Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:02 UTC, submitted by Rob
Gentoo LinuxElectrons features a mini-review of Gentoo Linux 1.4 along with many screenshots.
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Gentoo
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:19 UTC

It may take days to compile, but you'll make up for it in the microseconds saved by those O flags.

O yeah!

I'm not a zealot..really..
by Vis on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:23 UTC

I'll be doing a gentoo install tonight after many attempts and learning curves. It's difficult at first, but once you get it down, you can pretty much blaze thru an install in no time (sans the compile times). The biggest advantage is having access to the latest and greatest apps and versions thereof. Having been a SuSE user (which is great out of the box but pretty much with no community support after that point) having access to everything so quickly as well as the best and friendliest user community on the web (as opposed to the Debian community, which appears to treat new users as below contempt) is just really nice. The install can be difficult, but it's a charm to use after that. New users might also want to check out this new install script to make thing even easier!

It bears repeating that one of gentoo’s strongest points is its super laid-back and helpful community. You could be someone who’s never used linux at all and they would STILL help you get a working system up and running.

http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=55293&postdays=0&postorder...

Re: Gentoo
by Ringmaster on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:26 UTC

What is it that makes Gentoo so fast? How does compiling it yourself speed it up?

RE: Re: Gentoo
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:32 UTC

RTFM: http://www.google.com/search?&q=gcc%20flags

I'm a Gentoo user. Answering your questions lowers the efficiency I worked so hard to obtain with these O flags. Every question I answer eats into the time saved by these optimizations, and as such I can no longer continue this conversation.

gentoo is good if...
by jason on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:33 UTC

you have days to lose.

my time is worth alot to me, i can't stand when it takes more than 45 minutes to set up a new OS.

it took me about half a day to set up slackware just the way i want it, took me about 30 minutes in xandros, about a day to set up a debian desktop, few hours for a libranet install.

source based distro's would be nicer if they provided some binaries for common configurations for x686 computers, but that kind of defeats the purpose.

yes, i tried installing gentoo, i even read almost EVERY user manual and user guide they provided, after about three to four hours of installing, and not even have X running yet, i gave up and used my cd as a coaster. it's been doing a pretty good job too.

if the gentoo community is so kind, maybe i can post my hardware configuration, and someone with similar hardware compiles a binary version 4 me, then burns it on a cd and distributes it. that would be nice!

I've been very happy with Gentoo
by Sean K on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:37 UTC

I have been using Gentoo for the past two years now and
am very much at ease with it. I can do an install in my
sleep. But I wouldn't recommend it to the inexperienced
user. I cut my teeth on Slackware, and after Slackware,
anything is easier.

Sean

v RE:
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:38 UTC
Pre-Compiled
by Vis on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:39 UTC

Well, you evidently didn't read everything or you would know there ARE pre-compiled binary versions of all the core things you would need. You can get a fully working gentoo system up in a few hours using GRP. Check out the site for the newest install info.

Gentoo should not have a version number! just a cvs/rsync check out date!

alright
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 03:43 UTC

to be fair, it only takes about 5-6hrs if you start compiling from stageball 3.

Ive tried gentoo but never really like it. SLACKWARE IS 1337

The version numbers are for the LiveCD.

I Actually Like This Stuff
by Jud on Tue 18th Nov 2003 04:15 UTC

Maybe it's a reaction against MS marking so much of the OS with big "Verboten" signs for users, but I really like being able to get into the guts of the operating system if/when I want. Yeah, I actually like watching the compile messages fly by while I'm updating FreeBSD or Gentoo or installing applications. Installing binaries is so *boring* - where's the fun and adventure in that?

I am one sick dude, I know.

Jud

@Jason
by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 18th Nov 2003 04:16 UTC

You're obviously lying about reading the install docs, because there is an entire *section* in the docs about how to install optimized (i586, K7, Pentium 4) binaries for your system via the Gentoo Reference Platform. Using that, you can have a system fully set up in about 45 minutes. After that, any upgrades can be done in the background, or overnight. That way, you don't lose any productive time, you just don't get instant gratification for installing new apps.

gentoo, cm'ere!
by trumpetmic on Tue 18th Nov 2003 04:18 UTC

here boy! here boy! fetch! fetch the latest version of the program I desire and compile it flawlessly! ah, but then again, fedora is being fun for me right now too... too many fun choices!

v RE: @Jason
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 04:25 UTC
RE: Anonymous (IP: ---.anon-online.org)
by UnderScore on Tue 18th Nov 2003 04:30 UTC

I see the trolls, nay the wannabe trolls are out tonight. As a gentoo user for 1.5 years and a *NIX user for 7 years, I can say it is not as easy as some claim. There are two underlying concepts that most gentoo attemptees (myself included on the first try ;) do not understand. The first that one must understand how computers work, how their hardware works and if their hardware is supported before beginning a Gentoo install as in many cases Gentoo will not simplify things by making automatic choices for the user. The second is that Gentoo is a source based distribution meaning that it builds the majority of the operating system from the source code and this requires time and patience of as little as 4 or 5 hours for a working desktop or perhaps days of compiling. I wish the two above concepts were written in bold in 36 point font so that people would understand what they are about to get into.
Gentoo may be right for you:
if you want a completely customizable system.
if you know how to compile the linux kernel.
if you have the time, patience & sticktoitivness to learn how it all goes together.

Gentoo may not be right for you:
if you need a linux system running in a half hour.
if you don’t want to manage or hand configure everything in an OS.

I run Gentoo so that I can customerize it to how it want it & not for the gcc flags as someone mentioned above. The Gentoo Forums at http://forums.gentoo.org is a good place to search for questions that have already been answered.


I guess I’ll never understand why people feel the need to crap on each other based on the operating system they are running. Maybe it is because of a bad childhood or their rampant insecurities.

everybody relax a little...
by bman08 on Tue 18th Nov 2003 05:13 UTC

A bunch of people on this thread are calling names seemingly without access to all the facts. As it turns out, the install docs for are updated frequently. I've installed Gentoo a couple of times over the last year and it was only in recent versions that there was any mention of things like GRP and binary packages. So if you tried gentoo a few month ago, you're not lying when you say there weren't binary packages. That's all changed. Gentoo is a million times easier to install now than it was six months ago. (and it wasn't that bad then)

I also find that any difficulty during the install is more than compensated by the ease of upgrading.

@anonymous
by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 18th Nov 2003 05:20 UTC

I'm not usually so blunt, but "Gentoo Reference Platform" and "GRP" are mentioned a total of *26* times in the install documentation! Yet someone who claims to have "EVERY user manual and user guide" still spouts off some clueless bullshit about how is time is too valuable to use Gentoo and how the CD is only good as a coaster, then makes some sarcastic remark about the Gentoo community. What are you supposed to think? It would be like me saying "It would be great if I could install Windows XP on my Athlon, maybe Microsoft should start supporting my CPU?" I'd be flamed and deservedly so.

RE: RE: Anonymous (IP: ---.anon-online.org)
by trumpetmic on Tue 18th Nov 2003 05:24 UTC

I'll agree with Mr. Bold...
It should be more clear (without reading the entire install doc) how long and involved a process installing Gentoo is. Fo'sheezy... It requires extensive knowledge about the hardware it's being installed on. Yagotta know about computers... especially your own. But I've never used a distro that seemed so solid after the installation. There were soooo many cool looking peices of software I wanted to try that just would not work anywhere except for on my installed Gentoo, where they compiled like the readme said they should! THAT'S ALL ASIDE FROM THE BADASS "emerge". Granted it was literally days of hacking, but that's actaully another good thing about Gentoo. In those strange two or three days I learned more about Gnu/Linux and my computer than in the last few years! It's gives you just enough time to feeel what you're doing, meditate on your next move and why your doing it... one step beyond the average routine.

