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chrisfreet
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:19 pm    Post subject: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommend of Gentoo Reply with quote

I've been using Linux exclusively for about 10 years, maybe more. Over the 10 years, I've tried every distribution, and never really had a favorite until now: Gentoo.

About 6 years ago, my brother-in-law introduced me to Slackware, and I liked it a lot because it was simple to set up, and very stable. VERY stable. A little too stable... I wanted to learn about the OS, to fix problems and learn hands-on, and Slackware was so stable nothing ever broke because everything ran like clockwork. One of the other things I admired about Slackware was the unobtrusive nature of the distribution itself, in that it was the most purely un-distribution like distribution. It had no identity other than the installer, and I liked the autonomy.

While I used Slackware, I searched for other distros to use and install in the hopes I could break it and fix whatever needed fixing. During this search, I found Gentoo. Gentoo was totally different from any other distribution in the seeming complexity of the installation (all the by-hand editing and piece-wise install techniques) and it seemed almost too daunting for someone with only 3 or 4 years of experience, at the time, using Linux. But, nevertheless I strugged with it and managed to install the base system, from bootstraping all the way to installing X. It took FOREVER, and I broke a lot of stuff (intentionally, sometimes), which really was the point for me.

After installing and breaking, and breaking and reinstalling numerous times, I came to a certain equalibrium after having learned enough to hold my own and fix whatever broke without having to start from scratch. It was about a 2 year process of learning that brought me to this point. And, I liked Gentoo for all the same reasons I liked Slackware... stability (generally, all the self-induced fiascos not withstanding), simplicity, and most of all, safety. I liked the philosophy of starting from the ground up and having total control over what ran and what didn't solely on the basis of the completely active role the installer has in implementing software and services.

As I said, I liked Gentoo. So, I kept looking for other distros to try, mostly because of what I considered to be some small flaws in the Gentoo world of installation and maintenance (problems that turned out to be my fault and not Gentoo's, but I'll not go into the “~x86” that I had forgotten I had put in my make.conf file). SO, I followed the herd over to Ubuntu to see what all the hubub was about.

Ubuntu gets a lot of press, and for good reason I think. The distro makes using Linux easier for those who probably really shouldn't use Linux in the first place. I think the exposure is good, but at the same time I don't believe any idiot with two hands should be using Linux (muchless a computer, or a car either, for that matter). I tried Ubuntu on for size, and liked it. Of all the major binary-based distros, Ubuntu was the most stable, fastest, and easiest to manage.

For years I've been trying to get my dad to switch to Linux from Windows, and finally I have succceded in having a Linux box installed at his home, completely devoid of Windows, with Ubuntu installed. I thought it was appropriate for a relative beginner. To help him with the issues that come up while running Linux for the first time, I decided to keep a partition dedicated to Ubuntu, and I used it a lot. So much that I decided to make it my primary Linux distro-of-use.

I spent time doing all the customization things one does to a new installation, installing Beryl and all the easily accessible eye-candy, etc., etc. My little box was truly impressive to see and use – very stable, mostly fast, much cooler than Windows could ever be.

But, one day I opened a terminal and ran “lsmod,” and Ubuntu garnered my scorn like no other distro before it... I run a 1280x1028 resolution screen, and the list of modules running at the time filled two vertical columns.

I endeavored to address this bloat by making a custom kernel. This post has already grown to 3 times the size I had intended it to be, so in the interest of time and space I will shorten it to say only this: anyone who has used Gentoo and tried to do any kind of administration/development in Ubuntu can feel my pain! It is not easy. Nay, I say it's damned near impossible to do in Ubuntu, and I don't care what their fancy forum posters say. You say you want to install a kernel? Well, there are many ubuntuforum.org posts with pages upon PAGES of lines of instruction showing you how to do it. To accomplish the same feat in Gentoo, there are about 3 commands, and that's it.

To make a very short story very long, this is what brought me back to Gentoo. I used Ubuntu exclusively for about 3 weeks and struggled constantly with mundane, unknown, alien commands and methods to do what takes about 2-1/2 seconds within in the context of a Gentoo environment. (Don't even get me started on the services initialization in Ubuntu; runlevel service management is NOT simple no matter what the Ubuntu-philes say.)

I don't care that I have to compile everything (generally). As a matter of fact, I like it, damnit! I don't care that it's time consuming. The control and elegance of the Gentoo way is too much to trade for the small amount of time saved in the installation of generally stable binary packages. Besides, if you do anything more than check email and edit pictures and listen to mp3s, you'll waste all that time you saved installing binaries by figuring out how to install a frickin proprietary Nvidia driver!

