one of the first installs of Gentoo oin AMD64 (my main PC) and still have up to date packages - bleeding edge if I want. New software and realeases also arrive quicker - no need to repackage them.

RE: Compiling my Thoughts
by Matt on Sat 19th Mar 2005 00:59 UTC

I don't know about specific bugs, but gcc says that it doesn't always produce correct code when that option is enabled. If you haven't had any problems, it must not be a very common problem.

Re: Re: Gentoo > Slackware (@Gent)
by Gent on Sat 19th Mar 2005 01:08 UTC

What I don't understand is (and I mean this as a question, not a flame or call-out), why do you use Slackware if your system is mostlyl source-based?

Why not? This question is funny, because I've heard it a lot, particularly from gentoo users. It's almost as if there's a certain group who thinks binary distros are not allowed to compile source. Not saying this is you, but why such a question?

Slackware is great for building up a strong source based system. Install the basics from a, ap, n, and d series, and build up from there. It's stable and strangely (not sure if it's due to distro patching or whatever) seems to have less of a problem compiling things compared to other binary based distros.

I think a lot of this comes down to ignoring the total aspect of distributions. Package management is only one, afterall. I prefer slackware's init scripts over any other system I've tried. While this can be bypassed by writing your own, or even changing the init program, slackware does it how I want it.

In terms of package management though, slackware is strictly "I don't care what you do." There's no dependency checking, it's not ever gonna tell you that you need to run "etc-update" etc..etc. Out of pure curiosity, how would you go about removing emerge from a gentoo system? In the event of course you don't use it's package management and you'd rather not have it installed for no reason.

What advantages does it give you?

Theoretically none. Let's be realistic for a minute, all of this is Linux, and theoretically one should be able to strip or build any distro down or up to where they want it. I suppose what it comes down to is the "fastest path" so to speak. Which one gets you where you want to be the fastest.

Slackware consistently gets me where I want to be the fastest, maybe it's because I've used it for so long and know it like the back of my hand, maybe it's because of it's general design -- I can't really say, because everything else differs from it in fundamental ways, and either could be the true cause of my problems when I try other distros.

Why do you stick with it?

Every other distro has failed me at some point. With more user friendly distros it is a case of lost customizability, excess baggage, etc. With more advanced distros it's anything from actually breaking itself (gentoo did this for me) or presenting me again, with a bunch of stuff I don't need or want. Also creating another distro specific thing to learn.

If I was going to do LFS, write my own init scripts, put things where I want, organize the system how I want, install the software I want, it would turn out pretty much how slackware is. So I stick with slackware for that initial speed during the install and customizability in package selection. After that, I forget it even has a package manager or delete it altogether. Slackware in reality, isn't my distro... it's my "boostrap" so to speak so I can build *MY* distro in as short as an amount of time as possible.

by John Nilsson on Sat 19th Mar 2005 01:37 UTC

So what is your procedure for keeping up to date?

RE: Releases.
by Wrawrat on Sat 19th Mar 2005 02:14 UTC

Well, Gentoo borrowed this concept from Debian and I am pretty sure you are aware that Debian is using precompiled packages... Arch is usually more up-to-date than Gentoo while it's a "TBD".

Anyway, I am not really sure if I want to feel the "pulse of free software". Judging by my Gentoo server, it's a bumpy road, even on hardened-stable. Still, I find it good enough for a personal server.

Gentoo for a workstation? I don't know. I guess it depends on your needs and how much time you can dedicate to your machine. Usually, you don't really mess with a machine you do work on it since borking it would prevent you from doing that work. In other words, you don't want to "feel the raw pulse", just the processed part. I have tinkered with a lot with Gentoo when I had the time for... Unfortunately, I no longer have the time so I am looking for alternatives.

RE:where did Gentoo 2005.0 go?
by Rudeman on Sat 19th Mar 2005 02:22 UTC
by jm on Sat 19th Mar 2005 02:25 UTC

how can you emerge binaries only without any compile

RE: how?
by Wrawrat on Sat 19th Mar 2005 03:00 UTC

By using the -gK options with emerge. I am not aware of a repository with up-to-date packages, though.

