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Hello, i've been running Kubuntu for about a year and a half, i think. i ran FC3 and FC4 and didn't like it nearly as much as i like Kubuntu. ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Enthusiast flipjargendy's Avatar
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    Oh now, i can't decide... go with Gentoo?


    Hello, i've been running Kubuntu for about a year and a half, i think. i ran FC3 and FC4 and didn't like it nearly as much as i like Kubuntu. i am looking for a new distro and Gentoo looks nice. i'm very used to the Debian filesystem though. Is it very different from Gentoo's filesystem? It seems like it from what i've looked at.

    i mainly do webdesign, wordprocessing, and basic things nothing extensive. And they're only hobbies.

    Would it be worth it to have to learn how everything works in Gentoo?

    Is it much better then Kubuntu? i have a few install CD's ready to go and Gentoo is one of them, i just don't know though. Is it that much different? What are some common problems you all have experienced in Gentoo?

    Thanks in advance for the input.
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  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    If you want an OS that will consume you and all of your time, then gentoo is it. It isn't that it is hard, or anything, it is that it gives you so many choices. You literally choose everything on your system, and you build it all manually (source based distro).

    There is great documentation though, and since you have been using linux this long, you shouldn't have a problem with gentoo.

    Gentoo has 2 hugh advantages over other distros. USE flags and Portage. USE flags allow you to choose what options each package compiles with. Portage is the package manager. It is the best thing since sliced bread IMO.

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  3. #3
    Linux Enthusiast flipjargendy's Avatar
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    i can't think of the word... do the processes take place quickly or is it slower then other distros?

    Also, what does Gentoo use? i know fedora uses RPM's which i hate.
    Last edited by flipjargendy; 09-13-2006 at 06:31 PM. Reason: RPM question..
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  4. #4
    Linux User Kojak's Avatar
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    The following is not intended to start a flame war but my very own experience/opinion. As such I say right before I start: Sorry, gentoo users. No offense intended.

    i mainly do webdesign, wordprocessing, and basic things nothing extensive. And they're only hobbies.

    Would it be worth it to have to learn how everything works in Gentoo?
    IMHO, no. I have used Gentoo for quite some time and found that I spent way too much time configuring Gentoo than doing my work or anything else. If you have lots of spare time and the will to tinker with your computer, then Gentoo or any other source-based distro might be a solution for you. Otherwise it is lost time.

    Gentoo documentation is very good. If you choose to go the Gentoo path, read their documentation carefully.

    Gentoo has two huge disadvantages over other distros: USE flags and emerge. Improperly set USE flags can cause you a lot (!) of trouble, in a worst case resulting in a completely instable system that needs to be rebuilt again. Emerge is the command-line updater/installer/uninstaller (Portage is only the GUI frontend to the package manager, it is not the package manager) and emerge can give newcomers big problems, when there are different releases of one and the same app available. You will have to specify exactly, which package you want to install but the man-page is too complex for newcomers to understand, while the emerge --help is not really helpful IMHO. And with intuitition you won't get far.

    A third thing that drove me away from Gentoo: Compile times (if you use source and not ebuilds). Compiling e.g. OOo three hours for getting that extra speed bonus of 1/10 second when starting the app... well, everyone has to decide for himself and for me, after one and a half years with Gentoo, I found it's not worth the extra-time invested.
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  5. #5
    Linux Enthusiast flipjargendy's Avatar
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    i thought about it being a little time consuming when gruven said it is completely customizable. It would probably eat up too much of my time. i have too much to take care of to mess around that much with an OS. Also after reading a few howto's and a little bit of info about Gentoo i think i'd be too into it and become obsessed... then screw up the system and have to start all over.

    If it were one year earlier right now, i'd for sure go with Gentoo, it sounds great, but too time consuming for me. i really want to try it out but i think a little bit more simple is the thing for me. Thanks guys
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  6. #6
    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    Kojak, you seem to be confused. Please do not take offense to this, as I am just getting this straight.

    Actually, portage is the package manager. Emerge is the tool you use to invoke installs, updates, sync's, etc... You are thinking of Porthole as the gui for portage.

    Ebuilds are what you use to build from source using the package manager, portage. An ebuild basically tells the package manager (portage) where to get the source code for the program you want, and all dependencies of it, then checks for the dependencies, and downloads and compiles what it needs. It is that simple.

    Gentoo really isn't for new users. It isn't that it is hard, it is that it is extremely easy to break if you don't know what you are doing or if you don't know how to fix it, you could end up with a useless system and have to rebuild. Don't let that scare you away though. How else are you going to learn?

