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"So I thought of a basic debian system and downloaded the cd images. But since there wasn't no easy installer for it at this time I didn't get it with my still very basic Linux knowledge.
And then I've read of Gentoo. I think this was in the beginning of 2003. A system that takes much time and nerves to install, but than could satisfy my needs. Well I gave it a try."
WTF, the author couldn't install debian because his knowledge was basic, but he could install gentoo which didn't even have an installer.
If he could read the doc's for gentoo, he could read them for debian as well.
If he could manage etc-update, i'm sure he could get away with using debconf too.
A CLI wizard is still a wizard, dpkg-reconfigure et al is far more advanced and easy to use even if it looks too geeky.
Maybe I'm wrong and I'm probably offtopic but didn't RedHat 9 come out in 2003 not 2002? I believe RedHat 8 was released sometime near the end of 2002.
I found gentoos documentation to be far clearer than Debians when I was considering both systems. This was at around the same time as the author was originally assessing his choices. Remember, this was in 2003 (2 years ago! Debian was a LOT harder then)
It is not such an odd choice - gentoo might require more work than debian if you know what you are doing with both systems (I do not know) but better-written documentation will save time for someone new to a distribution.
I have since visited the debian website and the documentation / installation process seems to be much improved now.
Anyone who just wanna just start with gentoo on his x86(-64) may use my beginners guide located here:
Have phun, g3n700 0wnZ
<@insomnia> it only takes three commands to install Gentoo
<@insomnia> cfdisk /dev/hda && mkfs.xfs /dev/hda1 && mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && chroot /mnt/gentoo/ && env-update && . /etc/profile && emerge sync && cd /usr/portage && scripts/bootsrap.sh && emerge system && emerge vim && vi /etc/fstab && emerge gentoo-dev-sources && cd /usr/src/linux && make menuconfig && make install modules_install && emerge gnome mozilla-firefox openoffice && emerge grub && cp /boot/grub/grub.conf.sample /boot/grub/grub.conf && vi /boot/grub/grub.conf && grub && init 6
<@insomnia> that's the first one
After reading the last review posted from reviewlinux.com, the one psoted here about Ubuntu, I was actually expecting a good in-depth review. But alas I am very disappointed- the article has literally nothing to say and is of no utility to anyone wishing to inform themselves about Gentoo.
My personal reason for not installing Debian was purely because getting the ISOs for it is a bitch. I don't want to download the 6 ISOs, and I most certainly couldn't understand how the hell the netinstall thing works because the documentation was lacking at the time.
Hopefully it's been improved by now, but I'm very happy with Gentoo (running on 2 desktops and 5 production servers).
A very nice distribution for hackers, developers, power users and system administrators. The Gentoo community rocks. Their documentation and support forums are unparalleled among Linux distributions, even commercial ones.
Portage, Gentoo's package manager, should be the official standard for source-based package management. Gentoo has one of the largest software repository for any operating system barring Debian.
It's perhaps the easiest Linux distribution to maintain. In short, it's what a Linux operating system should be. It will become popular when your average computer can compile KDE in 15 minutes.
I hope you changed the # passwd before you init 6 :-)
sounds easy but the interacitve stuff is the problem:
... and that one is quite annoing too:
cheers, (gentoo user since 12/2002)
Not to be an arse, but I think Mr. Meder needs a proof reader.
I also find Gentoo installation clearer and nicer than Debian's. It may be tedious, but it's not really difficult.
thanks for the comments everyone.
@MaryMary: I know my english isn't very good, but I try to make it as good as I can.
@Abraxas: Yes, you're right. It was V8 "Psyche". Sorry about that.
@Anonymous: As Chris G mentioned too, I think the Gentoo documentations are very clear step by step instructions.
Gentoo is the only OS on my desktop, I love it.
Ubuntu on my laptop though, I need a more "static" distro since I don't have time to always update it
"but I'm very happy with Gentoo (running on 2 desktops and 5 production servers)."
You run Gentoo on production servers? Perhaps I'm missing something. What kind of "production environment" would allow for the use of a Gentoo box?
