Home > Gentoo > Interview with Gentoo’s Daniel Robbins Interview with Gentoo’s Daniel Robbins Eugenia Loli 2003-12-31 Gentoo 40 Comments GWN is featuring an interview with Daniel Robbins, Gentoo founder, as part of their weekly newsletter. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 40 Comments 2003-12-31 6:41 am Anonymous GWN: Could we expect a GUI installer to be developed for an upcoming Gentoo release? I think this is likely to happen in late 2004. IMO once/if the GUI installer is released, Gentoo is going to surpass Slackware, Debian. and other “advanced distros” in user base. Gentoo is an amazing OS and its only limitation is the horribly unfriendly installion process. 2003-12-31 7:05 am Anonymous I don’t know if the install process is ‘horribly unfriendly’. It certainly would be if not for the great documentation. Personally, Gentoo’s installs always seem to just work. There is any number of steps where a lack of some Linux expertise could lead to a problem. The problem of GUI installers is, while it might work one way 95% of the time, I would imagine it to be a complex problem getting that last 5%. And like Debian, you only have to install Gentoo once, so ease-of-install takes a kind of low priority. 2003-12-31 7:24 am Anonymous I don’t know if the install process is ‘horribly unfriendly’. Well its MORE difficult when you compare it to the curse installers that come with slackware,debian,freeBSD,etc. It certainly would be if not for the great documentation. Thats true. Gentoo has excellent and very verbose documentation. BTW has anyone had any luck using GLIS(Gentoo Linux Install Script)? http://glis.sourceforge.net/ It keeps screwing up when I get to the partitioning section. It just dosent recognize my root and swap partitions. Really wierd. 2003-12-31 7:26 am Anonymous And like Debian, you only have to install Gentoo once, so ease-of-install takes a kind of low priority. I’m sick of hearing this cop-out from the Debian camp, and i hate hearing it from the Gentoo camp as well. If your installer sucks, fix it. It’s not like there aren’t some excellent open source GUI installers to port. Anaconda being probably the best one. I know the Debian team (aside from Progeny) tends to cast it aside because of its dependency upon Python, the dozens of platforms it is required to support, and of course a little Not Invented Here Syndrome. Gentoo doesn’t have the first problem, as portage already requires Python, and as far as platforms I believe Gentoo only currently supports i386, PPC, and Sparc. Of course there’s always NIH. Yes for distros like Debian and Gentoo, you only have to install them once, but the installation is the first impression of the distro. Plus, options are good, people forget that the existance of a GUI installer doesn’t prevent them from using a textual or even fully manual command-line installation of Linux. Just my coupla pennies 2003-12-31 7:50 am Anonymous If you make Gentoo easy to install, what distro can I use to feel smarter than my friends? 2003-12-31 8:09 am Anonymous I just don’t understand the draw of Gentoo. I mean I am sure its very fast and everything, but for the time wasted installing even basic libraries, I can’t help but ask if its worth it. I have hopped for a long time to see a binary version of Gentoo. There packages seem nice enough, I find it hard to beleive I would gain a whole lot compiling myself as apposed to simply using packages compiled for i686. My system is fairly old, it takes about an hour to just compile a custom kernel, I couldn’t imagine needing to compile KDE everytime a new release is put out, or for a new X. It seems like torture honestly. I know most people that love Gentoo will say “well I just compile everything when I am asleep”. Thats all well and good, but sometimes I want to just play with something new, I don’t want to have to wait. I bet noone can tell what distro I use currently, heh, Debian of course, apt-get.org has repositories for things such as KDE 3.2 HEAD and WineX, things that I have seen in Gentoo also. I like the idea of customization with Gentoo, but honestly, I really just don’t have the time to install such a distro. I tried once, I got it all installed, took about 5 days altogether. I did an emerge <some tag> world as instructed on Gentoo’s site to upgrade one night. When I returned, I was left with a system that wasn’t at all functional. This was an upgrade of the stable branch. I think you will agree that this is a good reason to have a sour taste in your mouth about Gentoo. I love it in principle, I just don’t have the time to mess with it. Please don’t take this as a flame, Gentoo users seem to love flame wars. I am simply stating my point of view is all. Hopefully it adds to the conversation, if not, I am sorry. 