So, I don't want to hear any more about how someone HATES Gentoo and has switched. I don't care if you think it's complex – read a book for God's sake, learn a little. Deal with the seemingly complex, non-gui system management and administration. If you don't like it, just shut up and use Ubuntu with the newbies.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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wah
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL chrisfreet...I was thinking of writing a post with the same title last night.

I echo a lot of what you say...my first experience with 'nix was RH7. Then I left for a while, and a couple of years ago a buddy introduced me to gentoo. I've been hooked ever since.

I even tried other distros, to see if I was missing anything. Aside from liking OpenBSD as my router/firewall, I have found none that combine:
a. A learning experience
b. the ability to be stable or to not stable with very little effort
c. the ability to teach you the in's and out's of Linux AND your hardware

I applaud your thread, as there has been an influx of "I hate Gentoo blah blah" posts. One can assume that silence is the masses ignoring the idiots...but I like to speak up and out about how wonderful this distro is and how wonderful the community is. The Dev's are top-notch, the users helpful and to the point, and the admin staff (boards, GWN, etc) are second-to-none.

Now if I could only get my wife to switch...:lol:

Cheers, and happy Gentoo to you as well.

W.
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chrisfreet
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommend of Gentoo Reply with quote

I agree whole-heartedly about the Devs, and community espeically. I haven't found another distro-community that is as knowledgeable and willing to help with even the most mundane and stupid details or problems, no matter how obviously self-induced they were.

When I had problems with doing (simple!) things in the Ubuntu environment, I used the Gentoo forums to find the solutions because that's where I was most likely to find them. (Excepting, of course, the things that are thankfully unique to Ubuntu/Debian.)

Don't get me wrong, I do like Ubuntu, and I think it has its place. I just don't like to use it. ;)

(Oh, and my wife HAS switched! Lucky me!)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommend of Gentoo Reply with quote

Great post, echoes many of my experiences. I've enjoyed the hell out of my Gentoo boxen and learned tons.

chrisfreet wrote:
For years I've been trying to get my dad to switch to Linux from Windows, and finally I have succceded in having a Linux box installed at his home, completely devoid of Windows, with Ubuntu installed. I thought it was appropriate for a relative beginner. To help him with the issues that come up while running Linux for the first time, I decided to keep a partition dedicated to Ubuntu, and I used it a lot. So much that I decided to make it my primary Linux distro-of-use.
After an endless amount of trying to help my mother troubleshoot her Dell Windows doorstop ("Did you reboot it?" "Try rebooting it." "When was the last time you rebooted it?" "Call Dell again." "Well if the error is unknown..." "It's been 4 months, it's probably time to reinstall.") I finally gave her a dual boot with Ubuntu.

So far the only problems for her have been DRM'd encased music from Dell proprietary software and a Dell proprietary printer. Windows gives her no end of trouble even after I reinstalled it at the same time as I did the Ubuntu installation. (Windows install: 8 hours. Ubuntu install: 20 minutes.) I'm hoping once she replaces the printer she'll never touch the Windows side again.

I've also got a sympathy install of Ubuntu on my desktop. I ended up having to use the chroot process from the Gentoo handbook to get it upgraded so that it would work with my hardware, but it runs fine. Or, at least it does as long as I do exactly what it wants.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

@wahman143 GL with the wife!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommend of Gentoo Reply with quote

Quote:
I've also got a sympathy install of Ubuntu on my desktop. I ended up having to use the chroot process from the Gentoo handbook to get it upgraded so that it would work with my hardware, but it runs fine. Or, at least it does as long as I do exactly what it wants.


Heh, been there, done that. My dad has had the same track record with his Dell box, although admittedly, the problems have been less now that he uses his Linux box more.
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welp
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too daunting for someone who's been running Linux for 3-4 years?! I started using Gentoo about 2 months after being introduced to Linux, and about 15 months on, became a developer... 8O I still haven't even been using Linux for more than two years...

Just goes to show how good Gentoo is at teaching people the ins and outs of Linux, I suppose...

(BTW, I found stage3 installs with genkernel impossible at the time... stage1 installs with a custom kernel did the job for me :)) (In fact, I think cokehabit did the first ever working stage3 install on one of my computers over SSH... Those were the days :D)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

welp wrote:
Too daunting for someone who's been running Linux for 3-4 years?! I started using Gentoo about 2 months after being introduced to Linux, and about 15 months on, became a developer... 8O I still haven't even been using Linux for more than two years...

