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Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Posts: 1
Location: Lawton, OK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Considering Gentoo, anyways. Reply with quote

Gentoo's actually a potential consideration for a decent DIY distro over here, actually. :) The other considerations are Arch and Debian Testing.
All three seem like pretty good distros, actually, yet I've heard mixed messages about Gentoo before.
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Ant P.

Joined: 18 Apr 2009
Posts: 5917

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why am I using it right now? The constant infighting on the dev lists.

No, seriously. There's just enough division that any large changes can never get agreed upon, so the base system is slow and predictable. We still have a properly maintained ffmpeg which is better than can be said for Debian, and we don't have to learn a new init system every 2 months. Occasionally idiotic decisions get snuck through, like removing almost all GTK+2 support from dual-life apps, but the KDE team's got our back there...
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Joined: 10 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it is all about choice!
I run Gentoo~current for more than a year. Since two months I use systemd as init. It is more recent than openSUSE systemd-44. The newer version is far more easily to handle. Also Gentoo maintainers in their majority are not interested in Systemd, it is well configured and booting reliable and fast:
Gentoo is the better Systemd distribution than openSUSE - think of that!

But I try even further:
which is not all in Gentoo~current release yet right now - I expect some stall:
chromium-23 does not compile (I can resort to Google-chrome-bin for the time beeing)
But I have my system at the frontier, showing the very best performance! No issues yet.

If there is a brand new Nvidia driver released, but not yet announced from Gentoo repositories, I just rename the ebuild to reflect the new version, put it in my local overlay-repo, ebuild FILE manifest - and get it!

If I don't like Kde semantik-desktop and nepomuk, I just dump it by setting the USE flags. And all is running flawlessly without hickups. Because it is well configured in compile time, before even running!

I can get this all from Gentoo by just learning to issue these four commands:
emerge --sync
emerge -avuDN world
emerge --depclean
# I only need these two commands to get an oversight:
qlist -Iv SEARCH
eshowkw -O PACKAGE

I cannot think of a better distribution. It is exactly what Linux/GNU should be!

A good place to begin with is Funtoo~current, because they at are some days behind, which makes their ~unstable release a finger tip more stable, which is what you need beginning with it. And you learn there something about keeping your toolchain going ...
the thread ain't easily find an end
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Joined: 09 May 2012
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject: Re: Considering Gentoo, anyways. Reply with quote

NerdyGuy128 wrote:
Gentoo's actually a potential consideration for a decent DIY distro over here, actually. :) The other considerations are Arch and Debian Testing.
All three seem like pretty good distros, actually, yet I've heard mixed messages about Gentoo before.
Arch was fine, except for the differing package managing systems they had to get anything done. Oh, and the idiotic compiler flags that people set in the AUR. There is the occasional bug that you can't get around without recompiling, but the manual on the Arch Build System (ABS) is far from helpful. On nearly everything else, if the gentoo wiki doesn't cover it, check the arch wiki.

But the poor support for my wireless card in the latest kernel drove me away from Arch. Like I said, the ABS entry on the wiki was somewhat useless, and even the manpages simply listed commands with no instructive context.

I install Debian, update the repositories to Testing, download what I need, update... it was like ol' familiar Ubuntu without the training wheels, so I'm reasonably comfortable... and the system won't boot. Repeatedly. Several different ways about it. the only repositories I added from outside of debian were the Linux Mint Debian Edition repository, and ye ol' The ones that are supposed to be binary compatible with Debian. I dunno if they got to my bug reports yet, they might be passing them around, trying to figure out who did what with whose patch code.

If you want something done right, you've gotta do it yourself, apparently. If you bang your head, call it a learning experience. I've got a multicore processor! So screw it, I'm in. I'm surprised at how kernels compile fast when you only build what you need. LibreOffice took a while, but it runs that much faster for it - it compiled while I was off at work. Firefox took some time, Wine took a while, Virtualbox and the modules compiled faster on Gentoo than just the patched modules I'd get from the AUR...

I had some hiccups - like trying to get Skype up on the Hardened profile... mostly Error 36i, the occasional missing dependency in the portage tree (holy cow! the compiler output tells me about it?!) which wasn't a terrible experience.
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Joined: 30 Nov 2012
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By using Gentoo I feel connection to all the stuff. And "connection" is everything I need.
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Joined: 29 Mar 2012
Posts: 16
Location: Poland, Warsaw

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it is mostly: education and customization.
And after I used apt-get for some time on Ubuntu, I really started to appreciate the freedom and speed that I get with portage.
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Joined: 09 Jan 2003
Posts: 248
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more for because I can.
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Joined: 08 Dec 2002
Posts: 490
Location: Hawaii

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because dependency resolution was too tedious in Slackware.
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Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After trying redhat, debian and slackware I had a crush with portage on how it magically handled what i used to do manually, build packages from source. All other distros felt awkward aftterwards, most of them have a limited package/version choices.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reasons:

1. This is one of the few distros that has all their packages installable by source and has automatic dependancy resolution.