2003-12-31 8:16 am Anonymous “I’m sick of hearing this cop-out from the Debian camp, and i hate hearing it from the Gentoo camp as well. If your installer sucks, fix it. It’s not like there aren’t some excellent open source GUI installers to port. Anaconda being probably the best one. I know the Debian team (aside from Progeny) tends to cast it aside because of its dependency upon Python, the dozens of platforms it is required to support.” I beleive dpkg-anaconda is currently in Debian Unstable. Debian Sarge has been waiting on debian-installer for its release and its looking like its almost done. These are mute points at present. You can either create a CD with dpkg-anaconda for installation by freinds, or simply burn yourself a test install cd for sarge. I beleive there is even a distro that has created a very functional installer based on current debian-installer code. Debian is working on these issues, not because people have bugged the community about it for so long, but instead because that community developed one. Debian is not a commercial distro, its not developed by people wanting to get paid. Its created by people that still must make a living doing something else. For such a project, its amazing all the work that has been done in-house. Anyway, you seem to somewhat knowledgable about this, however I just wanted to make sure others understand that your points here are not valid, at least with regards to Debian. 2003-12-31 8:27 am Anonymous I think the install guide for gentoo is great. Before they could go with a gui installer they’d definitely need to gui’ize a lot of the admin tools. If they neglected the manual install they’d be taking away a lot of the charm with gentoo. It’s a nice way to learn more about how to administer a linux system. I’ve used the chroot deal now quite often to recover my own system and several redhat systems. 2003-12-31 8:32 am Anonymous It should be pointed out that Gentoo has bins of all the major packages like KDE, Gnome, Open Office, etc. You can install a complete working Gentoo system in under an hour. As far as the installer, yes, it is the weakest link. I sometimes get the impression there is a lot of soul-searching going on among the developers who work with gentoo about actually doing an installer at all. I think there is a sense among a select few that such a thing might “sully” the distro but more importantly allow people to use it without going through the current install process. I’m often though of the current process as almost like a pledge-ship one must pass though. In any case, the documentation is Grade A excellent and the people on the forums are simply the best I’ve ever seen. If you want to get it installed, someone there will help you no matter how green you are. Personally, even though I feel I’ve earned my stripes by installing the current way, I think an installer would be the best thing they can do to grow usage. 2003-12-31 8:56 am Anonymous gentoo works with x86,sparc,ppc, as well as ohter things like mips based platforms, hppa, amd64, .. hell portage itself is about to be able to run in openbsd, and i’ve seen that portage also can work in mac osx.. although i’m sure it’s still in heavy development to get past all the original gnu/linux dependencies, and i’m sure that in the future, it will even work with HURD.. may it ever see the light of day 2003-12-31 9:12 am Anonymous This is weird. People read three Lord of The Rings episodes like there is no tomorrow, but installing Gentoo and reading one single well-documented webpage seems too much to ask. 2003-12-31 9:14 am Anonymous …period. Whether you like it or not, Gentoo is the fastest and slimmest distro of the lot. There are a couple of things that lead to this. 1). Gentoo’s executable binaries are 50-90% smaller than your average distro, or commercial distro. Gentoo by default strips all debugging symbols of packages during compilation, thereby reducing it’s size by > 50% and improving storage efficiency. I’ve noticed I use less memory compared to fedora or slack while on gentoo. 2). Gentoo allows users optimizing almost each and every package one installs. Optimizing packages for your particular CPU has known to improve performance anywhere from 0-20%. Now optimizing just one package is insignificant. But optimizing almost every package on your system adds up and becomes significant. 3). Gentoo doesn’t come preinstalled with 99 deamons running in the background. Gentoo’s basic install is barebone. No, other distro, except Linux from the scratch, is that bare when your initial system in mounted. After which, you choose what ever tools you need to get the job done. Portage is clearly the most advance package management system in Linux, period. It’s not perfect. But it’s better than any other package manager I’ve used, yes including ports.