Linked by on Thu 11th Jul 2002 15:44 UTC
Gentoo "I admit it: I have a soft spot for Gentoo Linux. I'm not sure if it's because it's the shiny new kid on the block, or its focus on a part of the Linux market that was fairly ignored before (distribution-wise). Maybe it's just the excitement and energy that tends to surround any new project. Who knows." The review is at LinuxPlanet. Our Take: Hmm, it seems that women like the challenge of Gentoo (count me in). Or, maybe that "soft spot" is for Daniel and Spider. ;-)
Order by: Score:
Gentoo rocks
by Jeropa on Thu 11th Jul 2002 15:55 UTC

So far my experience with Gentoo has been great! I've tried a few other distros...mainly RedHat, Mandrake, and a small sampling of Debian.

In my opinion, installing software has been easiest on Gentoo with portage. What a great tool. (Now I have to knock on wood because guaranteed when I upgrade my next package I'll fubar everything... oh well.)

Hope the boys at Gentoo keep up the GREAT work.

by Kon on Thu 11th Jul 2002 16:24 UTC

Or maybe it is that the reviewer was not around / has forgotten Linux 0.9 back in what, 1992? It was a lot of fun installing those versions - to be replaced by the bloated mess of the distros (Redhat, SuSe, ...) and package managers (RPM) we have now.

The installation/configuration/control process has almost come full circle. Nice that Gentoo stepped back in this direction, with the added niceties like portage.

Maybe it will lure some of the Linux expats living in BSD world back ;) And maybe bloatware distros will take a look at this and follow suit - <sarcasm> oh wait, that will never happen, since bloat is needed to bring Linux to the common user desktop </sarcasm>.

Uh, Kon...
by Adam Scheinberg on Thu 11th Jul 2002 16:30 UTC

Oh, Kon....bloat IS needed to bring Linux to the desktop. Look at Windows - each version gets bigger and it's on virtually every desktop. Why? Fewer drivers than ever before are needed, software installation is as quick as clicking an .exe file, the system is increasingly more reliable, and you rarely have conflicts and dependancy problems. Why? More code! Why? More standardization! Why? More "bloat."

Bloat is only extra stuff that isn't needed. Extra stuff that is needed is not bloat, it's meat.

I think Gentoo is great but ...
by Anthony on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:02 UTC

The installation process took me 2 days. If I want to install a large application it takes hours to complete.

Can someone please explain to me, other then for developers, why Gentoo is a better choice then Red Hat?

When we talk about bloat what exactly is the problem with this? I mean the bloat is the apps that sit in your hard drive right? It doesn't have to be running if you don't use it. So when we refer to bloat, do we just mean HD space? Why would this be an issue unless you have 4 Gig HD which this would mean you need to upgrade to a bigger drive and not so much a smaller distribution.

Uh, Adam...
by Kon on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:04 UTC

You missed my point completely.

Many (most) distros flat out won't let you do a stripped down install - or their stripped down install is 300-800Mb. I don't call that meat. I call it mess.

As for windows (how did this ever get into the conversation?) - you ever taken a look at the cumulative buglist between service packs?

More code does not equal better, smarter or more efficient code. More standards do not equal more efficiency. In fact, quite the opposite.

You're clutching at random straws to make an argument, but all you're accomplishing is bloat. ;)

Gentoo rocks
by Spark on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:14 UTC

I agree with that ($SUBJECT). I really was pissed of Linux but Gentoo is just great. It solves the three big issues I had with every other GNU/Linux distribution:
- Slow responding X. This system is fast as hell, I have no problem anymore. This is of course no exclusive for Gentoo but I like how they take care for kernel patching and optimised compiling.
- Dependency Hell. Compiling every software from scratch may take a few minutes longer, but in 99% of the time it will work. Great! And typing "emerge gnome" is as easy as it gets (just as "apt-get install gnome"). Finally I can comfortably install every new software without the risk to trash my system.
- Driver installation from source. Might be painfull but because driver compilation is a basic part of Gentoo, installing a new driver (like the NV drivers) is a piece of cake.