Just goes to show how good Gentoo is at teaching people the ins and outs of Linux, I suppose...

(BTW, I found stage3 installs with genkernel impossible at the time... stage1 installs with a custom kernel did the job for me :)) (In fact, I think cokehabit did the first ever working stage3 install on one of my computers over SSH... Those were the days :D)


Only 15 months...well you are pretty good :) Nice work !!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suse was the first linux distro I attempted. However, I failed to continue using it because the hurdle was a little steep. I didn't understand how to use Suse or install programs, or even understand tars and other programs. I then stuck with windows for a while. Finally, I was introduced to gentoo. Gentoo made it so simple and easy to install, even though it took multiple attempts, I learned a lot from it. I learned the basics of linux from installing gentoo, compiling a kernel, playing with configuration files, and more. I completely agree with what you say. Anytime anything is made easy for an end user, it becomes difficult for an admin. Gentoo has a mix of both. Windows and Ubuntu are for end users only, suse and redhat have a little bit more administrative control, while in gentoo its split about 50/50.

I completely agree about hearing people saying "gentoo sucks." Anytime I have a problem I can get it resolved within a day (unless its the emerge --world I haven't done in several months :p)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To the original poster:
It is not the thing to read books and/or learn. It is not the thing that Gentoo is hard to setup or run.

The biggest hurdle about Gentoo is to make real stable: Just as you wrote stable as Slackware.

Why is it not possible to make a portage tree that gives always the stable packages (I mean here also
the constant version of the packages) with just the security patches backported into it. Just as Debian makes.
But for portage.
So that we can install using the dynamic configuration(use-flags) but get stable packages.

If Gentoo would do this then it will be just the king of all distros.

:(
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of a stable portage tree is not new, in fact a GLEP was written on it years ago.

There are still developers around who like the idea, but manpower is a limiting factor in what can be done.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

metacircular-evaluator wrote:
To the original poster:
It is not the thing to read books and/or learn. It is not the thing that Gentoo is hard to setup or run.

The biggest hurdle about Gentoo is to make real stable: Just as you wrote stable as Slackware.

Why is it not possible to make a portage tree that gives always the stable packages (I mean here also
the constant version of the packages) with just the security patches backported into it. Just as Debian makes.
But for portage.
So that we can install using the dynamic configuration(use-flags) but get stable packages.

If Gentoo would do this then it will be just the king of all distros.


To be perfectly honest with you, I don't find that Gentoo is any less stable than any other distro. Like I mentioned in the original post of the thread, I have used a lot of distros, over a long period of time. I'm no pro and I'm no guru compared to some of you, but I know enough to be dangerous.

First allow me to explain what I mean when I say Slackware is stable. From the stand-point of true code stability, both in the Linux kernel and the software running under it, yes, Slackware is stable. But, when I used the word, I was truly referring to the environment, and not the kernel or the software. Slackware is bullet-proof from the get-go because installation is almost failsafe, and when completed, installation results in a stable environment.

As for kernel and software stability... relative to any distribution, not once has a particular piece of software crapped out on me in Linux, unless I was using a beta or alpha version. Sure, there's the occasional memory leak in Firefox (for example) that causes some issues, but I don't consider that to be a real problem because it can be immediately mitigated. With respect to Gentoo, my experience has been no different. Except in cases where I caused the problem, either intentionally or not, I have been met with nothing but stability from the software I use and especially the kernel. This, I assume, is because I configure the kernel myself.

Now, getting to a sane environment can sometimes be a pain in Gentoo. (Anyone ever emerge baselayout and not update the config files? Hmm? Anyone? EVERYONE!) But, I consider this to be a lack of following instructions, and again, my fault.

Yes, there are sometimes issues with linking packages via scripting upon compiling (i.e. dependency issues, etc.), but this is generally mitigated quickly by the Devs. Sure, there are PLENTY of issues concerning so-called "optimization" of the compiler, but that falls in the realm of self-inflicted pain.