(/me loves freebsd) One wonders why the LSB doesn’t adopt it as a standard method for installing source based packages. Second only to debian, Gentoo has the largest repository of packages. And the ease of installing them is orgasmic. Gentoo is the most up to date distro I’ve used. When a new version of a package hits the streets, you can be sure it might already be in portage, or will be within 24 hours to a week, at most. Finally, Gentoo will be nothing it is today without its community. Patient, helpful, fun and down to earth people. Thier irc channel and forums are endlessly buzzling with activity. In fact just by visiting the forums, I get my update on what’s going on the Unix sphere. Gentoo is the best distro, I’ve used. I was especially drawn to gentoo because it was different, and the installation process taught you how to administer your system and understand the inner workings of Gentoo. This new talk about a GUI installer disturbs me. I can see n00bs asking questions like, “how do I install a package?”, “what is emerge?”, “how do I remove a package?”, “what is portage?”, “what is make.conf?” etc, crop up if a GUI installer becomes an installation option. Personally, I think the step by step installation guide is better than a GUI based installation. For one, it differentiates Gentoo from every other known distro. And secondly, I just think Gentoo needs one. GUIs do not miraculously solve problems, contrary to popular misconception. If Gentoo is daunting because you have a phobia for the installation process, thankfully, you could always use Fedora, Xandoras, Lycoris and Lindows. Or any other distro with a beautiful GUI. Asking for a GUI installer for Gentoo is like asking for a GUI installer for Linux from the Scratch. Because come to think of it, it is a refined Linux from the Scratch. Some people have time for it, and some people don’t. P.S Gentoo is not a commercial distro. It is a community distro and that means every user helps in one way or another to make the Gentoo ever better. 2003-12-31 9:17 am Anonymous when you complain about time it takes to compile gentoo ppl go ‘oh there is binaries for that’.. which negates the point of a source install based system in the first place.. the emerge DB is too big to be of much use speed wise, and emerge has nasty dependancies on old versions so cant be easily rewritten or upgraded.. its some nasty bit of code… i dont know if they are re-writing it or not but it needs an overhaul… 2003-12-31 10:46 am Anonymous I can’t comment on speed and size since i went from Red Hat 5.0 (installed in 1998 and used for about a year working on my MSc, thereafter gathering dust) to Gentoo 1.4 about a month ago. Having just a year’s worth of experience with Linux in the past, I managed to install gentoo from GRP in no time. The steps are (about) the same as installing from source. Then I did: emerge world and went away for the weekend. The next monday a perfectly up to date system was waiting for me. And updating is no problem, you can still use the system while emerging. I really have to stress point three you make, it’s lean. Almost no deamons running, in fact I have now made a custom kernel. Everything I don’t need is out, not even there as a module. Not only is less daemons and modules good for memory usage, there’s also less chance of a security leak. With just the standard documentation and some posts in the forums (you’re right they’re great) I managed to move to 2.6.0 without a hitch. All these things I did for the first time, I never did anything like this on the old RedHat system. The point, there’s no need for a GUI installer, those who cannot install with the documentation and help at hand, should not be installing an operating system period. I’ve seen waht the easy installation of windows leads to. ppl sharing their entire system including printers via the net. All ports wide open, no firewall, outdated virus scanners. And when they crap hits the fan they call because they haven’t got a clue what’s going on. 2003-12-31 10:47 am Anonymous Not sure if anyone suggested that… What about a binary+source distro? I’d love to be able to install Gentoo in 15 mins and use it, then it would recompile itself in the background, and slowly replace binaries by their optimized versions. Ease of use of apt-like updates, and eventual optimization of gentoo compiles. 2003-12-31 10:56 am Anonymous “This is weird. People read three Lord of The Rings episodes like there is no tomorrow, but installing Gentoo and reading one single well-documented webpage seems too much to ask.” Pssst, don’t you know? Actually most people only buy the books and just pretend that they have read them. Make the test and ask about details which where not or wrong in the movie. I did, and it looks only one of my friends actually have read the books. ;o) 2003-12-31 11:03 am Anonymous “Gentoo by default strips all debugging symbols of packages during compilation, thereby reducing it’s size by > 50% and improving storage efficiency.” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Very bad for bug reports. Seeing that most Gentoo users live on the cutting edge and install the greatest and latest they should really leave debugging symbols. “Portage is clearly the most advance package management system in Linux, period” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Yes! “emerge unmerge glibc” (what a cool syntax, he?) doesn’t even warn me that other packages depend on the c-library. This is really a super advanced package management system. And it has no triggers. 