And Gnome2 is currently solving all my griefs I had with GUI's on X. The combination of both made me enjoy my Linux-life again and I don't care that Windows 2000 is broken now. I'm finally free again.

What' makes me excited about Gentoo isn't that it's "freaky" or "less bloated" or whatever, what makes me excited about it simply is that it _works_. It's just an awesome system for the desktop (if you have some experience with Unix).

Source Distributions Fun?
by Jordan Mendelson on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:20 UTC

A lot of fun? Are you completely off your rocker?

Every time a freaking major system change happened everything went completely fubar.

And don't think there weren't (and still aren't) a whole mess of major system changes that end up causing tons of grief due to running bleeding edge software be it the change, the libc5 to glibc change, the a.out to ELF change, the ext to e2fs to e3fs, the ipfwadm to ipchains to iptables change, the non-shadowed passwd to shadowed passwd to pam'ed everything change.

I'm sorry, I got sick of compiling my own distribution after dealing with a completely unstable system due to more gcc and (g)libc bugs than I care to remember.

I'll leave source distributions to kids who think having gnome 2.1 alpha 16 pre-8 compiled with a buggy gcc 3.1.1 20020711 is somehow better than the last stable version. Of course, I actually *use* my machines.

by ~Seedy~ on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:35 UTC

I don't know about you but I APPRECIATE the way I rarely have to install drivers, and I NEVER have to mess around with CLI compilers to get a simple app running on my Windoze boxes.

I hope Linux will one day catch up..

RE: Source Distributions Fun?
by Shamyl Zakariya on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:37 UTC

Of course, I actually *use* my machines.

Well, for one thing, nobody requires you to type emerge update world or emerge update system. I run gentoo, have been for a few months now, and the fatc is, I update conservatively, infrequently, and it's been good to me.

Now, if you've got a cron job updating your system every 24 hours, you're probably a fool.

But anyway, I wanted to throw in my own 2 cents -- I've loved everything about gentoo from the start, especially the init script system. It's, in my opinion, the only non-retarded linux init system I've seen, and I've seen a few.

But, Gentoo get's one big thumbs down -- the use of devfs. As elegant beautiful and great devfs should be, it just isn't. A fair number of linux drivers don't play nicely with it (which is why, for example, nobody can get ATAPI zip drives working without jumping 101 hurdles to use SCSI emulation and special boot params). Devfs has seriously broken my ability to finish a fairly significant project, due to utterly non-compliant drivers. I'm about to try using a traditional /dev directory tonight, and if it works, great. But if not, back to slack!

Re: Source Distributions Fun?
by Spark on Thu 11th Jul 2002 17:44 UTC

You are completely wrong and you know it.

(See, I can say that without getting offending. ;) )

I'm a 20 year old kid, running Gnome 2.0 final compiled with a stable gcc 2.95 and actually using my machine for work and entertainment.
Getting latest software doesn't mean getting latest unstable software.

One of the things ...
by Dave on Thu 11th Jul 2002 18:01 UTC

... that I liked about BeOS and other older systems was how the installation of new programs was handled. Almost always (very few exceptions) all of the executables and supporting files were kept in one location/directory/folder ... installation was just a matter of copying the file(s) over to your machine.

What drives me crazy about Windows and Linux (no recent experience with MacOS) is how every app seems to want to put tons of things in different locations, making uninstalling a pain in the rearend. Same for DLL and library dependency issues.

