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moisespedro
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:31 am    Post subject: Hi, I am an average Linux user Reply with quote

And my favorite (and current distro) is Slackware. After so many time I finally got rid off Windows (not entirely, will still use it for gaming) and Linux became my main OS. I am not a very skilled Linux user but I can use google/forums and follow documentation pretty well. With that being said, I really want to try Gentoo but I want to ask a few things: is it worth it? I am not talking about learning but abour performance, does it make that much difference? Because Slackware is already pretty fast to me. Another thing: how often do you get dependency hell issues? Is portage good/stable? I really hated dealing with apt on debian-based distros trying to destroy my system. This is one of my favorite things on Slackware, although it can be a bit harder to get some programs overall is very easy to maintain and you don't deal with any dependency hell problems (for obvious reasons). Last but not least: Slackware is a very conservative system on updates and it is stable as a rock. How often did an update break your system? Is it easy to reverse it? Well guys, that is it. Thanks for you attention and sorry for any bad english.
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666threesixes666
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes its worth it... you have to unwrap stage 3, install a boot loader, and compile your kernel from scratch. its worth it for the reason of highly granular control. i find little bugs here and there. if anything a package is out of commission, but most packages have prior and next versions available. sometimes useflags addition or subtraction will resolve bugs found... 5 minutes ago i couldnt get gtk pod to compile, changed version to latest, dropped some use flags and bam good to go.

its more akin to linux from scratch but taking all the painful work and time consumption of compiling by hand out. use flags are tied to sources --with --without if you run ./configure --help it will show lists of things packages can have compiled in or out. more in = more security hole risks. slackware doesnt give you this control. you have no control of what is in or out on the base system where we can change use flags and have portage scan all of the packages installed and change their use flags according to how you want your system.

take a glance at our wiki pages... (you can use lilo, syslinux, grub, or grub2 to boot your machine) you're the installer, not bob dobs. no need for gpm? dont install it, installed it and dont need it thats pretty easy to remove too via emerge -c gpm. want gnome2 instead of gnome3? mask gnome3 and go about your business. package use flags can be globally defined, or package by package.

SPEED, id say no, security id say yes, taking control over your system instead of it controlling you id say yes. the speed gains are not THAT much, you're asking the wrong questions of gentoos strengths. this is not an instant gratification distribution by any means. takes me a day to get my laptop up and running, instead of an hour with slackware.

you can shout at me on irc.freenode.net #gentoo-chat-exile if you've got further questions. the official irc channel is no profanity and no off topic, install only. and im banned from it and also banned from #gentoo-chat for potty mouth :twisted:
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try to break each point down.

Quote:
I am not a very skilled Linux user but I can use google/forums and follow documentation pretty well.


This wasn't really a question, but it does say that you have more than enough ability to install Gentoo. Some of the more tricky bits are well documented but you have to know where to look (i.e. google)

Quote:
I really want to try Gentoo but I want to ask a few things: is it worth it?


That depends on your rubric. I don't think any linux distro is going to be too different in performance if you set them up similarly, ie get rid of the extra stuff. Gentoo will probably be a bit faster, but you probably won't notice. Generally, compiling from source isn't a magic bullet.

Quote:
how often do you get dependency hell issues? Is portage good/stable?


Dependency hell? Almost never. A few packages will complain on occasion, but portage usually tells you exactly which use flags are needed to fix them. I don't recall ever getting into something like that on a normal update either.

The few cases I can recall all had to do with messing with my stage3 before finishing the install. That said, there are plenty of people who end up in this particular situation if they don't update at least monthly.

As for portage being reliable, I have never had to reinstall due to portage (who knew rm was so dangerous?) and there are posters here with 10 year old gentoo installs. I'd say it is very reliable.

Quote:
Slackware is a very conservative system on updates and it is stable as a rock. How often did an update break your system?


The most common breakage I have had is due to forgetting to rebuild the xorg drivers with an xorg update, which it now does automatically. This isn't Arch. By the time you see an update it has already undergone a fair amount of testing.

Also, we have a nice emerge.log that shows you what you emerged and when so it is usually fairly easy to see what the culprit is. One nice thing about having a command line package manager is that it doesn't break with X.

There are also three levels of software: overlay, which is where the bleeding edge stuff is. When the devs are satisfied that it is ready, it gets moved to the unstable branch. From personal experience, I would say 'unstable' is actually quite stable. I have only ever seen a few packages that didn't work correctly and it was always easy to roll back to a working one. Lastly, there is stable. Stable is exactly what it says on the label.
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666threesixes666
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah the unstable branch is very stable. ive only seen a few packages be funky, but i knew them to be funky outside of gentoo and nothing of gentoos doing could fix their mistakes.

i think by dependency hell he's refering to redhat/debian purging packages that other packages depending on. thus depending on a package that does not exist. ive not seen this at all in gentoo, portage isnt stupid about dependencies. i showed up with complete contempt towards package management, and its really an excellent system. i guess google adopted it for their chromebook systems and dropped apt. (if that says anything about it)
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is true, but portage is capable of delivering its own version of package hell with several layers of blockers and mismatched use flags that takes some work to figure out. There is more than one layer of hell. Dante wrote about 9 of them. Although, like I said this only seems to be a problem if you neglect to update regularly.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah that falls into last case, no package for a few weeks while the nightmare gets sorted out. usually if emerge -avuND world is good once, it will stay good for a very long time....