I tried Gentoo a few months ago, and it's really great. It's fast, and I didn't have any problems installing. The site has great documentation, and the forum is great too. I run it on two machines at home, one my main workstation and another box I just set up this week to run MythTV on. If Macromedia made a Linux port of Dreamweaver, I'll switch my workstation at home. I tried it Crossover Office, but wasn't satisfied.
I started with Redhat 6 in college and used Redhat up to 9. I tried a few other distros like SuSE, Slackware, but I settled on FreeBSD for a while. I still use FreeBSD as an application server and database server. FreeBSD is great too, I like it. I'm very satisfied with both, I like the idea of at least using different OSes, and Desktop Environments like KDE, GNOME and Fluxbox because I get a better idea of where and when I can really use them depending on circumstances.
I use gentoo
Gentoo is fantastic, i got all working with 2005.0 except opera 8, segment fault ...
can simplify that command more. No need for vi when you got nano
Gentoo is about the only system that I don't need to install a text editor on to use.
Well - Gentoo is nice, though I prefer T2
because of its clean build scripts and package definitions. Where gentoo has tons of ebuild scripts with hardwired options, T2 uses a descriptive language to specify package information and features a mighty framework to controll build options. So called "Targets" define which packages have to built and how they have to be built - that is full controll over every aspect of the compilation and installation.
Predefined targets range from very small embedded systems up to a full blown desktop system. Of course the user can alter existing or create new targets.
T2 is very portable and up to now it supports all relevant architectures, like sparc, ppc, mips, arm, superh, .... and of course x86.
The main aspect where T2 is superior to Gentoo is the very modular build system mentioned above, where system variables, hooks and command wrappers form a mighty toolset to modify the build. In other words, no blown up emerge scripts, but most basic package definitions and the targets doing all the specific stuff.
And of course T2 features a bootable installer CD (realized as a normal T2 target like all the others).
Another interessting target is a full featured live cd, with hotplug++ hardware detection, hal, dbus, automatic configured X ... This target is a nice starting point for custom spin-off projects.
I run an insurance office where I have to support non technical people in remote offices. Yes all my insurance agents use gentoo linux desktop. Of course, they wont be using the command line, but a few icons on their desktop and they seem to manage fine. They dont care whether it runs windows or linux. The only thing I am not happy is the
VIA unichrome chipset. X looks really bad. I am hoping
the driver improves soon and the look and feel is
on par with other video cards with better driver support.
"But since there wasn't no easy installer for it at this time I didn't get it with my still very basic Linux knowledge."
woody? no easy installer? well i will admit it is no xandros but it is basic questions and answers and check boxes, partition before hand if you can to make it simpler....
"but better-written documentation "
Documentation hasnt changed that much in the past couple years, installation isnt THAT much different! There are numerous guides to installing woody, as well as a published book that is free to download I believe. Dwarfs guide,starting GNU/linux, debian reference, http://www.debian.org/releases/woody/i386/install
nice light reading for fun time......
"getting the ISOs for it is a bitch"
cheapbytes, or ebay for a few dollars! Heck, if you have broadband then just download the first cd and install the rest from the net! Dont tell me that is hard or even needs documentation...
Oh and if you really want the ISO then use JIGDO since it is specifically a tool made to put together debian ISOs! My experience with jigdo was super! I tried using torrent to download some debian ISOs and it was slow since I think the hotel I was staying at throttled the bandwidth on any large download. It was a wireless connection also of course so it was slow to begin with.
So I downloaded jigdo and read up on it as I went along. AllI can say is NO PROBLEMS, it pulls individual files from the mirrors and then rolls it into a ISO. A little resource intensive when it rolls the ISO but that is about it. In two days I managed to download 5 ISOs and that was in between meetings, eating out and sight seeing. I would say it took a few hours to download a image but I am guessing. I would start it and go do a little shopping, eat out and so forth then come back and my ISO is waiting on me. Since it is downloading those small files you get those fast burst download speeds. AWESOME! I dont know who came up with JIGDO but they should push it more for everyone to use!!!
"the hell the netinstall thing"
when I have broadband available I usually use a boot floppy and do a netinstall from start to finish and there is no real documentation needed beyond which floppy to use and so forth because it JUST WORKS! It asks some questions which if you have any computer knowledge at all you should have no problem answering....