Re: @Gent
by Gent on Sat 19th Mar 2005 03:06 UTC

So what is your procedure for keeping up to date?

Compile as it's released. Another GOOD reason to avoid depending on say... ebuilds. Aside from something like Gnome, which in itself you can still compile separate parts at any given time with different versions and remain binary compatible, most software isn't release in one lump sum. It's the same thing that makes a daily emerge world feasible -- the fact that all the software you're updating isn't released on the same day.

So as it's released you take the few minutes it takes to compile the new stuff. I've never spent more than 15 minutes (aside from the compile time itself, which is going to occur no matter where you are when dealing with source) on any given piece of software.

Going back to why it's another GOOD reason, I remember when firefox 1.0.1 came out and I was sitting in an IRC channel and threw out a "/me compiles the new firefox" -- the only real response to it was "/me waits for an ebuild" from someone else.

I think the general problem is, people just don't want to worry about things, regardless of where they're coming from. They like the idea of open source, they like whatever minor advantage the optimizations can give them, and they like making their system their own -- but the minute it's not as automated as they like it to be they see that as some sort of huge obstacle to overcome. It's not. Furthermore, and a reason I mentioned this point earlier, things just seem to compile nicely on slackware. I've had other distros where you might lay a base down, but the minute you go to extend it through source, you get stuck with things that just don't want to compile for reasons other than dependencies.

There's minor issues that get in the way, even though it might be a minor version change I've seen gcc being updated really stop the ability for a certain program to compile dead in it's tracks. Maybe it's all just luck with the order I take in slackware, my text dependency tree that I run through isn't very long and it seems to go clean every time I try. So it works, it works well, and realistically isn't holding me back from getting things done.

What I think this also comes down to is what you're using in terms of applications. Some development is patch on patch on patch until they release a new version. I tend to be OK with tossing out a patch and keeping with the earlier version until a new full version comes out.

Overall, there's no great mystery to compiling software without any script, it's not going to take you hours every day, and it does have other benefits that are either simply not available when waiting for ebuilds or are more obfuscated with CFLAGS and USE -- think --bindir, --sbindir, --libexecdir, --datadir... all things, particularly on a server, that you might want extremely customized per application.

USE flags not CFLAGS...
by Archangel on Sat 19th Mar 2005 03:10 UTC

I don't feel the strengths of Gentoo lie so much in CFLAGS and optimisations as the USE flags; these allow you to compile packages with support for specific components. For example, if I set USE="-arts", KDE will be built without aRts. Or USE="mysql" and PHP will be built with MySQL components - in fact, mySQL itself will be emerged as a dependency.
This level of customisation is practically unique to Gentoo.

To the guy that said "For basic desktop purposes, it's plain stupid to compile everything from source, as opposed to downloading/installing binaries. For maximum stability, you DO need binaries:" - I resent that. I'm running Gentoo on here quite happily, with just about every single package compiled, and it works just fine. Sure, it'll break if you use -09 -mad-optimisations, but if you're a bit careful with it things work fine.
Developers don't have magic versions of gcc not available to us mere mortals; they compile official releases the same as the rest of us. A precompiled binary is no more stable than a binary you compile yourself, unless you make it unstable by trying to optimise in silly ways.

Okay, but...
by uberpenguin on Sat 19th Mar 2005 03:12 UTC

I agree with the general premise that the easy configuration and maintainence of Gentoo makes it nice to use. That's exactly what led me to replace Fedora core on my file server not too long ago, this being a machine that had run Red Hat through 2 rebuilds since around RH 6.0. While it's true that maintainence is a real breeze and that system never gives me any headaches, compiling everything from scratch can get to be a bit annoying at times... Especially when those times collide with times I want to utilize the system's two CPUs for distcc.

Anyway, I'm just echoing the sentiments of others who say, "Gentoo is great, but think hard about the nature of portage before using it." I'd have to say I'm fairly equally happy with Debian as Gentoo as far as low-maintainence goes.

Oh, and as a person who has feigned being a serious programmer for years, I feel silly saying this, but... Don't get so worked up about the mind-blowing performance increases afforded by setting a few gcc flags... glibc and your media libs are probably worth using those fancy flags on, most other things aren't.