2. Lots of packages. Aside from Debian Gentoo runs on the most archs. It's nice to know that I'm learning a distro that I could install on a vast variety of machines.

3. With Gentoo you have one (mostly source-based) repo. No bouncing around repos trying to find a package. No dividing up binary and source. It's for the most part source.

4. USE flags. Allowing to trim packages for efficiency, convience, and security.

5. Portage. Nothing beats it.
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Joined: 04 Jan 2004
Posts: 1169
Location: Buchholz/GER

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reasons for gentoo are:

a) huge portage tree, most things easy installable

b) very stable in the stable tree and also a good stability in testing/unstable

c) real rolling release (no freeze as in Debian sid)

d) I'm coming from FreeBSD and like the source based stuff "by default :)"

e) I can build my own system as I like it (USE-Flags, /etc/portage/*, etc)

f) long grown and nice community
- born to create drama -
cryptosteve - gpg: 0x9B6C7E15
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Joined: 08 Aug 2003
Posts: 1543

PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo makes it less difficult to overcome developer idiocies (committed by both gentoo developers and upstream developers) than any other distribution. False dependencies, bizarre defaults, and oppressive choices can often be fixed by ordinary users.
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Joined: 02 Feb 2006
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we first should start with:

"how do you choose your distro"

1. grab all iso's you can get and fire them up in a VM
2. if you don't like how the default Desktop looks take the next one
3. check if all programs you need are in the package system
4. check if can you handle the package system easy
5. and then you realize that all packages are outdated and you have to start to compile or search for new sources for the package system
6. than you realize that sometimes applications do not act like described on the developers page
7. than you start hating the package system because you just can't do like you want
8. than you realize that the package system IS the distro
9. than you find Gentoo and it is just like perfect fitting shoes

I started using linux around 1998 with suse than ubuntu, debian but till 2003 primary as second system, yes i was once using windows ;-)
It took me about 4 weeks and i completely switched over to gentoo since this day, for 10 years now, windows was only stared if i had to test something for my job and it is not working in a VM or if a game is not running with wine.

I am not a developer just a damn user and i love it to optimize my system, use the latest software and just feel free to do what i want with my computer.
For me all distros which are NOT rolling realise are not real linux systems, i think rolling realise is one of the many major reasons to use linux.
And again package system = distro and gentoo got the best.



Oh i forget to thank all devs and supporters and users and let gentoo rule the world :twisted:
And can compiling be a fetish? :oops: I love emerge -j1 its better than TV
Gentoo rulez!!!
Gentoo for every one!!!
Gentoo for president!!!
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Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 373
Location: Bærum, Norway

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I've just been browsing this entire thread. I was sure that at some point I'd posted my own Gentoo experience here too but obviously hadn't. So here goes part of my life story:

I was born way back in 1952, so I hadn't the chance to try personal computing until I was an adult. From 1983 on, I've walked the path from a programmable pocket calculator through 8-bits CP/M, 16-bits MS-DOS, Windows 3.x and NT. As computing in the 80s was very much a command-line experience, I consider the command line as my native mode of interfacing with a computer. I do appreciate a good GUI, but it's not where the power is.

In 1992 I was introduced to the UNIX shell through my work, and it was love at first sight. I worked as a UNIX system admin until 1998, when I joined a group working mostly with Windows NT 3.51 servers and 4.0 workstations. My UNIX experience thus coincided with the rise of Windows which I never became very impressed with, but which nevertheless was my main OS at home until 2003. By then I'd had a headless old 133 MHz Pentium (my old desktop computer) running Debian for some time, with a LAMP stack that I used as a testing ground for my Web site.

I was totally fed up with Windows and pined for the good old UNIX days, and decided that it was time for Linux on the desktop. I tried out several distros (Debian, Red Hat, Mandrake, etc.) until I was recommended Gentoo by a guy on a Norwegian news group. Then I was hooked :) It's been almost ten years now, and I have never seriously considered an alternative to Gentoo. I currently have Ubuntu installed on my laptop, but it's basically out of curiosity. I also administer a Debian Web server for my genealogy society.

