Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st Sep 2006 20:45 UTC, submitted by Valour
Gentoo Another review of Gentoo 2006.1. In one respect, Gentoo Linux 2006.1 is the same as it's always been, except with newer software on the installation media. Beginning with version 2006.0, though, a graphical environment was added to the live CD along with an installation program that rarely worked properly. The good news is, the installer works reasonably well in Gentoo 2006.1; the bad news is, it's still quicker and easier to install by hand via the command line.
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Nope, command line isn't quicker...
by rklrkl on Fri 1st Sep 2006 23:44 UTC
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I tried a Gentoo release from the command line a while back and for some unfathomable reason, vi (aka vim) wasn't on the install CD and you ended up having to use nano to do your file editing. You're also dumped into a text console and are constantly switching via Alt-Fn keys between the help document and the command line - very maddening indeed, even for experienced Linux users.

I tried the graphical installer and it's a much less stressful experience, but it's arguably still a bit too verbose/techy and a little tricky (especially when you get to manual package selection and guessing which ones to include and which to exclude). If you're not familiar how Gentoo does things, the graphical installer doesn't make it too obvious in places exactly what you should do.

One thing that frustrated me though was that I would like to see an ETA of how long the package builds were going to take before it even starts them (with a last chance "go beyond this point and it'll take X hours and you can't back out" warning).

By the time I'd finished my package selection, it wasn't until I started the builds that I found out that 456 packages needed building and after 20 mins, only 11 had been done (on a 1GB RAM, Athlon 64 box!), that I abandoned the compilation process and realised I'd need to set aside a whole day to build Gentoo....argh (or get the package ISO of pre-built binaries of course, but why run Gentoo if you're going to do that - may as well stick with 64-bit Fedora Core...).

Reply Score: 1

Headrush Member since:

Weird. I run Gentoo on my main machine, but gave the graphic installer a try on my much weaker Via based machine. Since using Gentoo uses a stage3 install by default, by not selecting additional packages, I had a fully working system with KDE installed in 20 minutes.

The advantage of using the stage3 is that you get a working machine up fast and then you can go and recompile things as you want from within your working system. No flipping between virtual terminals as you mentioned.

Reply Score: 1

Sphinx Member since:

Noticed that too, I had to emerge vim after I untarred portage to avoid it.

Reply Score: 1

FunkyELF Member since:

I would never want to install Gentoo from a command line on the computer I was installing it on.
The first time I installed Gentoo I booted the CD, started an SSH daemon, went on another computer and ssh'd in so that I could use the browser on the other computer.

After that installation, the next time I installed Gentoo I used a knoppix live CD. This way I could work directly on it and use a web browser.

Now that it has a graphical live environment I use that CD and don't have to worry about anything.

I wasn't about to page through a guide using 'more' or 'less' and I wasn't about to print out the install documentation.

The only way, for me anyway, to install Gentoo is to use a web browser whether it is on their live CD, a different live CD or another computer.

Reply Score: 1

Decided to install Gentoo
by Anonymo on Sat 2nd Sep 2006 03:04 UTC
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I am doing an emerge world right now. Thinking its going to take like 3 days, but I dont really have anything huge install but firefox, which takes like 3 hours, xorg 7.1 and fluxbox, which shouldnt take long. ;)

Edited 2006-09-02 03:04

Reply Score: 1

by atsureki on Sat 2nd Sep 2006 09:32 UTC
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Gentoo is dead to me. I can see why they'd want to dabble in the mass appeal of a graphical installer, but to eliminate the universal liveCDs overnight in favor of a brand new installer with the versatility of a spork is a complete disgrace. You can't do an offline install from source anymore. They don't offer any CD image for x86 or amd64 that has stages and source tarballs on it. If the target system doesn't have a live network connection, you can't install Gentoo from source. What is Gentoo, then? Looks like every other distro, but with a buggier, less powerful, harder to use installer. Was there really such a niche waiting to be filled?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ugh
by Headrush on Sat 2nd Sep 2006 19:03 UTC in reply to "Ugh"
Headrush Member since:

Well the majority of people do have network access.
If you had to download a package CD before, you can still download the stage tarballs as before. Either way you have to have network access at one point or the other.

