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davidm
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used Arch for about four years now in total. I've switched back and forth from Gentoo to Arch to OpenSUSE to Arch and now finally back to Gentoo. Now what I say is going to be kind of "No Holds Barred" but let me make it clear I am not bashing Arch. Arch would still be considered my #2 favorite distro and frankly I'm still in that "honeymoon period" with using Gentoo again so let's see what happens.

Community

Gentoo is friendlier all around. Especially to newbies. The Arch user community also tends to be friendly to intermediate users (but not necessarily to newbies). The difference between the two for intermediate to advanced Linux users in my opinion is more with the developer and administrative communities in regards to how they see and treat users.

To demonstrate I am just going to post an excerpt from the Arch newsletter/magazine in it's entirety with my added emphasis:

Quote:

Contributed by: Dusty Phillips
Arch Is Not a Democracy

Every once in a while someone says that there should be a public vote on the way Arch Linux is run. A common response is "Arch is not a democracy" In a democratic society, the majority opinion rules. This is not the case in Arch. There has been a lot of majority opinion bouncing around in recent times that is not ever going into the Arch Linux core as defined by the developers.

Arch is really a "Cooperative Anarchy". Anyone is free to do anything they like with Arch Linux, excepting the few copyleft restrictions enforced by the GPL. This means that anyone who doesn't like the current direction the Arch Linux development team is taking the distro can start their own development team and run their version exactly the way they want to. Neither team would be "more official" or "more legitimate" than the other. Ideally, this would occur with a certain level of cooperation between the two (or multiple) teams, with no hard feelings, but this is not a requirement. Thus, everyone can be satisfied and no vote excluding some users' opinions is required.

The Arch development team itself is a "Voluntary Oligarchy". The Arch developers have chosen to develop this distro in a way that suits them. Nobody but the developers has input into what goes on in official Arch development. This is their linux distribution and they have been kind enough to share it with the rest of the world in case someone else likes it. The great thing for users, however, is that they get to choose whether or not they are governed by this group of people.

Users that don't like the way Arch Linux is developed have two simple choices:

Use a different Linux distribution or operating system.
Develop Arch into what they want it to be.

As I mentioned last month, the second option does not require forking Arch. You can create custom repositories of community contributed tools based on, but independent of the Arch Linux core. So next time you think your voice should be heard in a democratic fashion, remember that you are already your own personal Arch Overlord and are free to do with this distribution exactly what you wish.


https://www.archlinux.org/static/magazine/2008/newsletter-2008-Jun-02.html#contributed

To be fair it isn't nowhere near as bad as the portions I added emphasis to suggest. However the general attitude is there to varying degrees everywhere. Basically if you are not writing code or participating in a high level such as the administrative staff you are "along for the ride". More than one user has actually commented on this sense that they feel "isolated" from what happens in the distro because they aren't part of a certain "in clique". For most common users this does not bother them at all in the slightest. At least not until something goes in a direction they are strongly against and where they feel they have had little input into things.

Conclusion / tl/dr: Gentoo in contrast seems more user centric and balanced (though of course not perfect). There are whole administrative structures in place with clear policies and procedures to address issues. In a word it seems more "professional". This difference in philosophy I think often becomes apparent in the end "product".

I was going to go into some more differences and observations but after previewing what I have so far I don't want to be "that guy" posting a 50,000 word reply. I'll just stop here. :)
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yagami
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidm wrote:
I was going to go into some more differences and observations but after previewing what I have so far I don't want to be "that guy" posting a 50,000 word reply. I'll just stop here. :)


Ohh please, be that guy !!! interested in your findings about Gentoo/openSUSE/Arch
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davidm
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yagami wrote:
davidm wrote:
I was going to go into some more differences and observations but after previewing what I have so far I don't want to be "that guy" posting a 50,000 word reply. I'll just stop here. :)


Ohh please, be that guy !!! interested in your findings about Gentoo/openSUSE/Arch


I'll give the abbreviated version. :)

Stability is actually pretty good however sometimes when there is a corner case (such as recently with multi-device btrfs on root not loading properly with an obscure error message without changing some config files for mkiniticpio) there isn't an announcement made and users have to find what is going on in the forums or wiki. It definitely is reasonable though and I can't complain.

Debugging symbols or the lack of them is an issue if you make upstream bug reports. Especially if using KDE or GNOME. You'll have to recompile everything with debugging symbols in using the ABS (Arch Build System) and based on what I see this isn't as easy as it is in Gentoo. This kind of goes with the comments about the community and the relations between developers and users as well if you research this. Before I switched to Gentoo I was considering trying to put up a user KDE debug repo but decided I wasn't the best person to do this as I only have a core2 quad and about 60GB of freespace with a 100 KB/s upstream. :) Not to mention that it would take a lot of research to figure out how to do it correctly and no one seemed to be willing to assist me technically if I ran into problems doing this.