Gentoo security?
by Frank Costanza on Sat 19th Mar 2005 03:52 UTC

If you use 'emerge -u world' to keep your system up to date with security releases, and you don't use anything in ~arch, you will be running kernel 2.4.28, which has a known local root vulnerability. Is this assumption correct?

Re: Gentoo security?
by Archangel on Sat 19th Mar 2005 04:23 UTC

No, you're completely wrong... sorry :-)

vanilla-sources is the 2.4 branch; development-sources is 2.6. More commonly there's gentoo-sources and gentoo-dev-sources.
If you're not using ~, you'll get about 2.6.10 at the moment.

I think there's some plan to realign the naming; it's long past time 2.6.x became vanilla-sources/gentoo-sources and 2.4 wasn't the "primary" kernel any more.

My gentoo experiences
by no thanks on Sat 19th Mar 2005 05:33 UTC

I went back to Ubuntu. Gentoo was great for learning, but some random upgrade destabilized my system and I didn't feel like spending several days rebuilding the world again.

Anyway, here's the good:

1) Documentation and forums are great. I got alot out of following the installation guide through the first time. Good learning experience.

2) It doesn't isolate you from the code. If there's some feature or bug in the code that bothers you enough to fix, you can look up the source tree in /var, make changes, and then finish the ebuild to try it out. Ubuntu doesn't even come with a compiler by default and certainly takes much more work to get the source code packages set up so that you can make changes to them.

3) You end up with a fast up to date system.

Here's the bad:

1) Compiling... Takes me 3 days to do a default installation for myself. Install base system, come back next day, install GUI, come back next day, install random needed packages, come back next day.

2) Too easy to screw up the CFLAGS and USE variables. The fancy super-optimized CFLAGS just resulted in undebuggable libraries. USE is just a sea of meaningless variables until after you've already installed everything. USE got better when portage actually started reporting which variables the ebuilds were using, but it's still difficult to tell what to set when you're starting from scratch. Sadly the best way to do this would probably be to install everything, then determine which variables should be set, then wipe it all and redo it.

Anyway, it's great if you've got the time and inclination to play with the guts of your computer.


Re: My gentoo experiences
by . on Sat 19th Mar 2005 07:34 UTC

1). You can install Gentoo as fast as Ubuntu if you know what you are doing. A stage3 install takes me about 30 mins or so.

2). I don't quite understand what you mean. USE is very straight forward. Users usually know whether they want printing, database support, kde libraries, gnome libraries, usb support well ahead of time. And if they change their mind, gentoo makes it trivial to rebuild the system. Plus the per USE flags feature is very useful. You could set a goblal USE flag for the whole system, and overide them with per package USE flags. That's extreemly powerful.

I see Gentoo this way, high performance, high customizability, high flexibility and highly up to date. If you don't appreciate these qualities, you won't appreciate Gentoo.

Re: Re: Gentoo > Slackware (@Gent)
by chazwurth on Sat 19th Mar 2005 08:23 UTC

Why not? This question is funny, because I've heard it a lot, particularly from gentoo users. It's almost as if there's a certain group who thinks binary distros are not allowed to compile source. Not saying this is you, but why such a question?

I cerntainly don't think binary distros are not allowed to compile source. I compile stuff on my Debian machine fairly regularly, when software I want isn't easily available as a Debian package. What I meant was, if you're going to compile the majority of the software on your system anyway, why not use a package management system that will automate things, keep track of updates, and grab packages for you so you don't have to get them yourself? You mentioned in a later post that you compile as things are released. All fine and good -- but then don't you have to keep track of releases for every last package on your system? Or, if you only worry about it when you want a new version of a specific package, you still have to worry about keeping track of vulnerabilities, etc. So, my curiosity is, given the (possible) difficulty of doing all this yourself, why not use a source-based, dependency-managing, update-tracking system like Gentoo's.

In any case, you answered my question: you like Slack's design, you like it's init system, you're comfortable with it, you use it to build your own customized system, and you don't care about having a package manager. Sounds reasonable to me ;)

re: My gentoo experiences
by Usario Clave on Sat 19th Mar 2005 08:26 UTC

The problem with USE is that you need to know which USE keywords you need for a given package to work.

