The Gentoo release team has just announced the launch of their 2006.1 version, so TechGage is going to take a look at what’s new. Included in the updates is an improved installer/LiveCD with Networkless mode, smarter partitioner, updated compiler and more.
Gentoo 2006.1 Review
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli
2006-09-01 5:42 amHeadrush
You can still do stage1 builds.
If you use the Graphical installer the initial install is almost as simple and fast as a binary distro.
(In essence because a stage3 is a binary distro)
Edited 2006-09-01 05:42
2006-09-01 5:59 amAnonymo
You might as well go with Slackware. I mean it’s perfect. One thing I notice though, is that there is a long of people posting how bad gentoo is in their own forums. A lot of my system broke or it’s hard to update or just plain “I hate compliling time” stuff. Many are frustrated. I do believe that they need someone in control like Daniel Robbins was. Hey, maybe you could get him back in charge to clean everything up. Anyways, I think since more than one person gets to make decisions, the vision(s) get mixed up and the whole community is suffering. I think this is mainly the reason Slackware does so well. You have one genius figurehead with the vision of what everything is supposed to be like and he is right. But now you have a lot of genius opinions, there is resentment amongst the developers if their ideas are not picked, then the users and the rest of the community. I think Gentoo is a great idea and should continue, but many people are not happy with the way it’s heading and what we need is to unite and not fight against ourselves. Just my rant. Don’t take this seriously. Or do…
2006-09-01 8:13 amtwenex
1. I don’t think you can blame all the “this stuff isn’t working” rants on the developers. A lot of people ignore ALL THE WARNINGS about distros like Gentoo and Debian, go into Gentoo/Debian/Linux with nary a clue of what they’re doing, refuse to read the manuals properly if at all and then wonder why it doesn’t work.
Plus some of them just refuse to learn what’s involved in Gentoo sysadmin, such as the proper use of revdep-rebuild.
2. Daniel Robbins is back as a developer at Gentoo; he’s not the leader again though.
2006-09-01 11:05 amtwenex
Slackware doesn’t have automatic dependency resolution. No, I mean automatic as in “The computer checks it, downloads dependencies, and installs them all without user intervention”. I appreciate that not everyone wants that, but Gentoo users do. Otherwise they would use Slackware! 🙂
2006-09-01 11:17 amfredb1974
Like apt-get and so on ?!
What a pity that gentoo is kinda to obsessed with “compile that” and shut up !
2006-09-01 11:34 amtwenex
Correct me if I’m wrong, but automatic dependency checking (as I’ve described it) still isn’t default in Slackware?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Slackware a lot. But these different distros exist because they serve different needs/wants/philosophies/theologies/niggles/whines/scratch different itches.
I’ve found that it typically takes less time to download and install small packages than it would to find, download, and install packages and all their dependencies in Slackware. As for big ones, you can often find a -bin package in portage that’ll download a binary, which you can either update or replace with a compiled version later.
2006-09-01 12:14 pmMakro
See… I told you all, Gentoo Schmentoo, is crap and buggy, just another installer of bloated packages.
2006-09-01 2:59 pmjessta
Stage1 builds are pointless unless you are planning a highly strange system configuration.
…that someone has completed a Gentoo 2006.1 installation already. Wasn’t the release only a few days ago?
waiting for gentoo to compile improves your creative faculties, and gives you more time to post stupid comments on osnews.
2006-09-01 8:14 amtwenex
I tested Gentoo 2006.1 live installer. Great to have a gentoo based system in a VMWare server. I was really disappointed because :
1) No support for iptables built in
2) No translation
When I see that my Ubuntu was translated in my mother tongue language after I installed it and iptables was working…
I am very very disappointed.
2006-09-01 8:46 amnetpython
1) No support for iptables built in
Just a kernel option,you must have missed it 🙂
2006-09-01 11:02 amfredb1974
I know. But I wanted to test a gentoo as soon as possible. So I didn’t want to do a custom kernel configuration. What a pity iptables is not “on” by default
Gentoo is very buggy isn’t it? That’s what I keep reading anyway, that it’s best to be avoided.