@anonymous
by Ringmaster on Tue 18th Nov 2003 05:35 UTC

True, sarcasm and criticizing the Gentoo community is probably not the best way to get assistance. That being said, perhaps somebody would be good enough to answer my question now without just telling me to RTFM...how does compiling the source/kernel yourself make for a faster distro?

@Ringmaster
by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 18th Nov 2003 05:45 UTC

I don't think its good to tell people to RTFM, without at least giving them a hint where in TFM to look. However, when people claim to have RTFM'ed... anyway, I'm just being bitter.

To answer your question:

Normally, distributions compile in a way that runs on a number of CPUs. That means that the compiler can't generate code that fully utilizes the CPU that the distro will be running on. A Pentium4 has different performance characteristics from a Pentium Classic, so code optimized for one will not run optimally on the other. Also, because of Gentoo's "USE" system, it can avoid compiling extra features that you don't use into packages that support them optionally. For example. if you don't use ALSA support, Gentoo could avoid compiling that into your build of MPlayer.

That said, compiler optimizations don't buy you much. They mainly help in the kernel (where optimizing for P4 or whatnot not only enables compiler optimizations, but allows the kernel to take advantage of CPU-specific features like fast system calls) or glibc (which has a lot of algorithmic code that optimizes well). In my experience, it also helps XFree a little bit. However, you can expect maybe a 10% speedup overall, which is nice, but not that big of a deal.

The real reason people use Gentoo is, again, its community, its flexibility, its large package repository, and its tendency to ship mostly "vanilla" (rather than heavily altered) versions of packages like GNOME and KDE.

RE: @Ringmaster
by trumpetmic on Tue 18th Nov 2003 05:53 UTC

Indubitably, the community is the best part... I love knowing I can chat with people and ask questions, knowing someone or so will respond with a freindly, educated reply.

re: @anonymous
by Azmeen Afandi on Tue 18th Nov 2003 06:00 UTC

You're obviously lying about reading the install docs, because there is an entire *section* in the docs about how to install optimized (i586, K7, Pentium 4) binaries for your system via the Gentoo Reference Platform.

That's correct Mr Hashem, but not every reference platform is mirrored widely... i.e. really hard to find.

The X86's are widely available... but, say, an arch=athlon-tbird build would be near impossible to find.

about gentoo
by mountainpenguin on Tue 18th Nov 2003 06:11 UTC


Package management and lack of quality control:

One of the fundamental problem with Gentoo is the portage and how it's being managed. Unlike some other distros there is no one really doing a final checking of what goes into the portage. Essentially anyone with little or no solid experience with package management can volunteer to be in charge of some package. And once they become "Gentoo Developer" they can pretty much go ahead and modify stuff all over the place. Currently there are dozens of packages in stable branch (x86) that doesn't even compile let alone run. It appears Gentoo folks are more interested in number of packages in portage but has little grasp in the concept of the word "stable". There have been occasions where /usr/ path was completely wiped clean by mistake of a so called "Gentoo Developer". The single most common recommendation for solving odd portage problem is to unmerge and emerge the package again. To me this is Gentoo equivalent to MS's reboot method of solving a problem. It is also very common for a new package to be added to the stable branch and then to be pulled hours later. You won't be very happy if you've spent an hour compiling something and then to find out you've wasted that time.


Hard dependency to Python version:

Although Gentoo claims to be developer friendly one thing they have problem is the Python version issue. Gentoo has tool called emerge which is Gentoo equivalent to Debian's apt. Unfortunately emerge is written in Python and currently it's tested to work with one version of python. Which means if you break python emerge will stop working. Also you are pretty much stuck with the version of Python that emerge uses. Obviously for certain production environment which requires barebone install this is an issue that can only be solved if package management tools were written in non-interpreted language.


Potential for commercialism:

The Gentoo's social contract (http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/contract.xml) is pretty much Debian's social contract with some modifications. Despite the appearance Gentoo is NOT a community based distro like Debian. Infact Gentoo Linux is owned by Gentoo Technologies, Inc. a for profit company. What makes it rather odd is how Gentoo tries to make themselves appear as though they are a community based distro and that they are non-profit. They even have a PayPal Donation button prominently displayed on their front page. The fact is founder of Gentoo does have a plan to take the work unpaid volunteers for their personal profit. Although I think this is a similar arrangement between Fedora Project and Red Hat's core products, I think Red Hat has been honest and open about their commercial intent. I can't say the same for Gentoo.


Myths and Hypes:

Gentoo claims to have the most up to date software but in reality that isn't the case. The kernel that Gentoo 1.4 comes with is 2.4.20 while 2.4.22 has been out for some time now. Gentoo still uses GCC 3.2.3 while 3.3.2 is the current latest. That's three revisions and seven month behind. So much for the developer friendly distro. One of the biggest and common hype surrounding Gentoo is it's speed. Just about everyone believes that by compiling from source somehow results in faster system. In reality there has not been any hard numbers to prove this. Where is the proof? Where is the benchmark that back up this claim? Actually from my experience Gentoo's overly aggressive CFLAGS setting causes some binaries to run slower. I always wondered why opening a man page on Gentoo was lot slower than Debian and it turns out I wasn't imagining. Check out this page and it confirms my suspicion. http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/2003/44/

@mountain penguin
by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 18th Nov 2003 06:17 UTC

1) It would take an order of magnitude longer to do something like Portage in C or C++. This is exactly the sort of thing Python is designed for, and it is exceedingly efficient at it.

2) GCC 3.3.x is iffy to say the least. 3.3.2 (on a Debian box) ICE's on me when trying to compiling LLVM. Some KDE developers (see the KDE developers blog) also are less than happy with 3.3.x.

i installed gentoo in.... seven days.
by frymaster on Tue 18th Nov 2003 06:21 UTC

that's right. one whole week from booting the cd to firing up gnome 2.4. and that's from stage 2!

why i did it: simple. the target machine is *old* (hence the long install time) and *uncommon* (it's a rev. a imac). so while this means that the install took forever, it means that i will get the maximum advantage out of the o flags. witness:

old: if yr machine is slow, those optimizations are more noticable. the differnece between 1 second and 1.1 second to start mozilla on yr xp2600 is not noticable. the difference between 10 seconds and 11 seconds on my rev. a imac is noticable.

uncommon: because x86 is so popular there are a lot of semi-optimized binaries out there (the i586's etc.) in the mac world you have one type of binary usually: ppc. with emerge i get a custom binary for the g3. this makes a big difference.

i kow it to be true: this box used to have yellowdog 3.0 on it. gentoo roars compared to ydl!


is it worth it? i estimate i will have to use this machine for 146 years to pay off the seven day install with saved time due to optimization. but that's not the point! the point is that from now on, using this machine will be more enjoyable and efficient. duh.

RE: about gentoo
by Greg on Tue 18th Nov 2003 06:51 UTC

I agree with you on many of your points (the fact that I'm a Gentoo user notwithstanding).

However, I'd like to see some proof of 'wiping the /usr tree'. In any case, packages not compiling is often due to local issues than with Gentoo itself.

Also: Gentoo Technologies is a for-profit company only because it's that much easier to register as one. It is in the process of becoming a non-profit, but, as people who follow OpenBeOS know, that can be a long and arduous process.

No one's forcing you to use Gentoo. Personally, I use it for several reasons:

1). Power-user-friendly tweaks such as easy bootsplash/framebuffer console, and various techniques designed to make power users' lives easier.

