Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 5th Apr 2002 18:04 UTC
Gentoo "Gentoo solved many problems for me. Some distros install everything, whether you really need it or not. Not Gentoo; other than the base packages required for Linux to run, the only software installed on the system is the software you put there. Gentoo resolves dependancies automatically, eliminating RPM prerequisite hell. As an added bonus I got something I wasn't even expecting. Speed. Blinding, blazing, incredible speed." Read the rest of the interesting installation review for Gentoo Linux at Kuro5hin.
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900MB HDD is a naysay
by Dave Poirier on Fri 5th Apr 2002 18:44 UTC

The installation is long, that much everybody agrees, but I do admit that the final system was noticeably faster. There was one thing I didn't quite appreciate, it's the space required to build some of the packages (which is more a problem of the package itself than gentoo..)

I tried to install X Window on a 900MB hdd and I ran out of space, I think you require somehting like 1.2GB of temporary space to get the sources and compile X... simply ugly.

As for the review, it's a nicely done one. The author could have used a bit more knowledge about system design and glibc but otherwise good. Worth a read certainly ;)

Re: 900MB HDD is a naysay
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Apr 2002 18:52 UTC

> I tried to install X Window on a 900MB hdd and I ran out of space, I think you require somehting like 1.2GB of temporary space to get the sources and compile X... simply ugly.

X is a big project. I remember that Mozilla needed 2-3 GB of temp space in order to compile under BeOS. This is not Gentoo's fault, but it is the standard of what gcc needs to build such big projects.

Not so fast...
by patrick on Fri 5th Apr 2002 22:36 UTC

I like Gentoo a lot and think Portage probably will compare with rpm and dpkg as it matures. But its easy to get carried away by all this talk of blazing speed. It seems fast because you've waited ages for it to compile and because you are only running stuff you want...not the thousand daemons of older distros. But when I dual boot Gentoo and Debian, the Debian apps load in the same timeframe.

Gentoo is nice because it offers a modern approach. It uses devfs intelligently as a default. It takes you into the guts of compliling your own system without the boredom of 1000 gnome or kde libraries to compile manually one by one. It does what you want it to do and only that.

Lets focus on its real positives...and I don't hink speed is one of them. Its no faster than Debian and waiting for stuff to compile is a drag. But it has the potential to offer all of Debian's ease of use and yet be slap bang up to date...that's my favorite aspect of Gentoo.

Package repositories
by lu_zero on Sat 6th Apr 2002 01:06 UTC

you still can make packages
probably a processor focused repository may help people with lesser HD or CPU.

Portage is good and bad.
by DaCh on Sat 6th Apr 2002 05:29 UTC

I really like the idea of starting with nothing, and installing packages as you need them. However, I can't say I enjoy waiting hours for each app to compile.

It would be really interesting to see portage incorporate a peer-to-peer network for binary distribution. This way, if I wanted to install X11 for instance, portage would check to see if any other Gentoo users had installed X11 with my same arch and optimizations. If a match was found the system would download the binary (simultaneously from many users) and emerge it on my system. Then I would mirror that binary ebuild for other users.

Just think about how many Gentoo users' CPUs have done the exact same operations to compile X, with the same optimizations, etc. It seems redundant, and a waste of resources.

The P2P idea would be a nice way to address this issue. I know it poses security and bandwidth concerns, but if it was an "opt-in" type of thing, and if users could control percent of allotted bandwidth, it might be a feasible thing.

Re: Portage is good and bad
by rp on Sat 6th Apr 2002 16:36 UTC

P2P would be good, but it could also open doors for trojans, wont it ?

by Peter Schultz on Sat 6th Apr 2002 17:45 UTC

when they get floppy install I'll think about it.

by Richard Fillion on Sat 6th Apr 2002 18:20 UTC

Dave Poirier: you run an Athlon 800 with 384 megs of RAM. If can actually notice a speed difference between Gentoo and Debian, in which you compiled most your apps yourself (or so you've told me) there is a serious problem. You didnt even get X on it. My P120 with no X is pretty fast too you know.

I guess what im trying to say here is that on modern CPUs the speed advantage which Gentoo may possess probably wont be felt. And it makes me mad to see people run stuff on fast machines and call it 'fast', seeing how they dont know what 'slow' feels like.

Re: Speed
by Dave Poirier on Sat 6th Apr 2002 18:27 UTC

There is one thing that I didn't compile on my Debian system which affects almost all applications: the C libs.

Everytime an app gets compiled on your system, or at least most of the time anyway, the glibc are included. What happens if those libs are built for the i386+ instead of optimized for i686 is a mega-bunch of cycles wasted.

rebuild everything with -O3 -mcpu=i686 -march=i686 -fomit-frame-pointer and a couple of other flags and the whole thing will fly compared to the generic i386 one.

Gentoo's speed
by Eugenia on Sat 6th Apr 2002 18:34 UTC

I installed Gentoo 1.0 yesterday on my main machine, dual Celeron 533 Mhz (I had a very old version in another, older machine before).