I would appreciate someone pointing out to me, other than the types of things I've listed here, how Gentoo produces an environment any less stable than a typical Linux user environment.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi chrisfreet,
I started with Slackware 3.2 a long time ago.
But installing it was not easy.
I later switched to RH,Suse etc.
Since using Gentoo I never switched again.
To those of you installing Linux for your parents:
Here in Holland we have an enterprise Secure Internet Machines which sells a machine
which they named SIMPC.It is a Linux machine for people with little or no knowledge of
computers so they can surf the net,e-mail,banking etc.
You can get a service contract at ¤10 per month where they "repair" any problems via
internet.It is sold by most providers and in stores.
G.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After libexpat.2 fried my system I just figured this is not the time to have gentoo on any box anymore.

Over the years I participated in various gcc disasters (had to install a RH rpm back then to fix gentoo 8O ),the openssl recompile (I think it was) and the gnome2 disaster among various other little hickups.

There are valid points not to be too happy with gentoo right now (graphical installer and where did my partitions go :roll: ) and just sitting there and telling people that they either too dumb or to be nice to the devs ain't going to fix it.Neither will fan letters on the forum.

Way I look at it things started to get flaky after drobbins left and it only went worse ever since.If you don't want to hear about it - thats fine but there is something called reality out there.

Firing userreps because they are not nice enough to the devs fits in just fine there.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very good post chrisfreet

I hate too when people make posts about how gentoo is bad etc... it's really lame...
If you don't like gentoo just switch distro... it isn't so hard

Gentoo is really really great distro... My respect for devs
and for community too :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isnogood wrote:
After libexpat.2 fried my system I just figured this is not the time to have gentoo on any box anymore.

Over the years I participated in various gcc disasters (had to install a RH rpm back then to fix gentoo 8O ),the openssl recompile (I think it was) and the gnome2 disaster among various other little hickups.

There are valid points not to be too happy with gentoo right now (graphical installer and where did my partitions go :roll: ) and just sitting there and telling people that they either too dumb or to be nice to the devs ain't going to fix it.Neither will fan letters on the forum.

Way I look at it things started to get flaky after drobbins left and it only went worse ever since.If you don't want to hear about it - thats fine but there is something called reality out there.

Firing userreps because they are not nice enough to the devs fits in just fine there.


Okay, I agree with you on the GUI installer. I hate it. And I had the libexpat issue, only because I was an idiot and didn't bother to pay attention when I carelessly emerged the entire world. Other than that, I have no idea about the issues you are talking about. I've never had issues with gcc, gnome2, or openssl when using a stable portage tree. If I'm missing something here, please elaborate.

As I've mentioned, usually any issues such as those you purport are self-induced, which of course is the nature of running a Gentoo environment.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couple of years back gcc broke during upgrade and the only way to get it to work again was to get a rpm for some lib - admittedly it's been a while but w/o gcc you are pretty much up shit creek w/o a paddel.

When gnome2 was rushed into stable it was anything but.

Openssl (I think it was) broke compatability with the previous version and automagically a bunch of things stopped working - I think that was when the revdep-rebuild thing that also is borked was conceived.

Those thing happened all on the stable branch.

P.S. what are you running around calling yourself an idiot for because of libexpat?If you have to sit in front of the box at all time and watch out for warnings for a couple of hours and abort if need be something ain't right.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo Reply with quote

isnogood wrote:
Couple of years back gcc broke during upgrade and the only way to get it to work again was to get a rpm for some lib - admittedly it's been a while but w/o gcc you are pretty much up shit creek w/o a paddel.

When gnome2 was rushed into stable it was anything but.

Openssl (I think it was) broke compatability with the previous version and automagically a bunch of things stopped working - I think that was when the revdep-rebuild thing that also is borked was conceived.

Those thing happened all on the stable branch.

P.S. what are you running around calling yourself an idiot for because of libexpat?If you have to sit in front of the box at all time and watch out for warnings for a couple of hours and abort if need be something ain't right.


Okay, you've refreshed my memory now. But, in the spirit of the thread, do you not recommend Gentoo? If not, I still don't care. No offense.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chrisfreet wrote:
As I've mentioned, usually any issues such as those you purport are self-induced, which of course is the nature of running a Gentoo environment.

quite f*cking true.

I don't care at all if anyone else dosen't want to recommend Gentoo. Fine, don't. But they also don't have to be a dick about it. I rarely see well thought out and reasonable critics of Gentoo. Some good ones exist but most are just flame-war kindling.

My only wish is that these people with overly inflated self-worth and the determination to make their gripes heard would actually roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. You don't need to be a programmer to contribute to the betterment of Gentoo as a whole. Aimlessly complaining dosen't help anyone.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo Reply with quote

jonnevers wrote:
My only wish is that these people with overly inflated self-worth and the determination to make their gripes heard would actually roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. You don't need to be a programmer to contribute to the betterment of Gentoo as a whole.