2). Initscripts. I can't stand the SysV rc.d/ symlinks; having THREE runlevels with actual NAMES is much better, IMHO. Also, unlike Debian, it does not activate the service (i.e. add it to runlevels) automatically upon installation, and provides an easy way of doing so (and subsequently removing).

3). A feeling of control. I certainly feel a lot more in control on Gentoo than on Debian and (shudder) RH/SuSE/MDK systems. A lot of this has to do with the minimum-system ideal, as well as the USE flags and CFLAGS.

Basically, I see Gentoo becoming a less professionally-made Debian. It's already derived from it in many respects, and now it's kind of returning to its roots with GRP, etc. It's no accident that when people think 'dependency resolution', they think Debian and Gentoo (although the latter has no reverse dependencies yet).

RE: about gentoo
by emagius on Tue 18th Nov 2003 07:16 UTC

It's no accident that when people think 'dependency resolution', they think Debian and Gentoo.

Or the BSDs, eh? They offer much (but not all -- notably, FreeBSD's version of USE flags are not as standardized as Gentoo's [one port might use "WITHOUT_X11=yes" while another uses "WITHOUT_X=yes"]) of what Gentoo offers, but coupled with the maturity and cleanliness that Gentoo lacks.

@mountainpenguin
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 07:19 UTC

Do you by chance have any relationship with Zynot?

RE: about gentoo
by Greg on Tue 18th Nov 2003 07:24 UTC

You're right, I was talking about Linux.

That having been said, I don't like FreeBSD at all (haven't tried Net or Open). I've installed it on three separate occasions, but only once have I managed to use it for more than an hour without screeching in anger, and that time failed because FreeBSD doesn't have a working kdrive build, which I needed for the system I was working on at the time. I didn't like the shell, the editor (how is nano or pico worse than ee?), the configuration, etc. etc. Guess it's Linux for me all the way (and I did eventually put Debian on that machine, which now runs as a router/firewall/proxy). My hosting provider uses Solaris, and that's hard enough to deal with (csh needs to be killed slowly and painfully).
I think Debian's maturity/cleanliness are quite enough for me.

@mountainpenguin
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 07:41 UTC

Package management and lack of quality control:

One of the fundamental problem with Gentoo is the portage and how it's being managed. Unlike some other distros there is no one really doing a final checking of what goes into the portage. Essentially anyone with little or no solid experience with package management can volunteer to be in charge of some package. And once they become "Gentoo Developer" they can pretty much go ahead and modify stuff all over the place. Currently there are dozens of packages in stable branch (x86) that doesn't even compile let alone run. It appears Gentoo folks are more interested in number of packages in portage but has little grasp in the concept of the word "stable". There have been occasions where /usr/ path was completely wiped clean by mistake of a so called "Gentoo Developer". The single most common recommendation for solving odd portage problem is to unmerge and emerge the package again. To me this is Gentoo equivalent to MS's reboot method of solving a problem. It is also very common for a new package to be added to the stable branch and then to be pulled hours later. You won't be very happy if you've spent an hour compiling something and then to find out you've wasted that time.


That's false. Only yesterday, I bitched at some developers for not accepting jamboree, a light weight gnome music player, into the *testing*, not stable, branch of portage. The developer argued that he didn't think jamboree was stable or mature enough to be placed in portage. An ebuild for jamboree is still available at gentoo's bugzilla even though it isn't in portage yet. If what you say is true, clearly, jamboree should have been placed in portage without hesitation or regards for quality and maturity of the package.

Potential for commercialism:

The Gentoo's social contract (http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/contract.xml) is pretty much Debian's social contract with some modifications. Despite the appearance Gentoo is NOT a community based distro like Debian. Infact Gentoo Linux is owned by Gentoo Technologies, Inc. a for profit company. What makes it rather odd is how Gentoo tries to make themselves appear as though they are a community based distro and that they are non-profit. They even have a PayPal Donation button prominently displayed on their front page. The fact is founder of Gentoo does have a plan to take the work unpaid volunteers for their personal profit. Although I think this is a similar arrangement between Fedora Project and Red Hat's core products, I think Red Hat has been honest and open about their commercial intent. I can't say the same for Gentoo.


Dude, you are really beginning to sound like that developer that was kicked from the gentoo development team and that is now trying start a gentoo fork, zynot.

Myths and Hypes:

Gentoo claims to have the most up to date software but in reality that isn't the case. The kernel that Gentoo 1.4 comes with is 2.4.20 while 2.4.22 has been out for some time now. Gentoo still uses GCC 3.2.3 while 3.3.2 is the current latest. That's three revisions and seven month behind. So much for the developer friendly distro. One of the biggest and common hype surrounding Gentoo is it's speed. Just about everyone believes that by compiling from source somehow results in faster system. In reality there has not been any hard numbers to prove this. Where is the proof? Where is the benchmark that back up this claim? Actually from my experience Gentoo's overly aggressive CFLAGS setting causes some binaries to run slower. I always wondered why opening a man page on Gentoo was lot slower than Debian and it turns out I wasn't imagining. Check out this page and it confirms my suspicion. http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/2003/44/


Are you kidding me? Gentoo is the most up to date Linux distro, period. All the kernel versions exist in portage. In fact, I'm using version 2.6-test9 of the Linux kernel that I emerged from portage. I also currently use GCC-3.3.2, which was in portage 2-3 days after it was released. With regards to optimization. Again no other distro has mastered the art better than gentoo. Several tests have been carried out that proves gentoo is indeed faster than Debian and Mandrake which are of course not as optimized as gentoo is. Check out the link below for more info. I'm not really in the mood to counter all your FUDs, because I can't really be bothered.

http://articles.linmagau.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&f...

RE: about gentoo
by Wrawrat on Tue 18th Nov 2003 08:02 UTC

The kernel that Gentoo 1.4 comes with is 2.4.20 while 2.4.22 has been out for some time now.

But 2.4.22 is available. Try to emerge sys-kernel/vanilla-sources. Of course, their own optimised kernel is still at 2.4.20, but they backported a lot of stuff from 2.4.21 and 2.4.22. If you don't like this, use the original...

Gentoo still uses GCC 3.2.3 while 3.3.2 is the current latest. That's three revisions and seven month behind.

Right, and Debian still use 2.95.4...

3.3.2 is available on the unstable branch (~x86), pretty much like on Debian (sarge/sid). The 5-CURRENT branch of FreeBSD is using GCC 3.2.2 so I guess it's not a bad version.

Just about everyone believes that by compiling from source somehow results in faster system. In reality there has not been any hard numbers to prove this. Where is the proof? Where is the benchmark that back up this claim?

You don't like to search, eh? Here's some directly from their site: http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/performance.xml

Of course, you might think that these benchmarks might be biased. They're also quite incomplete. Then again, you probably know what is a search engine, right? That said, I must admit that some kids are greatly overhyping its speed.

Actually from my experience Gentoo's overly aggressive CFLAGS setting causes some binaries to run slower. I always wondered why opening a man page on Gentoo was lot slower than Debian and it turns out I wasn't imagining.

True, but do you expect them to be perfect? Shit happens. That's why some ebuilds are stripping or setting their own compilation flags. I guess they'll replace -O3 by -O2 or -Os or strip -finline-functions (as it's probably the flag that is slowing down man).

Myths and Hypes:

That sums up what you're saying...

The rest of your comment wasn't bad but that last part makes me wonder if I should take you seriously or if you're just another troll.