2006-09-01 9:28 amtwenex
Don’t believe everything you read. Are there bugs? Of course; one might as well ask “is it software?” Does stuff sometimes break? Yes, but remember, they have to test dozens of compiler option configurations (if that’s not an underestimate) on about a dozen hardware platforms. Nevertheless, it’s very rare that something that’s broken will make it past the install stage, and if it’s an upgrade you still have the older version to play with. Plus, you can package the binary (with quickpkg) that’s installed on your machine and reinstall it from there if something goes wrong.
2006-09-01 9:52 amMakro
Actually I read it on the Gentoo forums, so yeah I do believe it, many complaints that it is buggy, people leaving nolonger wanting to use it etc..
2006-09-01 10:17 amtwenex
The Gentoo forums don’t vet posts, so you are bound to get a lot of disgruntled users. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of gruntled ones. (As someone once said, I’m well aware that “gruntled” isn’t a word; it should be.)
2006-09-01 3:02 pmjessta
I’ve been using Gentoo for 3 years.
If you stick to stable it’s very stable.
If you use unstable then you should expect it to be unstable.
Gentoo is very buggy isn’t it? That’s what I keep reading anyway, that it’s best to be avoided.
It uses the same packages as any other opensource OS.Gentoo is for people who want control.Having a lot of control as in real life isn’t suitable for the majority.
Having used Gentoo some years ago, I must say that I could understand why people installed it back then when binary distros were comparably slow. But since then, the binary ones got better and better and I see less reasons for installing a source based distro and compiling endlessly (unless you do a stage 3 install).
The speed on Distros like Mandriva (2007 beta) or Arch (0.7.2) is nowadays comparable to Gentoo imho. This is of course only my personal view of things. After all, it is all about personal preferences and freedom, so I won’t complain if someone says that I have no clue about optimization flags and that Gentoo rocks.
At least, Gentoo keeps on running and running although some people predicted disaster with the leaving of Daniel Robbins some time ago. That is a nice thing to see.
I expected more information on the current status of Gentoo in the review. A bit short for my taste.
2006-09-01 11:08 amtwenex
both Arch and Mandriva are nice, but the last time I tried them they were (respectively) (a) lacking a lot of packages, and (b) buggy and fond of installing gobloads of stuff I didn’t need.
2006-09-01 11:20 amfredb1974
Mandriva is really hell for dependancies. Fedora is in some ways even worse.
Maybe it is related to RPMs ?
Arch is a great distro, but not really “mature” for some users, like me, which uses linux and other Unices (like MacOS-X) for nearly 2 years.
2006-09-01 11:28 amdarkmind
Maybe you are not using the rights tools ? or the right media ? heard of urpmi ? rpmdrake ? smart ? apt4rpm ? all 4 are working under Mandriva.
2006-09-01 6:02 pmarctic
In case you run into an rpm-dependency problem (never experienced one in three years with Mandriva and Fedora), then it is definitely a mistake made by the packager. Just submit a bugreport and the packagers sort that problem out in a hurry. The “rpm-hell” is a myth nowadays.
2006-09-01 12:57 pmde_wizze
I from my experience, I think one good reason to use Source Based Distros like Gentoo is that they cater more to you trying to install a random application strait from its source.
With binary distros you tend to run a higher likelihood of being stuck with a slightly incompatible version of dependencies because the distro hadn’t updated it packages yet. Or the version they package is configure diferently to the expect setup that the ‘random application’ developer would like.
I understand that this is a shortcoming of devs who don’t strive for portability. But thats why projects with dictators steer so well, there is less choice. You can petition but when there is one point of final say-so alot happens faster.