Package updates are generally faster. Probably far faster than Gentoo stable on average but I doubt this surprises anyone. Usually kernel releases are updated in the tree within a few days. Rarely over week but I've seen a few which went near the month mark for one reason or another. KDE releases mirror this generally. Frameworks support (I used Plasma 5.x on Arch) is now in the stable tree in special separate packages. There are also some frameworks enabled builds in the AUR (Arch User Repository)

The AUR is nice but it doesn't really compare to what Gentoo provides for those who wish to build things from source. It can be very cumbersome at times making customizations besides the default configuration provided by the maintainer of the AUR package. The main configuration is within what is known as the PKGBUILD file. Changing things such as configuration options means modifying this file. Of course this isn't a big deal if you just have one or two packages from the AUR but when you start to install many it can become a pain. There are "helper programs" such as packer and pacaur which help automatically manage this for updates and such but still all it basically does is prompt to ask if you wish to modify the PKGBUILD file for each AUR package. This again gets pretty cumbersome after a while if you are say using *-git packages from the AUR to provide a bleeding edge development install of say KDE. I can't say much about the ABS system as honestly I never got around to using it.

Also in regards to the AUR one issue which often comes up is the quality. It's by users so often users lose interest and the package could go for years without updates. Also sometimes it isn't done properly and is missing dependencies or else is incorrectly set to install in /opt and you have to manually modify this in the PKGBUILD file to fix it.

Package quality. This is pretty much comparing apples to oranges here but on Arch I was running KDE Frameworks using packages from stable and the kde-beta repo there. I was getting a lot of segfault crashes from Kwin (thus lack of debugging symbols became an issue) - towards the end about 3-5 a day on average. In comparison on Gentoo I have mostly been sticking to stable packages to start off with and I am on KDE 4.14.3. Things are rock solid stable here and lightning fast. I'm rather enjoying the change and will probably stick with stable. Anyway in regards to package quality on Arch it is pretty stable as I said but the biggest issue you will usually see are segfaults.

As for the package manager, Pacman, it's actually very nice and fast. It has a certain simplicity about it. Basically doing the system updates with "pacman -Syu" just works. If you come across a strange message or case it will usually prompt you and then you check the announcements and perhaps the forum or wiki to make sure it is safe to continue or how to best proceed. The skill needed to maintain an Arch system in general seems to be a little below maintaining a Gentoo system. There are some exceptions however. For instance there is no distro specific tool like 'dispatch-conf' in Arch AFAIK. You are expected to manage the configuration file changes yourself. Pacman does use .pacsave and .pacnew files to help you deal with the changes but it is on you to actually do something with them. In reality you can probably go many months without touching them and I suspect that most users never bother dealing with them. However, this isn't technically correct and one day it will likely create issues after a major update.

I hope this helps. :)
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hasufell
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArmorSuit wrote:
Compile times? Yeah, it's a pain installing on new machine, especially on an older one, but once installed, the updates can compile in the background, you don't ever notice them (set proper NICENESS, a fast mirror, portage download speed, etc... for best results).

It does matter for production machines.

Distcc is buggy and binary package support is still somewhat... limited (we have no design document about it, nor is it anywhere in PMS, USE flags are not properly supported, etc....).

So distros that have *full* support for binary packages have a big plus for that use case.

This might be a start.

edit: oops, I think I just replied to an ancient post, #stopDrinking
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yagami
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidm, thanks.

Yeah, it goes more or less with my experience on arch. I tried arch when it first appeared, was already a gentoo user. What turned me off in arch was the community and its "ohh i am a l33t and you are a noob". They just cannot accept that to a gentoo user, arch is like ubuntu.

one point though ... about AUR, i just go used to do yaourt -Syua --noconfirm.... those confirmations are soo anoying.

I was on manjaro before trying pure arch, with the hopes of making alot more use of abs and pacbuilder. customizepkg is nice, as pacbuilder. But the damn things only use what is already in the system, they dont upgrade, its very very limited.

If going arch, i am going to manjaro, it has alot of interesting features ( multiple kernels and unstable/testing/stable repos) and with a MUCH MUCH nicer community/devs.

Could you give your input on openSUSE ? I love openSUSE and their philosophy. But everytime i use it, i just find so many papper cuts, that just make me go bahhh , out of here.
( specially love suse studio and obs ... how many distros put hardware available to compile user packages for opensuse or other distros ( ubuntu, fedora , etc ) ? very nice of them ).