Don't forget:
by Helas on Tue 18th Nov 2003 08:09 UTC

When using gentoo, before you complain about speed, don't forget to enable DMA etc. for your hard drive. There are several other no compile related options and tweaks that you can do to improve speed, search the gentoo forums for further info.

Also, I don't think any other distro makes switching kernel versions easier. I'm sure that if it were done, a poll would show that a higher percentage of gentoo users than any other major distro users are using the 2.6 kernel right now.

RE: Don't forget:
by Helas on Tue 18th Nov 2003 08:11 UTC

no = non

GNOME, Nautilus, Samba and Gentoo
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 08:19 UTC

The author explains that gentoo has been the only distro where samba works flawlessly via Konqueror in KDE. I agree. He mentions that samba doesn't work in Nautilus in GNOME. This is probably because the author failed to install gnome-vfs-extras with contains the samba plugin for Nautilus. The following command would solve his problem:

root # emerge gnome-vfs-extras

I found the review quite shabby. I think the reviewer needed to spend more time with gentoo than he did. Overall, it's not a bad review.

Good news
by DrLinux on Tue 18th Nov 2003 08:57 UTC

/. is reporting that sun has sold 1,000,000 copy of its java desktop to china

http://slashdot.org/articles/03/11/18/0219249.shtml?tid=102&tid=126...

Happy with Gentoo
by Alastair Stevens on Tue 18th Nov 2003 09:21 UTC

Sure, Gentoo is not for everyone, but I switched 8 months ago and I love it. The install was a right old sweat, but I actually enjoyed it because it taught me lots. I kept my old Red Hat 7.3 distro running for a few weeks, and dabbled with Gentoo in spare moments. Once I was confident, I made the switch and never looked back.

I don't even know if it's faster or not, but it doesn't seem to matter. On the rare occasions that I compile something huge (like KDE), it just runs overnight and is ready in the morning. The system just works, updating is a doddle, and all the programs I could ever imagine wanting (including proprietary ones like RealPlayer and Acroread) are just an "emerge" command away.

Maximum respect to Gentoo for nice tools. great documentation, and some very helpful forums.

OK review
by Q on Tue 18th Nov 2003 09:56 UTC

You can't be told what Gentoo is, you just have to experience it yourself.

Gentoo
by cheezwog on Tue 18th Nov 2003 10:58 UTC

I started using Gentoo just because I had no luck installing Linux audio software on any other distros. Dependencies and installing libs in the wrong places just made using any recent software impossible. I tried debian and could not get that to work either, apt-get was too complicated for me and so kept messing up.

Optimising for your CPU does make a difference with audio software, as it's very processor intensive, with many small loops that really benefit. Other apps felt about the same as Mandrake.

It's a bit of a myth that Gentoo requires amazing Linux skills etc, you just have to follow the instructions.

One of the things I also like about Gentoo is that you get apps how the author intended them, not some changed version specific to a distro, with loads of wierd changes and new bugs.

GRP is not so hot though, as the first time you install anything new it normally has to upgrade most of the GRP installs, so you end up compiling most of it from source anyway.

Real men
by DrLinux on Tue 18th Nov 2003 11:06 UTC

Compile their Linux OS from scratch. Even gentoo is not as customizable as just doing everything yourself. Gives me the most up-to-date system available. Most headaches too ;)

RE: Real men
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 11:10 UTC

You obviously haven't used Gentoo. It is exactly linux from the scratch with some pluses. It has the best Linux package manager and it's a little bit on steriods.

GRP Installs
by Joe on Tue 18th Nov 2003 11:50 UTC

Has anybody actualy used the docs to do a GRP install? I am in the middle (near the end actualy) of doing so and find that the current docs leave some things to be desired. For example on my laptop after the first reboot, I no longer had a valid route to my gateway machine. OK you say, your tring to do a GRP install and don't need the network. Well, yes you do because a couple of teeny tiny files were not on the CD. Also the build dates for the portage tree on the CD do not match up with the installed system. My biggest problem was self induced: I did an "emerge sync"! The docs should stress that you should not do this if trying for a GRP install. They only
state it's ok to skip the "emerge sync" if doing a GRP. BTW a nod to the trolls, FreeBSD is easier ;-)

Python dependancy
by Bob on Tue 18th Nov 2003 11:52 UTC

I realize that Python must be at a certain revision because of portage. However, that is an annoyance "if" I wanted to use the newest version of Python. Or is this not an issue? I do not like running side-by-side Python versions.

As good as you make it...
by Fruers on Tue 18th Nov 2003 11:59 UTC

that's the beauty of Gentoo and Linux in general. I use Gentoo in a production environment with a stable portage tree that only has security updates committed. With a central distfiles and binary packages repository mounted via NFS it takes around an hour from stage3 tarball, most time is spent compiling a custom kernel which most people would do for a regular dist anyway.

RE: Python dependancy
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 12:19 UTC

"However, that is an annoyance "if" I wanted to use the newest version of Python. Or is this not an issue?"

That depends on your skills. You can install other Python versions (as many as you like) to /opt or /usr/local and let emerge use the Python version which it wants. It's like with every other distro too, you can do everything IF you have the skill.

Re: GRP Installs
by Joe on Tue 18th Nov 2003 12:44 UTC

@Joe (IP: ---.adsl.snet.net)

Yeah, I've done many GRP installs, waste of time. I say this because you still have emerge and recompile everything because the GRP CD is out of date. For me, I don't care how long it takes to install, its the long term stability and management I'm worried about. In this respect, Gentoo failed me. I ran it on my laptop and pc for about a year.....portage broke, packages were often broken, system wouldn't boot after emerge, config files messed up, compile times a pain in the arse, blah blah blah. It was just taking too much of a hassle. Anyway, I don't think it's a bad distro, just not for me. Debian (testing, ala Morphix) is proving to be my distro of choice, easy to maintin and manage via apt and much more stable.

I tried Gentoo some time back
by Andrew D on Tue 18th Nov 2003 13:21 UTC

And it was awkward and time consuming and to be honest, as a desktop package it wasn't worth it. Sure it might be a bit faster (not that obvious in a pure desktop productivity role) but for the effort it wasn't worth it.

I'm quite willing to believe that it might be worth it going that route if you're planning on using it as a server where every cycle spared is beneficial though.

I must be a mug though, I'm reading this and thinking I should print out that 15 page installation guide again and have another stab. ;)

Gentoo user
by A Happy Gentoo User on Tue 18th Nov 2003 13:24 UTC

Some general remarks:
after using windows from version 3.11 to 2000, I switched to Gentoo with NO previous *nix experience. That was a year ago, and I'm still running the same Gentoo install, I dropped my dual boot Windows2000 a long time ago. In the meantime I have a second Gentoo installed on an older system using GRP, took me less than an hour.
Is my gentoo running faster than another Linux by compiling everything from source? I don't know, but I'd like to think so and that alone makes me happy with my Gentoo.
The portage system is a great way to install apps and I like the additional scripts that make a lot of things easy to do for beginners, but still offer enough control for advanced users.
It's not about if my system is better or faster than another os/system, I just feel comfortable in my Gentoo.

Re: As good as you make it...
by J. J. Ramsey on Tue 18th Nov 2003 13:55 UTC

"that's the beauty of Gentoo and Linux in general. I use Gentoo in a production environment with a stable portage tree that only has security updates committed.

How did you swing that? I didn't know that Gentoo could be updated so selectively.

Re: Python Dependency
by feed on Tue 18th Nov 2003 14:07 UTC

When you install the new version from portage it keeps the old, you still have to go into the portage scripts and change it from #!/usr/bin/python to #!/usr/bin/python2.2 .

