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Otherworlds
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:33 am    Post subject: Is Gentoo documentation kind to newbs? Reply with quote

Hey I'm totally new here, but i'm really interested in the Gentoo distribution mainly because you choose only what you need.. However I heard on other forums people say the Gentoo documentation is hard for newcomers to understand cuz I guess the distro evolved in a fashion where some things would only make sense if you knew how the distro worked before it evolved.. If anyone has anything to comment on this I'd definitely appreciate it greatly, as it would clear stuff up for me..

Last edited by Otherworlds on Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:59 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The gentoo documentation is perfectly valid if you know your system and follow the instructions.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet ok thanks broski, can't wait to get started!
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Is Gentoo documentation kind to newbs? Reply with quote

Otherworlds wrote:
However I heard on other forums people say the Gentoo documentation is hard for newcomers to understand cuz I guess the distro evolved in a fashion where some things would only make sense if you knew how the distro worked before it evolved.

Otherworlds ... that would be a chicken/egg paradox, if it were true there would be no eggs, and no chickens. The problem, or paradox, only exists when "understanding" is taken to be some sort of absolute, when in reality all knowledge is partial, specific, accumulative, etc. If you've grown up in a culture without written language, machines, or computation, then the gentoo documentation would be incomprehensible, but if you can read, follow instructions, contextualise an explanation/problem, then the documentation is a guide to provide you with that "understanding".

best ... khay
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need a basic knowledge about technical things, to think logical and common sense.

The gentoo wiki is as excellent as the arch linux wiki and some others, because it was written for another audience. For example the ubunut wiki is basically full crap, not worth bothering reading any ubuntu related article, as the audience is windi 95 os guys who just switched. That works well for the mayority but for those who need quick answers those ubuntu and related pages (linux mint, ...) are just not worth opening.

So in which audience do you belong? a windi 95 user who just do not care much, than the ubuntu wiki and it worlds fits.
someone who knows the basics and want to learn and improve than you are right here at the right spot.

a nerd, than maybe linux from scratch is the right spot for you.

Disclaimer, personal opinion.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Understood cool thanks guys, one more question while people may still visit this thread is should I have advanced knowledge in the CLI before I start? I only know the basic commands but not yet their advanced arguments or any scripts. I am however familiar with the linux system itself, like how it boots, chron jobs, differences of init and systemd, security rings,filesystem,setuid permissions,openGL,GRsecurity,networking protocols. So with that said should I stick with Mint another year or two or can I jump right into Gentoo, or maybe try Arch first? Basically I been learning what things are, not necessarily how to use them..
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Otherworlds wrote:
Understood cool thanks guys, one more question while people may still visit this thread is, should I have advanced knowledge in the command line before I start? I only know the basic commands but not yet their advanced arguments or any scripts.

Otherworlds ... as I said, its accumulative, so no, you don't need "advanced knowledge", but the greater knowledge you have the less steep the learning curve.

Otherworlds wrote:
I am however familiar with the linux system itself like how it boots, chron jobs, differences of init and systemd, security rings,filesystem,setuid permissions,openGL,GRsecurity. With that said should stick with mint another year or two or can I jump right in Gentoo, or maybe try Arch first? Basically I been learning what things are, not necessarily how to use them..

For learning, gentoo is a good platform, you'll aquire knowledge (specifically, how a distribution is put together) that you won't aquire elsewhere. Think of gentoo as a set of tools for you to build your own distribution.

best ... khay
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gotcha ok thanks man, the chicken and egg scenario always throws me off lol.. But I'll definitely start sooner than later then as I have plans to make robots,remote systems etc someday and want only the best optimal systems in place. Thanks again guys!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course you can just take a quick look and see if you understand what they are talking about in the Gentoo Handbook: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Handbook:AMD64
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks dude I'll check it out just have so much to learn with binary,circuit designing,security assessment measures, and school on top of that...
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo is install in steps, and in nearly all steps, you have many ways to achieve a step, so the documentation show you only the typical way to do a step, and may speak about popular other ways to achieve it, but if you know nothing, you could only succeed by following the way the documentation is covering or documenting yourself on the alternate way you want to use.

