Home > Gentoo > A glance at Gentoo 2004.3A glance at Gentoo 2004.3 Submitted by James 2004-11-17 Gentoo 37 CommentsFew impressions and tips after a Gentoo 2004.3 installation. A couple of screenshots included.About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 37 Comments 2004-11-17 8:22 am “I just finished compiling my 2004.2 last week….”Some truth in that but I did get the latest releases of everything 2004-11-17 8:49 am Perhaps the title, or news body should been more precise, like “trying out gentoo 2004.3 on PPC”… 2004-11-17 9:52 am I upgraded my 2004.2 also, with a single command, lovin’ it! 2004-11-17 10:39 am Many mistakes in this article, he should buy a dictionary. 2004-11-17 1:14 pm I have tried Gentoo a few times… its not at all difficult, but theres just something I don’t understand.The speed gains people talk about… I just didn’t see them due to constantly having things compiling in the background. It seemed like every time things got done compiling, there were more things to upgrade, so I had to compile them too. I feel a need to be “bleeding edge” though, so this is a requirement for me for any distro.You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if things are compiling all the time, you simply won’t have the processing power to do much of anything else.Gentoo basically rendered my computer useless, and I learned to appreaciate the boxes devoted to building software that the major distro’s have in place today. My hardware is respectable – I have certainly heard of far worse hardware used with Gentoo – I don’t understand why I am seemingly the only person that has this problem… 2004-11-17 1:45 pm The speed gains people talk about… I just didn’t see them due to constantly having things compiling in the background. I can understand that, I have adressed this problem by using distcc, but again, I have a lot of hardware available…The real value for me using gentoo, is that I have lot less dependency problems, I pull in just what I need, and by carefully describe the USE flag, I get a tuned system. Gentoo isn’t just being able to set compiler flags, but also package-dependency flags.The biggest problem by using precompiled packages, is that they have specified the configure -flags beforehand, so if I would like to use a package that may, or may not need X, most often a precompiled package has X as a dependency, thus pulling in uneccesary stuff that I would like to be without in some cases.Additionally, using gentoo, clears away the “major-version” upgrade problem, upgrading some old redhat-version up to the latest is not always that straight forward, with gentoo, that is not even an issue… as far as I have experienced. 2004-11-17 1:59 pm “People without a fluent grasp of English should probably avoid writing technical articles. This is a great example.”Hats off to you for one of the most brilliantly brain dead statements of the year. I guess the 4.5 billion people who don’t speak english natively should all just communicate exclusively in their own mother tongues. I really had to laugh at this one.Maybe Eugenia should implement a test in multilanguage proficiency on OSNEWS-only those who were capable of reading and writing in more than one language would be allowed to particpate in the threads….-darn….there I go feeding the trolls again….*slap* don’t feed the trolls!*slap* don’t feed the trolls! 2004-11-17 2:02 pm People without a fluent grasp of English should probably avoid writing technical articles.You cannot have a “fluent grasp” of a language – this doesn’t make sense. You may be fluent in a language, or your language may be fluent. Pot-kettle-black.Anyway, didn’t you mean: People without fluent English should probably avoid writing technical articles in English? 2004-11-17 2:05 pm Fortunately the world is still full of not english-speaking persons take it easy, it is too soon to think you dominate the world entirely.In topic: Gentoo runs fine, as stated in the quick review. And it is one more option for PPC users. 