Portage needs to move on
by teknishn on Tue 18th Nov 2003 15:07 UTC

I was a SuSE user for 2+ years before moving to Gentoo for the last 2 years. I really must say that Gentoo truly is one of the greatest distros in existance, but I feel (of late) that its time for portage to move it up a notch. How about giving us another portage tree that has precompiled binaries. A simple line in make.conf could decide whether you want to compile from source or shoot straight for an i686 binary. Just a thought. After 2 years + of using Gentoo, compiling everything and the kitchen sink is growing old IMO. Its also making it more difficult for me to use at work.

why install the hard way??
by Brixster on Tue 18th Nov 2003 15:21 UTC

Have you guys ever heard of glis at glis.sourceforge.net???

Gentoo... meh
by ephemeral on Tue 18th Nov 2003 15:24 UTC

It is okay. Nothing special. Installed it. Used it. Formatted. I am sticking with Windows for my desktop.

Optimalisation == mostly BS
by dpi on Tue 18th Nov 2003 15:59 UTC

(the URL of the article doesn't work here currently)

I run both Debian GNU/Linux and Gentoo Linux and have nothing against either of these. Both have several advantages as well as disadvtages and i'd agree with some which are earlier mentioned (i don't want to discuss that). However the optimalisation argument is mostly common BS.

First of all there are several reviews floating around the net. Some claim Gentoo Linux is faster than certain other distro's. Sometimes it isn't. Weird, how benchmarks can differ so much.

Yes, optimalisation gives the user more choice which is indeed sometimes important. Yes, it might make a certain box slightly faster. Yes, it is wise to optimize for example the kernel and also certain other pieces of software. However, the waiting in a nightmare - i want to load up binaries and get the box all set. The slight performance increase can be gained in other ways, too. For example prelinking and hdparm are 2 easy ways which are faster than compiling a lot. This is faster than compiling GCC on a slow box because of some kind of optimalisation. In such a case, i prefer outsourcing the compilation, downloading the binaries, tweaking things here and there for example the 2 earlier mentioned, and have a faster box than before.

Competence otoh is good, and diversity as well. Gentoo Linux could have a place _for me_ in clusters and networks with a fast box for compilation - which aren't available in the area's i'm working with computers. Therefore, we chose not to run Gentoo Linux on such boxes. Even compiling on FreeBSD is a waste, imo. Which leads to the fact i only run 1 Gentoo Linux box for personal, unimportant fun. I admin it for someone who also lives in here.

Optimalisation and self-compiling is one argument for running Gentoo Linux. However, it is a highly debatable argument which does not, cannot and will not always count as a valid one.

debian vs gentoo debate
by Maceto on Tue 18th Nov 2003 16:27 UTC

Arrghh AGAIN with this:

Gentoo is built from scratch, debian pre built.
Gentoo/debian has more or less the same packages: debian have these in the unstable dir. Gentoo have them in "normal/stable" Why Debian have them in unstable are several reasons: 1. 11 arcitecures have to be supported- that is some modifications have to be made so it will work on all arcitecures.
2. Debian also have these in unstable cause they want to test them first- then they go into testing. As a gentoo user said in one of the post over was that "Gentoo uses GCC 3.2.3" and "3.3.2 is available on the unstable branch (~x86)" Debian uses older here. WHY well there is the issue of wiping out the hd or have a smooth upgrade. I am NOT saing that Gentoo can`t be upgraded, BUT Debian puts more effort into this- get it to work than have the newest version. Debian backports security fixes: Why? so it will not mess up anything on the system. Not saying Gentoo does, but again Debian puts more effort into stability than new packages. Have a look at Fedora vs Redhat, Fedora issues new packages and will let you update/upgrade the system every 3-6 months. Redhat will support that package you buy for 3-5 years. Why? well again this brings me back to the Debian trying to make system more stable.. Redhat could go with the Fedora option to? why not? well some programs or liberaries might fuck up if not tested enough and there is a reason why ALOT of sites use debian and not Gentoo, se: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2003/08/16/debian_linux_distribut... why do you think that? so Lets just agree on this: Debian= old/stable/well tested- smooth upgrade. Gentoo: has new (er?)Debian also have these- but no security fixes, so not to great.. packages,gentoo,better docs, actually it also seems that Gentoo is more friendly with newbies, and easier to setup cause of great docs, rather than Debian`s text based installer, wich it seems put many newbies off, however gentoo should also put em off, but it seems more newbies find it easier- Might (saiyng MIGHT) be that xfree86 and some other gui stuff get`s working with out to much tweaking as you have to on debian.. This is due to the fact that the people that write/have something to say about this probably don`t run other than x86 systems and have new (home computer hardware) and then Gentoo is more easy than Debian- cause of the Unstable branch in Debian, wich also lack xfree86 4.3 and sometimes will brake your system

Bah - I like Gentoo
by Chris Parker on Tue 18th Nov 2003 16:28 UTC

Yea - it takes a long time to install, and I am not sure about the speed claims, but the distro is very clean, well-thought-out, and offers a ton of great software.

I like the runlevel system, the dependency system, and how I can choose what components and add-ons to to install by using the "USE" system.

There are things that I would like to see - a way to install Gentoo from just binaries (including the kernel), a GUI installer, and more binary packages. All in all, though, the entire distro way too good to complain about those little things.

No speed boost.
by . on Tue 18th Nov 2003 16:42 UTC

Gentoo is my main OS/distro, bar none.

I love it a helluva lot.

But the speed/compile stuff is bollocks. Compiling just doesn't seem to make my apps startup faster, regardless of compile options or -O flags.

However, the amount of control, easy package managment, and excellent community more than make up for it.

I'm proud to be a Gentoo user who just doesn't care about supposed speed improvements. ;)

Gentoo still makes me happy
by GMFTatsujin on Tue 18th Nov 2003 17:02 UTC

I decided about two years ago that I was going to make the switch to an OSS-only system. I gave myself a year to follow up on that. After some exciting escapades with learning how to prepare my Windows box to dual-boot, I was on my way...

I thought about writing why I wanted to give OSS a try, but I'll leave my prosthelatizing for Gentoo. Let's just leave it at "I wanted to change my relationship with who was in control of what my computer had on it."

I gave RedHat a shot -- I think it was version 7 at the time. I wasn't really happy with it because I still didn't know what was going on under the hood. I wanted something streamlined and powerful and tuned to my wants. Instead I felt like I'd had an elephant land on my computer.

Mandrake was easier to install and use, but again, I really didn't feel in control. I didn't know what was going on under the hood, so when something broke, I wasn't even sure where to begin to diagnose the problem.

Gentoo solves both of my complaints.

First, by compiling up my own system, I know exactly how all the bits inter-relate. The USE flags are *so* helpful as a teaching tool. I know what kind of functionality I can expect from my applications because the USE flags help me dictate that across the board. It let me experiment with different configurations, too. Turns out I like ALSA better than I like the OSS sound server. Fine -- every app now has streamlined ALSA support built in. Ding!

Second, I now know all the names of the applications on my system because I had to put them there myself. One major problem with choice (and don't get me wrong, I love choice) is that unless you're well-versed in the options, one choice pretty much looks like another, and when presented with all of them at once, no one choice presents a compelling argument. In short, after a binary install like Mandrake, I'd open the application launching window and see *hundreds* of packages there, all clamoring to do the same thing. It was overwhelming and unpleasant for a n00b like myself who didn't know the difference between them. I had no foothold.

As to the whole "what time savings" question of optimizing -- the point of optimizing on the desktop, in my opinion, is not to save overall time. I do not have to make up eight hours in application speed that I lost during the compile.