Documentation will guide you howto partition sda and what fs to use.
But you can partition your disks the way you wish, use the size or fs you wish, and do that with the partition tool you wish.

So the documentation step about partitioning could be resume to : we need partition, here's howto do it. If you want anything different, do it yourself.

Following that step for a pure Windows user is just an hard part: people are speaking about sda or sdb when he only know and use names like C: D:...
It would be easier for any Windows user to just partition their disk using Windows instead of following the documentation about partition.
If he endup with partitions usable for gentoo, the step is achieve and he can jump on next one.

Look at steps: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Handbook:AMD64/Installation/About#How_is_the_installation_structured
Just the very first step is : we will need to chroot, so we must boot something that will provide us ability to chroot, you can use gentoo livecd that will do that, but we don't care what you use. A Mint user doesn't even need to boot and may just ignore the booting step because booting is not need, what is need is a "The user is in a working environment ready to install Gentoo."
Documentation will guide you to reach that step, but if you know other way to achieve it, or just because you are already in a working environment, step is done.
It goes all the way like that: step 6 say "The Linux kernel is installed.", the doc will teach you howto build and install a kernel that would be typically gentoo sources, but the key is still that: "you need a kernel install", it might not even be your kernel or not even a gentoo kernel, you could download one from kernel.org or reuse one from another distro... If you have a kernel install: step is done.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm I didn't know a live cd is considered a chroot environment, I'd have to look into that.. I knew it was isolated because it's loaded off RAM, but anyways having to chroot in order to boot is alien to me.. I'm only familiar with the chroot jail firewall apps, but I'm sure there's other methods to provide a chroot environment. And yeah I heard with busy box you don't even need to install the kernel to have an init system running.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main things you need when you are new to Gentoo are:
1) Time
2) Patience
3) Bloody-mindedness

The documentation is pretty good, but it doesn't tell the whole story. There isn't an all-encompasing step-by-step guide; It is most helpful at getting you to a bootable system.

After that things get a bit more... varied...

Most newbies will have a few attempts before they get a working system as there is no step-by-step guide in the documentation - It just gives you bits of it without all the caveats, so at some point you are likely to run into an issue and think "Well Gee, if I knew this would happen I would have set that option different when I did that thing 7 hours ago..."

It took be about 7 tries to get a system that I was happy with :)

I had to start from semi-scratch a few years ago as I went from i386 to AMD64 and it still took me 3 tries to get the system right even with all I know now :lol:


The best advice I can give is Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions here! One of the most useful things with Gentoo is the community - The documentation for a lot of things can be unhelpful, but the people on this forum and also the IRC channel are pretty badass and can often point the way; Sometimes you need to wait for an answer/catch the channel at the right time, but the forums and channels are deffo the keystones in the whole Gentoo ecology!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Otherworlds,

You don't really install Gentoo, you use Gentoo to design and install your own operating system.
Keep that in mind as you read on.

Gentoo is really only the portage package manager and the gentoo ebuild repository.
Everything else is $UPSTREAM.

Binary distros give you ready made packages, made the way the distro decided.
Gentoo gives you your packages made your way. Heres the difficulty for new users to Gentoo, they often don't know what they want when they start, so they end up changing things as they go. That's fine, Gentoo allows for that too.

The handbook and various guides are mostly clear and easy to follow if they are in your native language.
However, they can't help you decide what you want and how you want it.
You will work that out as you go, probably several times.
I'm painting the picture darker that it really is. Gentoo provides several sets of defaults you choose among to get you off to a good start. It doesn't force you to use them, you can have full manual control too.

The Gentoo *.ISO does not provide Gentoo. Its just a set of tools to allow you to install Gentoo.
The binary get-you-started Gentoo install is the stage3 file you download.
You can use any random live distro you have handy to accomplish your install.