2006-09-01 2:17 pmnetpython
Besides from my experiences gentoo can handle load more efficiently.For example a great tool like vmware seems to run more fluently side by side with all other linux apps running.Whereas most other distros i tried didn’t run as smooth.But that maybe my humble perception though.
I think Gentoo is one of the most mistunderstood distibutions, it isn’t about speed anymore – I came to it from FreeBSD – portage has advantages over the ports system – particularly being able to have multiple versions of each port. I recieved a refurbished Dell precision this morning at 12:00 – its now 15:41 and I am just finishing off the install of Gnome, having got the nVidia drivers going in 5 minutes. This is from a stage3 install in the terminal. That’s not so bad – and I got the washing-up done. Gentoo has quite a strong following amongst engineers – even the nVidia driver developer uses it – as revealed on a recent bsdtalk.org podcast…
Case in point: The libsidplay2 package in Ubuntu Dapper is broken and plays all the music too fast because its C++ isn’t kosher by GCC 4 standards. Well, I found a patch (from Gentoo, no less) that fixes that which I could copy over and use to patch the Ubuntu source… but then if I try to compile it, I’ll need to install libresidbuilder-dev, libsidbuilder-dev… all these development packages. And THEN I can get it to work.
Gentoo’s a lot easier if you’re inclined to fix such things because it HAS to have all the development/compilable versions somewhere. Now, I wouldn’t have been able to patch that flaw on my own, but basically if I need to compile software on my own in general I don’t need to worry that there are no X development libraries to link against, and there’s no hunting stuff down.
If you’re not inclined to fix such things (and who else listens to Commodore 64 music?) then Binary Distros are perfect. They just work (and that’s why I switched), but it’s harder to tweak them otherwise. I sometimes miss it.
Gentoo is about more than just speed.
With all the code vulnerabilities today, I prefer Gentoo unstable (~x86) because at least I am running the newest software. Usually bugs are fixed with newer releases, including security issues.
Sometimes a new dev version of software comes out that can be broken with a recent “emerge –sync” (repository update), but usually simply syncing again after a period of time fixes the problem. This is because of the Gentoo forums.
The Gentoo forums are some of the best in the linux world, IMHO. When an “emerge –sync” brings some new software that causes problems for many users, we post our problem, and sooner than later the problem gets solved. A new “ebuild” is made, with the included fixes, and uploaded to the portage repository.
For many users, we choose the unstable branch of Gentoo because we like running our desktops on the leading edge of development. Sure, there are problems, but we work through them, and hopefully learn something.
However, Gentoo has the stable branch too. You can choose to keep the combination of packages that work for you.
The portage system is my favorite because it does have excellent dependency handling. I have tried other distros, but when you need that particular version of software, and it isnt in the repository it makes it that much harder to get all the required dependencies.
gentoo gives you more choice than most other packagings of linux.
kids using gentoo in a robotics class:
the lead developer at etrade running gentoo on his laptop:
kororaa XGL livecd and pentoo are built with gentoo.
I posted in the other gentoo 2006.1 announcement that I had liked the first review. This is the one I was referring to. I got a feel for the aspects of gentoo
But on the older post on Gentoo 2006.1, I have a link to a CLI install guide that might be easyer to use.
…Since the 2004.0 I started on. They don’t even have Stage 1 installs anymore it seems.
The only gentoo box I still have left is my MythTV (had 4 gentoo boxen at one time), works great. Installing packages isn’t as fast as installing them under a binary distro, but on this box it’s well worth it. The level of customization couldn’t have been acheived in a binary distro. At least not as easily or quickly.
It’s good because it’s exactly the environment I need to keep MythTV running (serial port’s gone wonky since a kernel and iwamble lirc/remoted upgrade). It’s one giant hack but it works for the most part.
I wouldn’t recommend gentoo to many people, it’s a time consuming affair. Howeve if you want to learn some superficial Linux skills and maybe grok a little of the way GNU/Linux works it’s a great casual start.