The point of optimized compiles (for me) is to increase instantanious responsiveness. For example, with a compile tuned to my CPU with optimizations, the sound server doesn't stutter my MP3s when switching windows. The mouse doesn't jitter during disk access. The windows pop up clean and fast. On-the-fly spellchecking doesn't make my word processor feel like it can't find the clutch.

And yeah, I can squeeze a couple of FPS out of a 3D shooter. So sue me.

The point is: even microseconds of delay can be frustrating in those kinds of situations. That's why.

To sum up: Gentoo taught me what packages provide what functionality through the USE flags, far better than searching all over the web. Seeing GTK in action is better than reading about it -- in part because to read about a thing, you have to know what to look for regarding said thing. Gentoo also put me in control of what applications get installed -- no cruft, wasted space, or duplicate apps unless I put them there. Third, Gentoo is tuned to my computer, providing a positive moment-to-moment experience.

Have I mentioned that I've never had to deal with a dependency issue? Man, that Portage thing ROCKS.

The "learning" myth...
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 17:03 UTC

First, let me say that I'm a Gentoo user and absolutely love it. It runs on my Inspiron 5150 laptop flawlessly and I had little problem installing it or setting up the desktop by following the docs.

That brings me to my point... I keep hearing people say that one of the strengths of Gentoo is that it forces you to learn so much about Linux. I don't really think this is the case. A reasonably intelligent adult can follow the install docs step-by-step, perhaps referring back to things now and again, and using GRP, have a nicely working system within a few hours. Granted, Gentoo offers the option of learning more about Linux, but so do many other distros. I just wanted to make this point because so often you hear a few Gentoo zeolots on Usenet praising it because it *forces* the user to learn Linux in and out. Er, no, it really doesn't. ;)

Installer Coming
by joeljkp on Tue 18th Nov 2003 17:12 UTC

I believe a Gentoo Installer is also in the works (or at least in the planning stages), for those who want a quick-and-easy setup.

Could someone explain something to me...
by hardgeus on Tue 18th Nov 2003 17:18 UTC

I was exclusively a Red Hat user until Gentoo came out, and now I am a complete convert. I run Gentoo on all of my production servers. There is one thing that Gentoo provides that I don't quite understand how a totally binary-based distro would provide. That's not to say that they can't or don't, just that I don't know how they'd go about it.

When I ran Redhat, I *constantly* had to recompile things that I had installed the RPM for because they weren't compiled with support for things that I needed. i.e. the default apache RPM wouldn't support postgres, or Sendmail wouldn't support LDAP or whatever.

Do any binary distributions address this? Gentoo handles this beautifully with USE flags, and I wonder if anyone could explain how this is handled in Debian et al. Most Unix software compiles stuff in and doesn't support a "pluggable" architecture like COM etc. so you need the support at compile time.

I only see 3 possibilities:

1) The binary is compiled with support for everything, and therefore is dependant upon all of these libraries etc.
2) They provide different binaries for different purposes. (Do they provide every conceivable combination?!?)
3) It isn't addressed, and you have to recompile yourself.

The elegant support for these dependencies is probably the #1 reason that I use Gentoo.

It's okay
by Steve W on Tue 18th Nov 2003 17:24 UTC

I'm a long time FreeBSD user and over the years I've tried several Linux distributions. I like it well enough but I still prefer BSD. I gave Gentoo a shot a few weeks ago on a dual 500mhz P3 with 768MB RAM. The install routine, if you can call it that, is absolutely ridiculous. There has to be a way to automate more of this. I still can't get GRUB to boot although if I manually type the exact same entry that's in GRUB, the system boots fine.
I will say once you get it installed it clearly beats other Linuxen. Since i'm used to compiling apps from source I find Portage to be second nature. The idea of a processor optimized system appeals to my geek side well, even if it doesn't result in any additional speed. The applications seem relatively up to date. I haven't spent extensive time on it but I think I will keep it around for a while. Fedora will be relegated to a VMware guest OS.

"There is one thing that Gentoo provides that I don't quite understand how a totally binary-based distro would provide. That's not to say that they can't or don't, just that I don't know how they'd go about it.

"When I ran Redhat, I *constantly* had to recompile things that I had installed the RPM for because they weren't compiled with support for things that I needed. i.e. the default apache RPM wouldn't support postgres, or Sendmail wouldn't support LDAP or whatever.

"Do any binary distributions address this?"


Yes. I know how RPM-based distributions do it. You could have installed Red Hat's source RPM (.src.rpm) of Apache, tweak the .spec file for Apache that was in /usr/src/redhat/SPECS, and built new Apache binary RPMS from the tweaked .spec file. I believe Debian does something similar in principle (deb-src), but I don't know a whole lot about it.

@Anonymous
by mountainpenguin on Tue 18th Nov 2003 20:39 UTC

That's false. Only yesterday, I bitched at some developers for not accepting jamboree, a light weight gnome music player, into the *testing*, not stable, branch of portage. The developer argued that he didn't think jamboree was stable or mature enough to be placed in portage. An ebuild for jamboree is still available at gentoo's bugzilla even though it isn't in portage yet. If what you say is true, clearly, jamboree should have been placed in portage without hesitation or regards for quality and maturity of the package.

What you've just said only underscores what I want to add about the subject of portage quality control. There is no guideline on what is considered stable and unstable. Each developer managing a particular package or a group of package has his or her own definition of what it means to be stable. To some it may mean the software doesn't crash. To some it may mean simply that it installs correctly. Some developers may simply mark stable when the original software developers declare it stable and who know what stable means in that case. Gentoo simply doesn't have the uniform definition of what stable is. As you mentioned Gentoo also doesn't seem to have a written guideline as to what goes into portage and what doesn't. It becomes a judgement call in that case and it tends to cause friction among developers and users.


Dude, you are really beginning to sound like that developer that was kicked from the gentoo development team and that is now trying start a gentoo fork, zynot.

It's funny you mentioned zynot. The story you're referring to is http://www.zynot.org/info/fork.html By the way, I'm not some Gentoo developer that was kicked out. However this was when I learned of Gentoo Technology's for profit status. This is when I found out about the secret mailing list as well. I sure like to see Gentoo Technology fully and openly disclosing their for profit status on their website and their intensions. I believe Gentoo users have the right to know these things.


Are you kidding me? Gentoo is the most up to date Linux distro, period. All the kernel versions exist in portage. In fact, I'm using version 2.6-test9 of the Linux kernel that I emerged from portage. I also currently use GCC-3.3.2, which was in portage 2-3 days after it was released. With regards to optimization. Again no other distro has mastered the art better than gentoo. Several tests have been carried out that proves gentoo is indeed faster than Debian and Mandrake which are of course not as optimized as gentoo is. Check out the link below for more info. I'm not really in the mood to counter all your FUDs, because I can't really be bothered.

Well last I checked sys-kernel/gentoo-sources in x86 is 2.4.20-r8. Of course anyone can download the lastest 2.4.22 from kernel.org or emerge vanilla-sources and compile their own but that's clearly not the point I'm trying to make. What makes for a unfair comparison between Gentoo and Debian is when Gentoo user boast about how they are using the latest and gretest software from unstable (~x86) while telling everyone that Debian has year old stale software in their woody. As far as issue of speed, the responsibility of choosing the proper gcc params have been handed over to end users who has very little experience about gcc optimization. More often then not they go overboard with CFLAGS. Well if you prefer to spend time figuring out the right CFLAGS and turn your computer into an expensive space heater time to time so you can get that extra 5% of performance that's really up to you. I just think it's better to have to public know about what they are getting into and make informed choices.