One big question mark for me about distros is Fedora. Even Ubuntu, i can understand perfectly its purpose and point of interest to a specific audience. But i just cannot understand fedora. It sucks on every way, its not easier then ubuntu, doesnt have more packages or "stablier" than opensuse and its not as bleeding as arch. rpmfusion sucks, seems they compile a package version and then let it die in there with no updates ( even opensuse packman is miles better than rpmfusion ).
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lotuskip
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used Arch for a good while, too. In retrospect it seems my distro changes have been largely about fleeing before the conquest of poetteringware: I started out with Fedora, moved away when they began to aggressively promote pulseaudio, was lost for a while until landed in Arch where I stayed until the systemd switch which brought me to Gentoo. Hopefully things will remain sane here, or it's probably FreeBSD for me...

I'm one of the people who have put something on AUR and then abandoned it, but mostly because I no longer use Arch and thus can't easily test PKGBUILDs. And well, I was so, to use a nice expression, thoroughly upset with the manner in which Arch adopted systemd that I really didn't want to have anything to do with that distro any longer. The whole thing was a slap in the face that completely changed my opinion on Arch's community and devs in a matter of days. Having read various threads on systemd and related stuff here on these forums has further fortified my view that Arch has pretty much entirely lost it's "Way".

Still, pacman is very nice. One of the little cool features that I didn't see mentioned above is how it shows you a net update size when you update/install/remove anything. In particular, as I periodically ran a full update on my rather Spartan system, I noticed time and again how the net update sizes were almost always positive; that is, the installation kept growing even though I wasn't adding anything, just updating. One would hope that things would get leaner over time, you know, unnecessary dependencies and other crud dropped rather than added, structures simplified rather than complicated etc., but no: bloat keeps creeping into almost every damn package. Of course, this is a GNU/Linux wide (or even wider) phenomenon, not an Arch thing. I just liked how pacman was so open about it.
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Proinsias
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arch was the reason I moved to linux for day to day use. Got annoyed with XP, moved to OSX 10.4> 10.8 then Arch. I live in it now, it's been running my desktop, laptop & pi for 18 months+. I've tried a few Linux distros over the years but gave up troubleshooting eventually and went back to windows/mac. Looking back i think most of my issues were fighting with pulseaudio, most of the time all I need/want is alsa.

Playing around with kernels on Arch led me to the Gentoo forums/wiki. I've ripped the 20GB hard drive out of my old xbox and decided to give Gentoo a shot. After a month or two of occasional tinkering and a lot of wiki/handbook reading I'm posting from my first, reasonably functional, Gentoo install.

After configuring alsa I headed to youtube to make sure things were working, not sure why I searched for the Goons,but I did. I've been reading about Gentoo for about 6 months or so and much of my info has come from NeddySeagoon, my head is now hurting as my first experience of Gentoo with sound and vision is the first YouTube hit for the Goons, which is all about NeddySeagoon......shame on me for assuming a ned from aryshire.
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WombleGoneBad
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:55 pm    Post subject: Moving back to gentoo after over 7 years absence Reply with quote

I moved to Arch linux from gentoo about 7 years ago. My reasons were
1) There seemed to be a lot of trouble at the time, was concerned that the development team was 'splitting up'.
2) Arch seemed to give almost as much flexibility as gentoo, (e.g. AUR) and seemed less prone to breaking.

For all these years I have been fairly happy with Arch linux, but the snake in the garden was systemd.
I hate it. its a personal thing, but just cant stand it, the config files look sensible and well designed, but somehow when i want to work with them, they turn out a lot more complicated and troublesome than they look. I hate the f'ing logging. you have to go down through several layers of verbose crap before you find anything remotely useful as an error message.
So, whats the problem? Arch is cool, and flexible, i can just go my own way... cant I? So i wrote my own init system, which works very nicely. Ok, lets get rid of it. Hang on, udev is now part of the systemd package... wtf? , then i find out I cant even install core unix commands (e.g. top) .without systemd.
My problem is not so much with systemd, as the feeling i am not master of my own OS. I liked that feeling, i used to feel that way about Arch, but not anymore.

Then i have a look around, and find eudev... who is writing that? Gentoo folk? i remember Gentoo... I realize the Gentoo community still alive and actually flourishing, So I try out a little install, then i see that my hardware is so much FASTER at compiling stuff than it was all those years ago - in fact some stuff seems to install faster than Arch binary packages ?!
Configure my own kernel? why... i'd been doing that anyway... (i never used arch's kernels) in fact - now i remember - it was gentoo that taught me how to do that all those years ago.

