posted by Steve Husted on Wed 5th Oct 2005 17:53 UTC
IconI've been wanting to try Gentoo for some time, but always had to roll my eyes at the pages and pages of installation instructions. This time, however, I rolled up my sleeves and buckled down. Minutes later, I was on my way.

First off - I have used Slackware since version 1.0, and I have tried countless other distributions, including Red Hat, Mandrake, Slax, MiniSlack (Zen?), SuSE, Yoper, Linspire, Debian, PCLinuxOS, et al.

I always come back to Slack.

I've been wanting to try Gentoo for some time, but always had to roll my eyes at the pages and pages of installation instructions. This time, however, I rolled up my sleeves and buckled down. Minutes later, I was on my way.

At this point, let me ward off the flames: I didn't like Gentoo. We'll get to why in a minute. But if you like Gentoo, then great! Another one joins the Linux Army, another domino down for the Redmond beast, another win for freedom to use your computer as you see fit. Stop reading now and go use your OS. Go on. Shoo!

Still here? Great. Where was I? Oh, yes, installing Gentoo.

In case you didn't know this, Gentoo has several installation options. I opted to boot to the Stage 1 CD and proceed with a network installation. I figured this was the best way to get the most up-to-date system out there. I have two virtual terminals open and I'm ALT-F1 and ALT-F2'ing between them - one has 'links' open to the installation instructions and the other is actually doing the installation.

My system, you ask? My system is a Toshiba Satellite Pro - that's a laptop, in case you're wondering. Specifically, it's an Intel Centrino-based laptop. My goals were simple: get Linux to work in the first place, and be able to play music, surf wirelessly, and play some OpenGL games (i.e. 3D had to work). I want to use this laptop as my main system, sitting on my tush in the living room. Not too much to ask, yeah?

Back to this installation: several pages into the installation and a lot of self-doubt later, I'm finally chrooting into my Gentoo OS. I get to the point of a reboot and I'm left with a terminal. Um, okay... where's all the bells and whistles? And what was all that "USE" parameters and crap during installation? I issue a "startx" and see a nasty TWM screen come up. Worse, my "eraser mouse" works but the buttons do not. Crap.

I go back online (with a wired connection; the wireless isn't working yet) with links and search for how to fix my mouse and install KDE. Searching the Gentoo site was difficult, but Google found the Gentoo instructions easily. Hmm, so much for that great Gentoo documentation I've been hearing about. The doubts build and the corners of my mouth are turned down more and more.

I thought I'd be smart and "emerge kde" to get up and running. Wrong! That's not quite right - you have to 'emerge kde-somethingorother' to get it done right. Crap again. So, being the smart guy I am, I try to "unmerge kde." Oops, so much for obvious commands. A quick search of Gentoo's docs and I see that I have to "emerge unmerge ," which I find quite silly, akin to "install uninstall " in layman's terms. This is the same logic error as clicking Start to Shutdown... Anyway, you can't 'emerge unmerge kde' because there's some sort of blocking going on - sigh, grumble. Back to the Gentoo documentation...

Table of contents
  1. "Slacker tries Gentoo, page 1/2"
  2. "Slacker tries Gentoo, page 2/2"
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