Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 16th Dec 2007 00:04 UTC, submitted by obsethryl
Gentoo A relatively lengthy Q&A with Ciaran McCreesh about Paludis, the Portage alternative for Gentoo.
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RE: was a long time gentoo fan...
by blixel on Sun 16th Dec 2007 04:38 UTC in reply to "was a long time gentoo fan..."
blixel
Member since:
2005-07-06

I had a 18 month fling with Gentoo, what draw me in was the portage system, but ironically what threw me out was the same portage system.


Pretty similar with me. I had an 18 to 24 month fling with Gentoo. What drew me in was the whole concept of compiling everything on my own system for optimization, but ironically what threw me out was the whole concept of compiling everything on my own system for optimization.

After using Gentoo for a while, I just got sick of those multi-hour compiles when a new Firefox + Thunderbird update was released. And the fact was, I could not perceive a performance advantage. I don't care if there is some microscopic performance advantage that requires benchmarking tools to even be able to verify. The real world, day to day usage proved to me there was no performance advantage.

Plus - as I got more interested in OpenBSD, I became much more keen to the notion of using precompiled binaries. Keep your production system *clean* and *lean* ... free from compilers, free from source code, and so on.

Some of the points that really made me change my mind about Gentoo (and compiling in general):

* In the vast majority of cases, you won't see any performance advantage. An i686 optimized version of notepad.exe isn't going to "perform" any better than an i386 optimized version of notepad.exe for the reason that most applications spend most of their cycles waiting on user input.

* In the event that an application does benefit from CPU optimizations (such as the Linux kernel), the distribution will provide an optimized version for you.

* When you are running your own compilations, *you* are the only person testing that program. When you run the same binary that the other 1000's of Debian/Ubuntu/RedHat users are running, you share the benefit of getting updates to that binary should a bug or security issue be located.

I could go on, but those are the key points.

I've pretty much done a 180 - I now have a love affair with binary systems for any kind of production. (Including Desktop systems, workstations, and especially servers.) I read a great line in my Absolute OpenBSD book ... it goes something like this. "Hackers love it when you have a working compiler on your server. It makes their life that much easier."

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