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slonocode
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArmorSuit wrote:

There is nothing like the USE flags.


Can someone explain the advantage of USE flags on a desktop system? Not in a general unnoticeable theoretical sense; but in terms of how use flags have helped your desktop system and why you would switch from a binary distro to gentoo because of them.
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ArmorSuit
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slonocode wrote:

Can someone explain the advantage of USE flags on a desktop system? Not in a general unnoticeable theoretical sense; but in terms of how use flags have helped your desktop system and why you would switch from a binary distro to gentoo because of them.


A case in point. I need pcslite for a smart card reader. This particular reader requires libpcs be compiled with usb, not hal support. I set "usb -hal" for pcsc-lite and voila! On a few binary distros I tried this, they all came with pcsc-lite compiled with hal support, so I had to manually recompile them, and doing so I had to remember what I did and recompile again in case of update.

Also multimedia applications. Compiling for your CPU (which also assumes some USE flags like SSE, MMX, 3DNOW etc) makes them faster and more flexible, compared to binary distros that cater to a wider set of CPUs with fewer common features. One exception may be Arch, being built for 686.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slonocode wrote:
Which useflags do you find useful on a laptop and I am assuming you use it for normal graphical use?

I want my system just the way I like it, which is exactly why I love useflags. With them I can select which features I want to have enabled or disabled. It saves me from installing a lot of unneeded dependencies. For example, I prefer using openbox with a selection of gtk2 and qt4 apps, but without installing gnome or kde. I also don't use a printer, so why should I need to install cups? On a laptop you want to keep your resource usage reasonably low, so running just the applications you need, and not installing unwanted bloat, is key. And binary distros always force me to install more crap than I want.
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slonocode
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yngwin wrote:

I want my system just the way I like it, which is exactly why I love useflags.



I understand that you like them. I'm sure they give a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Are you saying you perceive better performance or is it just key for you to not have additional bits on your desktop system?
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regomodo
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slonocode wrote:
yngwin wrote:

I want my system just the way I like it, which is exactly why I love useflags.



I understand that you like them. I'm sure they give a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Are you saying you perceive better performance or is it just key for you to not have additional bits on your desktop system?


If you're using USE flags because you think it's for performance benefits you're doing it wrong.

PS: you've become a borderline troll.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

regomodo wrote:
PS: you've become a borderline troll.

Not borderline, slonocode is a well known 'lolloonix' troll.
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slonocode
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

regomodo wrote:
slonocode wrote:
yngwin wrote:

I want my system just the way I like it, which is exactly why I love useflags.



I understand that you like them. I'm sure they give a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Are you saying you perceive better performance or is it just key for you to not have additional bits on your desktop system?


If you're using USE flags because you think it's for performance benefits you're doing it wrong.

PS: you've become a borderline troll.



Many people on this forum cite USE flags as a reason to use gentoo instead of a binary distro. I find it somewhat laughable myself as it pertains to a non-server desktop/laptop system. But I like to ask from time to time what specifically USE flags have gained those who cite it.

Apparently the big to do is that it saves you a few bits of hard disk space and makes people feel warm and fuzzy about it. Which is pretty irrelevant on a desktop system. Aidanjt tried to allude to some performance gain of linking but you seem to agree with me that there is no real performance gain.
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ArmorSuit
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slonocode wrote:

Apparently the big to do is that it saves you a few bits of hard disk space and makes people feel warm and fuzzy about it.


Actually you don't save HDD space, because you need to carry a GB or more of the portage tree.

The idea of less dependencies means less code to go wrong, and lighter overall system. Less stuff to update.


Quote:
Aidanjt tried to allude to some performance gain of linking but you seem to agree with me that there is no real performance gain.


Because the real performance gain is not really in there. You can configure Arch to start only the daemons you need. Don't have a printer? Don't install cups. This is in opposition to "other" distros that come preloaded with stuff and you need to shave it all off to get to the bottom of what you really need. I, and many others, prefer building up instead of tearing down. More control, less things may go wrong, when you build up to your desired environment.

But I can agree with one thing here. On a desktop, for regular users with no specific hw/sw demands, USE flags may not have any advantages over Arch or other minimalist, but binary distros. Other than convenience, that is. You cannot mention USE flags without portage. And with that, portage is the most advanced package management system among all distros. You set the flags, and emerge whatever you want, all the packages will comply and build up to the specs you've set with the flags.

Show me another package manager that does that. Now, the time needed to get there, that's an entirely different story.
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Kasumi_Ninja
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm running Arch Linux now, I like the fact that package are bleeding edge. A downside is the lack of packages in comparison with Gentoo. AUR is fine for an occasional package but it can get cumbersome with lots of dependencies (bin32-wine anyone?). An advantage of pacman over portage is that they are developing gnupg support for the upcoming release.

I don't see Gentoo's USEflags as an advantage, Nowadays I think it's more of a nuisance to micromanage each package. Which I happily did because Gentoo was such a great system. I'love the clean logical design of Gentoo.
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d2_racing
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kasumi_Ninja wrote:
I don't see Gentoo's USEflags as an advantage, Nowadays I think it's more of a nuisance to micromanage each package.