This is so true, and the reason why I love Gentoo. I would bet that of all the people who have helped me (either directly or indirectly) in the Gentoo forums, probably 95% of them are not programmers or gurus of any relative type.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chrisfreet wrote:
As I've mentioned, usually any issues such as those you purport are self-induced, which of course is the nature of running a Gentoo environment.

This statement should be required reading for anyone who starts off with Gentoo. 95% of issues are USER-RELATED, as in, you didn't read the fine manual(s), of which there are more available than any other distro out there AFAIK.

jonnevers wrote:

But they also don't have to be a dick about it

Exactly. No one is forcing anyone to use Gentoo. So, why badmouth and dog people / the distro? Does that make your e-penis feel bigger?

Good points gents!

Cheers,
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo Reply with quote

chrisfreet wrote:


Okay, you've refreshed my memory now. But, in the spirit of the thread, do you not recommend Gentoo? If not, I still don't care. No offense.


At this point I wouldn`t recommend it except to someone that needs to build a special system and stick with that or for playing around.

Nothing wrong with issues and things going wrong once in a while - that tends to happen anywhere BUT the way things are handled is ridiculous.

Putting out an installer that is at best pre-beta and clobbers partitions is a joke.There was something mentioned in the docs me thinks (never used the installer anyway) BUT where is the problem with putting up a message during the install that explains the situation?

Same with expat and other things like it - what is the big deal with parsing the warning messages of the ebuilds that are going to be installed and put those up before things get merged preferably with a nice little question like: `You really want to do this?`

Would that be that fscking complicated to implement???

Ok - seems that there are enough ppl in this thread that think suffering is something that builds leetness or something.I happen to object
.
If the packaging system is borked (and hell - it is; don`t even try to argue the point: portage supposedly does dependeny checking) and whoever is in charge or the distro (seems to be nobody - cool thing exoneration of responsibility by default/commitee) thinks it`s more important to do graphical installer that don`t work it`s a testimonial to ignorance.

If - as I suspect - everybody just does what he feels like thats even worse - saw comment by a dev in thread where he went like `QA - what QA? There is none`

And no - again - right now I wouldn`t recommend gentoo but I ain`t going to open up a thread about it either.How could I??
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo Reply with quote

isnogood wrote:
Ok - seems that there are enough ppl in this thread that think suffering is something that builds leetness or something.I happen to object

don't put words into my mouth or anyone else's mouth. I never said ANYTHING about suffering. I've never suffered as a result of using Gentoo. Get some perspective. :roll:
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wah
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo Reply with quote

isnogood wrote:
Ok - seems that there are enough ppl in this thread that think suffering is something that builds leetness or something.I happen to object

Gentoo doesn't build l33tness??? OH S*IT, I've been wasting my time. I guess I'll switch to something else so I can become "teh l33t h0axer" :roll:

You obviously seem to be the only one suffering in this thread. I don't see anyone else here that has claimed that. You may want to re-read the title of the thread.
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chrisfreet
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo Reply with quote

wahman143 wrote:
isnogood wrote:
Ok - seems that there are enough ppl in this thread that think suffering is something that builds leetness or something.I happen to object


You obviously seem to be the only one suffering in this thread. I don't see anyone else here that has claimed that. You may want to re-read the title of the thread.


Seriously, I've encountered a few problems along the way since 2000 (or so), but there is no way I would characterize any of my experiences as suffering.

And this thing with the GUI installer... I remember when it first came out, and there WAS a warning about the deletion of partitions and such. Granted, I've never used it, so I don't know if the common version now being distributed with the LiveCD (etc) does the same crap or not. Is this really a problem?

Even if it is, I still don't care. (Re: Why I don't care if you are dropping recommed of Gentoo)
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isnogood
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey - at least I didn`t get my e-dick wedged in 8O

In my point of view it is suffering if you have to actually sit there and watch warning messages as you update or else.If I can read after the fact what was screwed up and there is no way to recover qualifies as additional torture.

Sorry if anybody got offended - that wasn`t my intention.

I just fail to see why you would have an advanced OS on a million dollar machine that isn`t able to put out a warning and stops until instructed otherwise on a potentionally critical screwup.

Hey you are supposed to be in charge.The way this goes you are in charge of either waste your life in front of the computer catching lines or hoping for the best.
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