Obviously if you've used the package in the past, you know what USE flags to use.

If you don't, though, you suddenly discover that something is missing, and you have to go back and rebuild.

Using configure manually doesn't have this problem, because you can ./configure --help and see what's up. But that makes the neato management features of emerge pretty useless.

Here's a great example: if you build the current system (2004.3 ppc), you need to put "pam" into your USE flags or you won't be able to log in.

Why does the system require PAM to build, but allow the system not to be built?

What are the side-effects on other packages when you USE pam? Will that enable pam for mysql? postgres? What does that mean in relation to LDAP, if I emerge an LDAP server?

blah blah blah.

"Very Straightforward" isn't quite as straightforward as you'd think.

re: My gentoo experiences
by . on Sat 19th Mar 2005 09:18 UTC

Usario Clave,

I do not think you are experienced with Gentoo at all. If you were, you'd recognize that Portage presents you with a flag that does exactly what ./configure –help does. May I add, does it better. Here is an illustration.

[04:09 AM root(~)]# emerge -pv konqueror xchat

These are the packages that I would merge, in order:

Calculating dependencies ...done!
[ebuild R ] kde-base/konqueror-3.4.0 +arts -debug +java +kdeenablefinal +kdexdeltas -xinerama 0 kB
[ebuild R ] net-irc/xchat-2.4.1-r1 -debug -ipv6 +mmx -nls -perl -python +ssl -tcltk -xchatdccserver -xchatnogtk -xchattext 0 kB

Total size of downloads: 0 kB
[04:09 AM root(~)]#

Any user who has spent enough amount of time with portage knows this. The above tells what I can compile into the packages, what I already have set in my global USE flags, and also presents me with the option of adding USE flags per package or globally. I do not believe it can get any easier than that. You can do all these before or after compiling your package. So your assumption that you have to know all the USE flags before hand is completely erroneous.

Finally, PAM is a default USE flag, no need to set it up manually. Why is that so? Because the Gentoo security team think it is a wise idea. How long have you used Gentoo for?

Gentoo is Excellent!
by mcg on Sat 19th Mar 2005 11:48 UTC

Gentoo is EXCELLENT distro as a desktop,as a server,as a game server,mail server etc.if you want to learn about Linux for education or stable desktop or secure distro or secure server,use Gentoo Linux.
I have tried about 25 distro in 5 years,but I fall in love with Gentoo!yes it is source based distro and installation is difficult and takes time and patience,this is Linux what a distro should be!idea is to teach during downloads the package from the programmer's page and the patches bug,securty,etc. configures,makes,then installs!portage Excellent package management.why do I bother install it,because it is a bit difficult to install and takes time,but it really worths it!yes it is not windows like I dont have time and I dont want to learn Linux then use Mandrake or Fedora,well we can say then this is not a distro for newbies,right!Gentoo Linux has a perfect documention and own forum/community.Gentoo Linux Rocks!LONG LIVE GENTOO!

My $.02
by Douglas Hardison on Sat 19th Mar 2005 14:58 UTC

I started out with slack, which was very helpful, but frustrating for a newbie. Moved along to RedHat around version 5.0 and pretty much suck with them as my main distro up until a year or so ago. Splitting off to Fedora and all that went on during that time period left me with a bad feeling about them.
I went the Debian route after that, and honestly liked it a lot. I finally switched over to Gentoo after building an AMD64 box and wanting a distro that I could tinker with to see just how fast it would go ;-) After switching, I can't imagine going back. One of the things I "just like" is emerge obviously, but also the project's lack of "politics". Watching the forums and mailing lists, I don't see alot of the bickering and in-fighting that you see surrounding other distros.
Also, once you get a box up and running, which can take some time, it's rock solid. Andif you want to try a shortcut, you can get a system up and running, ready for your tweaking pleasure using VidaLinux ( ).
Maybe 30 minutes or so to get to a Gnome desktop and you can take it from there.

