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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RE[2]: Slackware to Gentoo switcher
by on Wed 5th Oct 2005 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Slackware to Gentoo switcher"

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"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

shuste73 Member since:
2005-10-05

Your reply was very helpful and clear. I had set a few USE flags but I kept wondering if I had to, if I would be better with or without them, etc. The Gentoo docs seem to encourage them. But "can" and "should" are different, and I never sat down to test the difference (not being one to believe what I'm told).

Portage is more appealing the way you presented it. I might still give Gentoo a chance on an old 450GX server I've got sitting around, just for kicks. (even though it seems the Gentoo community-at-large thinks I'm an idiot) <grinning, laughing>

OT below here
MiniSlack is now called Zenwalk, by the way. They're starting to fork instead of staying more derivative, but it's still pretty good. The goal is "one app for one task," and they do a fair job at sticking to that. I'm not in love with XFCE (it's default) but I like it well enough and it's easy to use.

Zenwalk has also introduced a package manager, but I haven't tried it (yet). Slackware's lack of a package manager is actually a GOOD THING, in my opinion.

Another alternative or "basic Slackware" I've liked is Slax. It's a bootable, or "live CD," but you can install it to the hard drive easily enough. It has a "modules" feature that's actually pretty cool. Slax found much more hardware than Gentoo, and it fits on a mini cd (sorry, couldn't resist the dig)! It also has a lot of nifty boot options, like loading everything to RAM and loading the GUI by default (which is a pretty snazzy combo). Better, you can build an .ISO with those options pre-configured. I keep a Slax CD with me most of the time; it's infinitely handy.

Reply Parent Score: 1