    And yes, Gentoo is completely customizable. You can actually customize anything in the distribution. Compile times are long if you have a slow computer, but it is worth it IMO.

    Kojak, you didn't offend me in any way, I just wanted to get the facts straight. I have used Gentoo for a few years, and I have also used other distros. I know gentoo well, and use it on all of my computers. I don't use Gentoo for the so called "speed increase", because it is minimal. I use it for the customization and flexibility. Did you use Gentoo or something based on Gentoo? There is a difference.

    If you have any doubts about portage being the package manager, then please read this:
    http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handboo...?part=2&chap=1
    That will explain all you ever wanted to know about portage. I also see no reference to a gui frontend. That is a third party application.

    Anything else you want to know about gentoo I will either find a link to it, or tell you from experience.

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  7. #7
    Linux User Kojak's Avatar
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    Actually, portage is the package manager. Emerge is the tool you use to invoke installs, updates, sync's, etc... You are thinking of Porthole as the gui for portage.
    Uh... yeah.. sorry, I was confusing porthole with portage. Thanks for correcting me. Well, it's been over a year since I last used Gentoo. I get old...

    I used the original Gentoo (and not a fork like Vidalinux) and started to use it in early 2004 as a stage one install. It took forever on my machine back then, a Duron 750 MHz.

    It is fine if you use Gentoo not because of the "speed-increase" but because of customizability. However it is a fact that many, many users switch(ed) to Gentoo not because of the flexibility it offers but because they want more speed out of their box. For achieving that, they even use flags that are known to break your system and later complain loudly. I have encountered several such users on the Gentoo forums and - admittedly - had a good laugh when their tuning-efforts failed miserably for the third or fourth time.

    My Gentoo was rock-stable, but, as noted before, compiling times were getting on my nerves. So when I bough a new box, I decided to ditch Gentoo and try something else.

    IMHO, using Gentoo is only useful when you want to build specialized machines for very special tasks where any extra-bulk only makes system-administration and/or enforcing system security policies more problematic.
    To each his own.
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  8. #8
    Linux Engineer psic's Avatar
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    My 2 cents, if I may:

    I started using Gentoo after a year and a half of using various (mainly debian based) distros. The main reason at the time was the speed. Yup, I cared about the two nanoseconds which I saved everytime I ran firefox But after a while, I totally forgot about the speed. I figured out that Gentoo was exactly what I wanted because I had so much control over it. For me, simple is beautiful. I use small, simple programs (all gtk-based), each designed to do one thing, and do it well. For this, Gentoo is perfect. You start out with (almost) nothing and build your way up. I left most of the USE flags alone, and only removed those which I knew I didn't need (the Qt and KDE ones, as well as a couple of others). Compile times are not an issue for me, mainly because I rarely install programs at all! And when I do, they are almost always tiny little things. The last app I installed was Mousepad (xfce's light notepad-type text editor), because I decided I didn't need Gedit's features When I do install programs, Portage is awsome, simple yet very powerfull.

    But I have to agree that Gentoo is not for new users. It can be very hard to setup and troubleshoot if you don't know what you're doing or where to find out. I'd recommend a few years with other distros, getting the feel for linux in general, and the way diferent distributions work (by this I mean the differences between, say, debian based and slackware based distros), before trying Gentoo. More often than not, people are just disappointed when it doesn't work as advertised.

    I've now used gentoo for a bit over a year and I couldn't imagine switching to anything else. That said, however, I'm still trying out new distros, I'm planning on giving Mandriva and Xubuntu a run sometime soon

  9. #9
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    when you think gentoo, thing LFS (Linux From Scratch). it uses a package management (emerge) that compiles everything from source unlike debian (.deb), fedora/redhat (rpm), etc. so getting a running system takes time but once you get gentoo running the way you like you wont look back. Gentoo is by far the best linux distro i have ever used and i started out on redhat 7.1 then i went to netbsd. my advice would be to install gentoo and give it a go before you decide you dont like it. no body on here can tell you its a ****** OS because we all like what we like

  10. #10
    Blackfooted Penguin daark.child's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojak
    IMHO, no. I have used Gentoo for quite some time and found that I spent way too much time configuring Gentoo than doing my work or anything else. If you have lots of spare time and the will to tinker with your computer, then Gentoo or any other source-based distro might be a solution for you. Otherwise it is lost time.
    This doesn't have to be the case. I usually spend a day or two installing and configuring Gentoo to my needs and once everything is setup, I don't have to do anything except update the system once a week or so. Same thing for FreeBSD, it can take some time to set things up the way you want but once thats done, there is no need to tinker.

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