😉 2003-12-31 11:10 am Anonymous In every single interview in the last couple of years Daniel Robbins promisses to transform Gentoo Technologies Inc. (which holds the copyright for every single Gentoo ebuild and on Portage’s code) to a not-for-profit organiziation. But nothing ever happened! I wish he would either just submit the application (and best post a scan of the stamped paper on gentoo.org to stop annoying people like me) or stop promissing it. I use Gentoo since the very beginning and just can’t hear that “yeah… next year we will go not-for-profit. Next year, I promisse” anymore. 2003-12-31 11:20 am Anonymous Yes, I really think Gentoo should have a GUI. I have installed Gentoo once (I changed to SuSE after two months when I accidently deleted my portage tree). There is a lot of stuff that could be automated. It should automatically detect your hardware and automagically set your cflags and kernel confi. but with the option to have advanced changes. You should have a menu of basic packages to install, such as kernel version, kde or gnome. It should give you the option of starting at stage1,2 or 3 depending on the level of optimization or install time you want. Then it would configure your X, with a drop down box to set your screen resolution and refresh rate like other tools. Then reboot and see a boot splash, not a text boot and come straight into the gui with their desktop of choice, comlete with icons for kportage and other gentoo tools on the desktop so they can install more stuff right away. Whats more, if Gentoo was easy to install like SuSE and the rest it would get more users, which would report more bugs, especially on compilers and big pacakges, which would mean Gentoo’s biggest problem, the installation speed would be reduced. Remember, Gentoo is actually the freindliest of most “advanced” distros, I have never actaully managed to keep a Debian system on my computer for more than a week because its just to hard to use, and the Documentation is just too geeky to understand. Yes, Gentoo may lose a few of the eleetist people when it starts using a GUI installer, probably only around 5-10%, but it will become a lot more popular because it will make fast and bleeding edge Linux technology availble to the masses. 2003-12-31 11:22 am Anonymous I really don’t know what the big deal is about the install method which gentoo uses. I am a current gentoo user and although I have many criticisms which are to the point and appropriate- the installation method is not one of them. It so happens that I am installing gentoo on this machine (on another partition) as I post this. I am setting up a fallback prototype install- for I will implement each and every step in exactly the same way for installation on the departments servers(dual athlon-mp 2400,160(2×80) GB WD, 1 GB Ram). In my current setup I have mulitple different versions of Linux and windows installed. I decided to delete the partition which houses knoppix. So within gentoo I simply did fdisk -l /dev/hda too see which partition knoppix resides on. Then I made a new mountpoint- ie. mkdir /mnt/newgent. Then I did mkfs.ext3 /dev/hda8-which puts a journaling extended 3 filesystem on the partion- wiping out its contents. Next I placed the first of two GENTOO 1.4 GRP cd’s into my cdrom. Then I switched(cd’ed) to /mnt/newgent and typed in tar -xvjpf /mnt/cdrom/stages/stage3-i686-20030910.tar.bz2. And this creates the basic linux file system on the new partition. Since I used stage 3 I will have to do *no* compilation initially(luckily I can use the kernel I already have).Next I cd’ed int /mnt/newgent/usr and did a tar -xvjpf /mnt/cdrom/snapshots/portage-20030911.tar.bz. This installs a snapshot of the portage tree. Next I cd into /mnt/newgent/usr/portage/, create a directory named “packages” and cd into it, and do a “cp -ax /mnt/cdrom/packages/All .” This copies the all the binary packages from the first cd onto the the new partition. In two minuxtes I will repeat this procedure for the second cd… This whole process is so easy if you already have linux up and running and you have a spare partition which you can free for an install. Of course all of the steps I am doing here you can also do using the gentoo boot cd-and you can even do this under knoppix-which also gives you a working XF86Config file to boot…..So what have I done ? I fred up a partition, formatted it with mkfs.ext3, mounted the partition,unpacked 2 files onto the partion, and copied the contents of two directories on two cds onto the new partion. Boy that way hard- almost 10 minutes of time. Ok now for the hard part. I will copy /etc/fstab, /etc/resolv.conf and /etc/init.d/net.eth* from my existing install to the new install. Of ocurs i will still need to dit the fstab file-ie. change it to use /dev/hda8 as the new root partition and change it to use ext3 instead of reiserfs … Ok modified /etc/fstab. Then I did a mount -o proc proc /mnt/newgent/proc/ and chroot /mnt/newgent/ /bin/bash. Then I did a ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Berlin /etc/localtime. SO far so good- my new gentoo install is up and running- circa 15 minutes now. Ok since I want to use the kernel which I already compiled for this machine and its modules – I simply copy /usr/src/linux-2.4.20-gentoo-r8 