"find Gentoo installation clearer and nicer than Debian's."
care to give specifics?
I noticed the people that are complaining about debian do not seem to bother with supporting information... Details? How is it harder? What documentation do you need or want? What is wrong with the documentation? THe coolest thing is that if something is lacking you are welcome, hell even invited to pitch in and help....
keep thinking that no one uses debian, because the correct statement is that debian users dont waste their time arguing distros or bothering to defend it....
Yes. I was a Gentoo user in the past until tweaking and fixing every build became too boring and I discovered T2. I have to say the clean structure and descriptive .desc package description format as well as the integrated bootable-cd-installer and live-cd are a big win, as are the targets where you can group the definitions, patches and so on for your (embedded) product to be shipped. I wonder why there are so few news about that project, especially with
2.1-rc1 beeing released and the "on-par if not more advanced" than Knoppix
LiveCD being released every week or so.
PS: Posting URLs seems strange here - no variant worked in the preview here ... Firefox or Konqueror ... Some magic seems to be needed.
I agree. I have used Gentoo for some years now, but the author is off-base on this one. First of all, the new Debian is brain-dead easy to install. I can't imagine anyone requiring documentation to install it, barring really exotic hardware. As far as difficutly in getting Debian ISOs, bittorrent anyone? The Debian net install ISO is not quite 109MB. This is doable even on a modem. It provides a very minimal system once installed, so you can then add exactly what you need and only what you need. How is this different from a Gentoo stage 3 install? Were I to ever go back to a binary distribution, Debian would be first choice.
On another note, I can't believe anyone is using Gentoo 2005.0. I thought most had switched to Gentoo Jackass! (http://jackass.homelinux.org/ & http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-334279-postdays-0-postorder-as...)
Gentoo Jackass! uses an allegedly unstable toolchain (gcc 3.4.3). Throw "prelink" in your FEATURES & "pic" in your USE flags. Build the allegedly unstable KDE and Koffice split ebuilds, and you can install only the KDE apps you choose, just like Debian. Prelink the whole thing and you will have a system that is both stable and very fast.
In the screen shot which setup was that? and where can I find it?
Gentoo is different because it encourages the user to learn more.
I just did a kernel upgrade to 2.6.12, and udev, from 2.6.11 and devfs. Took a few tries to get all of the modules built, but Gentoo, moreso than Fedora, encourages the user to get in there and do something.
It's not perfect. I've hit some flaky .ebuilds. The documentation and community are really great, however.
There are at least two URLs that are well worth investigating, beyond
One of them is
which gives you some idea of the breadth of the .ebuild collection. Tapping one of those categories and then List View, like
shows you what's available, at a better depth than the gentoo.org package database.
Then there is
, which is fun to just browse at the Random Page level. Easily my #2 wiki after The One True Wiki, http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki
I've never saied that I don't like Debian and that I don't think the new net-install-iso and the new installer isn't great. What i've said was that I didn't get it truely running. What I've meant by this was that I wasn't able to set up my X-Server. And this is a very bad thing if you're a user which is quite new and/or unexperienced with Linux.
Well about the documentation: Gentoo gave me what I needed. Simple and clear step by step instructions. I'm not sure how the debian documentation was or how good I've read it.
I think debian has made a big step with their new installer and I like it very much. I've got two debian servers at home.
@I: this desktop is the Gnome Desktop Environment and you can find it under http://www.gnome.org
It is included in much distributions. The theme used there is "Gorilla" by Jakub 'jimmac' Steiner. It is included in the "gnome-theme-extras" package.
"I've never saied that I don't like Debian and that I don't think the new net-install-iso and the new installer isn't great. What i've said was that I didn't get it truely running. "
i never said you said those things... But there is not much difference in the old installer and the new, IMO.
"What I've meant by this was that I wasn't able to set up my X-Server. And this is a very bad thing if you're a user which is quite new and/or unexperienced with Linux. "
no X is far different than not getting it running, not having X happens to numerous people on all different distros for numerous myriad reasons. It is usually simple to fix and plenty of documentation out there about how to setup X. But i think if you managed to walk thru a gentoo install then configuring X should of been a baby step compared to that...