But with Use Flags, you end up with packages that are optimized with only the use flags that you enable. It's the geek way to use Linux IMOO :P
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Kasumi_Ninja
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d2_racing wrote:
Kasumi_Ninja wrote:
I don't see Gentoo's USEflags as an advantage, Nowadays I think it's more of a nuisance to micromanage each package.


But with Use Flags, you end up with packages that are optimized with only the use flags that you enable. It's the geek way to use Linux IMOO :P


Absolutely and it has it's advantages (I love the X server USEflag). On the other hand it can be a bit cumbersome for normal daily desktop usage.
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Ion Silverbolt
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had both gentoo(via a personal binhost) and arch with an eee optimized kernel on my eeepc900. Gentoo was slightly faster while arch took up less space. Both worked well enough to impress me on it though.

You seem to be looking for solid answers as to why gentoo is better, but it comes down to personal preference. I prefer gentoo because of how easy it is to customize and compile software. Especially tailoring your own kernel. I have never found another distro where it is as easy as gentoo to customize your own kernel. Also, multiple versions of software. Gentoo has the flexibility to run a solid stable system, yet use bleeding edge packages of certain things. Even the whole system if you really like living on the edge.

Arch has points to it that some people prefer too. It's so quick to setup and install compared to gentoo. Installation of new packages is fast. General speed is also better than (insert meta distro here) as well.

I like both gentoo and arch a lot. Both have their strengths. Just pick whatever suits you personally.
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Kasumi_Ninja
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ion Silverbolt wrote:
I prefer gentoo because of how easy it is to customize and compile software. Especially tailoring your own kernel. I have never found another distro where it is as easy as gentoo to customize your own kernel. Also, multiple versions of software. Gentoo has the flexibility to run a solid stable system, yet use bleeding edge packages of certain things. Even the whole system if you really like living on the edge.



Good point, this is where Gentoo truly shines. Kernel compilations feels really integrated in Gentoo. In other distro's is more of an afterthought. Multiple package versions and package.keywords are excellent.
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d2_racing
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fact, I only know one other distro that is not Gentoo based that can handle keywords packages and it's Debian with the pin priority.
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Kasumi_Ninja
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d2_racing wrote:
In fact, I only know one other distro that is not Gentoo based that can handle keywords packages and it's Debian with the pin priority.


Imo package.keywords is far more easier. Especially with auto unmask.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you regularly need to build packages from source then USE flags are necessity so you don't have to expend effort to maintain features you don't need. This is a critical part of the Gentoo infrastructure which lets you "roll your own distro" with as much automation as possible.

If you are happy with the binary packages provided by some distro like Arch, you don't need USE flags, and you don't need Gentoo.
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slonocode
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArmorSuit wrote:

Actually you don't save HDD space, because you need to carry a GB or more of the portage tree.


Excellent point, I hadn't considered that. So they don't save bits. They don't improve performance. Assuming you turn off unwanted services on a binary distro they don't save resources. At least there's that warm fuzzy feeling left.
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d2_racing
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kasumi_Ninja wrote:
Imo package.keywords is far more easier. Especially with auto unmask.


No doubt about that, the /etc/portage/package.* is by far the best and the most flexible way to manage packages versions.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slonocode wrote:
At least there's that warm fuzzy feeling left.

That, and faster linking, and free choice of software features to enable.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArmorSuit wrote:
Actually you don't save HDD space, because you need to carry a GB or more of the portage tree.


Because <300MiB makes a GB.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have run both Arch and Gentoo on a few year old Dell Core Duo E1505. I prefer Arch on that particular computer due to it's speed of initial install and adding software. I bought my laptop for it's portability and Arch is just better for me when I'm on the move.

I run Gentoo on my server and desktop, use flags are helpful but I find software selection to be far more important. If I want a lean system, I install apps that are designed in that manner and apply use flags to fine tune functionality.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

slonocode questions why you need a "lean" or "fine-tuned" systems for normal desktop use. He's right, you don't, except for hobby purposes.

There are however some practical uses for a tailored installation:

* A consistent, lean toolchain with desired component versions, useful for software development

* You require unconventional options for various software packages, most likely because you are a developer

* Ease of maintenance in custom local deployments (e.g., a company intranet)

* Creating a new binary distribution (a la Sabayon)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I moved from Archlinux (back) to Gentoo some weeks ago. Archlinux is a bit more bleeding edge but I love the Gentoo way for a long time now.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve` wrote:
I moved from Archlinux (back) to Gentoo some weeks ago. Archlinux is a bit more bleeding edge but I love the Gentoo way for a long time now.


If you want bleeding edge, use this :

Gentoo ~arch with a lot of overlays and I'm sure that you will be a lot more unstable then with Arch and actually a lot more bleeding edge at least :P
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please do not compare ~arch with overlays to ARCH. It may be compared with ARCH testing or ARCH kdemod ...
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