Gentoo ... waste of time
by gullevek on Sat 19th Mar 2005 15:04 UTC

Gentoo is a waste of time in my opinion. I am using it for one and a half year at my workstation at office, and I truly hate the moment where I decided for gentoo and against debian. Everywhere else I run now debian, and only my main workstation box is gentoo. It's a horrible thing. Everything needs to be compiled by hand, I don't trust the binary packages from them, they might be even more worse than what is compiled. And after such a long time, its definitly not smart to switch to binary packages.
I hope the day will come soon, when I get a new PC, because then Gentoo is history. For once and all!

I always come back to gentoo.
by ChojinDSL on Sat 19th Mar 2005 15:30 UTC

Ive been trying out different distros ever since I experienced Knoppix a few years back. I was so impressed with the possibility to have a complete OS on a single CD. I was amazed at how easy it was to use. Up until that point I was afraid to try linux because I believed it was too difficult.

Well anyways, I tried out mandrake, which was running nicely for a while. Then I managed to mess things up thanks to RPM dependency hell. Then I tried Suse, same story, just took longer.

Eventually I went back to windows. I felt frustrated since I knew that linux could satisfy all of my OS needs, but I simply didn't have enough knowledge about it to feel comfortable with it.

In the end, WinXP crashed and burned once again, that gave me the kick in the derrier to try another distro again. I figured I wanted to try something with as little automatisation as possible for maximum learning effect.
I chose gentoo and never looked back.
Now its been two years since I first tried gentoo, and its running on all of my machines. Mail server, firewall, router, dns, http, proxy, samba share, nfs, mldonkey, etc...
Everything works.
Thanks to gentoo I was also able to finally have a desktop that was at least equivalent if not surpassing in Multimedia performance in comparison to windows.

Gentoo is definately great for people who love to tinker. But sometimes you reach the stage when your out of ideas of what to tinker with, everything runs smoothly anyway so theres nothing to fix. No new games to play, nothing to watch, mp3 collection getting other words Desktop Boredom.
Thats usually when I try other distros just for kicks. On one long weekend I tried out Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora Core, Mepis, Yoper, Vidalinux.
I liked Fedora Core and Ubuntu the most, but there was always something that I couldnt get to work easily, which I considered to be part of my "minimum requirements for a fun desktop", so I always put gentoo back on. A large part of that is probably due to the fact that I'm so comfortable with gentoo as opposed to the other distros.
This is especially true when it comes to installing drivers for hardware, and when searching for answers to problems.

The gentoo forums, docs and wiki are excellent sources of information. With other distros I seem to spend more time searching for possible sources of information, rather than searching for the actual answers.

In the end, gentoo works for me. It made linux for me possible. This is something I'm greatful for. But of course thats just my experience. Its not for everyone, as no distro is, thats the beauty of linux, it can cater to the whole user demographic.

can't beat Gentoo
by Zambizzi on Sat 19th Mar 2005 18:30 UTC

If it weren't for Gentoo I probably would have lost all interest in digging into the guts of (and learning about) Linux entirely.

After distro-hopping for years (and it's easy to be indecisive w/ all of the great choices out there!) - I finally found one that I love.

I've been using it for roughly two years now and am still loving it.

The raw power, flexibility, and OUTSTANDING support in the Gentoo Forums makes for an incredible Linux distribution (if you can call it a "distro".)

My Gentoo is rock-solid
by bfelger on Sat 19th Mar 2005 18:36 UTC

The key is not to go crazy installing new/experimental packages. ~x86-masked stuff is verbotten on my box.

My daily routine consists of:
emerge sync
emerge -uDpv world -- NEVER use -U! Let Gentoo QA roll back packages! It's for your own good!
emerge -uDv world
dispatch-conf -- don't use etc-update

The only time I've had a system meltdown is the one time I deviated and installed a brand-new-but-still-masked-by-Gentoo-QA experimental package. When you stick to stable, Gentoo rocks.

by anon on Sat 19th Mar 2005 19:17 UTC

I enjoy using my Gentoo installations along with a variety of other distributions - the time-issue can be bothersome, however it's fairly painless to maintain, and the "learning" experience has been worthwhile.

gentoo users
by mieses on Sat 19th Mar 2005 20:01 UTC

The general sense of optimism and helpfulness among gentoo users is remarkable. The gentoo culture could be a result of gentoo's structure and maybe partly due to its relative newness. In any case, gentoo is AWSEOME.

