August 18th, 2002, 06:35 AM
A friend of mine just started running Gentoo linux. This newish (or at least to me) distro has cought my eye, and now im thinking of installing it on another box to play around with it. I was just woundering if anyone has used it and/or had any problems on it. I am still a newbie linux man and would this be to advanced? Just wanting a little background info before I get my feet wet. thanks alot
August 18th, 2002, 11:02 AM
Gentoo is a very advanced distribution which is not designed to be easy to use. It is probably easy enough to use once it's installed, but seeing as a reasonable install with X, Mozilla, etc, takes at least a day of computing time on a fast machine, it's not a piece of cake.
On Gentoo, everything on the entire system is compiled at installation time. Some items, like the kernel, only take a relatively short time to build, but the heftier things which are still necessary, notably gcc, X and mozilla, take an absolute age.
There is also a strong probability that somewhere along the line you'll find a package which FAILS to build, which may need a knowledge of C, C++ and/or gentoo's build system to fix.
It's a very clever system, but I don't use it because I like my box to *WORK* - and not take hours to set up a basic command-line-only system (I use Mandrake despite having used Linux for 8 years)
I would really recommend that newbies to linux get the other distros going first, it is probably also quite useful to have a 2nd working linux box during a gentoo build (espcially for 'net access because you will need to download stuff; if your main box is halfway through a build and has no networking, it can be difficult)
The gentoo people have made it as easy as possible - for a source-code only distro.
If you're an experienced developer, have some time on your hands, and have another linux box on your LAN, go for it by all means. I know a couple of people who've done so, and it does seem very nice.
August 18th, 2002, 06:07 PM
I use Gentoo on all my boxes - desktop and server - and I absolutely love it. It's the greatest thing since bottled beer.
I love it for 2 reasons: 1) everything is compiled from source code, so you can optimize for specific architectures and pass USE= flags to the compiler and remove functionality you don't need. (I only use Gnome, so I remove build-time functionality for qt and arts. Don't need it.) and, 2) the package management system is the best I've ever seen. I've used Red Hat, Mandrake, and Debian, and Portage blows them all away. It's basically FreeBSD's ports system coupled with the dependency resolution of apt-get.
Gentoo really is a beautiful thing...... right now a lot of people are ungrading their boxes from GCC 2.95 to GCC 3.2, and it couldn't be easier. Just compile GCC, then compile glibc, compile GCC again, and emerge -e world to rebuild the entire system with GCC 3.2. How sweet is that?
That being said, I largely agree with slarty about its suitability for newbies. It's not for the faint of heart. Even with years of experience with Linux under my belt, it took me a few tries to get Gentoo installed and configured perfectly. I especially wouldn't recommend any newbies try it right at this moment because of the move from GCC 2x to GCC 3x. A lot of stuff is breaking right now, but the dust will settle in a few weeks.
If this is your first experience with Linux, I would probably say go with Red Hat or Mandrake until you learn the ropes a little. But don't give up on Gentoo, because it really is a better way to go. If you have an extra box to play around on, by all means have at it. Just don't get discouraged if you hit a snag, because I can almost guarantee you will. There's forums.gentoo.org for support if you need it. Even if you try it and fail, you'll learn more about Linux in that one failure than you ever will with Mandrake or Red Hat.
Do what you want with the girl, but leave me alone!
August 18th, 2002, 07:09 PM
I've been running Gentoo Linux for almost 6 months now and I haven't had a single problem yet. The install was a little more challenging than other distros, but if you use the stage 3 tarballs, a lot of the more difficult steps can be skipped (I.E bootstrapping.)
The whole idea of using BSD's Portage tree, and compiling everything from scratch (to be optimized for your architecture,) is the greatest way to manage packages I have ever seen.
I would definatly recommend that anyone who has an interest in *nix, check out Gentoo Linux. If you are a novice user, then the experience can only make you better.