Guess I'm getting old & cranky ;)

My take on Linux distros vs. Windows
by Kyle on Thu 11th Jul 2002 18:51 UTC

Ok, simply put, I've never used Gentoo. But from what I gather it is the following. Your basic utility install of the Linux kernel and GNU utilities. That simply lets you configure filesystem, etc upon install. It doesn't provide X out of the box (so to speak) and includes a system similar to BSD's ports. But unlike other distro's everything is compiled for pentium pro class up instead of 486 and up. I may have missed stuff, don't know don't care. The point is it gives you your basic system to work with, kind of like what DOS 6.0 would give you.

Windows, gives you a complete windowing environment to work with. Including a lot of the utilities that Gentoo would give you on the command line. Of course Windows is going to be bigger, it includes the equivalent of X and mozilla among other things. Its obviously more code than Gentoo is.

Debian is sort of like Gentoo, but uses a different packaging system, minus the whole compiling and performance gains. (with exceptions of course, i'm being general here)

Ok, I heard one guy complain that it took too long to compile the equivalent of Windows using Gentoo. Obviously this is a problem for him. In which case, if you like Linux, try Debian, the package system provides the wonders of package dependancy without the compiling.

Another guy said he thought Windows is bloated and most new distro's are as well. I believe most new distro's are bloated. Who REALLY needs 7 cd's (i think that's what suse has now). Sorry, most people won't need most of that stuff, and in a few weeks most of the packages will be outdated anyway. Debian is nice in this respect, as is Gentoo. You get everything after the install, no big deal about stuff becoming obsolete on cd. Windows on the other hand, yes i believe for what it provides, its a bit large at this point. They've also come down to not allowing you to specify what you really want installed. For instance, you can't say you don't want MSN Messenger to be installed, or their Movie Maker app. Or if you really want to be picky, Internet Explorer.

What I really want is a Linux distro, that has a graphical install (like Mandrake), allows you to specify your partition layout, and filesystem layout. But doesn't install 800 packages either. You say you want X 4.2.0, KDE/GNOME, other WM's, a web browser, a text editor, and various special utilities from that distro. It then compiles and installs all the simple software you specified. Just like Gentoo. The obvious drawback to Gentoo for the CPU inclined, is that you have to compile everything. So, why not provide compiled packages as well as the ability to compile them yourself? It seems the only drawback with Gentoo at this point is that it doesn't provide precompiled packages using default uses and portage options and a graphical installer.

This is just what i want, and the differences i notice between my favorite linux distro (Debian) and Gentoo (which i want to try), and Windows (since this appears to be the defacto standard for desktop's that Linux competes with). Basic simple install of a web browser of choice, window manager of choice, and text editor of choice. From there someone needs to develop a simple package installer GUI. I'd be impressed with this.

Source kiddies?
by Sean Pecor on Thu 11th Jul 2002 18:59 UTC

> I'll leave source distributions to kids who think having
> gnome 2.1 alpha 16 pre-8 compiled with a buggy gcc 3.1.1
> 20020711 is somehow better than the last stable version.
> Of course, I actually *use* my machines.

Funny, I'm a successful web applications designer using Gentoo 1.3b2 on my main workstation and since then this platform has been the most stable workstation I've ever used. I guess everyone's mileage may vary.

RE: ~Seedy~
by BakaSmack on Thu 11th Jul 2002 19:37 UTC

I don't know about you but I APPRECIATE the way I rarely have to install drivers,...

My experience is that you install drivers under Windows the exact same number of times as you do under Linux per installation. Once. The only difference I see between the two is that one installation of Linux usually lasts a lot longer than one installation of Windows.

...and I NEVER have to mess around with CLI compilers to get a simple app running on my Windoze boxes.

You don't have to do use CLI compilers in Linux either if you install the right programs.

I hope Linux will one day catch up.

It looks to me like Linux has all the tools in place. You just aren't familiar with them.

Gentoo seems quite popular, but I really like the way that Sorcerer works.

Gentoo seems to be mining the same type of distribution that Sorcerer's going for, so I'm looking to see if anyone's tried both, and if so, what your experiences were like.

