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Sep 07, 2003 03:19 # 15400
I've heard much about gentoo - lately even by a friend who has it set up on all of his mac machines (notebook and desktop computer), and is praising it into heaven because of its easyness to handle, install, customize, etc.
As far as i could find out (and was told), gentoo distro gets delivered with already all of the programs one might find useful, but stripping most of the useless clutter, so it's installed in a matter of minutes/seconds, can easily updated, and maximally wastes 600 meg of your hard drive disk.
This sounds like some minimalist style linux - but whats so different with it, compared to minimalist linux distros like crux?
I've read on the gentoo homepage, that it includes the newest desktop manager shit, but then it calls itself very easy to use even on (or as) a embeded system - anyone out there who can tell me more about the pros and cons of gentoo, similar distros, etc?
I especially am interesed in if i could install it eg. On a low-tech system like a p166, 32 meg, etc. To use it as web server and/or router system, and how easy can this be established?
Tia, yours, bg.
Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign for a diseased mind!
The point of Gentoo is to compile the whole system with specific settings optimised for you machine. I run Gentoo on my main PC and server. Portage is what all the fuss is about. It is basically a package manager which automatically resolves dependencies, downloads source code from mirrors and compiles. I could type something like this:
And Portage would first download XFree, Qt, etc. which are required for KDE, then compile and install it all for me.
It's like apt-get, but you compile the source which takes a lot longer, but should run faster if you've modified your CHOST and CFLAGS variable in /etc/make.conf.
It's pretty tricky to install, compared to most distros, but you should be OK if you're comfortable with the shell and follow the instructions properly. You get to choose which kernel, logger, cron daemon, etc. you want, compared to other distros which install a 'default'. In fact you can choose not to install them, if you wish.
As I said, my server runs Gentoo, it is a Cyrix MII 333Mhz system with 48MB RAM running the base system (from emerge system) plus Boa, OpenSSH and Samba. I think even a P166 could cope with basic tasks such as web serving and routing. Actually there are some special distros that are designed to turn 486s into routers!
The other thing about Gentoo is it's cutting edge stuff. You can always get the latest software, and you can choose to install unstable packages if you want to try them out. With other distros you probably have to wait for the next version, but the lines are fuzzy in Gentoo. I originally installed a release candidate, but my system is up to date further than the latest release, because it takes only three commands to do a complete system update:
emerge sync emerge -u system emerge -u world
A word of warning: it took two days solid to compile the base system and kernel on my Cyrix. I had 48MB of RAM, any less is probably unfeasible. So for you Pentium, it might be best to go for a binary distribution.
This post was edited by shaurz on Sep 09, 2003.
I use gentoo as I have made apparent oh so many times, and I love portage. It is one of those wholesomely good things that are so rare in our world. It lets ylou know that it will work, no matter what...
If you need something it goes and gets it. If something is in it's way it tells you. It gives you choices --Binary or compile-all???
If you are looking for something similar but do not want to go through all of the craziness of installing gentoo from scratch you could always install portage on your existing install. It is the best package manager for linux right now. Yes it takes wanton amounts of time to compile things but it can also get binaries as well so it meets the other package managers but exceeds it witht the default option of compiling things from scratch to optimize the system.
The openness is huge, and makes it the most flexible distro on the planet. In fact, it's only downside is the complicated setup, and that is a neccesary evil. It allows for the flexibility and the sturdy customizability of gentoo. Yes, other distros allow you to "customize" but gentoo does not limit you in any way.
Also the setup is different from other distributions.
I have a midiocre knowledge of gentoo and so far every time taht I have tried to do something on another distro it didn't work or things were elsewhere, or not there at all.
I do not know if this is true about other distributions, but gentoo sets up all configurations via *.txt. This also helps in the general setup because it allows you to in the most simple way possible, optimize the system for your needs.
Anyway I have shared my feelings, but to sum it up gentoo is good, give it a try. The install can teach even a pro a few tricks and I am sure that you will like the customization, because after all default settings are why people use windows!!
I should be ashamed of myself.
Jul 22, 2004 21:08 # 24695
I've got portage installed on my OS X laptop, and I run Gentoo on a partition of my erstwhile server, an old G4. OS X is still superior IMO, your friend is probably running Gentoo for the geek factor or a familiarity with Linux.
The advantage of Gentoo versus other distros is in its optimization and ease of use. It's thought of as a geek platform and the install isn't as easy as some others, but it's better than Debian in that regard and very easy to maintain and update. Particularly if you prelink your software, it outperforms nearly if not all other distros on the same equipment, allegedly by as much as 15%. That's pretty significant.
Other install-time options with Gentoo that some other distros might not include are optional dependendies: you're given a choice on how you want certain applications compiled and which libraries you want installed.
As mentioned, Gentoo's easy to update, which goes back to portage (emerge), one of the core strengths of the OS, which is analogous to ports on BSD or apt-get on Debian.
Last advantage I can think of is that installs don't necessarily mangle your configuration files. I think Null brought up how badly SuSE does this earlier. Not a problem in the Gentoo world, and there's even a utility with which you can merge and replace comments in them at your own discretion. It's called etc-something, can't remember exactly. Huge advantage.