Home > Gentoo > Gentoo 2005.0 Review Gentoo 2005.0 Review Submitted by Brian M. 2005-05-13 Gentoo 50 Comments Read the Gentoo 2005.0 review at ManicGeeks.com. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 50 Comments 2005-05-13 3:01 pm But the learning curve for use of the bulk of FOSS is still cheap. Two things to think about doing before Gentoo, for the relatively newer people: 1. Do an install using, say, Fedora, to make sure you have a good grasp of required kernel modules and configuration. And firmware–prism54 was an easter egg to find/understand. 2. Try out Linux From Scratch. Emerge is a Cadillac, but who has a Caddy for their first car? Gentoo is excellent, but not for beginners. 2005-05-13 3:02 pm s/cheap/steep/ Friday-ean slip 2005-05-13 3:05 pm Awww, he didn’t even talk about the great community. 2005-05-13 3:14 pm This is a decent review giving a user unfamiliar with Gentoo a good *overall* view of the things gentoo does well. I used to be a constant distro jumper, never content with one distribution, but since switching from Mandrake 10.1 a while back to Gentoo, I’ve never even considered another distro. My main complaint with other distros was when I needed an updated package not offered in the specific version’s repository..I’d have to find a “devel” package and risk breaking all sorts of things with dependencies. Gentoo’s ability to “unmask” the latest versions fixes this completely..without risking breaking anything (at least not often). Though Gentoo screenshots are really pointless…I have some at my site: http://mint.homelinux.org/ 2005-05-13 3:15 pm The gentoo install is insane. I went through using the gentoo handbook off the cd on the computer next to me then went step by step installing and compling then got to the bootloader. The boot loader file that should load would not so I made my own and could not mount or save the file. Install is very confusing. and tedius. Yes I am a Linux noob but the archaic dos like commands for gentoo install are nuts. navigating the hrierarchy is hard. I spent like 3 hours going step by step with the handbook and had not even installed gentoo 2005.0 yet I had compiled like 3 times and was not sure what I was compiling. If anyone has a simplified guide that supports most hardware (like the gentoo handbook) could you link to the site. 2005-05-13 3:20 pm The Gentoo community is fantastic. One of the things I hated about Red Hat was the number of times I got a “RTFM” reply to a general question on the redhat-list. With the Gentoo forums, I unsally don’t even have to ask questions. They have answers for everything on there. And when I do ask questions, I get great responses that include info that “teach a man to fish”. 2005-05-13 3:20 pm It took me less than 2 hours to install gentoo for the first time (stage3). 2005-05-13 3:24 pm doesnt sound like gentoo is something for you. 2005-05-13 3:26 pm Thats subjective, and depends on what you are tring to install. Setting up a Gentoo server from stage 3 with no GUI is simple… But setting up Gnome or KDE system from stage 1 is painful. It also depends on the speed of your system (RAM, CPU, HD, etc). 2005-05-13 3:43 pm Fantastic community. 48 hours to compile KDE. 2005-05-13 3:45 pm Try Ubuntu it takes less than 20 minutes 2005-05-13 3:47 pm Seriously when i’ve tried to install Gentoo By the time I get to install the kernel I’m really annoyed and abort the instalation 2005-05-13 4:06 pm “but since switching from Mandrake 10.1 a while back to Gentoo” Distro hopper? If you started off w/ Mandrake then anything else than doesn’t use RPM will be heaven. Gentoo isn’t that hard to install. Of course if you don’t know what to compile into your kernel or have some unsupported hardware, then you’ll run into trouble. But really if you stick to the manual and ask on the forums when you need some help that’s not covered in the manual you should be fine. I believe the only install I ever messed with was stage 1. 2005-05-13 4:11 pm Their community is excellent. However i use another distro with a simpler PACkage MANager but if i have any serious issues i head on over to forums.gentoo.org Gentoo is for developers or people who know way to much about compiling. 2005-05-13 4:16 pm Gentoo is kind of like the Macintosh of the Linux world. 