2004-11-17 2:13 pm The ability to have the latest “bleeding edge” software install on your system, something which Portage tends to enable, does not mean that one must constantly have one or another program compiling.If one does a stage 1 installation for a single machine, yes one must reckon with a considerable amount of time for compiling the entire system (1-3 days depending on the speed of the system in question and which packages are to be installed). But once this phase is completed one does not need to continuously compile new software. Of course if one choosed to run emerge -u world everyday, after having performed a emerge rsync each day, yes your computer will be constantly compiling. But that is a) not necessary b) extremely problematic c) outright foolish.Most Gentoo users learn, with the course of time, to do incremental upgrades-and plan them according to time and usage. Most users also choose to “pin down” which versions of which programs they wish to use-avoiding any problems due to subtle changes between versions. If one only perfroms such updates for security issues one will find that security updates can all be compiled during the time when one sleeps. If one wishes to track frequently updated software one can choose to perfrom such updates once per month and schedule it in such a way as to compile primarily at night when one sleeps and to compile with a high “niceness” during the time when one is actively using the computer.It sounds like, from your description of your experience, that you did not graduate pass the first phase of software installation. I maintain very, very uptodate servers and desktops using Gentoo and by and large compilation does not negatively impact my use of the machine. In fact I am compiling a new installation of 2004.3 as I type this….. 2004-11-17 2:16 pm Gentoo rendered your computer useless… PLEASE….This is utter nonsense, I have had 4 different apps compiling in the background on a Athlon XP 1.8 and everthing still ran fine and this was on a 2.4 kernel about 1 year ago.I guess if you are running on a P111 450 or something you might notice some slowdown while compiling something.But rendering your PC useless sounds like FUD to me… 2004-11-17 2:36 pm Before I even start, I am going to state my prefered distro is the Debian-based Ubuntu right now.The way Debian handles ‘meta-packages’ is the real reason I use such systems. Being able to state “apt-get install x-window-system-core” and only getting the bare bones I need for a graphical interface is very nice. If I actually want everything that comes with X, I can drop the -core, and I would end up with TWM, Xterm etc etc…Simularly, if I do care to compile things, I can get most everything I need via “apt-get install build-essential”. Accompany this with “apt-get source pkg” and I am presented with the means to compile this package the way I like should I disagree with the maintainer. Ubuntu is very fast out of the box however, and I am yet to disagree with much of anything they have done… Just in case I feel something is too slow however, I can simply “apt-get -b source pkg” and compile it for my system only.As for the upgrade hangovers of an RPM based distro, I agree very much. It was the thing that got me hooked to Debian though. A simple “apt-get dist-upgrade”, and all upgrades and resulting dependencies are handled for me.I have two more boxes I could use with distcc, however the fastest of those is a 633 Celeron, it would make things less tiresome, but even still, Ubuntu feels faster then Gentoo ever did, so I am happy right now. 2004-11-17 2:44 pm Your assumptions are incorrect… I had a working system. First time I tried Gentoo, the first emerge world I did br0ked the system, and I was hesitant to try again. My last install of Gentoo lasted about 3 weeks however, and I simply didn’t notice the speed differences in a worthwhile way.Many people argue that Gentoo permits them to learn more about their system. However, I don’t think you learn much while sleeping through it…And sure, I could have upgraded less often, I exadurated slightly, but about 70% of the time Gentoo was installed, it was compiling something and I just didn’t see the rewards for that like I had heard about, so I went back to Debian. 2004-11-17 2:48 pm I stated “basically”… sure I was able to perform tasks such as browsing the web etc, but anything productive suffered a great deal.I have a 950 Duron, while typing documents, I would have to wait for the text to catch up. Everything I did, I noticed such slowdown…Whether you wish to argue this or not is irrelivant… I like my systems to be fully operational though, such slowdowns are not ok. 2004-11-17 2:55 pm Even though the author of this article obviously isn’t fluent in English, it doesn’t matter much for the legibility of the article itself. In professional magazines that I pay good money for, I expect the language used to be impeccable or at least close to perfect. However articles on OSNews are often written by volunteers who have something interesting to share with the community. By being a “grammar/spelling nazi”, as it’s so eloquently labeled on Slashdot, you miss out on a lot of perfectly good content.Being a professional journalist and copy writer myself I know the irritation involved in correcting texts that are riddled