"I'm not sure how the debian documentation was or how good I've read it"
then why not just say, you didnt put in the effort to debians docs as you did with gentoo and be done with it. I am not slamming you for choosing gentoo, only for saying something bad about another distro that is obviously untrue...
LMAO - these cartoons are great! I'm going to share them with my LAN admin, who's a yes man for Microsoft. Don't know if he'll get the humor, but it made me laugh out loud.
BTW, I use Gentoo as well, and I love it. If I don't bother to update, things work beautifully. I had my desktop box running at home for more than a month before I blew a circuit breaker in and unrelated activity. But when I do updates, occasionally the config files get updated the wrong way, which urks me no end, so I end up having to boot to the live CD and editing them. And usually it's the modules.autoload.d file and net.conf (I think). A small price to pay for having learned so much about Linux, and for having a rock solid workstation that is virus free.
"You run Gentoo on production servers? Perhaps I'm missing something. What kind of "production environment" would allow for the use of a Gentoo box?"
In various schools as caching proxies, webservers, content filters and the like. Also about to bring one in as a print server, maybe email.
"I was a Gentoo user in the past until tweaking and fixing every build became too boring and I discovered T2"
You were tweaking and fixing *every* build???? Have you looked at the USE flags?
I see that the "article description" section has been optimzed as much as gentoo.
"Read a multi-page Gentoo review here."
Wow, what flags have been used?
1 of the four pages consisted of screenshots. The other 3 were anecdotal, poorly written, and didn't make much sense.
I read better reviews in the comments...
Putting Gentoo on an even semi-important server is the worse thing you can do. I was once stuck maintaining one such server that handled webpages via apache/php and mysql/postgres along with postfix and one of their updates brought down postfix, which brought down postgres, which made a lot of pages unavailable, and the rest were unable to send mail/etc. until I fixed configuration files. The amount of testing that goes into new Gentoo updates pales in comparison to that of Debian.
I'll stick to my Debian servers that run quietly and uninterrupted for months on end even on the "Unstable" branch.
thanks for the flowers.
maybe I should have mentioned that I'm not an english speaking person. I'm from switzerland. They talk german here. Would have fun to read your german review ^^
anyway thanks for the earnestly comments. you're right. this review isn't that informative.
Maybe I'm going to write an Arch Linux review soon. I will take care of your suggestions.
Say I have a bunch of identical servers and I want to use Gentoo, but I don't want to compile the whole thing on each server. Can I build on one server and then package the binaries to install on the other ones? If so, can I do the same thing with updates?
it's doable you can du a build pkg and then --usepkg to install them.
Where's the review in this "multi-page" review?
With the installation, you can tar up the entire system and install it from the bootable CD as a "Stage 4" install.
-- or --
You can use FTP and DD to "clone the drive".
*** On the source system ***
put |"dd if=/dev/hda bs=1M|gzip -1" diskimage.tar.gz
*** On the destination system ***
get |"dd if=/dev/hda bs=1M|gzip " diskimage.tar.gz
As for the updates: it dosent take very long to compile stable packages from time to time, and I would recommend you do it directly on the server. Hope this helps.
it's good to see the users appreciating gentoo. now if only the reviewers could figure it out..
I run Gentoo on 3 of my 4 systems (slack on the other) and I love it, once I got it configured they way I wanted it, I had virtually no problems... it just works all the time.
When gentoo starts to make things a bit more newb friendly and multi-core 64 bit cpu's are common place... gentool will rule the linux world
thanks for the great os Gentoo developers
Gentoo is one of the very few distros that can be installed pure k8.Gentoo is one of my favourites together with SuSE 9.3
SuSE isn't that much slower on a amd64.
>...until I fixed configuration files....
You shouldn't use etc-update blindly. ;-)
On another note, I can't believe anyone is using Gentoo 2005.0. I thought most had switched to Gentoo Jackass! (http://jackass.homelinux.org/ &
thanks for the post. your hyperlink that you posted a few days ago has become one of this month's top 10 referrers to the Jackass! site.
isnt it obvious that zynot argument was true since drobbins registered gentooembedded but never did anything with it,wouldnt that show he did that just to stop someone else from doing it....?