Slack guy turns to Gentoo!
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Thread: Slack guy turns to Gentoo!

  1. #1
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    Cool Slack guy turns to Gentoo!

    I used to be a big fan of slackware, and had it semi-running for a while. I loved the simpler package manager, which is why I stuck with it for such a long time. I say I had it semi-running, however, because quite a few things would not work, and I didn't know why. I couldn't get the Gimp, Gxine, Totem, or XMMS to work for a long time, until I downloaded and compiled them from source. After being compiled on my box, everything was peachy, and they worked. However, I didn't like having to go all over the place, downloading and installing tarballs just to get my software working; I didn't mind the compilation process, just the required manual steps to get to that point.

    Enter Gentoo. I found and installed Gentoo from a stage one install, compiling everything as I went. After the initial bootstrap process, the first thing I noticed was that gcc was a lot faster than it was on slack. As I continued, I found out about emerge. It is like slapt-get or swaret on steroids! You can choose to use binaries, or have ebuild compile automatically from source. You can enable or disable dependancy checks from the command line. If you don't want to disable all dependancy checks, you can make portage think you have a package installed (called 'injecting' it). It is awesome! Then, if there isn't a piece of software in portage (yeah, right!), you can easily create a custom ebuild for it, which just involves writing a modified shell script! Best of all, as you can compile everything on your machine with any optimizations you want, everything runs quick, and fits your configuration!

    I have been using Gentoo for a while, and haven't managed to break my installation yet, like I did countless times in slack. Compilation hasn't been a real issue for me, as I have a pretty fast machine (took just a 1/2 hour to compile x.org), however, if it was everything has a precompiled alternative. I am frankly amazed at the amount of software in portage! Aside from a few strange software choices (Using devfs rather than udev and xfree86 4.3 rather than x.org) that are easily remidied, it is my dream distro! Changing their defaults is quite simple, like to replace devfs with udev there is a guide on the gentoo site, which basically involves two commands and the optional editing of a single line in a configuration file (Gentoo's all about choices, after all)! Contrary to popular belief, it is not hard at all to configure, many times needing only an etc-update. I found the installation a learning experience, however was helped out tremendously by the excellent Gentoo Handbook. If I knew about this distro when starting out with linux, a lot of needless frustration would have been avoided (stay away from RedHat like the plague)! Anyone interested in using Linux but doesn't know where to start, please seriously consider Gentoo. I think it would make many people's experiences with Linux much more enjoyable.

  2. #2
    AO Antique pwaring's Avatar
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    Re: Slack guy turns to Gentoo!

    Originally posted here by TheRepublican
    [B]I couldn't get the Gimp, Gxine, Totem, or XMMS to work for a long time, until I downloaded and compiled them from source.
    Install swaret and run swaret install <package>. I did that with xine-ui and had a fully working version ready to play DVDs without problems (it even did things like creating the /dev/dvd symlink for me).

    Best of all, as you can compile everything on your machine with any optimizations you want, everything runs quick, and fits your configuration!
    As someone once pointed out to me - by the time you've done all those optimisations your machine might run 5% faster, but it'll take you 10% longer to get there.

    Aside from a few strange software choices (Using devfs rather than udev and xfree86 4.3 rather than x.org) that are easily remidied, it is my dream distro!
    Gentoo does not choose xfree - the packages that you can install (such as Gnome) do. I must admit that depending on devfs is a nuisance though - I removed support for it when I compiled the 2.6 kernel because it is obsolete, only to be left with an unbootable system.

    Anyone interested in using Linux but doesn't know where to start, please seriously consider Gentoo. I think it would make many people's experiences with Linux much more enjoyable.
    Whilst I use Gentoo occassionally (although I had to remove it from my laptop in favour of Slackware because it kept segfaulting on emerge's), I would never recommend it as a first Linux distro. Even I find it rather boring to go through the install process, and I've been using Gentoo for long enough to have memorised most of it. If you show someone Linux and say "hey, it'll take a whole day to install and you have to read this 8+ chapter manual first" do you really think they are going to use it? Add that to the fact that Gentoo does very little for you in terms of more advanced tasks like paritioning (ooh, fdisk - what a lovely user-friendly tool...) and any newbie is likely to give up before they've even begun.
    Paul Waring - Web site design and development.

  3. #3
    Gentoo kicked my ass and told me to learn to tie my shoes...

