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After all the playing around with ports that I've done recently in Crux and FreeBSD (and while I'm still in a semi-distro-hopping mood), I decided last night to install Gentoo ...
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  1. #1
    oz
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    Re-emerging into Gentoo land...


    After all the playing around with ports that I've done recently in Crux and FreeBSD (and while I'm still in a semi-distro-hopping mood), I decided last night to install Gentoo once again. This was my first Gentoo install since around 2004, so I was curious to see how it has been shaping up. The install went fine, except that the official installation disk (64-bit, no-multilib) would not work with my internet connection for some reason. Being anxious to get the install completed before the night was over, I switched to my trusty 64-bit version of Parted Magic to install Gentoo and it worked without a hitch. On this install, I went with a GPT partition layout, and GRUB2 for the bootloader. This box will remain very much an "anti-Gnome, anti-KDE" machine and is running only the base system, with some lightweight apps such as openbox, rox, urxvt, leafpad, and pypanel.

    It was very surprising to see how much user activity has fallen off at the Gentoo forums since I last used them, and how the "hits-per-day" for Gentoo on the DistroWatch hits-per-day chart have dropped. Guess I'll have to do some reading to find out what's going on with all that.


    Edit: just wanted to add that while my internet connection wouldn't work with the official installer CD, it worked fine after the install was completed.
    Last edited by oz; 11-27-2012 at 02:16 PM.
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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Yeah, my last installation of Gentoo was about the same time as yours (2004-2005). I haven't tried it since then, being pretty happy with CentOS and Scientific Linux. I even run SL on my Dell D630 laptop with a B43 WiFi card. Other than taking an evening to get the WiFi working, it has been dead-bang reliable - even sleeps and hibernates and restores without problems!

    All of that aside, I really did like Gentoo, though it took me a week of Sundays to get it working properly the first time!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
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    oz
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    One thing I don't like about Gentoo is that it has so many custom utilities and commands, where I prefer a more generic linux such as that provided by Crux. The advantage with Gentoo is the huge number of ported apps. I don't think there was a single app that I wanted that wasn't already available, where with Crux I had to create some of my own package builds.
    oz

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    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    I always try other distros out, but ultimately I always come back to Gentoo. It is what I am using now.

    With todays processors the compile times aren't bad, and I can usually get everything set up within a couple of hours, because I have all of my config files backed up. I don't follow the handbook though, I have my own way of installing it, and it is more of the funtoo way to install, but I install Gentoo instead.

    If you don't like all of the custom utilities and commands in Gentoo, then you can always use something more generic. That is the beauty of Gentoo, it is what you make it. If you don't like eselect, create and remove the symlinks yourself. Edit your config files instead of using the Gentoo specific things. It works the same way. The only things I use that are Gentoo specific are portage, eselect, and etc-update. Everything else I just do it manually, and it works great.

    Don't forget a few things though, such as gentoolkit, putting your /tmp in system ram (if you have enough, I put mine there but I have 16GB RAM), layman (overlay manager), and a few other things I am sure MikeTBob and I can help with.

    I too am using a GPT partition table with grub2, and it is working beautifully.

    With my 8 core AMD FX8120 Bulldozer setup I can compile GCC in less than 7 minutes.

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    oz
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    Good day, gruven

    Being the longtime Gentoo user that you are, I wonder if you can say what happened with Gentoo along the way that caused it to drop so far in popularity among Linux users? Even the official Gentoo forum is no where close to as active as it once was.

    Just curious about it all if you should happen to know what changed things.

    Thanks.
    oz

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    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    People get tired of the politics of it and move away. That is pretty much what happened, and funtoo has taken some of the users to it as well. Gentoo is still extremely active development wise, but the documentation is not what it used to be because people don't write it anymore.

    I think most people have moved back to binary distros, but I just love the customization that lies within gentoo that you can't get in a binary distro.

    I remember not too long ago some devs and users left because of a lot of internal politics. I think that has leveled off now though. A few got mad because drobbins tried to come back as lead architect but the so called "council" refused giving him control even though he was the creator. He then forked and formed funtoo. I am glad that all of the changes in funtoo didn't come to gentoo though, he is trying to automate too many things IMO.
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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruven View Post
    People get tired of the politics of it and move away. That is pretty much what happened, and funtoo has taken some of the users to it as well. Gentoo is still extremely active development wise, but the documentation is not what it used to be because people don't write it anymore.

    I think most people have moved back to binary distros, but I just love the customization that lies within gentoo that you can't get in a binary distro.

    I remember not too long ago some devs and users left because of a lot of internal politics. I think that has leveled off now though. A few got mad because drobbins tried to come back as lead architect but the so called "council" refused giving him control even though he was the creator. He then forked and formed funtoo. I am glad that all of the changes in funtoo didn't come to gentoo though, he is trying to automate too many things IMO.
    One thing all developers, especially Linux/FOSS developers need to remember, the KISS principal! And along with that is the LMDWIW (Let Me Do What I Want) principal... but don't make it too difficult!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    oz
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    Thanks for the info, gruven. Before re-installing gentoo a few months back, I took a look around at the funtoo website and considered installing it, but decided to stick with the original instead. As for documentation, I do like the idea of wikis, but one problem I've found with most user contributed wiki documentation is that it's frequently out of date.
    oz

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oz View Post
    Thanks for the info, gruven. Before re-installing gentoo a few months back, I took a look around at the funtoo website and considered installing it, but decided to stick with the original instead. As for documentation, I do like the idea of wikis, but one problem I've found with most user contributed wiki documentation is that it's frequently out of date.
    Writing good documentation, that is up-to-date, is REALLY hard! For a full Linux distribution it must be a full time (and a half) job. I was the designer and principal developer of a world-class application development framework that is used to write the MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) that run most of the semiconductor, flat-panel display, and disc drive manufacturing plants in the world today. When I went to write the framework documentation, after 3 months and 1000+ pages (90% complete) I had to go on to other stuff... So, this is a subject I can definitely relate to. What I like about Wikis is that anyone can (within bounds) contribute to this body of knowledge - it allows the documentation to be a living/breathing part of the distribution. So, I can only encourage people to contribute to them!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    I concur with Gruven. It seems a lot of in house fighting has been going on in the upper echelons of the Gentoo Hierarchy. That might have passed by now but I think it caused a rift. I'll see if I can find the link for that.

    Also, broken update after broken stupid update, hair pulling for days trying to troubleshoot the portage conflicts/blocks/use flags. It's a part time job maintaining a fully functional, sweet running install of KDE or GNOME desktop.
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