Is Gentoo better? I agree that it's got more of a public image than Sorcerer, largely due to Kyle's tantrum early this year, and it's subsequent forks, but is Gentoo really a better choice for someone looking for a lean, mean distribution?

If you like Gentoo better, why? If Sorcer's a better choice than Gentoo, again... Why?

I think that the future of Gnu Sorcerer is now lying on
I think the main benefit of Gentoo is Portage and the fact that a lot of services and stuff under /etc/* have been redesigned to accomodate a lighter and more clean design.

Source compilation is a slow process to get something working
by Coimbra on Thu 11th Jul 2002 20:33 UTC

And it gets even worse with the low power of the machine that is compiling.

Mozilla 1.0 took about 2 days to compile in a pentium 233 mmx with 128 of ram.

I think that even if I had a pentium 4 2.1 GHz with 512 of ram it would still be a pain to wait hours to get a desktop machine powered by the apps commonly used.

I long for a distro as cool as gentoo but binary powered.

I use Sorcerer as my main desktop, although I tried Gentoo as well. Both projects could learn from each other. Sorcerer has been less buggy (i.e software usually compiles without errors, something I cannot say about Gentoo), sorcery (package management) si a lot simpler, written in Bash, as opposed to more complex ebuilds, written in Python.

On the other hand, Sorcerer (including its two forks - SourceMage and Lunar) lack half-decent documentation and the split in the community earlier this year did not help matters either.

Still, I prefer Sorcerer.

Bloat, shmoat...
by Joe on Thu 11th Jul 2002 21:41 UTC

For everyone complaining about bloat, check crux:

True, compiling everything from scratch is not suitable for a slow CPU, but for a fast one it really doesn't matter. Only for first installation you have to wait a few hours until you can do something usefull with this computer, but it should be possible to do something else like reading a good book or sleeping once in your life, shouldn't it? ;)
To tell the truth, I actually prefered installing w3m and browsing the web from the console while it was compiling lol...

My Experience with Gentoo
by null_pointer_us on Fri 12th Jul 2002 00:48 UTC

Recently I spent about a week trying to install Gentoo 1.2 on my computer with varying levels of success. I tried three different kernels, and unfortunately some of the mature/stable options either wouldn't build or wouldn't boot. HINT: Somebody needs to rewrite the menus in menuconfig, because they're not very consistent.

I must have recompiled the kernel about 20-30 times during that week. I have a USB keyboard and mouse, so it took me a few tries to figure out how to enable support for these in the kernel. You have to go into something called input core devices and enable USB/HID support, plus there are several different ways to enable the drivers.

Another problem with the various kernels is ACPI support. The Gentoo kernel couldn't even boot with ACPI support enabled in the kernel, whereas the XFS kernel could. I had to spend more time recompiling the kernel to discover the problem because the boot process failed around the PCI device detection while ACPI initialization seemed to succeed.

It turns out that I couldn't use the stock Linux kernel because it didn't support XFS yet, and I really wanted to try out that filesystem to see if the performance claims were true. So I wasted time configuring it only to find at the last moment that XFS wasn't supported.

The SGI XFS kernel ACPI support worked just fine, so I used that.

After I got Gentoo 1.2 configured and booting on its own, I decided to take a whack at this emerge thingy to install some of my favorite software packages. It's really a great concept, and it works quite well. (Unfortunately, the source that emerge compiles and installs tends to be of rather poor quality, but I'll get to that in a minute...)

My first task was to discover the GCC version because I know 3.1 optimizes much better than previous versions. To my amazement, Gentoo uses *gasp* 2.95.3? I expected to have the latest stable version of GCC because Gentoo is supposed to be this great optimizing distribution, but my guess is that newer versions of GCC won't compile the kernel or some other important software Gentoo distributes.

During the installation, the directions told me to choose which CPU architecture I wanted to optimize for, so I chose the P6 exclusive option. I didn't modify any other optimization flags, obscure technical build flags, or anything else related to compilation for that matter.

