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cvanhan
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:31 am    Post subject: Gentoo's Advantages? Help. Reply with quote

What are some of Gentoo Linux's benefits? What do you get to do in Gentoo than in any other distro?
I'm a Arch Linux user wanting to try a more advanced distribution.
Sorry I'm a noob but I want to hear what Gentoo's all about from some experienced, longtime users who know their stuff.

Thanks in advance.
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avx
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

works, source-based, more stable than Arch, overlays, customization quite near to doing everything by hand, portage rocks, everything about choice, keeps you warm in the winter, ...

Other than that, ask specific questions or just browse the forums, read wikipedia, etc.

//mods, move to GC?
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fturco
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: Gentoo's Advantages? Help. Reply with quote

cvanhan wrote:
What are some of Gentoo Linux's benefits? What do you get to do in Gentoo than in any other distro?
I'm a Arch Linux user wanting to try a more advanced distribution.
Sorry I'm a noob but I want to hear what Gentoo's all about from some experienced, longtime users who know their stuff.

Sorry but I don't understand. You say you are a "noob" but still you want to try a more "advanced" distribution...
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aCOSwt
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo's advantage ?... avx ! fturco ! ... well those who contribute here and answer your questions.
Of course, best of arch's forum contributors contribute here also.
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Hypnos
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This comparison I found via Google seems fair. I use Gentoo because I absolutely must control my toolchain, and "library dependency hell" is easily corrected in a source-based distribution.

Echoing aCoswt, the Gentoo forums are fantastic, and nothing stops us from using the superb Arch wiki :P (our own official wiki is pretty useful already).
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mikb
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Gentoo's Advantages? Help. Reply with quote

cvanhan wrote:
What are some of Gentoo Linux's benefits? What do you get to do in Gentoo than in any other distro?


I'm not an Arch user (Gentoo pretty much fulfills all my needs :D ), but maybe I can answer that with a bit of personal history.

Why do I use Gentoo? In one phrase, cutting edge (alright, sometimes bleeding edge)

After using Redhat, then Fedora on each of my machines since 1995, about 2004 I acquired a shiny new 64-bit AMD laptop, with a then hot new ATI Radeon GPU. I wanted to try Compiz - and the ATI driver in Fedora didn't support it. I tried the proprietary ATI drivers, but it never worked well, leaving aside tainting the kernel. The Broadcom wireless module had the same problems.

There were builds of drivers out there, but no RPMs. What to do?

I tried Ubuntu, but that was just as bad.

I considered LFS,
Code:
./configure; make; make install
has never held any terrors for me, but it looked like hard work.

Then Google led me to Gentoo!

Latest versions (Testing) of Compiz, Mesa, Radeon drivers, kernel (incl XF86 DRM) and NDisWrapper, and then the native Broadcom (now b43) drivers, and every thing was working! Sweet!

So that got me into Gentoo. Now why do I stay with Gentoo?

I'm addicted to that cutting edge. Every binary distro (even Sabayon, which I tried for a while) seemed frustratingly behind the curve. Only Gentoo as a source-based distribution, can keep up.

Portage does work really well - I don't know how like BSD Ports it is any more, but it is such a powerful tool for sorting out dependencies, allowing me to keep the system rolling forward mostly painlessly. Dependency management is enormously better than when I started.

Writing ebuilds for custom or bleeding edge stuff is powerful and straight forward. If it's not in the main tree, there's a good chance it's already in someone's published overlay, and if it isn't, it's not too hard to build your own. Portage will look after most of the accidental complexities of Linux software building for you, in a simple scripting system, that's capable of some very complex things.

I work a lot with Perl - and I love g-cpan -> CPAN modules to ebuilds, in one step!

Then, as other people have pointed out, there's the breadth and quality of help in the Forums, unmatched by any others I've used, inside or outside of Linux.

So pretty much, Gentoo is powerful, flexible, and current in ways users of binary Linux distros can barely imagine. That's why I'm sticking with it. It lets me get all my jobs done.
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Gentoo64
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lots of things that make it a good distro, it has most packages so not much need for other repos, you can install pretty much any version including live versions which are all automated and blend in with the rest of the system.
I can compile things in / out of packages (no need for special versions of packages from other sources), make.conf and the whole /etc/portage is simple and easy to use.
It's easy to maintain and keep track of changes with eselect news and etc-update.
Easy to switch between profiles like a hardened toolchain, with 1 command, hardened-sources, and other kernels are all pre-patched and well maintained so it makes everything quick and easy if you want a special kernel.
rc-update makes it quick and easy to add services to any runlevel.
Documentation is pretty good.
Community is good.

