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Radioactive Fellow
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:10 pm    Post subject: Is gentoo worth the trouble? Reply with quote

Hi everyone.
Im an Ubuntu user since some time now, and before that I used Debian. Last week I tried to install Gentoo but the instalation process was a real pain in the a**. Again, that was my experience, maybe for some of you was a walk in the park.

I am willing to try again and again until I get it working, but before I want to know if there is a serious performance difference between Gentoo and other distros. Can you actualy feel it faster?

Im looking for some honest answers of user that switched to gentoo from other distribution.

Thanks
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Phenax
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends soley how you set your system up.
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Maedhros
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never used Gentoo because of its supposed speed. I use it because I can customise it the way I want to more easily than with any other distro I've found.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

I think Gentoo's as fast as it gets. But I don't think it's faster than any other distro. Even if it was slower/fast I don't think you'd see a difference. The great thing about Gentoo is portage. Once you've set Genoo up you're on easy street. No more CD installs once a new version of a distro pops up. I suggest reading up on portage. If you like it give it another shot.

Cheers
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Radioactive Fellow
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason I asked about performance was because in debian based distros unless you compile your own debs you get a lot of crap. And yes, Im locking for a distro that can be optimized (I know all can be but none of the others got tools like Gentoo does "USE") to run as fast as it can. I was also lokking for a little challenge too but I already know it is chalenging, at least more than Ubuntu.
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Radioactive Fellow
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks micmac I will read more about portage and I will give it another shot. I hope I can install it, not exactly a linux veteran here...
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As has been stated many, many, times before, the best part of Gentoo is the USE flags that portage provides. I like Ubuntu generally, but I hate the fact that all the kernel packages *require* that you have bluetooth packages installed too (and evms and lvm2 and ...). Try to remove them and apt will try to remove your kernel... There are plenty of other examples of packages that are built with all optional components so that you have to have many more packages installed than you may want or need. With USE flag settings, I can (generally) cut a package down to only contain the optional features that I want.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never used Debian so can't really offer you a proper comparison between the two.

But NO. There is no significant speed difference. It is noticeably faster than larger distros like SuSE or perhaps the previous version of Ubuntu, but that is only because you only select what you need for installation.

Compiler optimisations do not make it super fast compared to other distros.

Having said that, I'd also like to add that it is no 'trouble'. It is quite easy to use, despite what people say. And you can't possibly say that you find Gentoo installation difficult after having used Debian. There are alternative binary install methods too, if you find the compiling from source tedious.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a Gentoo and Ubuntu user actually and I will say I prefer Gentoo. Portage is just wonderful and the customization is mind blowing.
However, it does give me grief, depending on the platform I run it on. That is why I use Gentoo on all my personal computers and Ubuntu for all my server purposes. Ubuntu is amazing because in about 45 minutes I have a fully functional LAMP up and running. It would take 20 + hours with Gentoo. (Depending on the computer I was installing it on, it could even be more).
I will also say Gentoo is a lot of fun. If you like everything working the way YOU want it to, Gentoo is the distro for you.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have gentoo and kubuntu. Kubuntu is great for things working out of the box, but you are at the mercy of who makes the packages as too what options were used. Gentoo seems to allow me better integration. If you have dvdrom for example and you use the dvd "USE" flag, all your packages could be compiled to be dvd aware. You also have the flexibility to only make certain apps dvd aware and others not. It's choice that starts at the compilation stage.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The difference between Gentoo and other distros is the fluff you remove/add.
Gentoo you add only the fluff you need/want, others you remove the fluff you never use.
Other than that Gentoo's portage is simply an amazing tool compared to Synaptic, and installing Gentoo is quite a trip as well :)
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two words: conditional compilation. In my humble opinion, these words are the only reason to use a source-based distro like Gentoo over a binary one like Ubuntu. Since others have already more or less explained what conditional compilation is, I am just going to re-iterate what's already been said: Gentoo gives you full control over what gets installed and what doesn't. Basically, with Gentoo, when you compile a package from source, you have full control over which features of the package would get compiled in. This way, you can greatly reduce bloat on your system.