Next I tried to install XFree86, but couldn't find the command for that. emerge xfree86 didn't work, nor did xf86. Guess what it's called? xfree. Go figure. Gentoo had version 4.2.0, which was a pleasant surprise, so I installed it. Installation took over an hour on my Athlon XP 1600+ machine w/ PC2100 DDR RAM and an UDMA/100 hard drive.

And that's where the most annoying problem occurred. X started in 640x480 with a seriously messed up cursor image and my mouse wouldn't work. Yep, the USB mouse problem. It took me a while to fix the mouse, but I eventually figured out that I had to use the PS/2 mouse protocol with /dev/usbmouse. Odd.

The next problem was diagnosing the driver problems, of which there were many. GLX and DRI would load (which I confirmed in the log) but not register themselves as loaded, DRIScreenInit would fail even though my card has DRI support and all settings are configured properly according to the XFree86 DRI docs.

DDC wouldn't find any compliant monitors even though my monitor is DDC compliant, so I had to specify all my monitor settings. XFree86 reported that it couldn't find or load MGA, even though the MGA module reported errors to both the log and console. I tried downloading Matrox's drivers, but they didn't solve anything. I recompiled the kernel to try all possible combinations of DRI support options. Nothing fixed the problems.

And then, quite suddenly, the cursor image problem went away. Ignoring the driver errors, I installed both gnome and kde with the appropriate emerge commands. This took HOURS, and when it was over neither worked. Gnome would start and work properly. But it would never exit - all it did when I hit logout was to launch another session! Even selecting shutdown from gdm would launch another session, whereupon the machine would suddenly turn off as if the shutdown command had been issued. Unnerving, to say the least.

KDM would start, but upon hitting the Go button TWM would start instead of KWM and the KDE desktop was nowhere to be found.

Fearing something was seriously messed up, I decided to reinstall Gentoo from scratch and this time quadruple-check that I entered each command correctly. This time around, KDE wouldn't compile without numerous permission errors, even though I followed the directions (of which there were only one! - emerge kde) AND I did this as root. I hadn't even created any users yet, so all I could login as was root!

Gnome still had the same problem. I decided to try installing Gentoo from scratch *again*, but this time without any optimization settings even though optimization was the whole reason I downloaded the Gentoo ISO in the first place... I used fdisk to remove the Linux partitions, recreated them, added the file systems, enabled the swap, installed the Gentoo system, and started GRUB.

Well, GRUB decided to stop working. I couldn't get it to load to any of my disks using the same commands I had used earlier. It would always exit with something like bad device or some such nonsense. After much debate, I decided to quit trying Linux and resize my Windows partition to cover the whole disk again...what a disappointment!

What drives me crazy about Windows and Linux (no recent experience with MacOS) is how every app seems to want to put tons of things in different locations, making uninstalling a pain in the rearend. Same for DLL and library dependency issues.

I don't know where you've been, but this is 2002. Installing and uninstalling software on Windows these days usually involves only a few mouse clicks, nothing more. The only thing I've had to install manually was an emulator, which only required 1) putting its own files in its own folder off Program Files, and 2) right-click dragging a shortcut to the desktop.

Linux is different than Windows in the average case, although it IS possible to construct a contrived example where all the software you will want can be installed and uninstalled with a few mouse clicks.

Re: My Experience with Gentoo
by Eugenia on Fri 12th Jul 2002 02:25 UTC

>Another problem with the various kernels is ACPI support

I had this exact problem too with my Dual Celeron. I had to disable support for it in order to be able to boot.

>GLX and DRI would load (which I confirmed in the log) but not register themselves as loaded

The problem I still have with Gentoo on 3D is that each time I reocmpile DRI support and Mesa, I have acceleration. If I reboot, I am losing it. :o

>KDM would start, but upon hitting the Go button TWM would start instead of KWM and the KDE desktop was nowhere to be found

You need to edit the /etc/X11/Session/ files by hand it seems.

