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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Gentoo is Rice(TM), but...
by Bnonn on Wed 5th Oct 2005 23:31 UTC
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...this was still a really poorly written article. I agree with the author's conclusion that Gentoo requires a time investment that does not pay off; I've spent some time playing with it, and I found that while I didn't /learn/ significantly more about Linux than I have in playing with other distributions, I did have to spend a /lot/ more time getting things working. I'm not talking specifically of time reading documentation, although this certainly counted, and I agree with the author that reading this documentation primarily teaches one about Gentoo, and not about Linux. Which is fine for some, but I'm interested in Linux, not necessarily a specific distro. But the real time investment is just with waiting for things to happen. If I wanted to install a program, I would "emerge app", and then walk away for anything between a few minutes and a few hours. This essentially meant that I had to plan in advance any app that I'd need; and if I needed something quickly, I was sol.

I tried FreeBSD as well, which had a similar problem, but at the same time I felt like BSD was the real OS that Gentoo was trying to be in its approach. I just got the feeling that Gentoo was rice; there was no real benefit to all the emerge stuff, all the compiling from source, all the "optimizations". I never noticed Gentoo running faster, and if I can't notice it, I don't care about it. None of this is said to disparage Gentoo; I have no problem with people using Gentoo, and I know that many people swear by it. Their needs are just different to mine. I use Ubuntu at the moment, for a number of reasons, one of which is that the speed of installing programs is much greater. I like Ubuntu a lot and it fits the bill for me, but people who use Gentoo will probably raise all sorts of complaints, which are quite valid if you're doing the things they're doing.

All that said, the author of this article is just a dolt. When I installed Gentoo, I understood that it was going to be a major undertaking, involving a steep learning curve. I sat down several days in advance and read through the entire install guide, and a lot of extraneous documentation, so that I had an idea of what I would need to do, and of possible problems I'd run into. I had the documentation handy during and after the install, and relied on it heavily. And when I wanted to uninstall something, I didn't assume that "unmerge" was the command; I assumed that emerge, being the package management tool, would have an uninstallation option, and I typed "man emerge" to find out what it was.

At this stage, I was a complete amateur with Gentoo, so I feel I can safely say that the author of this article is worse than an amateur. Given that he has apparently tried so many distros, and seems to have been using Linux for a quite a while, the problems he had are purely his own fault. Complaining about there being no "unmerge" command, for example, seems to indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of what emerge is; and you'd think that an experienced Linux user would understand this implicitly.

All in all, a sad effort. What purpose was there in posting this article here, apart from to spark controversy and embarrass the author?

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