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SlashBeast
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:14 pm    Post subject: Looks like Gentoo is a sinking ship. Reply with quote

Hi there.

Gentoo is not in good shape, it looks more like sinking ship nowdays. And why is that? I see a lot powerusers leaving gentoo and going to distros like for example archlinux.

The current situation has been nicely summarized by Raffaello D. Di Napoli in comment to a post on a Flameyes's blog.

Raffaello D. Di Napoli wrote:
I have offered to maintain a few packages, as well as some I had created and submitted myself, but I got no comments or actions whatsoever.

Many of the bugs I report also include ready-to-apply fixing patches, written as clearly as possible, and tested before being uploaded.

A while ago, some dev called for action to help take care of maintained-wanted and maintainer-needed bugs; I did browse a few, signaled one that could be closed because upstream had been gone for years, so the packages was long dead, but even that one request went completely unnoticed, so I stopped bothering altogether.

That’s to say, calling for volunteers and not following up (not talking about you right now) doesn’t really help, it only gets wannabe-devs frustrated. I don’t think I have time to be a dev, but I’d sure love to contribute, if listened to.


And I agree in 100% with this, sadly...
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Etal
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What else is new... it's gonna sink a-a-any minute now... :roll:
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't say it is sinking. I would say things go in cycles, though. Things go well, people get complacent, things start to deteriorate, people kvetch about the "ship sinking," the core users work hard, and things get better. I remember back in 06 and 07 when a emerge -u world was much more likely to remove functionality than improve it. Things have gotten worlds better since then, and I remember things being good when I joined in 03/04.

I don't know if we're on the downward slope or not. I thought the PATA/SATA forced change was a fiasco. I hated how closely the kernel was tied to udev, where if you weren't running the newest hot-stuff kernel upgrading udev would break the system on the next boot. Not all of that can be blamed on Gentoo, but I think it could have been mitigated at least a little better. Oh well, it's like the old saying goes: "... being a Linux user is sort of like living in a house inhabited by a large family of carpenters and architects. Every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different. Maybe there is a new turret, or some walls have moved. Or perhaps someone has temporarily removed the floor under your bed." I think we're in for some removed floors in the near future. Hopefully it isn't too long before they get put back, but I'm sure they will be.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there is a patch sitting there in Bugzilla with no reaction of the maintainers, any developer can apply it (and take the responsibility).

Feel free to contact me with such patches/requests. I can't really promise anything, but I can understand the frustration. I wouldn't like this thread to turn into yet another stream of complaints. If one developer is too busy to react, there are others. There are often more options to get your patch in than you can imagine (or at least get feedback about the patch).
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, then, set the sails at high mast mateys, I'll be going down with this ship
even if it means im that one guy still maintaining his extensive betamax collection just because it is, technically, a superior technology to VHS
7 years strong now for me, i dont see myself going elsewhere, rather, I only see myself getting more involved and seeing if i can find more places where i can help (as time away from my paying job permits)

i do hope any niggling issues that might exist between user and/or dev relations will be sorted out, ultimately the more of that we can weed out, the better for the distro
but sinking ship? wouldn't go that far. there's certainly greater market saturation, more choices available, and gentoo certainly a niche player, but still for its specific niche, however narrow some may think its reach/scope may be, unequaled.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My bug reports have most of the time been swiftly answered, patches added. Experience might vary with one's particular field of interest, I couldn't say a bad word.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used Archlinux for a long time and still do on a secondary system. It's nice but it doesn't offer the same exact experience as Gentoo. It's quite a bit different really. I haven't experienced any problems with Gentoo as of yet. Part of this is likely due to becoming more educated when it comes to maintaining a Gentoo system. Thus far from my perspective as a user the experience has been mostly smooth with only minor bugs/issues (such as Python 3 being selected by default). I'm also running ~x86 for what it is worth.