    So I am on slackware.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    Hmm, wonder who pointed out that the 5% speed increase you get takes 10%

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    Also Free BSD has something like Emerge....Actually, Free BSD has what Gentoo came from, one simple command to download and install a package of your choice and all dependencies.

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    Slack guy turns to Gentoo!
    Now you must die.

  6. #6
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    Also Free BSD has something like Emerge....Actually, Free BSD has what Gentoo came from, one simple command to download and install a package of your choice and all dependencies.
    As a matter of fact, I was thinking of switching to FreeBSD for a while, however I have devices like my video card and my nic that I do not think are supported (Radeon 9600SE and Atheros wireless). If I am wrong about that, I may give BSD a shot, however I would have to research it some more.

    //Edit: Woot! FreeBSD supports atheros cards, and I think the fglrx drivers work on any platform that can run X. I'll have to try BSD one of these days. Thanks for the idea, gore!

    Now you must die.
    I by no means meant to insult Slack, I find it is a great distro (and I prefer it magnitudes over RPM-based distros). I just wasn't working like I would like it too, and so I switched. What you prefer in a distro is your opinion, and therfore your bussiness. I'm just sharing my experiences with what I find to be a exceptional distro.

    Install swaret and run swaret install <package>. I did that with xine-ui and had a fully working version ready to play DVDs without problems (it even did things like creating the /dev/dvd symlink for me).
    I did try out swaret on Slack. I have had a few bad experieces with it. For one, it trashed my X installation three times, which may not be it's fault rather packages that overwrote some libraries. Also, a few packages I installed (prime example: The Gimp) plain did not work. The dependancy checks swaret performs all checked out, however when I went to run it I received error messages about unresolved symbols in a few gtk libraries. I used swaret to upgrade those. No effect. I futzed around some more, nothing worked. I downloaded the source tar ball and compiled it. Worked like a charm! Note that the packages I installed are from the mirrors in the default swaret.conf (official Slack mirrors, right?), and I am sure I configured it properly.

    As someone once pointed out to me - by the time you've done all those optimisations your machine might run 5% faster, but it'll take you 10% longer to get there.
    It is not so much a issue of optimizations. The problem is that precompiled software has not worked for me in the past (see above). The speed improvement is just a bonus, and a nice one at that. Also, with my lean and speedy gcc, the 10% longer seems much shorter than you'd think!

    If you feel I make good points, try Gentoo. If you don't, consider trying Gentoo. You just may like it!

  7. #7
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    I by no means meant to insult Slack, I find it is a great distro (and I prefer it magnitudes over RPM-based distros). I just wasn't working like I would like it too, and so I switched. What you prefer in a distro is your opinion, and therfore your bussiness. I'm just sharing my experiences with what I find to be a exceptional distro.
    I was joking man

    I have never tried Gentoo but I'm happy you like it and if it works for you that's great

  8. #8
    AO Antique pwaring's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by gore
    Hmm, wonder who pointed out that the 5% speed increase you get takes 10%
    Actually, I think the two people I heard of from were someone who administrates thousands of XP and Linux workstations and a kernel developer.

    Also, with my lean and speedy gcc, the 10% longer seems much shorter than you'd think!
    Heh, wait until you come round to emerge KDE... (I would strongly advise getting a binary package unless you have 2 processors and a lot of RAM - it takes over 24 hours to compile on my relatively modern hardware).
    Paul Waring - Web site design and development.

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    Heh, wait until you come round to emerge KDE
    I have already emerged gnome from source (hate KDE), and it took around an hour and a half to two hours. What hardware do you have? I have a P4 2.6 ghz w./ HT and 1/2 gig of RAM. I found compile times to be acceptable.

    I was joking man
    Yeah, I know, but I wanted to make it clear that I really like Slack, it just isn't what I would use.

  10. #10
    AO Antique pwaring's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by TheRepublican
    I have already emerged gnome from source (hate KDE), and it took around an hour and a half to two hours. What hardware do you have? I have a P4 2.6 ghz w./ HT and 1/2 gig of RAM. I found compile times to be acceptable.
    An Athlon XP 1.8Ghz with 256MB RAM. However, you can't compare Gnome compilation with KDE because one uses C and one uses C++ (broadly speaking this is). There are, as far as I am aware, currently no pre-compiled header files for C++ so KDE will take a LOT longer to compile (Gnome took around 4 hours probably on my machine, KDE takes 5 times that long at least).
    Paul Waring - Web site design and development.

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