-avuND = ask, verbose, update, new uses, deeply scan the system.... world is the package list of installed packages on your system, rolling update. you can sync and update weekly and usually its none or 1 or 2 packages need updating / rebuilding. but you're right dok, the hard blocks can be very tough to resolve.
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jonathan183
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: USE flags and control over what's installed is the main plus Reply with quote

moisespedro ... Gentoo is a rolling release so you should expect more breakage than a fixed release like Slackware - each approach has pros and cons.
When I first started using Gentoo a few years ago I ran into a few problems with portage ... it's got better and I have probably got better at fixing issues as well :)
I doubt you will notice much of a performance improvement compared with Slackware, but the ability to control what's included with USE flags is a big plus. You can also mix stable and testing software on a package by package based which is likely to be more problematic with other distros.
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moisespedro
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, just got it installed and I am completely lost, I've read a lot about portage/emerge and I am still totally confused. It has too many options (I know Gentoo is all about customizing but damn) and, for example, I still haven't figured out the best way for removing a package.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emerge -c <---safer
emerge -C <--- remove it now

id get firefox-bin xorg-x11 xorg-server going before much else.... give your self a base to work with and get used to.


emerge firefox-bin xorg-x11 xorg-server


bookmark this....

https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Gentoo_Cheat_Sheet
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

moisespedro,

Code:
man emerge

emerge -C package/atom removes package/atom and its entry in the world file, if any.
It does not remove any packages that package/atom depended on that are no longer needed.
emerge --depclean does that. However, --depclean has been known to be a bit over enthusiatic, so run it with the --pretend option before you provide yourself with an excellent learning opportunity to fix a broken Gentoo.
When you are happy with what will be removed, drop --pretend
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666threesixes666
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, add -av to the cs to ask and verbosely show what portage plans to do.

emerge -avc & emerge -avC... cheat sheet does a better job explaining than my memory does.

neddys saying emerge -avc --pretend package
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moisespedro
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, thanks for the answers :) I've installed fluxbox on it because I want to test a *box wm (even it is harder than xfce). I am having two problems now: I can't configure network properly, dhcpcd doesn't work at boot. And I can't login into fluxbox using slim. And let me see if I got something about USE flags right: I don't have a printer so I have no interest in compiling any cups-related stuff into my softwares but I use cups-pdf to save webpages as pdf files. If I use a "-cups" flag and then "emerge cups-pdf" will it work?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

moisespedro,

Code:
emerge cups-pdf
will still work.

USE flags control optional features of packages that are selected at compile time.
cups-pdf provides a PDF printer in CUPS that you can select like any other printer. emerge cups-pdf will probably pull in CUPS, since you will need cups to print anything anywhere.

Applications built with -cups may well not support printing at all.
Applications that do not take -cups will still work as cups support is not optional.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

moisespedro,

Is dhcpcd installed.

What is your network interface called - I'll use if_name below, you use the real name
Is net.if_name a symlink to net.lo ... look in /etc/init.d/
Is net.if_name in the default runlevel?
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666threesixes666
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

can you use startx to start fluxbox?

if not user command from this
https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Fluxbox#Preparing_X11

simple configuration is just like startx
https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/SLiM#simple_configuration

dhcpcd, dhclient, and dhcpd wiki pages are non existent....
i run network manager and avoid all of those. seagoons suggestions are for the traditional network stack. theres also wicd. both wicd and network manager are well documented on the wikis. (they are great at preventing reinvention of the wheel)

& welcome to gentoo....
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moisespedro
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So a flag like -cups render cups-pdf useless, right? Because if every program that can print is compiled without it I won't be able to use cups-pdf. Anyways, yes dhcpcd is enabled, at boot it doesn't work. What I do to get it working is: log as root, launch dhcpcd, kill it and then launch it again (and then it works). I probably missed something at network configuration but I have no idea what it was. And yes I can get into fluxbox using "startx" but not with slim, which gives me two options: "Xsesion" and "fluxbox" with both taking me to the same place ("broken" twm+xterm, "broken" because they aren't installed anymore. It is just a black screen with a "X" curson icon in the middle.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

do simple slim configuration.... wiki link is a few posts above

to start dhcpcd at boot
(as root)
rc-update add dhcpcd default

to start services found in /etc/init.d/*

rc-service dhcpcd start

"
make this section look like this.
[Collapse]
File/etc/slim.conf

# login_cmd exec /bin/sh - ~/.xinitrc %session
login_cmd exec /bin/bash -login ~/.xinitrc %session
# login_cmd exec /bin/bash -login /usr/share/slim/Xsession %session
"

doesnt rely on xsession, or options, it just basically runs startx 4 u.... there is an auto login section to the wiki too if you want to fire up the pc and be dropped into fluxbox.

-cups use flag = no packages will be built with cups support. (where flagging --disable-cups is possible on the packages) it could mean major breakage, but probably not....

-cups you can still emerge cups, just other packages wont have support for it compiled in.
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moisespedro
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe I tried that on slim and still didn't work, will check it out tomorrow. Thanks :)
I hope all the effort is worth since I am almost done configuring my slackware box and I am pretty happy with it.
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