@mountainpenguin
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 22:00 UTC

What you've just said only underscores what I want to add about the subject of portage quality control. There is no guideline on what is considered stable and unstable. Each developer managing a particular package or a group of package has his or her own definition of what it means to be stable. To some it may mean the software doesn't crash. To some it may mean simply that it installs correctly. Some developers may simply mark stable when the original software developers declare it stable and who know what stable means in that case. Gentoo simply doesn't have the uniform definition of what stable is. As you mentioned Gentoo also doesn't seem to have a written guideline as to what goes into portage and what doesn't. It becomes a judgement call in that case and it tends to cause friction among developers and users.

Once again, Mr mountainpenguin, you spread your FUDs and false statements. I wonder what you will say next after these evidence.

<url=http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/policy.xml>Gentoo Linux Development Policy</url>

<url=http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/gentoo-release-policy.xml>Gentoo Linux Release Policy</url>

<url=http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/doc-policy.xml>Gentoo Linux Documentation Policy</url>

It's funny you mentioned zynot. The story you're referring to is http://www.zynot.org/info/fork.html By the way, I'm not some Gentoo developer that was kicked out. However this was when I learned of Gentoo Technology's for profit status. This is when I found out about the secret mailing list as well. I sure like to see Gentoo Technology fully and openly disclosing their for profit status on their website and their intensions. I believe Gentoo users have the right to know these things.

Hmmm...I figured. How is zynot doing by the way?

Well last I checked sys-kernel/gentoo-sources in x86 is 2.4.20-r8. Of course anyone can download the lastest 2.4.22 from kernel.org or emerge vanilla-sources and compile their own but that's clearly not the point I'm trying to make. What makes for a unfair comparison between Gentoo and Debian is when Gentoo user boast about how they are using the latest and gretest software from unstable (~x86) while telling everyone that Debian has year old stale software in their woody. As far as issue of speed, the responsibility of choosing the proper gcc params have been handed over to end users who has very little experience about gcc optimization. More often then not they go overboard with CFLAGS. Well if you prefer to spend time figuring out the right CFLAGS and turn your computer into an expensive space heater time to time so you can get that extra 5% of performance that's really up to you. I just think it's better to have to public know about what they are getting into and make informed choices.

*yawns*

To put you and your falsities to sleep

- The gentoo portage is up to date. It contains all several versions and editions (e.g Red Hat kernel). Gentoo's own kernel gentoo-source contains patches already in the current vanilla kernel and much more.

- Portage has two branches. The testing branch and the stable branch. The testing branch contains the latest packages that has been official released as stable by the package developers. There are criteria that have to be met before the testing branch of portage becomes stable. Read the links above.

- More often than not, gentoo users are power users and geeks. They know what they are doing. They are patient. They read manuals intelligently and cautiously. They share their findings with others. They help others. Gentoo users are intelligent enough to customize their CFLAGS to suit their machines optimization. There are also several threads on the forums that will enable them make prudent decisions regarding the CFLAGS

- I don't care what you think. But Gentoo is the fastest Linux distribution I've used. And I'm damned sure it's because each and every package is optimized for my system/CPU and just the way I want it. (I optimize for size, as opposed to runtime speed)

- The stable branch of portage is still more up to date that Debian or any other Linux distro for that matter. For example, the stable branch of portage contains GNOME-2.4. Ahem...can we say the same for Debian? Nope. So it is still fair to say gentoo is the most up to date distro.

my experiences
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Nov 2003 23:30 UTC

Might as well add my 2 cents here.. I have installed Gentoo a fair few times now, my last was with a stage 3 tarball for my AthlonXP.. sure I didnt mind the few days it took to get everything up and going because I figured It would be worth it after its all done.

However during day to day use the whole compile from source thing quickly wore thin.. being a desktop user I like to try out different apps occasionaly, or if I realise I have a need for one (ie to open a file etc) I would like it now. It was bascially impossible to multitask while in the process of compliing/emerging, so this resulted in me having to walk away, and come back periodically to check how it was going which becomes pretty cumbersome.

I saw no speed improvments at all, however I never strayed from the default cflags. I absolutely loved portage and emerge though, very easy to use after screwing up my previous debian system with apt-get.

However Ive gone back to Debian/Libranet for the time being, educated myself better with apt and am loving it. If I realise I need an app to do something I can actually install it cleanly and get going like I want to. I would reconsider Gentoo again if some type of pre-complied binary source for portage was in place, and mainly because the community is great. Having said that, Libranets forums are growing, and more often than not you can find your problems solved in there.

@Anonymous (IP: 66.71.219.---)
by mountainpenguin on Tue 18th Nov 2003 23:58 UTC

Once again, Mr mountainpenguin, you spread your FUDs and false statements. I wonder what you will say next after these evidence.

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/policy.xml

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/gentoo-release-policy.xml

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/doc-policy.xml


Thanks for the urls. I actually read them and find these two sentences that describe the criteria for moving a package from ~ARCH to ARCH. "When a package version has proved stable for sufficient time and the Gentoo maintainer of the package is confident that the upgrade will not break a regular Gentoo user's machine, then it can be moved from ~ARCH to ARCH. An indication of the package's stability would be no verified or unresolved bug report for a month after the version's introduction." At first it seemed adequate and true but when you think about that it's saying it's total nonsense. There are essentially three catagories of Gentoo users. 1. An end user who sticks with x86 and wants stable and tested software. 2. An adventurous end users who dabble in development by sticking with x86 for majority of packages but few selected packages were from ~x86. 3. A full blown Gentoo developer who uses ~x86. I think you'll agree with me that vast majority of users are either of type 1 or type 2. When a new ebuild is added to ~x86 type 1 people probably won't even know about it since they have x86 on USE var. As for type 2 they also use x86 but they have to be actively monitoring new ebuild being added. Obviously bug reports of packages in ~x86 can only come from users of type 2 or 3. It's completely conceivable for some seldom used packages to have little or no type 2 user and only type 3. It is also conceivable for a month to go by with no bugs reported and thus that package meets the paltry criteria for being released to x86. If that's the case then the bug reports only come when the package once released into x86 and hence the QA policy outlined in that document doesn't mean anything. Ultimately it ends up being one person deciding if it works or not with little or no bug report. Not all packages are high profile like gcc or gnome where there are lot of eyeballs looking at it.


Hmmm...I figured. How is zynot doing by the way?

No idea.. I'm not involved in zynot project.


*yawns*

To put you and your falsities to sleep

- The gentoo portage is up to date. It contains all several versions and editions (e.g Red Hat kernel). Gentoo's own kernel gentoo-source contains patches already in the current vanilla kernel and much more.


Yes... so does lot of other distributions out there.


- Portage has two branches. The testing branch and the stable branch. The testing branch contains the latest packages that has been official released as stable by the package developers. There are criteria that have to be met before the testing branch of portage becomes stable. Read the links above.

Actually you should read the links above. I quote "The purpose of ~arch is for testing new packages added to Portage. This is not the equivalent of "testing" of "unstable" in other distributions." In fact the document you mentioned uses the word stable couple times but it doesn't really define it. Apparently portage doesn't claim to have the concept of "stable" like Debian. Only thing I can conclusively gather from the document you've mentioned is portage declares a package stable when it doesn't destroy the user's system, no bug report for a month and when the maintainer says it is.