1. It has cult following (including myself) 2. It is widely critized for the things that make it popular amoung it userbase 3. It’s progression is strong, dispite resistance 4. It’s a superior OS yet it is not widely used as with inferior products Sounds like Macintosh to me. I don’t know if it is a good or a bad thing, but I don’t care. Gentoo Rul3z! 2005-05-13 4:21 pm Well, I am using gentoo 2005.0 and I configure my apache2 server editing /etc/apache2/httpd.conf not apache2.conf as the article explains 2005-05-13 4:29 pm I definitely have /etc/apache2/conf/apache2.conf …I’m running the latest “stable” 18.104.22.168 Have you run etc-update lately? ..I doubt that would completely rename the conf file though. 2005-05-13 4:35 pm Gentoo is for masochists who love pain. Is there any other kind? I gave it a try via Vidalinux. If that distro, based on Gentoo, is any indication of what the real Gentoo is like, I don’t wnat any part of it. Yes, I got installed. And had a desktop and a few other apps downloaded. Was it worth the time, effort and pain? No way. Not at all. As a previous poster said: Viva Debian! There are so many other distros out there that will install alot faster and give one a fast and lean OS without a person have to go through the bother of a Gentoo install. Gentoo anyone? Never again. 2005-05-13 4:58 pm Thankfully it seems gcc4 will take some of the pain out of compiling qt & kde, the worst offenders when it comes to sucking wall clock time. Reports are gcc4 cuts compile time of these apps almost in half. As multi core processors start to proliferate this will take even more of the pain out of gentoo. I’m sort of on the fence about debian vs gentoo. gentoo is far better for system admin & clean upgrades, but takes longer to upgrade. I prefer building “utility (limited purpose)” systems with debian but tell serious users to go with gentoo. For software development environments there really is no other option than gentoo, especially when the dev machines can be combined into a nice build cluster. 2005-05-13 5:04 pm Perhaps you might consider the install insane, it really depends on what you want with it. But if you follow that install and make note of how it’s done you can actually use that same gentoo install disk & apply portions of the gentoo installation procedure towards proper and efficient recovery of almost any other linux distro out there. Most other distros like to put you into a tiny box for the install procedure while with the gentoo install you bypass some canned installation and do it all yourself using standard day to day tools. Very nice for folks who might have to work with lots of different machines each and every day. 2005-05-13 5:25 pm I really like Gentoo but unfortunatly it doesn’t make sense with a weak computer… 2005-05-13 5:26 pm You never tried Gentoo, how do you pretend to be able to speak about something you don’t know? Vidalinux != Gentoo As for the install, it take to me 36 hours… in 2003. $ last |tail -n 1 wtmp begins Fri Aug 1 22:35:22 2003 once in a lifetime it’s not pain, it’s “learning to use your distro”. You’ll never find someone with gentoo that has no idea on how to install software on his pc, or can’t resolve dependencies, or can’t find the right package or whines on forums: “how do I install this? I double-clicked on the .tar.gz I downloaded but nothing happens”. 2005-05-13 5:28 pm but I get tired just reading the install manual. This is a distro to scare newbies out of their wits, unless some knowlegable person helps them. With 20+ years of Unix experience I would probably have no problem installing it but it is just too tedious. I’m sure I would get blazing speed out of my hardware, but it can’t be worth the extra time it takes compared to install e.g. Red Hat or Fedora. If you run some rpmish distro and have performance bottlenecks it is much easier to change some files in the spec files and recompile the SRPMS that gives you problems. Nice though, that there seam to be a Linux distro for every taste. 2005-05-13 5:49 pm Question is not speed. Or better, question is speed only for people that never used gentoo. Gentoo is awesome for three things: * use flags: they regulate dependency, software options, etc.etc.; you can enable just the things you need and you will install just the software you need for those things. * portage granularity: you can mix “stable” (read 100% tested) packages and “instable” (read new) packages on a per-package base; for example, you can use the latest release of mplayer and his dependencies but rely on tested good syslog-ng, glibc or xorg-x11, by modifying just 1 or 2 conf files. * portage and ebuild structure: it is simple and similar to bash-scripting, so without pain you can mantain a parallel tree of packages not yet entered in the official tree, upgrade to new releases or change applied patches and required dependencies; and the two trees mix up transparently and without conflicts or file collisions. 