During my time, I have tried Red Hat, Mandrake, Caldera, Corel and Lycoris. I admit, I have not used Debian enough though and haven't used Slackware at all. However, between these 5 distros I tried, Gentoo is by far the fastest one. I used to install all these distros on my 30 GB IDE IBM drive, which is considerably faster than my old 10.4 GB Fujitsu, which Gentoo's lives since yesterday. It boots in about 15 seconds on that old drive, while Mandrake 8 would take up to 2 minutes on the fast IBM drive with all that bloat it is loading.
KDE and X finished compiling this morning (I had the machine on all night to compile them), and while this process takes a long time, it is awarded to see Konqueror coming up in 3 seconds and opening a new window in 1 second. With the precompiled and even obj-prelinked KDE on Mandrake on the fast drive, Konqueror comes up in 6-7 seconds and new windows are opening in the timeframe of 3 secs.

I don't know about Slackware and Debian, I am sure they are fast too, but when it comes comparing Gentoo's speed to "well known" stock distros, Gentoo is just way ahead. But sure, it is a bit of a pain to configure it, it is not aiming newbies. ;)

I'm a linux n00b
by liberte on Sun 7th Apr 2002 01:08 UTC

I know gentoo is *NOT* intended for newbies, but there's one thing I really hate under every linux release i've tried so far (various red hat and mandrakes): why is it soooo SLOW ????
Okay, there may be processes i could kill, but it was not apache or mysql, they were not on! What was it ??? I dont know (where is the taskmanager btw ??)
Now, if I need to learn learn and learn again but then i'll get both a CLEAN system (no bloat) and FAST system (compiled according to MY machine), then i'm all for gentoo.
I have a test machine and spare drives so I wont break anything or waste much CPU time or my time.

Please dont flame me, i'm a newbie regarding linux, i'm trying to get rid of msft products since... i cant pay them anyway!

Thanks for your input

Re: Gentoo's speed
by Eugenia on Sun 7th Apr 2002 03:31 UTC

BTW, I just measured its exact loading speed on this Fujitsu hard drive. It is exactly 19 seconds. This is not as fast as BeOS or even a *stock* FreeBSD (which is not even compiled for i686 specifically), but still it beats the rest of the "well known" Linux distros. FreeBSD boots in 15 seconds and shuts down in 2. Gentoo shuts down in 15-16 secs. Mandrake and Red Hat take their time... ;)

Also, I forgot to mention that part of Gentoo's speed is also the fact that the Gentoo kernels are prepatched with a number of patches that make the whole UI experience really pleasant. ;)

Re: Gentoo's speed
by DaCh on Sun 7th Apr 2002 04:53 UTC

It's true. I just put Conectiva on another partition, because I read they ported apt to their rpm-based distro, and I was tired of waiting for apps to compile. I must say apt is nice, but portage is much easier to use.

What really got me though, was how much less responsive the Conectiva system was (same box, same hd). Using Conectiva's i386 binaries and a 2.4.5 kernel was painful after getting used to i686 and Gentoo's patched 2.4.19-ac.

I'm sold...
by Charlie on Sun 7th Apr 2002 18:42 UTC

I'm downloading and burning it at work tomorrow, gonna replace this crapdrake 8.1 install which is not a good way for me to have been introduced to linux.

So far things have only broken... my browser (Galeon) no longer loads png files(!!!), just displaying them as text. I can't use the Mandrake RPM Manager as when I try and add a cooker update ftp site it always fails. (Didn't the first time, I changed cos the first site was slow.) It takes 2 mins to boot (Celeron 733, 256megs ram) which made me rethink my decision to ditch Win2K. I'd better stop before this turns into a real rant.

The mandrake install is not particularly well documented, nor is their website particularly well ordered. You have to dig for everything, and installing RPMs is no way as easy as it should be. And compiling teaches you nothing other than to memorize the 5 commands needed each time.

Distributions should look to educate users as well as make their ride easy (I would say painless, but it's anything but.) to start with. I don't understand my mandrake install one bit, it's just a junkyard of programs with a messy unexplained directory set up. I don't know what's where. At least in Windows most of your programs are relatively easy to locate.

Eugenia convinced me
by Liberte on Sun 7th Apr 2002 21:11 UTC

I've used BeOS for a while as a secondary OS, and if Eugenia says it's a pleasant experience, and even compares gentoo to beos, then it's a go.

I'll get this thing and install it as soon as I'll put my hands on a CDR Writer (got none!).

What seems really pleasant, but the speed, is that it doesnt install bloat and must be easy to understand: where the appz are, what dir does what, what etc/..conf does. I've read the install docs and it is very very well documented, and I'll learn 3x more things installing gentoo than installing mdk8.2, since mdk hides everything.
Kinda win2k vs winXP ;)

Thanks Eugenia for, i've been reading benews for 3 years everyday, and now osnews widens my scope to other OSS i'd never have thought of using. You're doing a great job!

Re: linux NooB
by Jeremy on Mon 8th Apr 2002 15:54 UTC

well speed in what? a slow interface? try making X a higher priority process (mine is set to -10...I might go to -15)
I mean if you are into sound and video, I suggest making your sound server and X a higher priority....most are set to 0.

I run debian, and all I have to do to set my X priority is do a "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86" and I run through the config scripts.

I recomend getting the lattest woody isos, the install is simple (but not like RH or mandrake) I mean the hardest part is the drivers, but if you know wht you got you shoudl not have a difficult time. I did it on my first try.

Can't get excited about this
by Tyr on Tue 9th Apr 2002 13:41 UTC

Wow a linuxdistro that runs almost as fast as windows and all you have to do accomplish that feat is compile it from scratch (!) I'm sorry but I can't be bothered. Noone should have to recompile their os to gain speed, unless it's for some kind of very high-performance server system.