>Well, GRUB decided to stop working

GRUB *NENER* worked for me, from day 1. I hit a bug in it, my friend Oliver also hit the same bug on his machine. It could not read ANY of my partitions across 3 drives.
Therefore, I now use LILO. The older grub version that comes with Atheos works fine on the same machine.

My current problem with Gentoo is that Alsa stopped working, with a bunch of unresolved symbols, since I upgraded Gentoo via "emerge -u world". It downloaded and installed newer ebuilds for glibc, gcc and stuff, and now ALSA stopped working. GDKPixBuf also does not work now resulting a lot of Gnome apps to crash. The Gentoo guys knows about both the problems, they are known problems of the current version.

As I said on the conclusion of my review of Gentoo some months ago, still stands: Everything needs to be tested better before they make all these ebuilds available unmasked.

Re: My Experience with Gentoo
by Spark on Fri 12th Jul 2002 02:47 UTC

"The problem I still have with Gentoo on 3D is that each time I reocmpile DRI support and Mesa, I have acceleration. If I reboot, I am losing it. :o"

Maybe "opengl-update nvidia" could help?

"As I said on the conclusion of my review of Gentoo some months ago, still stands: Everything needs to be tested better before they make all these ebuilds available unmasked."

Nah, don't think so. Current target group of Gentoo are developers anyway who are used to live with problems from time to time (I didn't had a single critical problem so far though). I'm pretty sure that there will be a system to get only "stable" ebuilds someday later when it becomes neccessary. Atm it would really defeat the point of a bleeding edge Gentoo to hold back ebuilds. =) If you don't want to run bleeding edge, you don't have to install every new software or do a world upgrade.

Re: My Experience with Gentoo
by Eugenia on Fri 12th Jul 2002 02:51 UTC

>Maybe "opengl-update nvidia" could help?

Haha, not really. This machine (out of 7 in our house) has a Voodoo5 in it. ;)

> Nah, don't think so. Current target group of Gentoo are developers anyway

Actually, not anymore, Gentoo is pretty "broad" these days... A lot of people are using Gentoo that are not developers. The above person did not seem like a developer either, Oliver is not one either. The problem I specified about putting unstable ebuilds for public consuption too early, is already acknowledged by Daniel Robbins.

Re: My Experience with Gentoo
by Spark on Fri 12th Jul 2002 03:47 UTC

"Haha, not really. This machine (out of 7 in our house) has a Voodoo5 in it. ;) "

Oh. I feel stupid now... ;)

"Actually, not anymore, Gentoo is pretty "broad" these days..."

Right... But I'm sure this came also a bit as a surprise to the Gentoo developers. =) I mean it's only 1.2...
My father is also using Gentoo and he is no developer though. I'm not quite sure what my point was anyway. I guess my point was that they don't "need" to test them longer as most Gentoo users probably expect and want bleeding edge software. A system like Debians stable/testing/unstable trees most probably won't hurt.

I like it!
by WhiteRabbit on Fri 12th Jul 2002 04:33 UTC

I just did my first install of gentoo, actually, my first linux install in ~3 years, except for a quick shot at Mandrake a few months ago. I have been really impressed so far. I had a few hicups, the kernel wouldnt compile with ACPI support, and my onboard sound card took some work, (actually, just figuring out wich alsa modules were correct) The install took two days of off and on work, but I now have KDE, Opera, Mozilla 1.0, KWord (which I really like), Quake3, KSirc,, etc, etc.

I did not believe that X/KDE could be so fast. The default install from Mandrake felt like Windows98 on a P100 (this is on an Athlon 1000) Standard KDE from Gentoo feels _almost_ as zippy as BeOS.

The default keyboard shortcuts in KDE seem strange to me, but they dont take much work to change.

I really like the way they handle init stuff, rc-update is nice.