2005-05-13 6:45 pm i tried the install, worked-ish, system booted but it decided my ethernet card was on a non existant hadware address, so internet didn’t work never got it resolved. that was i don’t know about a year ago, moved on since (happily using arch) but the gentoo hand book is sooo useful i don’t even care whether the distro is nice i just love the handbook. 2005-05-13 6:54 pm Gentoo supports more of the hardware in my AMD64 laptop then any other distro or OS that I have seen, including windows. (My wireless card crashes windows all the time, works great in gentoo.) “I really like Gentoo but unfortunatly it doesn’t make sense with a weak computer…” – I am setting up my new router with Gentoo, and it uses a 233mhz processor and gets packages over dial up. Now to get distCC working and put that second processor in my main system, maybe another gig of ram too… 2005-05-13 7:10 pm Is not portage – although it’s good – urpmi on Mandrake resolved dependencies, and was as reliable (for me) as portage. It is not the speed, although speed is good. It’s the fact that when I install kde, it’s what the developers intended me to have – unadulterated. The thing I hated most about Mandrake was that the “tweaked” stuff to make it “easier” to use. What that generally meant was that things broke, were impossible for anyone to maintain, and meant the latest versions of kde took until the next major release to be updated. Gentoo gives me kde as the developers intended, and I have to say I much prefer “raw” kde to Mandrake’s version. The second thing I like is that I never have to reinstall to get an upgrade. With Mandrake, every 6 months, there was a reinstall. That process used to take a few hours to get me from where I was, back to where I was before. With gentoo, upgrade is linear, in the sense that you just keep upgrading – you don’t have to wait for a new release of the whole distro to upgrade core system stuff or kde for example. Then there’s the forums. Honestly, there is almost always a solution to my problem already written up with clear instructions. The forums are just amazing. I’m sure you can get the above if you use debian. However, once you install gentoo successfully, it becomes addictive. Also, it’s not that hard to install. The instructions are very simple, and are set out in an idiot-proof manner. My brother managed to install it without assistance, and he is cursed when it comes to computers and electronics. If it can break, he will find a new and wonderful way to break it. He failed to break gentoo. 2005-05-13 7:14 pm Gentoo is not for noobs, period. If you want to learn how to drive will you start at a formula 1 or nascar race track? NO. You start slowly and make your way up. I’m in the process of installing gentoo and yes it’s a pain, but so what. 2005-05-13 7:23 pm @Anonymous (IP: —.pool80180.interbusiness.it) Vidalinux != Gentoo VidaLinux may not be Gentoo by name, but functions much the same (& I think better). VidaLinux is based off of Gentoo & easier to work with. Anyone from noob to advanced can install & use it. VideLinux has 4 differently, optimized ISOs: i686, P4, AthlonXP, AMD64. It does a Stage 3, Gnome Install (fast). Uses Gentoo repositories for packages & builds them like Gentoo. VidaLinux is a Gentoo simplified version. If you pay for the CD then you get 3 months of club membership which entitles you access to 1,000 *precompiled* packages (no compiling, faster installs). The download version installs only a few basic programs, so you’ll have to choose, compile & install any additional ones. So, for those that want to experience Gentoo, but want it easy to install should go for VidaLinux. Version 1.2 of VidaLinux will be out in June. http://desktop.vidalinux.com/index.php?option=content&task=blogcate… http://desktop.vidalinux.com/index.php?option=content&task=blogcate… 2005-05-13 8:52 pm as of apache 2.0.53, gentoo uses the standard /etc/apache2/httpd.conf, not apache.conf. The author should emerge sync” and read: http://dev.gentoo.org/~vericgar/doc/apache-package-refresh.html If Gentoo is too hard for you, if you don’t understand the reasons behind it’s design, then don’t use it. Use something simpler. 2005-05-13 11:29 pm I did a bunch of distro hopping until I found Gentoo almost 2 years ago, truly a heaven send. The install isn’t so hard, but I already knew about CLI config file editing and kernel compilation. 