I can't really speak much of how easy it is to contribute in a way beyond on the forums as I haven't yet attempted that but I would hope that there are procedures and policies in place to address your issues. One would think that people willing to positively contribute would be seen as a very good thing and that an effort would be made to maximize the potential there as much as is reasonably possible. Such contributions are the lifeblood of any distribution.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I for one would be greatly saddened if Gentoo did in fact "sink" some day. Although my job has nothing to do with linux or computers and my only experience with Linux and Gentoo is from the confines of my humble home and desktop, I try my best to help out in the forums and sometimes even on bugzilla. I don't have the expertise or probably the time to be a regular patch or package provider/maintainer and I applaud the hard work of the devs and other contributors. In a nutshell what I'm trying to say is that Gentoo is Linux for me personally, I have tried many others distros throughout the years but always come back to Gentoo for two main reasons: (1) great community and docs and (2) control over my computer. Although I think arch is similar it just doesn't have that "thing" (whatever that is) that makes Gentoo -- Gentoo.

I for one will continue to help in any way I can ... even if its one little bucket at a time.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

genstorm wrote:
My bug reports have most of the time been swiftly answered, patches added. Experience might vary with one's particular field of interest, I couldn't say a bad word.

+1
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My bugs *normally* get some response. I even got an invitation to the sunrise project. But other bugs are like chatting to myself. No interest, no answer. Why? Because the ebuild I send in there are something so highly specialized to my needs (only?) that I would be surprised to get any feedback at all. ;)
No, the "responsiveness" on bugs about more or less common packages is very good in my opinion.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I try bugzilla sometimes, but I usually get the silent treatment too so I've got a growing pile of self-maintained ebuilds that nobody else seems to want.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
I try bugzilla sometimes, but I usually get the silent treatment too so I've got a growing pile of self-maintained ebuilds that nobody else seems to want.


Have you tried sunrise? Generally new packages are treated differently than bugs in existing packages, especially in stable.

Do you have any examples of the ebuilds you mentioned? I review the list of maintainer-wanted bugs from time to time, but most of them don't look very useful for many people, or have dead upstream.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SlashBeast wrote:
Gentoo is not in good shape, it looks more like sinking ship nowdays. And why is that? I see a lot powerusers leaving gentoo and going to distros like for example archlinux.
Users come, users go, it is hardly unexpected or alarming. Lately more appear to have been coming, even coming back, than going.
SlashBeast wrote:
The current situation has been nicely summarized by Raffaello D. Di Napoli in comment to a post on a Flameyes's blog.
Not what I would characterize as a good summary, but then I have been involved in the project for somewhat longer than you and have been following the goings on surrounding it. What I get from that post, more than anything else, is that a user filed some bugs and posted some patches and never followed up on it, at least not with the right developers. If someone is going to claim that they would maintain a package, finding and conversing with existing developers is hardly worth being considered a barrier to entry. Finding which developers to contact about any given package is actually fairly trivial, they are listed in metadata.xml in the portage tree at the package and category levels and there are many ways to easily get that information.

The IRC channels #gentoo-bugs and #gentoo-dev-help exist in no small part to help with getting fixes into the tree. If IRC is not suitable, for whatever reason, to someone that wants to contribute and has questions, a mailing list and a forum section await their use, although questions about which developers to contact for a given package are of a less technical nature and are best handled in other, equally obvious, places.
SlashBeast wrote:
And I agree in 100% with this, sadly...
In that case, take a little time, check out the available resources and ask some questions, declaring conclusions and offering scanty support for them does little to ameliorate whatever problems you perceive and nothing whatsoever to enlighten you about what problems actually exist.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my previous distro went away. but the devs pointed at gentoo and so I came

earliest emerge.log entry
1062331485: Started emerge on: Aug 31, 2003 12:04:45
1062331485: *** emerge sync

I ain't going anywhere, and I hope gentoo doesn't either (and I don't really see it as sinking at this time).
these boxen are often broken but fixable (although that has happened a lot less in the last 18 months to 2 years) -and configured just how I want. All too often I find other distros can't handle the setup I want and their gui / automated management/system config tools revert my changes and break the setup.

just wish I had more time to take care of some packages.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo is the only realy open source distro with no preconfigured binarys.

You can customize nearly everything (CFLAGS, USEFLAGS...) and the enviornment (paths, etc.) orientates on linux-standarts.

I adore this.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has been said many times within the last couple of years. Honestly, I personally do not see this happening. I first used gentoo extensively in 02 - 04 then had to change because of heavy use from other binary based distros which was mostly work related, and I wanted to get to know those inner workings. Currently you see a lot of user bases moving around trying things out across distros. In my case, I came back because I get fed up with all the binary BS and the alienation forced from trying to really customize and fine tune those types of systems (Although on an enterprise level there are advantages. ) . I know at work a lot of the veteran users are going back to roots also. Anyways, that said my point is the grass is not always greener on the other side. Seeing the complaints about bugs and what not go take a look at fedora/redhat bugzilla e.g.