and /lib/modules/2.4.20-gentoo-r8 over to the new install. Of course I will still need to edit Grub.conf to boot from the new install. I will also go ahead and copy over my XF86Config file and my /etc/modules.d/alsa over to the new system….Ok done. Now I do a soure /etc/profile and “env-udpate”…Now I do a emerge -i sys-kernel/gentoo-sources-2.4.20-r8 to tell portage that the kernel has already been installed..Now I copy over my USE flags from /etc/make.conf- I am leaving my compile options for generic i686-so I can share binaries between the new install and my existing one and of course the new server install- and I will be using distcc to speed things up…. Ok Alsa comes as a binary package on the system- but I would prefer to use the latest and greatest what portage has so I copy over the /usr/portage/media-sound/alsa-* and /usr/portage/media-libs/alsa-* from my existing install into the new one to get the latest alsa-drivers and utils. .Ok the source emerge took almost 5 minutes….I could have made it less by specifying that I only have a emu-10k1 (SBlive) card….Ok -now I still need to copy over /etc/rc.conf,set a new password and create a new user.. and I will need to do a modules-update to get everything going- I will now do a binary install of everything I still need -except GNOME-2.4 which is not yet in binary- but hey- that means I will compile 40 packages-circa 3 hours….And I will have an operational LTSP server with GNOME-2.4….. But if I was content with GNOME-2.2 or KDE 3.1.2 I would need virtually no compiling whatsoever… Now of course these steps require some advanced knowledge- but what I am doing is impossible to do with a GUI installer. It is this customizability which makes Gentoo perfect for me. I have tried most of the major distros and keep comming back to gentoo. 2003-12-31 11:24 am Anonymous > Very bad for bug reports… Most of the reports on gentoo’s bugzilla deal with ebuild issues and the most important bit of information collected is often the output of ’emerge info’. Errors in application code are better reported upstream in most cases. For those cases where actual debugging is required, it’s easy enough to build any package with debug info. As for portage, it’s an absolute mess on the inside, and I don’t think anyone would deny that. There are plans to reimplement portage from the ground up. I’ve read that those plans include the use of a language other than Python, and names like OCaml have been tossed around (I’m sure OCaml is great, but I hope a less obscure language is used). 2003-12-31 11:38 am Anonymous Very bad for bug reports. Seeing that most Gentoo users live on the cutting edge and install the greatest and latest they should really leave debugging symbols. Optimizations in general are bad for debugging. Alpha and beta packages in ports are not stripped of debugging symbols. Only packages deemed official stable by package developers are stripped of debugging symbols. There are also procedures for reporting bugs. One of which if I remember clearly is recompiling the package in question with -g and removing other optimizations. Either way, you’ll have to recompile the package in question whether strip of debuging symbols or not. Yes! “emerge unmerge glibc” (what a cool syntax, he?) doesn’t even warn me that other packages depend on the c-library. This is really a super advanced package management system. And it has no triggers. 😉 “emerge -C glibc” (Does it look better now?) When you are root, warning bells should be resounding allover your brain. I’ve committed several stupid mistakes as root that completely plastered my system. Removing glibc isn’t one of them. 2003-12-31 11:46 am Anonymous …you can install gentoo via Knoppix. That way you have a fully functional Linux box and access to your files while at the same time installing gentoo. That’s what I do. No productivity lost whatsoever. 2003-12-31 12:06 pm Anonymous And that’s exactly how I installed Gentoo. Okay it didn’t compile in the background, but most ebuilds compile fine in the background. So I could have done that. Sounds like you should really try Gentoo GRP (Gentoo Reference Platform), it takes a bit longer than fifteen minutes, but you should have a system running in an hour or so. 2003-12-31 12:07 pm Anonymous “Yes, Gentoo may lose a few of the eleetist people when it starts using a GUI installer, probably only around 5-10%, but it will become a lot more popular because it will make fast and bleeding edge Linux technology availble to the masses.” Why? There is noting wrong with a GUI installer as long as a commandline install remains possible at all times. Gentoo die-hards could simply nuke the GUI and go their own way. I’m not seeing any Gentoo zealot moving to an inferior distro because of the GUI installer *option*. 