Yesterday i booted to Gentoo for the first time in over 7 years on my main desktop, and it feels like coming home.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WombleGoneBad: welcome home. :-)
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davidm
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep welcome WombleGoneBad!

I'm one month in myself and still very happy. People say Gentoo is difficult to maintain and time consuming but I've found that once you set it up how you want it things get pretty easy from there. Like you I was pleasantly surprised by how much faster compiling is now on my core2 quad versus how it was on my old Pentium 4. :)
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Al-Caveman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly gave Arch Linux the chance to permanently take me, specially that
it promises speed and the simplicity of pre-compiled stuff. E.g. pacman is
very fast.

I still think that Arch Linux is the best binary Linux distribution there. But
nonetheless it remains an immature distribution.

Gentoo has many advantages (e.g. flexibility, which can lead to speed). But
what really stands out is that Gentoo is the most mature Linux distribution
I've ever seen.

An example of an issue that I face with Arch Linux, which I never faced with
Gentoo:
    1. Lacking packages. E.g. at that time (months ago) Scapy did not exist.

    2. Using AIR or AUR (whatever they call it) is very immature and requires
    too much manual attention.


And that was far worse than ANY emerge error I've ever seen. With emerge
installation errors, I (at least) have some hope to resolve the things
automatically and elegantly.

But the kinds of errors I was getting to get Scapy run via AIR/AUR/whatever
was too deep beyond the job of a package manager (i.e. required source code
editing).
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have used ArchBang and not ArchLinux properly. I really liked it, but I felt something missing... Gentoo answered the question. It is the true customization, I can put everything I want. Nowadays I'm with Ubuntu, the reason is the compile time and well tested binary packages under x86_64. I prefer Gentoo 1000x than Ubuntu, but it was delaying my work because of compilation time and errors. Now I have an i3-3217U, but it is not too strong when it comes to compile things. If I buy a really strong notebook I will be back 8)

Just out of curiosity, WombleGoneBad what's your processor?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started on Mint, then moved to Arch when I broke the system trying to customize it - partly my fault for being naive. I picked arch since I had a friend who used to use arch, although I actually had Gentoo with a desktop working a day before I got Arch installed properly.

The main reason I came to Gentoo was to be closer to Linux. As a programmer, I think that it's pretty important, and I didn't like how systemd extrapolated everything. Want wifi? Run wifi-menu. Start your server? systemctl start nginx. Want to customize an service? Why would you want to do that? Well, here is a config file you can edit, but I still don't know why you would want to do that...

Not to mention, as a young developer, I want to know how the tools systemd is packaging effect the security of my system. If I know how to do them myself, then I'll be able to make a better judgement call on how to handle systemd.

Also Arch's AUR - I liked it quite a bit. However it was a pain in the rear downloading each dependency until I wised up and installed yaourt. My ~/Downloads/AUR folder grew to be 6 GB at one point, and I mean, I had quite a few packages - but not THAT many packages.

I also don't get why Arch calls itself bleeding edge when, if you want to get the actual bleeding edge builds, you have to use packages from the AUR. Interestingly, I used the xfce-git AUR package, and the new xfce features never showed.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hasufell wrote:
ArmorSuit wrote:
Compile times? Yeah, it's a pain installing on new machine, especially on an older one, but once installed, the updates can compile in the background, you don't ever notice them (set proper NICENESS, a fast mirror, portage download speed, etc... for best results).

It does matter for production machines.

Distcc is buggy and binary package support is still somewhat... limited (we have no design document about it, nor is it anywhere in PMS, USE flags are not properly supported, etc....).

So distros that have *full* support for binary packages have a big plus for that use case.

This might be a start.

edit: oops, I think I just replied to an ancient post, #stopDrinking

What's PMS apart from premenstrual syndrome? ;P

How is distcc buggy?
In that some packages don't support it and there is no fallback jobs option for this case?

On topic,..
Although I said never Gentoo again on servers I have decided to go with Gentoo in my 3 server cluster setup
Originally I was about to go with Arch.
But hey if I have to configure my own kernel I might aswell pick Gentoo and compile packages with my C(XX)FLAGS, since all 3 machines are identical.
The actual thing that made me switch back again was
1. removal of --asroot in makepkg and the stubborn dev defending this decision and the other maintainers supporting him because he's their team mate instead of picking a proper solution, just stupid.
2. The whole "I'm dev you're nothing" mentality that is also present here sometimes though, but in general Gentoo community is more friendly (like it was when I joined, not talking about the bad years ;) ).
3. Things like an unbootable system after a package upgrade that happened occasionally, there's always this "fear" of upgrading, "what will break this time".
4. Stock kernel with PREEMPT enabled, unusable on servers, so back to LTS, no problem, except EDAC needs kernel 3.17 or newer on Xeon E3 v2.
5. Gentoo got a LOT better since I left 2006, and even since last year.