2005-05-13 11:34 pm I love the elitism from many Gentoo users, like –teach-me-unix was restricted to their precious OS. They don’t even know how to code (or code properly), yet they’re so l33t. Gentoo isn’t hard to learn: you only need time and determination. Personally, I love Gentoo’s userland utilities, the init/service system and the filesystem layout but I hate compiling stuff for no reason. Doing the QA yourself sucks, especially when you get broken packages on the _stable_ branch with Gentoo Hardened. I still keep it on my home server (don’t have the time/will to migrate everything) but I prefer other distros for desktop usage, especially since I didn’t noticed a speed increase with it. A modified Gentoo with dpkg or another system with a package manager usable in a console (like aptitude) would be perfect for me. 2005-05-13 11:46 pm I’ve been using Gentoo since pre 1.0 (or something like that) remeber djb’s daemontools beeing the official init system back then. Now I’m thinking of leaving. Gentoo is great toolwise. Portage does what it should and most of the stuff it installs works. So if you just need a quick server or a bleeding-edge-I’m-so-‘leet desktop it can do that. What I miss is community integration. It’s a royal pain to get any community efforts rolling in gentoo land. Sure there are a couple of projects in the forums. But thats just it. They stay in the forums. It’s very rare for someone to pick up the ball and really get things going. Now the attitude from the devs aren’t helping. Most community tinkering is seen as a QA threat and should be shot down on the spot. Precious QA… it’s just, sad. Where should I go then? I have no idea. Either I’ll make the jump to one of the *BSD’s, they seems to have a nicer development model. This Foresight thing is intriguing though. 2005-05-14 1:44 am Do not compare ubuntu to gentoo. They are two different worlds. I use both of them. But gentoo is superior. 2005-05-14 4:56 am One of my favourite things about Gentoo is that it seems to have been designed by a sane human being. Daniel Robbins said much of his motivation was that he couldn’t be bothered having to do it all himself; hence he created Portage to do mundane tasks like tracking dependencies for him. And it does that so very well – I have _never_ had anything like the infamous RPM hell situations in 2 years of using Gentoo. Little things like named runlevels and a decent init system just feel logical and sane. He missed some of the cleverer features – slotting is just great. Being able to drop an unstable version of a package in alongside your working one makes the upgrade process so much smoother. I have to confess to being quite biased; Gentoo gets away with murder on my machine – long compiles and random breakage (generally my fault of course) are reasonably common, but I just don’t care. 2005-05-14 5:58 am “Apache 2 in Gentoo uses apache2.conf not httpd.conf, so it makes looking at the Apache documentation nill.” The current testing version of apache in portage now uses more apache.org-like configuration files(httpd.conf instead of apache2.conf, etc). 2005-05-14 6:38 am What gentoo is really about is flexibility. It’s not a one size fits all distro. The portage provides any app you might need. The freeform install allows one to write their own scripts and make their own custom gentoo system layouts. These features make gentoo applicable to many feilds, from embedded systems to custom livecds to servers. 2005-05-14 6:59 am Do not compare ubuntu to gentoo. They are two different worlds. I use both of them. But gentoo is superior. Thats the most curious post in this thread. 2005-05-14 3:53 pm “Do not compare ubuntu to gentoo. They are two different worlds. I use both of them. But gentoo is superior.” How can one be better if we are not comparing them? “We’re not measuring height, but I am taller!” DOH! 2005-05-14 4:22 pm my reason for switching to gentoo since redhat-8.0 and sticking with it: – by install time I do not consider time between popping in the cd and logging in the first time, it is time between popping in the cd and having all apps I want installed and configured my way. It takes a day with gentoo with incrementing progress, it never worked with redhat/mandrake/suse. – at the time I installed it, it was only distro where you could get nptl threads with 2.5.x kernel without breaking anything, since it was made to handle it. – there are no “distribution versions”, only package upgrades, hence my first install is the same one I have today, but it’s up-to-date with 2005.0 Id rather have gnome compile for few hours and have all things enabled and done, then install a rpm and sweat it over, searching for other rpms on rpmfind.net that eventually will break stuff Oh, and btw, there is jackass project which is pre-compiled and optimized stage3 install with udev/2.6.x/gcc-3.4.x/nptl enabled. What other distro out there has that? 2005-05-14 4:42 pm – at the time I installed it, it was only distro where you could get nptl threads with 2.5.x kernel without breaking anything, since it was made to handle it. Without breaking anything? I must have used some other distro called Gentoo. Gentoo had many many many NPTL bugs, and more than one was a blocker. 