I still do stage1 installs myself, but doing a stage3 is more practical and easier for new users. You start with a stage3 and then go back and recompile and can make changes as you see fit.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ugh
by atsureki on Sun 3rd Sep 2006 22:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Ugh"
atsureki Member since:

I'm fine with needing network access once I'm in my own installed environment and can run ndiswrapper, and I'd gladly make another CD with the files I need if there were any way to find out in advance which distfiles are necessary to complete an install, but the only way to do that is to have a working, networked gentoo environment already.

I broke down and tried to install with my laptop on the ethernet cord that belongs to the Mac I'm typing on right now (not happy about the downtime), and I was considering an attempt to make and distribute my own Universal CD with the distfiles I pulled down in the process, except that I unfortunately ended up with a portage snapshot where Grub won't compile, and I can't rsync in this state, so I'm stuck yet again.

Gentoo used to have a system that worked perfectly for me, and I can't be the only one. They seem to feel that the new experimental installer is such a perfect replacement for the Universal LiveCDs (which actually worked) that there's no reason to acknowledge there ever was such a thing. I think they've gone insane. Their preferred install method is a half-finished automator that launches on a desktop, and every liveCD has annoying, cartoony bootsplashes that cover up an option prompt. Am I the only one who thinks pretty graphics are for Fedora and gentoo should just work, without all the gimmicks? Why have distros if not for specialization?

I was hoping, way back when my above comment was modded up, that a gentoo maintainer might happen by and give it a thought, seeing that at least one person agreed with me. But, for all I know, it was exactly such a person who modded it back down. Honestly, I wouldn't complain this much about gentoo if I didn't love it, but they're going completely in the wrong direction. Installation wasn't the only hurdle to an installed user base. People who can't install it the old way wouldn't be able to maintain it in any way. Or is that next? A graphical tool that replaces all the manual config file editing? Fine, just not on gentoo.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Ugh
by Bringbackanonposting on Mon 4th Sep 2006 04:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ugh"
Bringbackanonposting Member since:

OK then. I agree the installer is BS. A good installer that allows the user to pick where it leaves (crashes) would be OK by me though. As for your problem: I am lucky enough to have NAT routing and good Internet access. So No big deal for me. I noticed that there is no portage snapshot or stages on some of the CDs. What about the DVD you can download? Doesn't it have most of the packages to get you up and running in binary package form? I don't understand fully what your saying. If you don't have a reasonable connection then Gentoo may not be for you.

Reply Score: 1

by netpython on Sat 2nd Sep 2006 12:07 UTC
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2006.1 is a relief to use opposed to 2006.They have finally got rid of the pam-login is blocking shadow issue,that's nice.Got my system with nvidia drivers and fluxbox up and running in less than a hour from a stage3 install.

It runs very smooth.No ~amd64 here,instead i just fire up vmware and run w2k in order to check some flash,quicktime,etc.. or to fiddle with VS2005pro.Now if they would abandon the graphical installer debacle i would be complete happy:-).The great tool vmware is a good example of the configurability.Not to much choices are being made for you.Instead you have to add "vmmon" for example to "/etc/modules.autoload/kernel-2.6" yourself and you also have to add vmware to the default runlevel with "rc-update add vmware default".All very basic but convenient.I made a script that does this all automatically like an on/off switch so i don't have any unnecessary services and or modules around.

Kudos to the devs,at's for this fantastic distro which gives me so much joy and control.

Reply Score: 1

I tried it...
by Anonymo on Sat 2nd Sep 2006 22:39 UTC
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guess it's not for me. Back on Slackware. I must say that it is lightning quick. MC, dillo opened up faster than I have ever seen. It's just that everything takes so long. I have to wait on everything to compile. I rather just use what I know for now and if I get some free time or a spare box, install Gentoo on it. For now, I need it not.