I think aside from the initial install (which imo isn't a whole lot harder than Arch's now AIF is gone) it's the easiest distro I've ever maintained, and it's definately not as intimidating as some people make it out to be. I couldn't use any other distro as it has everything it's stable, fast, customizeable and rolling release. It has the potential to be anything you want whether it's really secure or 100% speed, and you can transform the whole thing with just a couple of commands.
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Fitzcarraldo
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the series of ten blog posts Why I Use Gentoo Linux by Jason Lynch does a good job of explaining the benefits of Gentoo. Personally, I think one of the stand-outs is the package manager, Portage, which is elegant and powerful. There has to be a reason why Google's Chromium OS developers switched to using Portage to develop their OS, doesn't there?: Upcoming build system changes

A couple of downsides to Gentoo in my opinion: 1. The time-consuming and complicated installation procedure compared to binary distributions. 2. The installation or update of some packages can be very time-consuming (e.g.1 updating from one version of KDE to another; e.g.2 installing OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird unless you opt to install the Gentoo binary package instead).
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moved from Other Things Gentoo to Gentoo Chat as it's not a support question, rather a question about Gentoo itself.
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A big advantage, at least from my point of view, is that Arch is switching to systemd. I have had negative experiences with it, both on my laptop, which runs Arch, and (temporally) on my desktop. On Gentoo I can stay with openRC with no trouble.

Another advantage is that I am currently runny a desktop without policykit, consolkit, udisks, upower, Bluetooth support, or the semantic desktop feature in KDE. I can't do that easily with Arch, and it actually takes less time to customize Gentoo due to the fact that its already my custom binary. This choice is why I would choose Gentoo over Arch.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might sound a little odd, but at least for me, the advantage of Gentoo is that "emerge -vDu world" sometimes breaks things; what used to work often doesn't work anymore. If that happens, I look at the logs, roll back to previous versions, double-check the USE flags, read the "important" messages that I didn't pay enough attention at the end of emerge, come to the forum and see whether there are other people with the same problem, and most of all, just play round until I find a solution.

I must say I've learned things I wouldn't have learned if I had relied on something like "sudo apt-get upgrade".

I usually don't mess with the "mission critical" box, because I just can't afford it to be down for an extended period of time, but for others, learning new things is always a refreshing experience.
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Hypnos
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a counterpoint to solamour's post, I use Gentoo on my "mission-critical" work laptop and server.
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hcaulfield57
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main advantages I see to Gentoo are:

1. Customization, if there is a certain piece of software that you want on your system, or a certain piece you don't want, portage gives you the tools to do that, and it's entirely possible to have any type of system you want with Gentoo, this is not practically possible with other distros, of if it is, it's very time consuming, it's very easy on Gentoo.

2. Portage, with portage you can have multiple versions of the same package, and can even roll back to previous versions if you want. Also, portage has a stable branch, and a testing branch, so you will not have to deal with instability of packages or anything, if you follow stable, then Gentoo is pretty stable as the name suggests.

3.
The Doctor wrote:

A big advantage, at least from my point of view, is that Arch is switching to systemd. I have had negative experiences with it, both on my laptop, which runs Arch, and (temporally) on my desktop. On Gentoo I can stay with openRC with no trouble.


4. Documentation, Gentoo's documentation is just plain the best. The handbook walks you through everything, and there is also great documentation on the wiki, and other handbooks on the Gentoo website.

5. Community, Gentoo has a great community that tries to help people with their problems, and its always very friendly.

Also, on a side note, the notion of an 'advanced distro' is pretty arbitrary in my opinion. If you can follow documentation and aren't afraid to learn, then there's nothing really advanced about Gentoo. Many newbs shy away from Gentoo, but I really don't see any reason for that. It's more of a stereotype really, give Gentoo a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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Melsion
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree on all that's been said here, but I'd like to add something on the stability side.

I work with three computers, a server, a desktop and a laptop. I've tested a lot of OS's, windows and linux (mainly ubuntu), hell.... I even installed Mac OS X on my desktop out of curiosity (all of them on a spare disk). Gentoo is the only OS/distro that has never EVER crashed on me no matter what I did to it, and so, it's my working environment.

My server is 8+ years old, buggy as hell, no windows version will even install, ubuntu and suse hang now and then and i was unable to find a reason (nothing in the logs). The motherboard won't reboot, it can only cold start (even the BIOS hangs).... Gentoo -> 0 crashes in 5 years. Right now I'm only afraid of the day when the lights go out and the bios refuses to boot again.

It's just my personal experience, but Gentoo has saved me a few bucks on hardware.... it really just works.

Love Gentoo ;)
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