So all in all Arch is good enough for the desktop/workstation/netbook but not for servers, sure it works and usable configs, and Gentoo could use some of that tbh.
But for servers, nope.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't used Arch that much, but I've used it enough to decide that I didn't like it. As far as binary distributions go, I prefer Manjaro, and I've been using it on my desktop since late 2013. Gentoo I use on my laptop atm, and I might change to Gentoo on my desktop some time, but I don't feel as competent as I should be using Gentoo as main OS on my daily PC. My laptop is my testing PC.
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hasufell wrote:
ArmorSuit wrote:
Compile times? Yeah, it's a pain installing on new machine, especially on an older one, but once installed, the updates can compile in the background, you don't ever notice them (set proper NICENESS, a fast mirror, portage download speed, etc... for best results).


It does matter for production machines.

Distcc is buggy and binary package support is still somewhat... limited (we have no design document about it, nor is it anywhere in PMS, USE flags are not properly supported, etc....).


I am writing this in a gentoo laptop (Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU, T7500 @ 2.20GHz), and I followed this article in the gentoo wiki to set up a binhost. I have used ArchLinux, and this is like arch-linux in gentoo.

hasufell wrote:
edit: oops, I think I just replied to an ancient post, #stopDrinking


Upsss... You caught me! Many things have changed in gentoo, but some things remain the same :lol:
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost accurate timeline of the distros I used:

1) 2003 - Red Hat 8
2) 2004 - Knoppix 3.4, SUSE 9.1 (I still have the boxed edition) and Slackware
3) 2004-2009 - Arch
4) 2009-2015 - Ubuntu
5) 2015-onward - Gentoo

Arch and Ubuntu were indeed the ones I used most and I used to like them a lot. Now I'm really sick of the rolling updates madness of Arch and the premature ageing of an Ubuntu LTS. Gentoo is the best distro I could happen to find: a stable system with the possibility to upgrade what I need and recompile against it what needs to be recompiled, without loosing my mind on uselessness like ABS and blocked packages. Oh, and no systemd by default :D
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time ago I moved from gentoo to arch on two remote machines because I didn't want to spend too much time with compilation. Arch is good but later on (2009) I switched to sabayon. and do not plan to change something even if I dont like that sabayon doesn't support OpenRC anymore.
For every day's use I keep gentoo on my home PC.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used Arch for about 6 years up until a few days ago. I still think it's a great distro but I suppose I got bored and felt like tackling Gentoo would be a fun challenge as well as an opportunity to learn more about Linux.
Incidentally, I've quickly noticed that the Gentoo forums are much more relaxed and laid back compared to Arch's. I've just read a thread about an NHS admin worker also being a porn star. You'd never get that on the Arch forums.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How good is Arch with updating its tree with new packages?

I'm really getitng annoyed with simplest updates sitting in gentoo bugzilla for weeks or months.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I've just moved my netbook machine in the opposite direction, from Gentoo to Arch. Even with distcc, the upgrade to KDE Plasma 5 took well over 24 hrs, and was broken on completion. :-(

I'm keeping my desktop machine on Gentoo; it's several times faster, and its Plasma 5 upgrade compilations only took an afternoon (plus tinker-time to sort our various KDE gotchas).
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two weeks ago I decided to return to Gentoo after having used Parabola (an Arch derivative) for more than a year.

Reasons:
  • I want more freedom when installing packages: setting USE flags, masking certain package versions, etc.
  • I want to dedicate more time to Linux in order to improve my skills with it: Arch is good for that but Gentoo is even better :)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I used arch for a few months back in the days. So basically I moved away from arch linux too. I had it in a dual boot environment for quite a while but the package manager and dependencies were messy in my point of view.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I moved away from Archlinux in 2014. Some days ago I think back to Arch, but avoided some things....
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Zucca
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 905
Location: KUUSANKOSKI, Finland

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got fed with a bug introduced in every second version of systemd in Arch, so switched back to Gentoo.
I'm still using systemd (on desktop), but I compile only the stable versions of systemd for my system.
I use OpenRC on my RPi3 and might go with OpenRC on my server too.

I started with Gentoo (Well... I had mkLinux installed a week or so before Gentoo) and I'm back with Gentoo.
I propably should have never switched in the first place. Don't get me wrong; Arch is a good distro, but it's not for me.
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