Imho the only thing gentoo has lacking right now is a decent up to date documentation. Even the handbook is really outdated in some areas. I remember way back this was what made gentoo shine over the rest. The documentation and wiki etc. Now the wiki isn't even reachable (or has it been fixed ?) I know in some other threads this is being discussed but I think a community revised wiki would be the way to go.

Haven't been back for all to long and I would go down with the ship as well but imho gentoo is one of the strongest distro's out there (speaking from a tech point of view). This is why it is here to stay.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tr0ll wrote:
I remember way back this was what made gentoo shine over the rest.


Absolutely. I just came back to Gentoo after 5 years and it's been a bit of a shock going through the docs. I think a real newbie would have some serious issues here and there. It's a lot of small stuff too, really. Like the plugdev mentioned in a lot of docs is apparently gone, but a lot of current users probably don't even know it.

For a 10 year old distribution I'm surprised how much of a moving target it is. And 10 years of usage is a lot of time for documents to rot and become outdated.

I wonder if the documentation process itself doesn't need a reboot. Maybe there would be some way to have docs of some level integrated into the build process so they can be built on the fly. Much the same way programming API's are today built automatically via tools directly from the code.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for some perspective: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1187165

I bet this question comes up for all distros. This doesn't mean that we should not work harder/better however.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mmealman wrote:
tr0ll wrote:
I remember way back this was what made gentoo shine over the rest.


Absolutely. I just came back to Gentoo after 5 years and it's been a bit of a shock going through the docs. I think a real newbie would have some serious issues here and there. It's a lot of small stuff too, really. Like the plugdev mentioned in a lot of docs is apparently gone, but a lot of current users probably don't even know it.

For a 10 year old distribution I'm surprised how much of a moving target it is. And 10 years of usage is a lot of time for documents to rot and become outdated.

I wonder if the documentation process itself doesn't need a reboot. Maybe there would be some way to have docs of some level integrated into the build process so they can be built on the fly. Much the same way programming API's are today built automatically via tools directly from the code.


Having just migrated the openSUSE wiki from the old wiki to the new one, I understand this documentation struggle quite well. At openSUSE it seemed that they were more concerned about getting the docs moved over to the new wiki and the templates than the content. There is still a lot of content that is out of date over there.

Being new to Gentoo and following the guide step by step, yes, I ran into some issues. I did find the documentation could be updated, to which I could help if that's something you all would like. But all in all, I still think Gentoo has some of the best documentation around.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for everyones information. There is a GSOC project idea for improving the way updates can be done to the docs and submitted. It sill be an automated system that any users can use to edit the docs to fix some things. It will then create a diff against the current revision and submit it for approval.

There has been several inquiries and will probably get several students competing for the project. Let's be positive that it will succeed in producing an easy to use interface that we can all use to fix things when discovered.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One good-natured about gentoo is, that there are no problematic or system-braking dist-upgrades. 8)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Gentoo project requires HR managers.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dirkfanick wrote:
One good-natured about gentoo is, that there are no problematic or system-braking dist-upgrades. 8)

Just problematic or system-breaking emerge -uDN world's.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AidanJT wrote:
dirkfanick wrote:
One good-natured about gentoo is, that there are no problematic or system-braking dist-upgrades. 8)

Just problematic or system-breaking emerge -uDN world's.


There is nothing in Gentoo that can't be fixed, so if you are not capable of fixing an 'emerge -uDN @world' then you should practice more or find another distro.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

likewhoa wrote:
AidanJT wrote:
dirkfanick wrote:
One good-natured about gentoo is, that there are no problematic or system-braking dist-upgrades. 8)

Just problematic or system-breaking emerge -uDN world's.


There is nothing in Gentoo that can't be fixed, so if you are not capable of fixing an 'emerge -uDN @world' then you should practice more or find another distro.


I agree, practice makes perfect. :)
If you pay careful attention to version numbers, you learn to anticipate if something is going to cause problems.

With dist-upgrades you can't do that because all packages change at once, so you can't track it down to a single update and roll it back.
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