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Hi! I've been using linux for around 5 years and I'm well acquainted the entire debian family (Ubuntu, Mint, Stable, Testing and Unstable) and ArchLinux. I also have a little ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Gentoo vs ArchLinux


    Hi!

    I've been using linux for around 5 years and I'm well acquainted the entire debian family (Ubuntu, Mint, Stable, Testing and Unstable) and ArchLinux. I also have a little bit experience with Fedora and RedHat.

    But right now I need a distro which fulfills the following criteria that my current 64bit Linux Mint 9 KDE cannot:


    • My laptop is an eMachines E725 with an Intel T4400 CPU (Dual Core Penryn @ 2.2GHz) with 1MB L2 and Intel GMA 4500M for graphics. And its got 1GB of RAM. The OS needs to be fast for this sort of configuration when running both KDE and Xfce Desktops.
    • I prefer 64bit over 32bit as I run a lot of audio production/editing apps. Mint 64 and KDE is too sluggish on my laptop.
    • I like a Rolling-Release approach to updating the OS.
    • I want zero bloat.
    • I need a rt-linux kernel and a good number of jack-server based apps to be supported and availability in repositories is welcome.
    • Distro should be usable on Laptops.
    • Distro should have excellent documentation so that even one without experience can use it comfortably.
    • I like text based configuration, provided its well documented and there are enough samples.


    Judging by these, the choice really comes down to only two distros: ArchLinux and Gentoo.

    Arch I've used on my desktop for over an year, but I'm not sure if the system of PKGBUILDs for installing software not in repositories is good enough. And rt-linux was b0rked when I used it.

    Gentoo seems all nice when it comes to its principles, but I'm not sure if 1GB of RAM will be enough to handle the sort of compiling Gentoo would need me to do.

    For either of the Distros, will 64bit work comfortably ?
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  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Myself, I'd probably go with Gentoo. It lets you build it to your exact specifications and hardware, so it can be as lean as you need. I've heard good things about Arch, but I'm not experienced with it, unlike Gentoo which I have used in the past with good results. As for real-time kernel extensions, it depends a lot upon the kernel that you are using. Check on the Gentoo web site for information regarding that.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalheadGautham View Post
    Hi!


    Gentoo seems all nice when it comes to its principles, but I'm not sure if 1GB of RAM will be enough to handle the sort of compiling Gentoo would need me to do.
    Gentoo will compile fine on 1GB, it just takes a little longer than if you had say, 4 GB.
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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTbob View Post
    Gentoo will compile fine on 1GB, it just takes a little longer than if you had say, 4 GB.
    Yeah. I built my first Gentoo system on a 386MB RAM 450MHz Pentium II. Built and worked just fine. In fact, it still works today.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTbob View Post
    Gentoo will compile fine on 1GB, it just takes a little longer than if you had say, 4 GB.
    How longer is "little longer" ? Could you give an estimate like 20% longer, 100% longer, etc ? "little" sounds too politically correct
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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    That's an "it depends" kind of reply...

    If you have little other stuff running (no GUI, or other non-critical services for example), and you can build without hitting the swap file, then it's 6 of one and a half-dozen of the other. If you hit the swap file, then things can slow down significantly. How significantly depends a lot upon disc I/O speed. Since your disc is a sold-state device, maybe by 50% or less of a slow down. However, without actually doing some benchmarks, this is just a SWAG (Stupid Wild Ass Guess).
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  8. #7
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    Hmmm... I normally do any kind of big software upgrade after booting from init-3 mode with just a console and screen for switching between basic CLI apps. Also use ratpoison sometimes when I need performance. Once tested the mem usage this way to be around 60mb. After considering the GPU RAM as well, I'd say it leaves me with 800MB free for compiling. Would that do ?
    A man learns from his experience. A smart man learns from the experience of others, while a smarter man experiences life after knowing other's experiences.

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  9. #8
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Well, when you start installing/building Gentoo, you are (or should be) in text mode. A 1GB ram with dual-core processor should be pretty snappy I think. You can also see if specifying -j2 to make speeds it up or not (dual threads on the build). Building takes more CPU than RAM. On my workstation, I use -j8 (8 threads) for building a kernel. It pegs all 8 cores at 100% for most of the build, but even with 8 threads only a couple of GB are used of memory. Anyway, it speeds up a 2.6.32 kernel build from 2 hours on one core, to 15 minutes (almost linear speedup). So, start the build, go to dinner, and when you are finished with coffee, the build should be done!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  10. #9
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Arch I've used on my desktop for over an year, but I'm not sure if the system of PKGBUILDs for installing software not in repositories is good enough. And rt-linux was b0rked when I used it.
    Just to give another perspective...

    Under Gentoo, wouldn't you be compiling everything using their ebuilds? I'm not particularly well versed in ebuild scripts, but from what I've seen they're very similar to Arch's PKGBUILDs, so I'm not clear what you mean by then not being good enough?

    Or are you referring to quality control of PKGBUILDs in the AUR? In which case, yeah, there are some poorly written scripts there. But I think you find the same with community contributed ebuilds in Gentoo, no?

    Since you're going to be compiling at least the kernel anyway, if the realtime kernel in the AUR is broken, you always have the option to build it yourself in Arch also.

  11. #10
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    Well... I noticed that Ubuntu made "compiling" look highly alien. It was more easier to compile software on ArchLinux. Since gentoo is a source based distro to begin with, I get the gut feeling that it'd do better on the compiling front. And the ability to CHOOSE what goes into the system is another neat feature which attracts me to gentoo.
    A man learns from his experience. A smart man learns from the experience of others, while a smarter man experiences life after knowing other's experiences.

    BE THE SMARTER MAN.

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