I agree with all the other reasons mentioned in this thread for loving Gentoo. The most important thing I think is that Gentoo puts the user firmly in the driver's seat, and doesn't try to be another Windows. It's as close to a flat-packed, mix-and-match OS as it gets.

I haven't been among the most active on this forum; I have a lot of other things to do, and I usually find my way around problems with Gentoo by doing a quick search on Google or fgo. The Gentoo philosophy, the documentation, and the very resourceful and helpful community, all contribute to making Gentoo the most transparent distribution there is. So I'll take this opportunity to say a big thank you, both to the Gentoo developers and the community. You're great!
Grumpy old man
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Joined: 26 Nov 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I've got a whole slew of reasons, this is just the ones that come to mind:
* It's one of the last remaining distributions that doesn't require huge amounts of effort to use without systemd
* Performance (this applies to my usage of Linux in general, although especially to why I use Gentoo as my primary OS)
* Up to date software.
* Ease of customization
* Configurability, I have a tendency to use particularly complicated hardware+software configurations, and it's easier to set these up on Gentoo than any other system. As an example, the system I am typing this on has 2 SSD's and 4 HDD's, and uses a stacked combination LVM and BTRFS configured such that I can lose any 5 of the 6 disks in the system and still have all of my data; for the sake of practice, I tried setting up the same configuration using a number of other distributions, and the only one that came even remotely close to the degree of ease of Gentoo was Arch, and that was still somewhat tricky to get working right.
* Excellent documentation (although I must admit that some other distro's are getting better at this recently)
* The ability to say that I built my entire OS locally (for some reason, this seems to really impress some people)
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Joined: 26 Aug 2008
Posts: 523
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer Gentoo because it is perfect for development. It always has compiler and all necessary headers :D

USE flags and ease of mixing stable/development was another reason for switching. In general, I don't use stuff like Gnome or KDE or even XFCE, so on Gentoo keeping my installation lean is fairly easy task.
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Joined: 07 Sep 2003
Posts: 1677
Location: Edinburgh, UK

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo was my second distribution.

I never liked OSs that were all gui-oriented and where the command line was an afterthought. The thought of having something like unix on my PC made Linux very appealing. I started with a binary distribution somebody had given me (I forgot which one) on an old computer I was using for university and used it to do most of my PhD work, including writing my dissertation using LaTeX.

A friend helped me install Gentoo in 2002, shortly after finishing university and moving to a new place, on a new Dell Dimension 8300 that I bought to replace my previous PC which died. I liked Gentoo's flexibility, the forums, the fact that it was a rolling release, and the fact that it didn't feel like an an imitation of windows or whatever macs were running at the time. After a major HDD crash in that same year (I am sure was caused by a combination of the xfs file system and power problems in the apartments I was living) I rebuilt Gentoo with ext3 as the file system myself. I learned a lot and Gentoo has been running on that system since.

So, in short, stability, flexibility, customizability, and friendly, helpful forums. I cannot see myself running anything else at home, save FreeBSD which, I must admit, is very appealing for many of the same reasons and learning it sounds like fun.


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Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper

Joined: 22 Mar 2013
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use gentoo because the packages are up-to-date and the system behaves exactly like I want it to.

If you change to much on other distros, the maintenance gets too high.
(config file changes on updates, etc.)

Also: if you install something on gentoo it is inactive by default.
Debian for example used to activate apache, mysql, etc. after the install.
I don't know why this is done, but before a service is started it should be configured with care.
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Retired Dev
Retired Dev

Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 429

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

* debian is terrible hackery
* ubuntu is utter crap and is politics/company-driven
* OpenSUSE is not that up2date and isn't really source-based
* arch linux is in principal interesting, but in fact low quality
* steam doesn't work under FreeBSD
* NixOS is a huge pile of hackery and breaks FHS
* exherbo is too small, doesn't have Manifests and has a weird community
* LFS is too much work

If you want source based, then there are not many alternatives anyway.
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Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 2273
Location: Bardowick, Germany

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had another "argument" for gentoo over debian. Although it was not a choice in that situation.

A VM for a project needed wine, so it got installed. Then, when the VM was running in the datacenter of our customer, no internet connection possible, "wine" simply stated, that it was a dud. You have to add 32bit architecture, update (without internet. *hah*) and can then install wine32-bin.

So I ended up downloading 6 Debian DVDs, burn them and sent them to my coworker who had to get wine working.

Have you ever tried to install something via DVDs on a Debian that was using a netinstall? You'll end up playing disk jokey a lot and have to install a lot of dependencies by hand using dpkg. And worse, you have to downgrade libc6 in that process.