Reply Score: 1

Gentoo is not for everyone.
by Quag7 on Sun 3rd Sep 2006 00:22 UTC
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An installer for Gentoo? Training wheels on a Harley. I can fully understand why someone would want an installer and I'm not saying Gentoo is better than any other distro, but it is specialized for a certain mindset.

A lot of the criticisms of Gentoo - I'm not speaking about anyone in this thread, just general observations - come from people who have no business running it in the first place. To use another analogy, it's like buying a plastic hobbyist model of a car, and then complaining that you have to "glue stuff and paint stuff, and God, why not just buy a pre-painted, pre-glued toy car?"

This being said, I think a lot of long time Gentoo users learned that, despite perhaps trying it out of curiosity or as a challenge, it actually *is* what they prefer.

I am a little mystified at the installer. I don't mind it or anything provided I can install Gentoo the traditional way, but I'm just not sure what the point is. The traditional Gentoo method is not difficult or geeky; it's just *manual*. If you can follow directions, you can install it - a child could (and some do) get it running.

I continue to encounter bizarre myths and ideas about Gentoo. Here are a few I'm bored of hearing:

(*) Gentoo is an elitist distro that people use to be "l33t." Well, this may have been true in 2002 - at least in terms of peoples' motivations, but by now it has become clear that many beginners, given interest and patience, can get Gentoo installed. My first Gentoo install was as a newcomer to Linux, and I just followed the directions, typed what the docs said to type (not even understanding everything I was doing at the time), and it worked. I see no one posturing as being some kind of computer whiz because they followed the directions and got Linux installed, but I still encounter a lot of people who have no clue about Gentoo resorting to this weird, lame, about 4-years-out-of-date cliche. In fact, what makes the Gentoo forums what they are is the honesty and enthusiasm so many people have from all different skill levels.

Experienced users love the ability to easily customize and patch their installs (and this can be done on all distros, but Gentoo is set up to make this easy, given its source orientation), and newcomers are often surprised ("that wasn't hard at all - and wow, I finally understand why X is done the way it is because I had to do it myself.").

This distro is not for everyone - not everyone is interested in and fetishistic about things the way Gentoo is - it is not all things to all people, and I am puzzled at attempts to make it that. One of the biggest benefits to Gentoo's manual installation is it sets expectations - nowhere is Gentoo's character more on display than during it's traditional command-by-command install.

Gentoo's power is both in encouraging the user to look a little deeper and understand things *just one level deeper* than most other distros.

But you're not programming in C, you're not writing assembler - you're not resolving dependencies by yourself.

You're running simple commands to launch scripts which then take over for you.

(*) Gentoo is not unstable and full of bugs more than any other distribution. Where the problem arises is Gentoo doesn't protect the user from himself. You can seriously hose a Gentoo system, because the whole philosophy of the design encourages users to tinker, and you run into curiosity killed the cat issues.

Yes, sometimes things in Gentoo break, usually because of major changes like modular X, major gcc version upgrades, and so on. Things break on my Debian boxes too. But this is pretty rare.

It used to be that people would choose to run an unstable "branch" of Gentoo, by setting it up so it would install *all* of the newest, unstable package. But now, you can very easily set it up to run so that you can mark specific packages you're interested in the unstable versions of, while keeping everything else stable.

And because you were encouraged to tinker with a lot of things like compiler flags while installing, that sticks in your mind, and people tend to tinker with their systems, sometimes breaking things in the process. You can avoid this by simply restraining yourself.

But what's the fun in that? Gentoo is not about restraint. It's about messing with things you've always been told you weren't supposed to mess with. That has a price. To any dedicated Gentoo user, the risk is real, but worth it.

(*) People complain about Gentoo on the forums. Well, yes, but how many Linux forums have the sheer quantity of daily posts than the Gentoo forums do?

In some cases the complaints are legitimate but in many cases, there are people complaining who never had any business using Gentoo to begin with - people who have no interest in tinkering and just want to get work done.