- More often than not, gentoo users are power users and geeks. They know what they are doing. They are patient. They read manuals intelligently and cautiously. They share their findings with others. They help others. Gentoo users are intelligent enough to customize their CFLAGS to suit their machines optimization. There are also several threads on the forums that will enable them make prudent decisions regarding the CFLAGS

Actually that's not quite true. If you were to just browse the forums, you'll see that majority of new Gentoo users are not your typical seasoned Linux users with few years under their belt. If you look at the sheer volume of posts about installation problems this is quite apparent Gentoo is attracting new users of Linux. What you saying probably was true while back but that's no longer the case.


- I don't care what you think. But Gentoo is the fastest Linux distribution I've used. And I'm damned sure it's because each and every package is optimized for my system/CPU and just the way I want it. (I optimize for size, as opposed to runtime speed)

Well whatever floats your boat. It's your computer and you can do whatever you want to do with it. Have a nice warm winter. ;)


- The stable branch of portage is still more up to date that Debian or any other Linux distro for that matter. For example, the stable branch of portage contains GNOME-2.4. Ahem...can we say the same for Debian? Nope. So it is still fair to say gentoo is the most up to date distro.

Hmm... There is that word stable again...

http://www.apt-get.org

What? The end-user can't find this out? Then the end-user is probably of the type ''as long as it works''; such people don't need the newest of the newest; such people don't need a 3rd party, not-so-well ''tested'' DE.

"If it ain't broken..."

OTOH people can chose for Testing/Sarge. However, when something gets broken, don't complain. How does Gentoo Linux keep things from getting broken in Stable?

@mountainpenguin
by Anonymous on Wed 19th Nov 2003 02:19 UTC

Thanks for the urls. I actually read them and find these two sentences that describe the criteria for moving a package from ~ARCH to ARCH. "When a package version has proved stable for sufficient time and the Gentoo maintainer of the package is confident that the upgrade will not break a regular Gentoo user's machine, then it can be moved from ~ARCH to ARCH. An indication of the package's stability would be no verified or unresolved bug report for a month after the version's introduction." At first it seemed adequate and true but when you think about that it's saying it's total nonsense. There are essentially three catagories of Gentoo users. 1. An end user who sticks with x86 and wants stable and tested software. 2. An adventurous end users who dabble in development by sticking with x86 for majority of packages but few selected packages were from ~x86. 3. A full blown Gentoo developer who uses ~x86. I think you'll agree with me that vast majority of users are either of type 1 or type 2. When a new ebuild is added to ~x86 type 1 people probably won't even know about it since they have x86 on USE var. As for type 2 they also use x86 but they have to be actively monitoring new ebuild being added. Obviously bug reports of packages in ~x86 can only come from users of type 2 or 3. It's completely conceivable for some seldom used packages to have little or no type 2 user and only type 3. It is also conceivable for a month to go by with no bugs reported and thus that package meets the paltry criteria for being released to x86. If that's the case then the bug reports only come when the package once released into x86 and hence the QA policy outlined in that document doesn't mean anything. Ultimately it ends up being one person deciding if it works or not with little or no bug report. Not all packages are high profile like gcc or gnome where there are lot of eyeballs looking at it.

You are unduly trying to make a mountain out of an ant hill. There are two types of gentoo users.

-The ones who run the testing branch of Gentoo. The fact that a user runs the testing branch of gentoo doesn't mean the packages in that branch are unstable. In fact, the testing branch of gentoo contains packages that have been marked as officially stable and ready for release and public use by the package developers.

I'll give an example. When GNOME-2.4 was released, it was in portage almost immediately, if I'm not mistaken. This was a set of packages considered officially stable by the GNOME developers and ready to be deployed for public use. Even though it was considered stable by the GNOME developers, the Gentoo developers placed it in the testing branch of portage so that it's stability is further tested as per gentoo's practical QA. A lot of gentoo users, myself included use the testing branch of gentoo because of it's stable compared to other distros testing, or unstable, branches. We get the bleeding edge latest officially stable packages, and test them to see if there are gentoo specific bugs.

Alpha and Beta versions of packages also exist in portage. However, they do not appear in either the testing or stable branch of gentoo. They are what we call, hard masked. That is, in other to use them, you will have to explicitly and specifically call portage to install those packages.

-The ones who use the stable branch. The stable branch of gentoo is used by those who can't be bother solving gentoo specific bugs. The packages in the stable branch have been extensively tested by users like myself and the developers and sometimes several stability patches are back ported to the packages in this branch. A lot of gentoo users use the stable branch for production servers without any problems. I use the testing branch of gentoo on servers myself with little to no problems.

Contrary to your assumptions, there are as much if not more users who use the testing branch of gentoo compared to the stable branch. If you want the latest packages that have hit freshmeat, then use the testing branch. If you want a stable up to date with little or no gentoo specific bugs use the stable branch. It is unlikely to see packages that are show stoppers in this branch.

Yes... so does lot of other distributions out there.

Namely?

Actually you should read the links above. I quote "The purpose of ~arch is for testing new packages added to Portage. This is not the equivalent of "testing" of "unstable" in other distributions." In fact the document you mentioned uses the word stable couple times but it doesn't really define it. Apparently portage doesn't claim to have the concept of "stable" like Debian. Only thing I can conclusively gather from the document you've mentioned is portage declares a package stable when it doesn't destroy the user's system, no bug report for a month and when the maintainer says it is.

I don't think we need a definition of what stable is. Check your dictionary if you are not sure about it. Debian's policy are unpractical, bureaucratic and retarded compared to Gentoos approach to maintaining packages. Gentoo is as stable as Debian is or any other distro and more up to date than most if not all of them. One begins to wonder if Debian's bureaucracies with regards to their package management and preparations are worth it when compared to Gentoos practical and less theoretic approach. Besides comparing a source based distro to a binary based distro is silly. Pre-compiled binaries are inherently less stable and secure than compiling yourself on your machine and for your machine arch from source.

Hmm... There is that word stable again...

Okay, stable means that I and several other people can use a package without any freezes, crashes, or perculiar and unexpected behaviour or show stoppers. Sheesh! Are you a debian user by any chance?

@moutainpenguin
by Anonymous on Wed 19th Nov 2003 02:35 UTC

To dispel your misconception, the majority of gentoo users are very knowledgable and experienced with Linux. Gentoo easily and automatically weeds out people who don't know what they are doing via the challenging installation procedure. If you've managed to successfully install gentoo, then you are a reputed geek and you should be able find your way around Linux and gentoo. The installation process is sort of a "rite of passage" so to speak.

Besides, those who are new to gentoo and linux are less likely to uber optimize and are more conservative. The guys who uber optimize and are more experimental are those who are comfortable doing so. The installation manual, the forums, and the irc channels warn against over optimizing. We know it's dangerous. At least the experienced among us do. And new among us are too timid to break their system prematurely.

Gentoo is targetted at the power user. Always has been, alway might be. It's not for everyone. Gentoo users don't whine when a package is broken. They fix it and send a patch to bugzilla.

RE: Fairly easy to get GNOME 2.4 in Debian GNU/Linux Woody
by Anonymous on Wed 19th Nov 2003 02:38 UTC

How does Gentoo Linux keep things from getting broken in Stable?

If things are broken, they shouldn't be in stable to begin with.

Anonymous (IP: 66.71.219.---)
by Anonymous on Wed 19th Nov 2003 22:56 UTC

re, "If you've managed to successfully install gentoo, then you are a reputed geek and you should be able find your way around Linux and gentoo."

Truthfully, fdisk is the most complicated part of the install. The rest of the tools are either trivial to use if you somewhat read the docs, or are tools that should be familiar to a _user_ of *nix rather than only an administrator, tools like tar for example.