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  1. #1

    What would I get?

    I have been a Debian user for a while now and I was wondering what I would get by switching to Gentoo.I was on Gentoo IRC and they told me that Gentoo didn't use packages?They said it used some emerge thing?If it didn't use packages does it use source?And finaly what makes it so great.Every Gentoo user I have talked to says it wonderful.

    P.S. I'm on wifi and I know how to use ndiswrapper but can I do a networkless install?

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer Zelmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Riverton, UT, USA
    Gentoo does use source; from what I hear, it's like FreeBSD's portage system. I didn't use portage for the brief time that I was trying FreeBSD, so I can't vouch for the veracity of the comparison. I did use Gentoo for a little bit, and I can tell you that building everything from source is a very time-consuming process. The idea is that in the end, you'll have programs that are custom fitted to your system. In reality, that depends somewhat on how well you understand and employ the USE flags.

    The way I see it now, Debian goes through a lot of thorough testing to make sure its packages work properly together, so it's at least as stable as Gentoo (and a lot more stable if you tend to make typos or overlook any part of configuring your Gentoo system). It can be tweaked and customized to give many of the performance and size benefits that Gentoo enjoys. Package management is equally simple, but Debian packages install quickly because they're precompiled and ready to go.

    What you really get out of Gentoo is a better understanding of a lot of standard Linux config files, because you have to configure many of them by hand. And some things that you may never get to experience in other distros, like chroot, are a standard part of installing and setting up Gentoo, so you get more exposure to some not-so-common tools and procedures. Finally, you get a warm fuzzy from being so involved in your Linux system, which you build from the ground up to be just the right system for you.
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