The amount of maintenance for an average Gentoo install is strongly overstated, but you won't get the kind of wizards and instant gratification that other distros will give you. You *will* edit text files to get things done, and you *will* get to know your hardware intimately. You *will* wait awhile while the apps you want compile to your liking.

Perfectly fair and legitimate that a lot of people - really smart people - would rather get a root canal than do this.

But don't use Gentoo, and then complain about it for being what it is - a distro for people who have more than a casual interest in their OS. Somehow, people who would really be happy with something like Ubuntu (or SLED on the extreme), wind up trying Gentoo and then hating it for what it is.

(*) Gentoo users think that compiling their apps will make them significantly faster and get off on watching pages of gcc compiler output scroll by.

I know of very few people who use Gentoo because of speed (actually I know none, but since people claim that there are legions of Gentoo users with this attitude, I'll take their word for it).

People use Gentoo because of - mainly - portage, its package management system. Because USE flags make setting all of the compiler flags in a single place simple (don't use Gnome? Disable support for it, save hard drive space and have a cleaner system).

Because they are anal about what is on their hard drive.

Because they love the general vibe and feel of the vibrant Gentoo community - a community that wears its dynamics on its shirtsleeve - that is to say, people who are excited, passionate, and downright fascinated by Linux; where the OS is the means to get work done, but also (for many Gentoo users) an end in itself.

This whole "Gentoo ricer" thing may be true for a minority of users, but again, this is a very old stereotype. And I don't even know that knowledgeable people maximizing the performance of their systems is a bad thing - maybe those things trickle down to the rest of us, including those who don't even use the distro.

I just passed my 4th year running Gentoo on my desktop. I am not a developer, or a systems programmer. I just like computers, and I've tried several other distros, given them an honest try. I've not found anything which has tempted me to switch (I can live with Debian - understand why people like it - and I actively liked FreeBSD but it doesn't really give me any more than I have with Gentoo, given my specific personal needs).

For the computer enthusiast, computer hobbyist, and on up to developers, Gentoo is a fine choice; the "Heathkit" of Linux distributions. It is also good for beginners who believe in jumping into the deep end first in a sink-or-swim effort to really acclimate to Linux (this was how I became a user).

But it is not for everyone. And that's fair, and I think it's fantastic that we have options because we have different - legitimately different - needs.

Reply Score: 5

Bringbackanonposting Member since:

I am in a similar situation. I actually use it as my main WORK desktop. It has only what I need. If I am missing something I emerge it while making a phonecall or reading an email. In many cases its not much slower than installing a binary package. What a treat it is to install a package where I can specify what USE flags I want - downloading and installing 5Mb instead of 5Mb + 50Mb of it's dependancies that I don't need/want (you know what I am talking about - yes you). I am a power user. I know how Linux works because of Gentoo. I fix MY OWN problems and I HELP OTHERS. If it wasn't for Gentoo I would be forever a noobie begging for help when something goes wrong. Like I have always said: If you don't USE Linux seriously then don't use Gentoo. Use Ubuntu or whatever. Leave us in peace.

Reply Score: 2

yes, Gentoo it's not for everybody
by kenjiru on Sun 3rd Sep 2006 13:02 UTC
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Quag7 is totally right, Gentoo it's not for everybody and it wasn't design to be so from the beginning. You must have the willing to give up GUIs and use the command line to configure your sistem. If that's a problem for you, then you shouldn't be installing Gentoo in the first place.

And generally I don't take so serious the reviews of people that install a distribution only for it's review.

Reply Score: 2

New to Gentoo try Sabayon
by ivan_p on Mon 4th Sep 2006 23:03 UTC
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Essentially a five step install and comes in both a minimal and rather packed DVD - includes XGL.

Probably a good way to go to get a feel for gentoo and check out how someone in the know setup the various configuration files.

After, you can always get a gentoo tarball from the Jackass Project and build a slim environment.

The reason i went with Gentoo was purely educational. After a time i checked out LFS and just thought whats the point - Portage more or less automates this!

Reply Score: 1