Linked by Steve Husted on Wed 5th Oct 2005 17:53 UTC
Gentoo 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.
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Slackware to Gentoo switcher
by on Wed 5th Oct 2005 19:22 UTC

Member since:

I switched from Slackware to Gentoo because I got sick of ./configure && make && make install. Even if any of the apt-like Slackware binary package managers had everything I wanted, I'd still be stuck with a build that's either bloated with features I'll never use or doesn't have some feature I want. USE flags are a good thing, Steve, and if you don't want to tweak them, the defaults are usually good. Also, any software that I install manually is independent of managed packages and requires manual updating.

Gentoo updates everthing, including core OS components, with one command. I'm running ~amd64 (the ~ means unstable) with hacks to expose even less stable software (xen and the latest GNOME), and of the >500 "packages" I have installed, only two currently fail to build from source. Another crashes occasionally unless I downgrade to the amd64 (stable) version.

Another complaint I have about Slackware is how easy it is to screw up dependencies during the installation. Gentoo has a rather slim base installation, and I only install dependencies as they're needed. With Slackware I always ended up installing libsomethingoranother because I was afraid programs would break if I didn't include it.

What I like about both Slackware and Gentoo is how they don't "customize" packages like GNOME on Fedora or Solaris, for example. They also don't provide non-standard GUI administration tools, so you're forced to learn "least common denominator" administration practices.

Reply Score: 1

shuste73 Member since:

Hey, an intelligent reply! I thought this had devolved...

Anyway, thanks!

I agree that Gentoo can have more optimizations and you don't have to choose to do them. But then why choose Gentoo? Portage is supposed to be good but it didn't meet my expectations. Maybe my expectations were off but they were, nonetheless, my expectations.

And I don't mind doing ./configure; make; make install. I *feel* better about that. And it's standard.

I also agree about the Slackware installer, which is the biggest appeal of MiniSlack (or whatever it's called now) - it makes a minimum install without toasting dependencies. Then they went and made it a whole distro ;)

That Gentoo doesn't do endless customizations on packages was the appeal for this Slacker. This usually keeps me away from "sanitized for your protection" distros like Fedora.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Member since:

"I agree that Gentoo can have more optimizations and you don't have to choose to do them. But then why choose Gentoo?"

I do use them. I have my USE flags configured to exclude KDE and QT stuff, use GNOME and GTK as much as possible, build a minimalist seamonkey Mozilla, support everything but the kitchen sink with MPlayer, and more. What I originally meant was that you don't have to understand every USE flag to benefit from some of them.

"And I don't mind doing ./configure; make; make install. I *feel* better about that. And it's standard."

I know what you mean. I was skeptical at first, but Portage is just managing the standard process. If anything, I'm more aware of --enable-blah and --disable-whatever options to ./configure after configuring my Gentoo USE flags because it's usually a direct mapping. USE="-esd" adds --disable-esd to the configure parameters, for example. But I can't reasonably maintain everything manually. Even with important packages like MPlayer I tend to miss updates and forget configure parameters doing things the standard way.

Portage actually allows pretty much arbitrary hacking without much trouble. I can mask packages that give me trouble, unmask packages if I want to live dangerously, and set per-package USE flags (to not build the Bittorrent GUI, for example). The /usr/local/portage overlay allows me to use unoffical ebuilds for alternative kernel sources, for example, and bump version numbers for things like reiser4progs that the Gentoo devs don't always update quickly enough. If I only want a minor change, it's no more difficult than compiling from source the standard way. I do it all the time with metacity. "emerge metacity", ^Z it before it starts building, change a line in src/display.c to get my desired focus behavior, and fg to resume building.

Thanks for the tip about MiniSlack. I'll keep it in mind for installations that I don't intend to update and want to work without too much trouble.

Reply Parent Score: 1