And then I thought: "If we just had had the possibility to do somehing like 'emerge wine', nothing of this would have been needed."
Important German:
  1. "Aha" - German reaction to pretend that you are really interested while giving no f*ck.
  2. "Tja" - German reaction to the apocalypse, nuclear war, an alien invasion or no bread in the house.
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Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 557
Location: US

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest much of the reason I switched from Arch to Gentoo this last time [December 2014] was because of the lack of debugging symbols or a debugging repo being available in Arch. I was using Plasma 5 at the time and was running into some crashes and I found that without the debugging symbols I couldn't generate useful backtraces with which to submit bug reports on KDE's bugtracker. I posted a message on the forum asking about maybe building a debug repo and potentially even doing it myself but I didn't get much interest. As I looked into what it would require I just decided that it would be easier to use a distro such as Gentoo where it is already source based and built for this sort of thing.

The next reason was a perception I had at the time that the developers at Gentoo were more friendly toward users than the Arch developer culture. There were many incidents which over the years made me believe this way including the switch to systemd and the way dissent was handled on the forums there. I won't go into whether or not this is true (to avoid causing issues) but the perception itself was a large part of my reason for switching.

I like rolling release distros and tend to gravitate toward bleeding edge software so Arch and Gentoo (or a derivative) are the main options suitable for me. As a side bonus the increased control Gentoo gives me is a huge bonus. Now I just need to learn more about overlays, portage, and ebuilds to be able to max this control out a bit more. :)
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Joined: 13 May 2015
Posts: 4
Location: Germany, County Bergstrasse

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel like gentoo is the most sado-maso operating system I know, with my computer playing dom. But it is always the sub (me), who decides where the adventure goes.

If I had not already made up my mind, the mother of all forks, systemd would have done that for me.
If I was the mother of all agencies and the mother of all malware I would hide it in systemd.

I am building a remote dashboard for our i-MiEV (electric car). There is no way to put in a 19 inch display, not even in a Tesla.

CANBUS, I guess the only way to play with the CANBUS is gentoo.

I do not need too very high resolution but 1280x720 would be ideal to directly record hd-video from the destop.

Both gnome and kde are a pain when you need to directly play with video and screen. That is why I use awesome.

I do not want to waste my time with an ancient pre 4.0 kernel.

Summary - because I can.
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Joined: 06 Aug 2012
Posts: 267

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't any more, I stopped using it fully an went to keeping it inside a vm then nuked it all about 6 months ago.

I used to use ~arch because it was fun, all sorts of combinations and compilers to play with and see what happens to my running system (with backups, obv) and see how things went bad, slow or plain broken... then the fun trying to get it to play nice. Eventually "school" took over and it went to VM then work takes over and your somewhat precious free time becomes quite valuable. I use Windows these days and avoid most of the gnu/linux autism, fun to keep reading linux news and various forums on a rainy Sunday afternoon though. Maybe one day Gentoo will make it back on my box, at least I hope so any way :twisted:
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Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 5153
Location: The Peanut Gallery

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're using ~arch across the board, you're asking for trouble, ime.
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Joined: 30 Aug 2008
Posts: 1753
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steveL wrote:
If you're using ~arch across the board, you're asking for trouble, ime.

You're right of course, but I used ~amd64 for the last five years on my main laptop (Compal NBLB2) for all my professional work plus the vast majority of everything else and it was surprisingly trouble-free.

I do remember a couple of problems that had me sweating while on a long overseas work trip in 2013 (Avahi daemon will no longer start [Solved] and X Windows can't start after updating to 3.9.4 kernel[Solved]) but I fixed them over a weekend in the hotel chrooting from SystemRescueCd, and the latter problem had nothing to do with the Testing Branch specifically.

Perhaps there were a few other dicey moments due specifically to using ~amd64 packages, but I can't recall them offhand. Generally I found ~amd64 fine. Mind you, that laptop dual-boots Windows 7 and any important files (including Thunderbird mail) were on an NTFS partition, so I had a fallback if Gentoo went belly-up. But I never needed to resort to it in five years.

For my new main laptop (Clevo W230SS), just a month old, I decided not to dual-boot Windows or another Linux distribution and just install Gentoo. In this case I installed Stable, but have had to umask quite a few unstable packages because otherwise I just could not do many useful things (not to mention that some Stable packages are buggy or plain unusable: kde-misc/plasma-nm- being one example until was marked Stable).
Clevo W230SS: amd64 OpenRC elogind nvidia-drivers & xf86-video-intel.
Compal NBLB2: ~amd64 OpenRC elogind xf86-video-ati. Dual boot Win 7 Pro 64-bit.
KDE on both.

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