2003-12-31 12:29 pm Anonymous one year ago I installed my first Gentoo on my (transmeta crusoe) laptop because many SuSE8.0-programs segfaulted constantly incl. yast with 4 years SuSE Linux experience I had no problem installing Gentoo on it – learning many new exciting things like chroot. During the year I learned a lot about Linux internals. Also because I had to – using Gentoo. IMHO a GUI-installer is only one tiny issue for Gentoo becoming administratable for joe average. Editing config-files for getting things working is something more difficult. A GUI-installer will only bring less experienced/motivated people to Gentoo creating many frustated users. 2003-12-31 12:30 pm Anonymous “”emerge -C glibc” (Does it look better now?) When you are root, warning bells should be resounding allover your brain. I’ve committed several stupid mistakes as root that completely plastered my system. Removing glibc isn’t one of them.” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> That was just an example to make the point. Uninstalling libfoobargargelII can have more subtile consequences (especially if one doesn’t use the same $USE for every package). It looks as if Portage will never have backward dependencies — and portage-ng is very far away. Anyway, I refuse to call a package-management system which cannot traverse a dependency graph up AND down “super advanced”. 2003-12-31 12:41 pm Anonymous Couple of times I’ve started installing Gentoo from Stage 3 tarball but always my patience has run short. Some day I’ll probably have time and patience enough to finish the installation. From those more patient than me I’d like to ask if Gentoo has GUI for portage? I know that I wouldn’t like Debian half as much as I do if it hadn’t Synaptic as a front-end for apt-get. And FreeBSD’s Portsman really makes the ports collection usable for me. Synaptic and Portsman make browsing available software easy and enjoyable. They also show what is installed as dependencies and Portsman even shows some available compiling options. If Portsman shows that some port has several optional functions, I usually back out from Portsman, open this port’s Makefile and study these options more closely. For example, I never knew that Links web browser has a specific X interface until I installed it in FreeBSD. (Binary packages usually exclude this X interface function in Links.) Now Links is my favourite light weight web browser in X – it eats less memory than Mozilla when I compile something in the background. And even in FreeBSD I probably wouldn’t bother to read every Makefile before installing ports if there wasn’t Portsman that makes detecting available compiling options so easy. So, my point is that I really like GUI’s in handling software installations. If Gentoo has some really cool GUI for portage, that knowledge might spur me through Gentoo’s long and winding installation process. 2003-12-31 12:45 pm Anonymous kemerge but never used it. 2003-12-31 12:58 pm Anonymous …the Gentoo User forum for years. There are the people who say, “If you need a GUI installer than Gentoo isn’t for you”, or “I don’t want a GUI installer”(though they fail to realize that they are not the only Gentoo user), and “I’m up for it, as long as it doesn’t screw up the CLI.” Someone was working on porting Anaconda but the effort seems dead. GLIS(Gentoo Linux Installer Script) is the most promising of the UI installers(it’s more like Slacks installer), I’ve used it once or twice, but I felt better using just the CLI. 2003-12-31 1:46 pm Anonymous …for people who bork their install. In this scenario who would want to go through the process of reading a manual to install. Why is a GUI installer even needed. Have a LiveCD, use a HD install (ala KNOPPIX), set compile flags, compile for your system. Who wants to go through the process of reading a manual. BTW when I installed Gentoo, at least 2 years ago, the Gentoo community in their forums sucked. They really weren’t at all helpful, because the experienced users moved on to other sections of the forums leaving us noobs trying to help other noobs install the darn thing. I haven’t read the install manual thoroughly since 2 years ago, but it seems largely the same with a mention of their new LiveCD’s. The manual pretty much sucks because it wasn’t step by step, it was more like skip this step, and then later come back to this step. Have others found this with their install? 2003-12-31 1:48 pm Anonymous I agree with everything you have said. 2003-12-31 2:21 pm Anonymous BTW when I installed Gentoo, at least 2 years ago, the Gentoo community in their forums sucked. They really weren’t at all helpful, because the experienced users moved on to other sections of the forums leaving us noobs trying to help other noobs install the darn thing. Did gentoo have a forum 2 years ago? I haven’t read the install manual thoroughly since 2 years ago, but it seems largely the same with a mention of their new LiveCD’s. The manual pretty much sucks because it wasn’t step by step, it was more like skip this step, and then later come back to this step. Have others found this with their install? http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook.xml 2003-12-31 2:54 pm Anonymous The Gentoo forum was started on Mon Apr 08, 2002 6:20 pm. 2003-12-31 5:46 pm Anonymous I’ve read many false statements and incorrect assumptions about gentoo in the comments. 