2005-05-14 7:06 pm I used to be all about Gentoo, but that was back when I was really really really into computers, and I wanted to learn the ins-and-outs of a Linux system. I figured Gentoo would help me understand the inner workings of Linux (without being as advanced as Linux From Scratch), and it certainly did… but eventually I stopped being interested in ‘do-it-yourself’ computing, and I just wanted a machine that I could use to check e-mails, browse the Web, create vector art, develop PHP applications, store my photos, etc. You know, just everyday stuff ^_^ When my hard drive gave up its magic smoke, I thought it was time to check out an operating system that fit my needs (i.e., wasn’t a techhead distro) and wouldn’t take a few days to install. I didn’t like Windows, because I couldn’t fix it when it went wrong, and I was too cheap to buy a Mac, so I thought I’d give Ubuntu a try. I really like it. Gentoo was the first distro I actually genuinely liked (Mandrake was beastly), but I’m sticking with Ubuntu for now. 2005-05-14 7:20 pm I agree that Gentoo’s community is nice, but the #gentoo channel on freenode is almost useless nowadays. 2005-05-14 9:26 pm “Id rather have gnome compile for few hours and have all things enabled and done, then install a rpm and sweat it over, searching for other rpms on rpmfind.net that eventually will break stuff” What the hell are you talking about? 2005-05-14 10:27 pm jp > “Do not compare ubuntu to gentoo. They are two different worlds. I use both of them. But gentoo is superior.” Mad Dwarf > “How can one be better if we are not comparing them?” English is not a computer language and allows for statements like these: – “gentoo and ubuntu just do not compare, gentoo is superior” – “gentoo is beyond comparison” 2005-05-14 10:31 pm When u choose a distro you have to consider a number of things, do u want a distro that is easy to install, maintain or is up to date. Gentoo actually all of these things, it will take a lot of time to install compared to other distros but its not hard if u follow the manual. It’s not hard to maintain, just sync ur portage tree once a week or so and update the packages on ur system and u have an up to date system. You don’t have to be and expert when it comes to compiling like one of the posts said, if one package fails to compile u usually just wait one hour or two until the responsible developer fixes the problem. If u still have a problem, all u have to do is post a question on forums.gentoo.org (Gentoo’s greatest resource) and wait for a response (which almost always will come within minutes and polite and correct(!)). You don’t have to be an expert to use Gentoo (Gentoo was my first (longtime) distro) but its not for complete n00bs or persons thats not intrested in computers or learning new stuff. 2005-05-15 5:28 am As mentioned before, the Gentoo install is more involved than other distros but the point is there is no reason to go through the install ever again on the same PC (unless something disastrous happens). I installed Gentoo so long ago I can’t remember the details on doing it again! To keep up to date with the Linux world or stay on the bleeding edge is a matter of: 1) emerge sync 2) emerge world OR 3) ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=”~x86″ emerge world There is no need to wipe and install anything ever again. The majority of software takes 5-20 minutes to install, anything bigger leave overnight. If you have a slow computer and no patience try something else. 2005-05-15 3:15 pm i love these threads… it doesn’t matter what the hell we’re talking about someone has to start up with “X is superior Y… as if superiority is determined by a single person’s personal preferance. Anyway, I like Gentoo. It works for me (I could care less if it works for you). Compiling and CLI appeal to my inner geek. Portage rocks for maintaing a system. I like being able to choose which kernel to use. I’ve grown fond of the CK patchset, and my system is pretty much always as close to the bleeding edge as a stable system can be which also appeals to my inner geek. Anyone could probably eventually