RE: gentoo users
by chazwurth on Sat 19th Mar 2005 20:26 UTC

The general sense of optimism and helpfulness among gentoo users is remarkable. The gentoo culture could be a result of gentoo's structure and maybe partly due to its relative newness.

Whatever other reasons are at work, one big reason the Gentoo culture works is that the experienced people treat new users well. I won't say that people are never flamed for not knowing what they're doing, but it's less common than with many other online communities I've seen. Even when people aren't extremely polite in answering stupid, obvious questions, they usually attempt to answer the questions, or at worst, provide links to good documentation rather than just saying RTFM.

Predictably, this goes a long way towards building a friendly, helpful community, and it's a great way to hold on to new users.

Re: Re: Re: Gentoo > Slackware (@Gent)
by Gent on Sat 19th Mar 2005 23:48 UTC

All fine and good -- but then don't you have to keep track of releases for every last package on your system? Or, if you only worry about it when you want a new version of a specific package, you still have to worry about keeping track of vulnerabilities, etc.

This is something that should be done regardless of your distro. For me it just serves a very specific purpose.

So, my curiosity is, given the (possible) difficulty of doing all this yourself, why not use a source-based, dependency-managing, update-tracking system like Gentoo's.

There remains no need for it. It's superfluous -- escaping the package manager should not be a problem, however, blindly depending on one can be. And if the response is then "Well don't *blindly* depend on it." Then you're really removing it's purpose to begin with. If you're still specific about knowing and controlling exactly what's on your system, keeping up to date on security and new releases, etc -- the automation becomes little more than a front end for the compiling commands.

So why exactly use yet another piece of software to automate a process that's already extremely automated? What of the case if it DOES do something you don't want it to? What of the case if you're not paying attention and it does it?

It's just a difference between really understanding *YOUR* system or assuming your package manager understands it for you. For any system that's really important, I would think you want to be on the forward end of doing things, ensuring everything is exact.

Gentoo for me is in the same boat as debian, ubuntu, or sadly an rpm based system with yum or apt-rpm or urpmi etc. It's designed to do it for you, and that's all well and good, but in doing so there is always a level of obfuscation you won't have if you're doing it yourself, and I can't imagine someone wanting that in any form on a system that truly matters.

I can name a good portion of the dependencies of the software I use, to a very great degree without any sort of reference aid, and while this might not seem like a big deal, it helps a lot in the event something does go wrong. Would you feel comfortable walking through your own house blindfolded? I can't say I'd have too much of a problem, but if someone else was always standing by to fetch things from wherever, and I never left more than two rooms, I'd probably have a hell of a time.

It's a comfort factor to know your system like that. Maybe you, and other gentoo users feel you know yours just as good -- but again, if you do it comes with your package manager being used for very superfluous side tasks.

I don't think you can necessarily assume these side tasks are even realistic to begin with. You can say that you run the most recent software because your package manager easily upgrades to the newest stuff -- but for that you can't really say your package manager ensures security.

There are still lengths the user/admin will have to go to to actually achieve certain tasks. True customizability is not found in a sea of USE flags, it's found in truly understanding what the application has hooks in, and what can be "bended" to how you want, etc.

Could a package manager do EVERYTHING right? Maybe... but only at the sake of user control. Maybe sometimes you'd rather NOT do what is right. Maybe you want to start putting apps in "self contained" directories rather than spread across the filesystem. Maybe a program doesn't really need a new version of a library, but some gentoo developer thought it'd be a good idea to list that as a dependency anyway since it was out?

There's all kinds of strange things people want to do with their system, and maybe for them they have merit. But your general emerge is probably gonna leave you with far less of a custom system than what you think, and something far closer to a clone of every other gentoo box out there. If you DO take the time to work with use flags per application, modify your own ebuilds for certain customizability, etc... you've totally destroyed the point of the automated system to begin with. The fact alone that it's automated ensures you've lost something in that aspect.