with errors. Those are texts destined for publication in for-profit professional media. When reading free websites like OSNews I’m just grateful for the free content and I’ll be so bold as to suggest you should be grateful too or at the very least stop whining.Just out of curiosity.. How many languages are you yourself fluent in? 2004-11-17 3:26 pm Actually I think you make it abundantly clear that all of the hype about the speed improvments of Gentoo overcloud the genuine strengths of the Portage system.If people come to Gentoo thinking it “must be” faster “because its compiled from source” they may in fact walk away discouraged. The real advantages of Gentoo’s Portage system lie in the control that it offers to those of us who profit from it.It is not the case that Gentoo is fast. A properly configured and compiled Gentoo system is usually faster than most any binary distro. But that should not be, is not sufficient, reason for people to use to Gentoo. The fact that it is a meta-distro, which is not just some new fangled terminology, means that Gentoo is particularly good and useful for hybrid situations-situations where neither a “desktop distro” nor a “server distro” are particularly well suited. This flexibility, due to control, is what makes Gentoo what it is.BTW I also like Ubuntu. I don’t use Ubuntu on my machines, because I have sworn myself to never using a binary distro again–to many years, struggling with too much nonsense. But I have installed Ubuntu on a couple of machines-for coworkers and friends. In fact Ubuntu is by far the fastest binary distro I have ever seen-it can turn an old pentiumII @400 MHz into a really peppy little machine …In fact it was so fast that I got curious as to how the Ubuntu folks pulled it off. It turns out that they made use of LDFLAGS when they compiled their applications. I quickly followed their example and recompiled my desktop applications with LDFLAGS=”-Wl,-O1″, and wow what a difference that made for GTK+ applications! 2004-11-17 3:38 pm All I want to know is have they address the issue ever present with the potential for the simple compromising of ones portage tree (http://linuxreviews.org/gentoo/gentoo_trojan_howto/)Not too long after the compromise of Debian, Gnome and Gentoo sites in the later months of 2003, when using some of the earlier install CD’s (version 1.4 I think) I noticed the great potential for poisoning for the Portage repository from compromised mirrors.I really thought that was what the checksums were for, but a closer look as mentioned reveals a fundamental weakness in based design.I just want to know if the project’s security checks and balances have come up to par. 2004-11-17 3:48 pm Want to compile a lot of stuff but not have it impact your desktop response times and desktop usage in Gentoo?echo PORTAGE_NICENESS=”19″ >> /etc/make.conf 2004-11-17 3:49 pm I’d have to disagree with you all. I think Gentoo, LFS and Slackware are the fastest distros I’ve used. Apart from these, all the other distros I’ve used have been dog slow. And I’m being kind here.I haven’t seen any binary based distro faster than these three. Even professional benchmarkers like Anandtech, Arstechnica, Tomshardware choose Gentoo for their gaming benchmarks. The last three reviews I read on DOOM3 for Linux all used Gentoo. I’m sure they did so for valid reasons and I’m convinced one of these reasons is speed.Gentoo has many other forts, but speed is definately one of them, especially on old hardware. Shit, I can’t even get Fedora running on my 400MHz IBM laptop, while Gentoo smiles on it. The notion that you spend all your time on Gentoo compiling software is as false as it is silly.Not only does Gentoo provide you a mechanism to renice the compilation procedure, so that you watch dvds, burn CDs, browse the internet all while upgrading your system, it doesn’t force you click the upgrade button at will. If you are compiling all day 24/7, 356 days a year on Gentoo, it is because you want to, not because Gentoo forces you to.Gentoo is fast. I don’t understand why people are ashamed to accept that. People readily accept slackware and LFS as fast distros, yet when Gentoo is mentioned you here people trying to be politically correct and stuff. Even though theoretically speaking Gentoo gives you a lot more optimizations off hand than either of these distros.Yeap, I said it, flame on. 2004-11-17 3:50 pm There is an option in make.conf that sets the niceness level of Portage. Setting “PORTAGE_NICENESS=10” will make portage and everything it is compiling have a much lower priority and will give the rest of the system a boost. In addition, if the program you were