However, if you don't care about the amount of bloat, or you feel that your time is more important than compiling and setting up a lean, slim system, you should stick with awesome binary distros like Ubuntu.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bloat in binary distros? yes if 300mb extra is going to really matter. I just came back to gentoo after a full featured fedoracore 5 install (amd64+x86 libs mind you) and it isn't much bigger than my now full featured (full gnome, parts of kde, LAMP stuff etc...) gentoo install.

when you get down to it, there is little to no speed difference, a nominal size difference if you want (and with the cost of storage these days, even 500mb is nothing to cry over), between, lets say, fedoracore 5 and gentoo.

gentoo is easy and intuitive to configure and maintane, works damn well, and forces you to up your understanding of linux. It has the greatest (hands down!) suport on the plannet (people who pay Sun Microsystems $3 million don't get the kind of support you can get on these forums+irc+handbook(s)+wiki!).
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the long and short of it.

If you're my wife, you just want to turn on your computer and have it work. You don't want to tinker with it. You want to use it. In that case, Gentoo is horrid for what she wants. Even if she hands it to me to tinker with, she hates waiting for a compile and such. Waiting a few days for an install from scratch? She'd rather be online in an hour.

Me? I absolutely love being able to customize and tinker with every aspect. Is it better? In my opinion it is. But what do you want?
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The install process is easy if you just carefully follow the instructions. Prepare and read the instrucions before starting the install process. The documentation is good on Gentoo website. Also the forums and wiki are there for you.

I've only used RH8 before and I hated the RPM dependency stuff. There's today in Gentoo sometimes blocking packages, and other weird situations but normal user can usually easily fix them. As for speed I dont know. Against what distro or OS would you compare it? I've grown used to Gentoo. It's my everyday desktop and websurfmachine. They have windows machines in work. Also a few ubuntu and fedora core machines. They ubuntu guys praise their distro. However I prefer Gentoo still for the reasons mentioned by others.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is worth it if you can get it setup the way you want/need things to be setup. No OS is worth it if you have to spend more time doing battle with the system rather than enjoying it.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you want a distro to cut your teeth on, something that is totally unstable and prone to not working or requiring a complete re-install..... do not for any reason choose Gentoo.

Gentoo will teach you more than any other distro out there, with the exception of Linux from scratch.... but it is not a distro you want to use on a computer you cannot afford to have unavailable for days, weeks or even months at a time.

My system, which was stable up until a month ago, has been totally unrecoverable..... and it is completely the fault of how certain recent decisions made that completely messed things up, and then, were blamed on anything but the poor decision.

Anything on this system marked stable....don't for a second believe it.

I used Gentoo as my work system up until this latest fiasco, and now am recommending to all my customers and co-workers to stay away from it except for a learning tool. It turns out that it is nothing more than a toy, which saddens me as I really had high hopes for it going much further.

If you want to have a reliable desktop, use Ubuntu.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Is gentoo worth the trouble? Reply with quote

Radioactive Fellow wrote:
I am willing to try again and again until I get it working, but before I want to know if there is a serious performance difference between Gentoo and other distros. Can you actualy feel it faster?

For me there was. Last year I switched from Fedora Core 3 to Gentoo and one of the things I noticed first was that my Gentoo system was quicker and more responsive. Of course, you lose a lot of time waiting for things to compile, so there are cons as well as pros.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. Gentoo is definetly not worth the trouble.

...unless you like to tinker with everything, go through the configs and edit everything, try to get some piece of software to compile, repair a broken system once in a while and so on...

I do! \o/
(Allthough my girlfriend doesn't like the fact that my computer is fully usable only about 4/5 of the time. Nowadays I have a fully working system on a separate drive.)

If you wish to have stable system that works, I recommend Debian. Even Debian Sid is more stable than Gentoo. Some might disagree with this though. I've heard about so many problems even with stable x86 on Gentoo and not much about Debian Sid.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Albert_Alligator wrote:
Unless you want a distro to cut your teeth on, something that is totally unstable and prone to not working or requiring a complete re-install..... do not for any reason choose Gentoo.

Gentoo will teach you more than any other distro out there, with the exception of Linux from scratch.... but it is not a distro you want to use on a computer you cannot afford to have unavailable for days, weeks or even months at a time.

My system, which was stable up until a month ago, has been totally unrecoverable..... and it is completely the fault of how certain recent decisions made that completely messed things up, and then, were blamed on anything but the poor decision.

