Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 15th Apr 2002 02:32 UTC
Gentoo We got Linux distributions for geeks (Debian), distros for businessmen (Red Hat), home users (Mandrake) and... Germans (SuSE :). However, there was never before a distribution specifically targetting developers and speed, both at the same time. Enter Gentoo Linux, the fastest loading, fastest-operating Linux distribution to date.
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Good article + comments
by Walt on Mon 15th Apr 2002 21:12 UTC

I started with slackware about 7 years ago, then moved to redhat, and then debian, I recently played with sourcerer, and now gentoo over the past 5 weeks. Sourcerer had too many problems to be usable, and the internal politics with the dev group turned me off. The install was MUCH easier than gentoo however. Gentoo installation is quite manual, and took me a couple times to get it going right due to a couple simple errors on my part. I had a little trouble with sound as my card wasn't supported under alsa-0.5 but works great under 0.9 (.5 is the default in gentoo) so it required a little fiddlin to get it going. I ended up manually downloading and installing the latest Alsa by hand.

From the users mailing list, it seems that quite a few "newbies" are trying gentoo, so the list is cluttered with a lot of VERY simplistic (and frequently repeated) questions. Gentoo is NOT suitable for the non-programmer / junior sysadmin type. IMHO, this distro is most suited to the hacker type / sysadmin with programming skills, etc. who has been using unix for several years on a daily basis.

If you routinely build a lot of your own applications, play with device drivers, tweak your kernel / apply kernel patches, play with make files, are able to debug build problems etc. then you can probably handle Gentoo.

Besides the package management system which is pretty cool,
I'd also point out that the RC system in Gentoo is NOT sysV or BSD. It's actually somewhat BSD like, but different. Gentoo also has a unique way of handling system configuration (hostname, IP address, etc.) unlike other distros I've tried. Because of this, it's more work to install prepackaged software such as VMWare (but not impossible. I ended up creating a fake sysv init tree for the install to work for example.)

Other than that, once you get going the differences between gentoo and other distros is small.

(FWIW, my background includes 15 years on UNIX systems, 20 years programming so working with gentoo was easy for me.)