typing in was OpenOffice, there have been documented bugs that were fixed in the OO.o-1.1.3 that caused OO.o to crawl to a halt when the system was under a heavy load. Upgrading to openoffice-bin-1.1.3 might fix this. Also in general, using a 2.6 kernel will help you out and utilizing the ck patchset will likely help you even more.Another issue you might be faceing is quite simply that the tiny 64k level2 cache of that duron is getting constantly thrashed by all the multi-tasking. If you have your system under a constant load for any reason (compiling or anything else) you will have this type of problem with your current hardware. You likely can upgrade that processor to a thunderbird-athlon and not have that problem quite as bad…. 2004-11-17 4:25 pm http://www.ppcnerds.org/modules.php?full=1&set_albumName=album07&id…what is the name of the stats program on the desktop in that picture? 2004-11-17 4:34 pm I believe that is a gdesklet app. 2004-11-17 4:55 pm And while I didn’t mind the compile times (pretty fast machine with distcc), it seemed like I always had problems.1. Some of the packages would fail to compile to due errors. I remember having a problem with KDE and some odd issue. Yes, I researched it on their forums and fixed it, but it was just a royal pain. I don’t want to have research compile issues.2. I also had problems running their update program (I think it was etc-update, or something like that). Didn’t pay attention once and cleaned out my /etc/fstab file.Lately I have been using Debian Sarge on my machine and have been extremely happy with it.After the first of the year, I may redo my “server” (LTSP and MythTV) and will look at the distros again. Gentoo has scripts to auto run Myth backend, so that might be a plus, and since the ivtv has a patch for the 2.6 kernel, it might be easier under Gentoo.Just don’t know right now. 2004-11-17 5:59 pm Yes it is gdesklets-core with some of the psi desklets. But mine looks much better 2004-11-17 6:09 pm Trey,While I don’t use Gentoo because I think it’s faster than other distributions and I’m not interested in defending the notion that it is, I’ve never run into the problems you have in several years of using Gentoo. Granted, I’ll always do my emerge -uDv world before I go to sleep rather than when I’m making heavy use of the computer in question — I take this to be a matter of common sense. But even when I am using a computer and decide I want to emerge something large, it only causes minor — not horrible — slowdowns. And the slowdowns it does cause tend to be of the ‘takes longer to complete a process’ type, not the ‘my desktop is less responsive’ type, particluarly since I started using 2.5/2.6 kernels.Is it possible the machine you’re using isn’t fast enough to be compiling while doing lots of other things, and/or that it takes so long to compile that your updates take too long? I’ve never used a Duron processor — maybe a Duron 950 just isn’t enough? Or maybe it isn’t enough when coupled with whatever amount of RAM you have? 2004-11-17 6:13 pm I use Gentoo primarily for its package management system. Occasionally an e-build is b0rked, but it’s often fixed within a few days; in the mean time, multiple other versions (e.g., RC’s or previous x.x.x releases) exist and may be compiled in their place.I’ve gone back and forth between distros. I particularly enjoy slackware, but I find gentoo, by far, the easiest distro to maintain, update, and experiment with. Adding, removing, or modifying services/startup scripts are simple and straight-forward.Most cases of broken systems or messed up installations I’ve seen have been rooted in a user not following documentation fully and/or reading the fine print (e.g., don’t use the experimental flag when bootstrapping, or chances are that your system just won’t boot/work).With regard to speed, I’ve found Gentoo to be at least competitive. Slackware seems to be the most snappy, despite its i486 optimization… but, Gentoo has a lot of optional tweaks that may account for a few seconds gained here or there. To me, the optimizations are only a small plus to portage’s power.In terms of the Article’s quality, I don’t find the linguistic capacity to be the problem. Criticizing the author for poor grammar or sentence construction is raw ethnocentric prejudice… and hypocritical, coming from the United States, where the elected President can’t even complete a coherent sentence in his native tongue (don’t get me started about his Spanish).The only problem I find with this article is its brisk lack of detail: There was almost zero content. The screenshots fill in a little, but the article is still lacking in any significant/substantial info. 2004-11-17 6:57 pm Gentoo is fast, but so is almost every modern Linux distribution nowadays. There is no _significant_ speed gain if you switch to Gentoo from e.g. newest Mandrake or SuSE (in fact, some compiled packages are even slower than pre-compiled ones, like OOo). The real reason to use Gentoo is definitely Portage, and the stage 1 installation.And native English speakers should just buzz off and stop whining. 