1) Gentoo doesn’t live on the cutting, much less bleeding edge. A good example of this is the fact that PostgreSQL is 1 major and 1 minor version out of date. There are many other examples of this. 2) Gentoo does come with binary installs. You can start at any stage of the install process. Stage 3 has binaries, you can also “emerge -k package” for a binary install. I believe one of the things that makes Gentoo great is the install process. It teaches those new to Linux or those who have lived in a Red Hat / Mandrake world what makes Linux work. A GUI installer will be nice. Improvements to gentoo are many and ongoing. I’ve been a long time slack use, going on 10 years now, and I’ve started using Gentoo more and more. Emerge/Portage is very nice, and they could teach FreeBSD a thing or to as to what to do with ports. As to my subject, please don’t make false statements and inaccurate assumptions. It only hurts the community as a whole and discourages people from trying something new. Gentoo is worth trying for anyone who has a favorite distro, it has many things to offer that compete toe to toe with any other distro, IMHO. 2003-12-31 6:43 pm Anonymous “Not sure if anyone suggested that… What about a binary+source distro? I’d love to be able to install Gentoo in 15 mins and use it, then it would recompile itself in the background, and slowly replace binaries by their optimized versions. Ease of use of apt-like updates, and eventual optimization of gentoo compiles.” This is exactly what I was thinking about posting. I think it would be great if Debian and Gentoo shared some code and resources. What if you had an installer that would install either a Debian or a Gentoo system, pulling packages from the net, so the iso would be small and you would download the up to date packages. It starts off as either a Debian pre-compiled stable, testing or unstable and in the /etc/apt/sources.list file you could choose to use portage (link to the portage db and emerge tools, but still run via apt-get) and Debian or Gentoo repositories (hosting both binaries and source). If they share resources this might be doable. After the initial install, if you uncomment a line in /etc/apt/sources.list you begin the conversion to a source-based gentoo. I just think there is something here not worth passing up, though it may be hard to achieve. As for a GUI installer for Gentoo, at the very least they need to have better online help. I had to have another PC running w/ a working net connection and browser to be able to read docs and then run the commands on the Gentoo install. It took a week of my spare time to get a basic system installed, 3-4 hours each night. Debian’s installer definitely needs work. I had to use one of the LiveCDs to get a working Debian system. I’m not a newbie and I’m not a moron. Just some stuff that just didn’t make sense in there without a decent help file. I think there was a point that the installer for Woody asked me a question I had NEVER seen on a Linux install. I didn’t have any other help available to me at the time. 2003-12-31 7:16 pm Anonymous Gentoo is trully the Catch 22 OS. Too appreciate the speed increase of compiling applications, you need a slow system. But if you have a slow system, you can’t really use gentoo because it will take to much time to compile the applications. 2003-12-31 8:45 pm Anonymous What about all the other GWn’s why not post any of them? THis is really unfair to the other contributors. 2004-01-01 4:43 am Anonymous I don’t want to flame as you made a good comment but you should definitely practice what you preach. 1) Gentoo doesn’t live on the cutting, much less bleeding edge. A good example of this is the fact that PostgreSQL is 1 major and 1 minor version out of date. There are many other examples of this. The lastest version of PostgreSQL that came out about a week ago is already in Portage. It’s just not on the stable branch. http://packages.gentoo.org/packages/?category=dev-db;name=postgresq… You’re right that not every software package is up-to-date (mainly because of the lack of mainteners) but PostgreSQL is a bad example. I suspect that they didn’t marked the newer versions as stable as not enough people tested it. PGSQL isn’t as popular as MySQL. 2004-01-01 6:25 am Anonymous Portage is clearly the most advance package management system in Linux, period. What a ridiculous statement. I don’t even know where to begin. How is Portage’s method of package installation etc. more advanced than the others? emerge sync Wow! Wish apt-get update was as advanced as that. emerge -p package Hmm. I can use apt-get -s install package, but that wouldn’t be “advanced”. emerge package apt-get install package. But, again, that’s not “advanced”. emerge -u package apt-get update; apt-get install package. Nope…still not “advanced” apparently. emerge -up system apt-get -u upgrade isn’t anywhere near as “advanced” though. emerge unemerge package apt-get remove package would just be silly and unadvanced though. I could keep going, but I couldn’t be bothered. Wonder how long til Gentoo users take the annoying-zealot crown from the stereotypical Debian user.