work through an install. I mean, hell, I managed to do it. But if you want an instant gratification OS Gentoo ain’t your bag. 2005-05-16 5:12 pm > Gentoo is kind of like the Macintosh of the Linux world. In very few ways. > 1. It has cult following (including myself) Fair enough. > 2. It is widely critized for the things that make it popular amoung it userbase Such as? I haven’t heard anyone criticising it for having good documentation, or a sane init system. The compile times are cited even by some diehard gentoo users as a disadvantage; I’d certainly not call them something which makes gentoo popular. > 3. It’s progression is strong, dispite resistance Howso? The package repository is huge, but contains a lot of broken packages. The bug database is certainly progressing; response time on bugs has increased greatly over the last few years, unfortunately. Progress has been annoyingly slow on it; features which people have been considering for years still don’t exist. What’s the resistance? That not everyone on earth uses it? That applies to any system. > 4. It’s a superior OS yet it is not widely used as with inferior products Superior in the sense that there are worse operating systems, surely. That said, exactly what makes Gentoo superior? It has one of the more pleasant package managers in moderately widespread use under Linux, and avoids various idiosyncracies of other distributions, although it’s certainly not one of the most stable distributions. It’s linux, which is a mediocre operating system (which is, admittedly, a good deal better than most; I’m of the opinion that every OS sucks.) > Sounds like Macintosh to me. I run 4 gentoo systems and one mac (among other systems.) The Gentoo and Mac have incredibly different approaches. Gentoo is much more flexible and open. The Mac is much cleaner to use if you’re doing something customary; compare setting up an ad-hoc wireless network under Gentoo with under a Mac (a matter of a few clicks.) The Mac hasn’t broken CD burning; it’s easy to get security-only upgrades, while that’s still not been done under Gentoo. I find Gentoo more pleasant to work on, because I prefer KDE to the Mac UI (tastes are funny, no?), and a 22″ monitor is much nicer than a 15″ laptop screen; the Mac is much, much, much more easy to maintain, moderately more reliable, harder to troubleshoot (but needs to be troubleshooted much less often), and does system upgrades much more cleanly. The Mac also has much better support for things like plug and play; I’ve configured wacom tablets multiple times under Linux, and it’s required manually copying files around, specific kernel configurations, and several new sections in my xorg config file. Upgrades have also broken things so that it needs to be reconfigured. With the Mac? I plugged it in, it works. HAL and DBUS are cool, but things like Xorg seriously need some of the features which are being considered, such as allowing new monitors and pointers without restarts. > I don’t know if it is a good or a bad thing, but I don’t care. Gentoo Rul3z! Gentoo is another system. I like it; that’s why I run it on several computers. It’s also deeply flawed. 2005-05-18 4:29 pm I’ll start out by saying I’m a geek. (aren’t we all?) And I love Gentoo, mainly because I wanted to learn about Linux, et. al., and being force to work with the command line made that possible. I started out on SuSE and had to reinstall several times to fix something that broke. With Gentoo, all I’ve had to do is figure out (yes, it’s been a learning curve) which .conf file to edit, et voila! Problem solved. The only time I had to reinstal Gentoo was because I stupidly and accidentally emptied out my /bin directory. I also love to tinker, and Gentoo is a prime platform for tinkerers. Other’s have called it the F1 of the OS world, but it also has a lot in common with the Type 1 Volkswagen, otherwise known as the Beatle. There are parts manufaturers all over the worlds for those things, and you can tweak a Bug endlessly. I’m also becoming a fan of ArkLinux. For newbies who’d like to get into the world of Linux, I think it’s a great platform. It’s got some features that I’d like to make work on my Gentoo rig, such as automount. I’m not about to leave Gentoo over something like that, tho…I’d much rather tweak and tweak till I get Gentoo to do what I want. I feel much more confident about my knowlege of Linux after having Gentoo on my machine. But for folks who want an appliance (like my mother), I’d never recommend Gentoo. But I was up to the challenge of Gentoo, and I’ve been rewarded immensely. I love it.