2004-11-17 6:58 pm I think Gentoo needs a stable repository of packages that only security fixes go to. This repository should have a life line of about two years. Otherwise, I don’t see how people can claim that it is faster when the CPU is always being used to compile new packages. 2004-11-17 7:10 pm The idea that the CPU is always being used to compile new packages is an absurd myth. Large packages are compiled rarely — and almost never on a non-desktop system in which X, Gnome, KDE, OpenOffice, etc. are not compiled. On a desktop system, compile those packages overnight, or whenever you sleep. It’s that simple. Why is this so difficult for people to understand? What, do you think Gentoo releases a new version of Gnome every six hours or something? 2004-11-17 7:23 pm Yep, Ubuntu is fast 2004-11-17 7:25 pm The real reason to use Gentoo is definitely Portage, and the stage 1 installation.True. Well, I don’t really like compiling everything even if I have fairly powerful computers but Portage and the nice init system are the two things that keep me Gentoo. I tried Debian many times but I can’t stand it for some reason or another.If only Gentoo was able to remove packages and their depedencies properly, I wouldn’t even think about using Debian. 2004-11-17 8:25 pm I guess portage-ng will answer your wishes..and the ones of a lot of other people as well.http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/portage/portage-ng/systemspec.xml 2004-11-17 8:25 pm I have to agree with you on the removing dependencies problem. I sometimes don’t even try out different programs or wm’s because of this. Have you tried emerge –depclean though? There’s another thing you can do, but I can’t think of it at the moment…I have to look into them a bit further. 2004-11-17 9:00 pm Heh, just like me… I reinstall Gentoo completely when I want to try a GNOME (or KDE) immersion. I am a perfectionist so I hate to have garbage/unused stuff on my system. I have tried depclean but it doesn’t do miracles. It wanted to delete many required libraries more than once. I didn’t used it since –newuse, though… Furthermore, it doesn’t install many files that the program might have created (although messing with CONFIG_PROTECT do help).portage-ng looks nice but I don’t think it will see the day soon. They didn’t even coded a bit of code. A program like Synaptic or pbrowser would also be welcome. I tried Kentoo but it’s quite limited. Didn’t tried porthole, though. 2004-11-17 9:45 pm I would recommend the use of a superb script by Ed Catmur which can be found here:http://home.jesus.ox.ac.uk/~ecatmur/my-bin/depPersonally, I use it for two purposes. One is to ensure that the world file is populated *correctly*:# mv /var/lib/portage/world ~/world.orig# qpkg -I -nc > /var/lib/portage/world# dep -wThat way, nothing will end up in the world file that isn’t depended upon by something else. Of course, you may still wish to “flag” packages that fall into the category of “dependency” in order to notice or stipulate mandatory world updates (samba, cups et al).The other is for removing unneeded packages:# dep -dIt far exceeds the quality of other equivalent tools (i.e. emerge –depclean .With regard to the first aspect, I’m reminded of the predilection of many for using the “deep” option of emerge. I think that it should be steadfastly avoided except when wielded by those who know the precise implications. In fact, if the world file is correctly populated then it is also entirely unnecessary (even if one insists on having every single thing up-to-date, libraries and all). emerge -u world will do the trick perfectly well without the incredible overhead, and newbies should stick to emerge world where dependencies will be updated only when required. To summarise, -D is symptomatic of a badly populated world file and a lack of a grasp on what its purpose is (IMHO)! I think the parameter should be removed completely. 2004-11-17 9:48 pm Sorry, I meant “nothing will end up in the world file that is depended upon by something else” 2004-11-17 10:34 pm The portage-ng project is dead since many months (the developers confirmed this several times on the forum/mailing lists). But there is work going on to improve portage.