Anything on this system marked stable....don't for a second believe it.

I used Gentoo as my work system up until this latest fiasco, and now am recommending to all my customers and co-workers to stay away from it except for a learning tool. It turns out that it is nothing more than a toy, which saddens me as I really had high hopes for it going much further.

If you want to have a reliable desktop, use Ubuntu.

Hmmm. Sounds like you and I have had similar experiences in the last couple of months. I tend to switch back and forth between Gentoo and Ubuntu. Whenever one does something to really piss me off, I switch to the other. That usually lasts for a couple of months, then the process repeats itself. I just wish I could find a distro that is as configurable as Gentoo, but a little more stable like the binary distros tend to be. Oh yeah, while I'm waiting for that, I want to win the lottery too. ;)
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I switched both of my boxes from Gentoo to Ubuntu yeserday, for time being at least (still have inportant *.conf's backed up and such).
Gentoo is great, but at times you will spend more time fixing your system than using it.
Other times is smooth sailing.
I got hit hard by the modular X upgrade, so I need to stay away from that distro for a little bit =)

edit: reading some posts above, I'm seeing a trend. Yeah in recent few months my Gentoo troubles has skyrocketed. Gentoo needs as "super stable" branch or something. Honestly two of my system breakings were only fixable by installing unstable packages, because the stable verions of these packages simply did not work for some reason.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lechium wrote:
I switched both of my boxes from Gentoo to Ubuntu yeserday, for time being at least (still have inportant *.conf's backed up and such).
Gentoo is great, but at times you will spend more time fixing your system than using it.
Other times is smooth sailing.
I got hit hard by the modular X upgrade, so I need to stay away from that distro for a little bit =)

edit: reading some posts above, I'm seeing a trend. Yeah in recent few months my Gentoo troubles has skyrocketed. Gentoo needs as "super stable" branch or something. Honestly two of my system breakings were only fixable by installing unstable packages, because the stable verions of these packages simply did not work for some reason.


I also vote for Gentoo Super Stable. That would make me enjoy it once again. I've always liked Gentoo, it's just my life has dictated that I not spend my entire weekend trying to fix something that should have not made it into a package marked stable.

Maybe they'll do something like that...... or else, all that Gentoo will be left with are the Ricers of all the joke threads. If you guys here at Gentoo want fiction to become reality..... keep things going the way they are now. And even I will call Gentoo the ricer-only distro.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look, you had a problem with migrating to Modular X, which many people have.

However, I run absolutely bleeding edge. My toolchain is based off weekly snapshots. I make custom ebuilds for half the stuff on my system, and throw in all kinds of crazy unofficial testing packages.

My various boxes all run just fine. So while you're bitter over one package, from everything I've seen, Gentoo is VERY conservative in declaring packages stable, more so than other distros which are also prone to various bugs just like anyone body else.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup. Ranting over one package is a bit too much. However they may have had other problems too.

I just updated half of the packages. That includes xorg, gnome, firefox, mythtv, wine, amarok etc etc. I expected at least mythtv to break however it runs just fine. There were few hickups when installing xorg 7.0 but I got them sorted out quite easily. I've deliberately skipped most updates until now because I was worried over the issues people have had with xorg. Now there's good documentation and forums have most answers to usual issues.

I agree that for production servers or workstations one might want to use ubuntu. The compiling from source takes a long time if you haven't updated for awhile. You could start updates when workday ends and let it emerge during the night. However not everyone has that option. Besides what if the emerge stops just after you've left? Make the system send email and monitor the emerge using ssh connection I suppose.

When thinking about work environment one can usually wait for the stable packages and plan things beforehand. Nobody forces you to update. Only exceptions I could think would be some security patches which might have high priority when considering updating.

When thinking average home desktop user he shouldnt have anykind of pressure to update anything. IMO it's just that people are impatient and want the latest SW even if there's not much benefit in updating.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was using mandrake before switching to gentoo. I can't actually remember why I switched except for the feeling that I really hated mandrake. It was probably that I was talking to friends and it came up.

Anyway... regardless of the reason for switching igentoo is a great dstro, better than any others Ive tried (based on the purpose of desktop/development computer).
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