Overall it is the cleanest version of linux I have used. Course, it is still linux, so there are some things that will never be clean.

Biggest complaints:
1) Drivers could be handled better, of couse this isnt gentoo specific. When driver modules get as easy to install as they are in BeOS, Linux will be a lot more friendly.

2) The install documentation is really nice, but something to step you through would be nice. A simple python script would be just fine.

3) Putting GNUParted on the install CD would be a really nice touch, not everyone has a spare hd sitting around.

Overall I have enjoyed my foray into the world of gentoo.


A few thoughts
by John on Fri 12th Jul 2002 12:02 UTC

All you guys and gals who has had so much problems with gentoo, have you fired away an email to the developers/maintainers of gentoo/<that piece of software that failed>? And if you feel something is weird, dumb, not explain, whatever, let them know. As long as it is constructive that is. Telling them that "compiling the source suxx, use rpm" won't make anyone happier (except if you are a psycho;)).

A personal note, I can't stand redhat/SuSE/Debian/etc for some personal reasons. But KDE has intrigued me for some time now, so with gentoo I am starting to think about that spare 30GB disk I have lying around at home, and how it would be interesting to try it out. That says a lot;)

About compiling, I love it/hate it. It is a good idea because that shining new P4 Xeon / Athlon XP really does deserve optimized code. It won't let you rip out your harddisk and put it in your deserted 486. But seriously, don't do that in the first place.

But then we have two other problems. Speed, it takes time to compile, especially large projects. This is no fun (because w8ing is boring). Secondly we can experience a failed compilation. There are many reasons why a compilation might fail, but to those who wants to just install something, all are equally bad.

Do I have a solution? You bet I do ^_^ It is not my solution, but I've taken the idea to heart for sure. I am also not suggesting the fullblown and perfect world version either. But here goes:

Distribute IL packages. Sounds cool? Well, maybe I should explain myself a bit there. What I suggest is that the developers (or rather the nice gentoo ppl) does a 'make package', and if the software compiles without errors/warnings, you get an IL package. This just means that you have started the compilation, gotten rid of a bunch of steps, and now have a nice binary (like) format that includes all those nice package bits like version, dependencies, install dirs, etc.

Next step becomes when you install the package, then the last step of the compilation is run, all optimization is made according to the users wishes (auto should be one of them), final binaries installed (with or without debugging info, again at the users discretion), help is produced from general XML files, dependencies checked (and handled by the package management), blah blah, you know the drill.

So we get what we want, optimized and safe installs. Of course this means quite a lot of work, but I think that it would be the next step on the way. And it would be really spiffy to be able to download the latest fully compiling package of KDE as soon as a nightly build is finihsed and functional.

That is another thing I want. A graphical installer, with a little deamon that tells me when new versions of the software I have installed are available. Being able to choose what I want to upgrade and all sorts of spiffy stuff.

Hmm, maybe I should install gentoo this weekend. But it is a lot of work considering that I will remove the disk again anyways. I won't give up my XP for a while;)

by rajan r on Fri 12th Jul 2002 12:30 UTC

This is where things went bad, and part of it isn't any fault of Gentoo's unless the folks at Gentoo Linux have the ability to cause trouble at a nearby power substation.

How sure are you about that?

by tso on Fri 12th Jul 2002 15:07 UTC

Ok, so you're all using an 'OS' that's put together out of components written by LOTS of devs mainly seperately (doesn't mean when it runs on Linux that they worked with Torvalds). And then you complain about minor and major glitches here and there? Get over it. Also it's fun, like this you actually learn stuff.

