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punchy71 01-08-2014 08:55 AM

Should I try Gentoo or not?
 
Greetings,
I was considering trying Gentoo Linux and being a Linux novice I noted that it seems to be more oriented towards developers (programmers) and network professionals, which makes me leary of even coming near it. It seems like at one time there might have been a more novice friendly spin of it available but maybe I'm mistaken. It also doesn't seem to be as popular as it once was in the past. Which makes me wonder why it's losing its popularity...

Thanks.

TobiSGD 01-09-2014 02:11 AM

If you consider Gentoo because you think it will give you more performance forget about it, Gentoo is not significantly faster than other distros. The great advantage is that it is some kind of meta-distribution, you basically build your own distribution from scratch, with packages and dependencies that you want (as far as possible). This naturally includes that you will have to edit configuration files and that you should know your way around the command-line. If you are willing to learn and to invest some time and if you have a somewhat decent computer Gentoo can be a great distribution.
If you don't want to dive into the deep water directly you may want to try Sabayon, a distro based on Gentoo that comes as an installable live-DVD and the possibility to install binary packages. There are some other differences (for example systemd as default init system instead of OpenRC) though.

PrinceCruise 01-09-2014 02:53 AM

What's your exact purpose of choosing Gentoo over your existing distro? That may help.

Regards.

i92guboj 01-09-2014 12:03 PM

You should be fine as long as you don't give up on the first problem and you are ready to learn a lot.

I know about lots of non-techies that have successfully installed it with some help from the mailing lists or the forums. Some of them were newcomer to linux as a whole.

Gentoo won't turn your pc into a rocket, but, if you want to know whats going on under the hood, you will definitely enjoy it.

punchy71 01-09-2014 03:57 PM

Let me ask this... is Gentoo as rock-solid stable as Slackware or Debian?

i92guboj 01-10-2014 03:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by punchy71 (Post 5095137)
Let me ask this... is Gentoo as rock-solid stable as Slackware or Debian?

Short answer: no.

Now, if you want to read more... Gentoo is not a distro in the sense of these that you mentioned. You can rather look at it as a set of manuals and tools to build your own distro.

The result will depend on a lot of things. It can be a lot more stable than any of those, and it can be a lot more unstable than plutonium. The right questions to ask is what the brain between the chair and the keyboard wants from a distro, and what s/he is willing to do to get that.

If you can keep your system up to date, read the QAs, update your kernel when due, and stay away from unstable crap, then you'll probably be fine.

If you want to live on the edge, a shinny desktop, a binary 3d accelerated blob from your GPU favorite manufacturer, a proprietary modem firmware and all that crap, then you are just as bound to have problems as you would be with any distro (or with any OS anyway).

To sum up, the main difference between Gentoo and Debian is that YOU are the one that builds the distro. The Gentoo team can enforce some basic policies, but users usually override them by using package.unmask, ACCEPT_KEYWORDS, and overlays. Then they came complaining because their kittens die horribly and their computers explode. Such a pitty :lol:

Electromaniac 01-12-2014 08:56 AM

Yes, you should try. For first time I can't guarantee you that you will have 100% functional system. But Gentoo is about fun and learn. It is also a way of getting things done with source rather than with binary, but consumes more free time than e.g. Arch Linux.
For your first install be sure you roughly follow all handbook sections. I would advice you to pay attention on make.conf and kernel part. For first time you can let genkernel do the kernel part for you even it is not default way, or if you are brave, then go forth and build kernel by yourself. It is importrant to know deep your hardware, so be sure to include everything. Also I advice you to include ext3, ext4 and jbd in kernel, because building as modules will require initramfs and without that, you will get stuck with kernel panic (one of common beginner mistakes).
Next, make.conf is importrant, because it will improve your build success. Feel free to read wiki Safe Cflags (google it), you can just put -march=native and let compiler do all magic for you.
Next, you should define following:
INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse evdev synaptics" (synaptics only required for notebooks)
VIDEO_CARDS="radeon" (that's my pick, your card may be different, read handbook for more info)
MAKEOPTS="-jX" (this means how many parallel jobs will be run in background, recommended is number of cores +1, but I will recommend exact as number of cores)
That O2 thing should stay default for first time.
Just take care about these few things I mentioned and it should be all good. You will understand these things when you find them in handbook. I installed Gentoo first time without almost any knowledge about terminal. If you have decided to install, good luck then. It will be good to have handbook near all the time. You can install Gentoo from another live distro such as Ubuntu (google this: install gentoo chroot ubuntu).
So yes, it's a lot of reading and learning.