Like I said, in that sense, I guess someone like me is the true ricer -- or maybe it's something better, maybe I'm more like a mechanic/metalsmith working on a custom chopper. You got the 6 foot custom spoiler, but everyone else has one too ;)

RE: My Gentoo experiences
by Anonymous on Sat 19th Mar 2005 23:56 UTC

Usario Clave,

Your kidding me right? Did you even bother to read the documentation like you were supposed to??... Everything is explained about the USE flags in the documentation. If you can't use your own noggin to work things out you better stick to binary distro's. The problem with most people whining in this thread about Gentoo is that they haven't even bothered to read the doc's properly. If your system stuffed up or didn't work the way you liked it good bloody job!... Read next time! The Gentoo documentation is the best I have come across.

by Anonymous on Sun 20th Mar 2005 00:07 UTC

Is that the best you can do? Please give us some technical reason as to why you can't use, and hate Gentoo.... Perhaps your not technically savvy enough to use it?? Better go back to a point & Click OS....

by tristure on Sun 20th Mar 2005 02:25 UTC

Loving or hating a Linu distribution is a matter of taste.

Whether you like Gentoo or loathe it is your choice. But whatever the reasons, two objective points stand for Gentoo :

-The quality of the documentations. Just read it. Take the time to read it. Compare it to other docs (e.g. Arch Linux, which is a very good distro, offers poor docs compared to gentoo)

-The community. Gentoo forums are an incredible source of information. Learn to use the search function, or post your problem. You WILL have a solution. I've never been stuck for more than a day.

Now I think portage is also a great positive point (but other package managers offer great functionality), but that's up to you to make up your mind on this.
Optimizations options are a point, but it seems nobody really masters those enough to make a decisive argument against other distros. But it also leads to appaling discussions like the ones reported on

But whatever you think about portage and all, I think everyone should agree that first class documentation and friendly + reactive community are two arguments that make Gentoo a distro you should keep in mind.

My experience
by Anonymous Penguin on Sun 20th Mar 2005 03:20 UTC

1)I have no doubts that the majority of Gentoo users are friendly, but some of the forum mods are really nasty. Example: when my posts count was at 99 it was "downgraded" and frozen at 73, because a post count of 75+ gives you the incredible honour of being called: "tux's lil' helper". I found it incredibly childish and mean. Please note that I had cumulated 99 posts over a long period of time.
Never seen anything like that in any other forum.
2)In this little town the majority of linux users use Gentoo. Guess what? Almost all of them use Windows as much as Gentoo. I use Debian and SUSE, but you won't find Windows in my HD.
Plus the majority of them likes Ubuntu very much, which IMHO is the opposite of Gentoo: does it suggest anything to you?

Re: Gentoo > Slackware
by Emil Oppeln-Bronikowski on Sun 20th Mar 2005 10:14 UTC

Slackware is great for building up a strong source based system

Amen to that! :-)

re: My experience
by mieses on Sun 20th Mar 2005 19:47 UTC

I have heard of gentoo's forum mods being very aggressive to cut down on trolling or offensive speech. But I have never heard of a situation as described by "My experience". Based on the strange logic of your point #2, my guess is that you may have deeper issues.

some of my experience.
by cc on Sun 20th Mar 2005 21:13 UTC

my gentoo cflags are "-march=athlon64 -O2 -pipe" and it feels amazinly fast. Its hard to explain, unless u try t urself. I dont know why, maybe less bloat than standart distos.
@Anonymous Penguin
Thats a nice feature the admin did to u , i would also like to freeze my post so i can always stay 1337 ;)

RE: Anonymous penguin
by Anonymous on Sun 20th Mar 2005 21:20 UTC

1)I have no doubts that the majority of Gentoo users are friendly, but some of the forum mods are really nasty. Example: when my posts count was at 99 it was "downgraded" and frozen at 73, because a post count of 75+ gives you the incredible honour of being called: "tux's lil' helper". I found it incredibly childish and mean. Please note that I had cumulated 99 posts over a long period of time.
Never seen anything like that in any other forum.

did you realize that since a few months post are counted only when done in technical forum and post in OTW aren't counted anymore and the ones you did before are subtracted to total? and btw, it's common practice in many forums and online communities.

by Lumbergh on Tue 22nd Mar 2005 23:11 UTC

The instructions are good