Gentoo is not as good as it claims to be.
by vlad on Fri 12th Jul 2002 15:39 UTC

I use Gentoo on one of my system - it's the only Linux system I have and it is the reason why I came back to Linux world again. After making this disclosure I start complains about it:
1. No easy way to customize the soft. I use gcc-3.1 from scratch. Now updating gcc-3.1 to a newer version takes 4-5 hours and 90% of that time spent compiling stuff I don't need - java, ada and fortran. Of course, I can do 'emerge --fetchonly' and then 'ebuild unpack' and then modify makefile etc. But then I don't know why I need to use portage.
2. All customizations you do you will have to repeat every time when you update your system. I know you can use .kernel to save your kernel config between kernel builds but other software doesn't do it. So simple update of a few executables takes too much of my time.
3. It takes a hell of disk space - I had 400Mb available on my 1Gb partition and I couldn't upgrade XFree - I run out of disk space. Run 'du' on your distfiles to see how much space you waste. And you don't know how much disk space you will need before you started.
4. This one is pure rambling : lots of newbies came to Linux on Gentoo wave - it may seems good but in reality they are to Linux as MCSE to networking. Heard something here and there, saw a bunch of gcc warnings and they feel like they are linux gurus.

ok, 4 is good number, I stop here.
Just an additional reminder for people who claim that Gentoo is fast: if you saying that simple recompile with extra optimization gives you huge (~100%) speedup, then there is something wrong with program you compiling.
I know that Gentoo is fast but Linux was always fast when it was configured properly. Praying the speed of Gentoo is actually disserving Linux software in general.

Bad Review
by Andy on Fri 12th Jul 2002 15:43 UTC

This is the second time that Linuxplanet have tried to write a Gentoo review. In the first 'review' the guy didn't even manage to get Gentoo installed and now this almost as useless article. Ok, she just about got it installed but what about talking about all the things that make Gentoo unique? A better description of how Portage works, about how upgrading and maintaining software works (compared to the Lindows model which actually charges for a much worse service for example), about setting compilation flags to really optimize gcc compiles? There's so much more to Gentoo than 'oh it takes a long time to install but it's much faster than the usual Linux distro once installed.'

Almost a complete waste of time IMHO..

by null_pointer_us on Fri 12th Jul 2002 23:31 UTC

John, that IL sounds like a really good idea. Everything could be run through a compiler to generate the intermediate code, which when distributed would virtually guarantee that the code will compile error free. But I bet you'd have to pry GCC from their cold, dead little fingers first... :-P

I really like the idea behind Gentoo, and for the most part they've managed to do a good job. However, I can't help thinking that the code they're shoving through GCC is the problem, not necessarily portage or GCC itself. I counted quite a few warnings as the compiler output went across the screen.

For example, why is anyone using void* for pointer arithmetic? It's baffling. Most of the warnings just seem like really stupid things that ought to be fixed. Given these coding practices, it is not natural to assume that the code which does compile correctly might not be of the best quality?

Gentoo in particular is also a bit buggy. I should be able to follow the installation instructions to the letter and produce a working system with at least KDE on it, but having to edit some obscure little text files just to complete the installation ruins the ease of using "emerge kde."

In short, I would keep my eye on Gentoo 1.5 or 2.0, but 1.2 certainly leaves something to be desired.

Re: Gentoo is not as good as it claims to be
by woodchip on Sat 13th Jul 2002 17:08 UTC

1. No easy way to customize the soft. I use gcc-3.1 from scratch. Now updating gcc-3.1 to a newer version takes 4-5 hours and 90% of that time spent compiling stuff I don't need - java, ada and fortran. Of course, I can do 'emerge --fetchonly' and then 'ebuild unpack' and then modify makefile etc. But then I don't know why I need to use portage

Well Vlad,

So sorry you feel that way; since if you had simply made a small edit to your gcc-3.1.x.ebuild file, changing:

myconf="${myconf} --enable-shared"

to this:

myconf="${myconf} --enable-shared --enable--anguages=c,c++"

portage would have given you exactly what you wanted (no java, no fortran, no ada), all for the price of about 30 keystrokes and maybe a dozen seconds.

Your other comments were equally poor, IMO.