Emerson 01-29-2014 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by punchy71 (Post 5095137)
Let me ask this... is Gentoo as rock-solid stable as Slackware or Debian?

Yes. As a matter of fact, even Gentoo ~arch is absolutely stable to run. While running ~arch you will experience some build issues every now and then, but it will run rock solid. I'm running Gentoo since 2003 in multiple boxes and I never (yes, never!) had a software crash, had some hardware crashes, though.

jefro 01-29-2014 07:41 PM

You should try Gentoo. Only you will be able to decide if you like their approach to a linux distro.

I consider it a good distro and has advantages. It can be made to be "use" tuned. You can tune it to your needs.

cizzi 04-08-2014 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by punchy71 (Post 5094295)
Greetings,
I was considering trying Gentoo Linux and being a Linux novice I noted that it seems to be more oriented towards developers (programmers) and network professionals, which makes me leary of even coming near it. It seems like at one time there might have been a more novice friendly spin of it available but maybe I'm mistaken. It also doesn't seem to be as popular as it once was in the past. Which makes me wonder why it's losing its popularity...

Thanks.

I wouldn't recommend it if you're just starting out with Linux, it will take you a long time to figure out things that other distros simply "do" for you in the background especially installing and maintaining USE flags. But I suggest reading on it and slowly looking at the different steps to install it on you spare time to see if its something that interest you. Its really a different way of thinking that other distros. Again this is my personal opinion.

ReaperX7 04-17-2014 10:51 PM

Gentoo can be a royal pain in the butt if you aren't careful. The book is very vague at times to be perfectly honest with you. To not pull any punches or be condescending, but... Gentoo's handbook is sometimes VERY poorly designed to install a working Linux distribution, so do be prepared for it.

I've attempted many installs of it, all of which fail for one reason or another, and I went by the handbook.

You'll be building a LOT of software from source, so do be prepared for the compile times if you get it working.

I've had an easier time with B/LFS than Gentoo, and it's supposed to be even more difficult, but it's got better documentation.

To be perfectly honest, always get a distribution with top notch documentation. It'll determine how well you learn Linux itself and use the tools for your distribution.

If you want an easy install of Gentoo, get the Live disk, install it, then let Protage upgrade the entire system.

rocketpenguin 04-21-2014 09:35 AM

You should if you are willing to spend quite a lot of time, and want to learn more about linux. I failed a few installs, but with Gentoo every failed install is something learned. Gentoo is alao a bit faster than most other linux distributions, but take care if you plan to run on a laptop because I have noticed that compiling software takes a lot of cpu and therefore your computer might overheat.

edwardm 04-21-2014 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rocketpenguin (Post 5156519)
if you plan to run on a laptop because I have noticed that compiling software takes a lot of cpu and therefore your computer might overheat.


Agree. I suggest "emerge lm_sensors" app to monitor temperature, fan and voltage.

https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Lm_sensors

ReaperX7 04-23-2014 09:47 PM

The new handbook seems to have cleaned up the install process a good bit and streamlines things a lot.

However, they still fail miserably to mention you can run several things during the install process such as the kernel setup using "make defconfig" to generate a architecture sound and Gentoo friendly .config that doesn't require much extra to be setup. "Make defconfig" fairly much covers just about everything Gentoo mentions in the handbook hardware support wise and only needs minor additions from menuconfig to streamline support more.

They also still don't touch on a proper /etc/fstab to mount devpts, /sys, /proc, and /dev correctly. Though you can easily pull the LFS book up as a good reference for this.

At least they mention how to setup a BIOS Boot Partition for GPT... Not even Slackware's How-Tos has touched that yet, at least to my knowledge.


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