Read the handbook end to end then follow it.
At the end of the handbook, you will have a Gentoo install that con boot to a shell prompt and do little more that install more packages.
The only restriction is that you must use a 64 bit kernel to do a 64 bit install.
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Otherworlds
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool thanks guys glad to be here, something about the Gentoo logo and surprisingly large user base really intrigues me, of course the customizeability too! I haven't been this amped since I first played Halo3 online when it first came out back in 2007... Anyways awesome thanks again fellas!!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Otherworlds wrote:
Hmm I didn't know a live cd is considered a chroot environment, I'd have to look into that.. I knew it was isolated because it's loaded off RAM, but anyways having to chroot in order to boot is alien to me.. I'm only familiar with the chroot jail firewall apps, but I'm sure there's other methods to provide a chroot environment. And yeah I heard with busy box you don't even need to install the kernel to have an init system running.
The booting does not include a chroot, but in the early steps of the installation, you boot into a different environment (such as a live cd), and chroot into your gentoo installation and work on it until it is able to boot itself. The handbook explains it well :)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aww OK I got confused, I get it now cus you have to boot in something.. Thanks for clearing that up!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

to someone new to computers in general it might be difficult at first, but i cant say from experience, i was working with hardware 20 years before i ever installed something outside of ms.

i will say the first time tried gentoo on an old pc, i literally just followed step by step from the handbook and it booted.

if you get stuck just google the problem, the error will have results found guaranteed because someone has already gone through it a 500k times.

if your worried about hardware/driver identification and support or dont even know what your using you can always take a picture of the hardware displayed in bios for reference, or do it from inside the minimal live cd.

apart from all of the above, the only other things inherently different when settingup the distro aside from others, is setting your make.conf, and your kernel.

you can always use genkernel if you want, or add the --menuconfig option to customize it a bit for instance if you want to remove support for nouveau or add for btrfs or whatever, also building your own with only what you need supported will be alot 'lighter' on it's feet than default genkernel.

make.conf is easily understood, figuring out what to set your cflags can be simple https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/CFLAGS and for global USE flags you probably wont need to add much if any, when you pick a profile with eselect it'll build the environment around which you picked
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vilehost wrote:
to someone new to computers in general it might be difficult at first, but i cant say from experience, i was working with hardware 20 years before i ever installed something outside of ms.

i will say the first time tried gentoo on an old pc, i literally just followed step by step from the handbook and it booted.

if you get stuck just google the problem, the error will have results found guaranteed because someone has already gone through it a 500k times.

if your worried about hardware/driver identification and support or dont even know what your using you can always take a picture of the hardware displayed in bios for reference, or do it from inside the minimal live cd.

apart from all of the above, the only other things inherently different when settingup the distro aside from others, is setting your make.conf, and your kernel.

you can always use genkernel if you want, or add the --menuconfig option to customize it a bit for instance if you want to remove support for nouveau or add for btrfs or whatever, also building your own with only what you need supported will be alot 'lighter' on it's feet than default genkernel.

make.conf is easily understood, figuring out what to set your cflags can be simple https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/CFLAGS and for global USE flags you probably wont need to add much if any, when you pick a profile with eselect it'll build the environment around which you picked


Awesome thanks vilehost good tips a lot of this stuff is heard of, but they were just words now I have context so thanks, that's usually how I learn just hear something keep it in mind and someone eventually talks about in context. Cool thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Gentoo handbook is very good in my opinion. The Wiki is also good but to be honest sometimes a bit out of date. As users we all should probably step it up a little more. However the forum tends to pick up the slack and provide answers where needed. Where that doesn't work you can often use something like the
Arch Wiki.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davidm wrote:
The Gentoo handbook is very good in my opinion. The Wiki is also good but to be honest sometimes a bit out of date. As users we all should probably step it up a little more. However the forum tends to pick up the slack and provide answers where needed. Where that doesn't work you can often use something like the
Arch Wiki.


Thanks man! I'll definitely try to contribute when I'm in the position too, I think I'm pretty good at explaining things as long as I understand it myself..
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I set up Gentoo just yesterday, so I'm definitely a noob, and I have to say the documentation is excellent. It's all very clearly and logically set out and has got to be up there with the best Linux documentation around.
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