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."

Reply Parent Score: 7

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Wow you sure got Gentoo totally the wrong way :O Gentoo isn't about optimizing everything with some magical compiler parameters and somehow magically having a whole lot faster distro than everyone else...It's about being able to customize everything for specifically yourself and your machine. I have been using Gentoo for years and there just simply isn't anything that could draw me away from it. F.ex. I can install MPlayer with exactly the features I want, but on the binary distros you're stuck with what they provide you.. Oh, and just to say something about those optimizations: no, optimizing and tweaking some GUI app won't mean much but if you're for example running Apache.....Having Apache optimized for the hardware it is running on will benefit a lot more. I instruct gcc to optimize my server software for max speed whereas I instruct gcc to optimize my GUI apps for size. The smaller size the binaries are the faster they load and less memory is used, you know? But on a binary distro you don't have that kind of a power.

EDIT: Just thought to add here that I see it kind of stupid to be compiling new software every day...I usually sync portage tree once every two weeks and update everything then. I'll just leave it compiling them while I'm out of home or sleeping.

Edited 2007-12-16 11:36

Reply Parent Score: 9

sithgunner Member since:
2006-02-16

Right. IIRC if you just install Ubuntu, it doesn't even play DVD or even mp3 (last time I tried) with its media player(totem)...

In Gentoo, I can even build desktop systems that fits much better suited for me than any other distro, because my media player WILL play everything I want it to play...(dvd, flac, mp3) not like stripped down half useless thing just because the distro maker's decision about license or whatever there is about it that won't let you play the damn file you own...

And on binary distro these problems will start causing 3rd party repos to spawn here and there, having them say 'we have the more working and leading edge apps' and will start to lead into further problems, since those are run by small amount of people and will not get the proper maintenance as much as the official repos.

I just don't know when people say 'Gentoo is going downhill'. It might mean 'not getting as much publicity as it used to', because people know Gentoo by now and hype about source based distro and compilation magic is over... IMHO, it's still the hottest distro out there.

I may be insulting but other 'easier' binary distro will cause random newbies to start posting so much questions and answers on the net that google results tend to bury the real technical questions but tend to show random newbie posts that make you sigh... but when it comes to gentoo, forum/wiki/just plain google results are full of technical helpful documents and that's another part that I like Gentoo about. gentoo-wiki.com is a great stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 3

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Well put, WereCatf!

I've been using gentoo for more than two years now and I have no intention to leave. It gives me the freedom of LFS without the administrative hassle ;)

Oh, and why bother with daily compilation? I use glsa-check mostly, and every now and then an update of world (one can usually skip the glsa-check if you update more than once a month).

Reply Parent Score: 1

mors Member since:
2007-12-17

you do know you can install binaries via portage as well as compile right? for those big apps if you don't have the power to compile (or time) just use a binary.

Reply Parent Score: 1

dbodner Member since:
2007-07-01

[quote]
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."[/quote]

You could always build the packages elsewhere, then emerge --usepkgonly on the production server.

Reply Parent Score: 1