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Gentoo 2004.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
15 42120 09-15-2004
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
87% of reviewers None indicated 8.3



Description: Gentoo 2004.0 is essentially Gentoo 1.5. Gentoo is a system that is compiled either from scratch, from a basic compiler or from a few basic utilities. Stage 1 (from scratch) bootstraps the system, compiling a compiler (gcc) optimized for your system (this takes a LONG time). Stage 2 involves downloading and compiling basic programs which are REQUIRED, and stage 3 is starting from a base system and configuring your kernel.
Keywords: gentoo 2004 2004.0


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Old 03-15-2004, 12:22 AM   #1
seizethenight
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Slackware 9.1, Gentoo 2004.0
Posts: 4

Rep: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: Speed, Control, Knowledge gained from installation
Cons: Installation takes time, Not optimal for production systems



Pros:
-Speed: Gentoo is bloody fast. If installed properly and from Stage 1, everything down to gcc itself is compiled for your system specifically. Every program you install via emerge is also optimized. Nothing you don't need/want isn't even installed.
-Control: You are in control of absolutely everything on your computer. You must set up everything, hence you know everything that's running and how everything was originally set up. Everything is compiled from source with USE flags, so you can customize every aspect of a package and still have the ease of an RPM.
-Knowledge: Since you have to compile/install/configure everything yourself, you learn a LOT in the install. A great way to learn how linux works if you don't know is to sit down over a weekend and install Gentoo. From networks to partitioning to kernel configuration, you have to do it all if you install from stage 1.

Cons:
-Time: Installing on vmWare (for those of us who have one or two critical apps that still need window$) is almost not an option. It took 4 days to bootstrap alone on a 1.6GHz system running vmWare and nothing else. On my 550MHz server, it took 13 hours (a m$-free system). Also, if you run into an error a few days into a compilation (happened 3 times on VMWare), you have to start from scratch, every package in the ebuild is rebuilt (or so was my experience).
-Production Systems: Since everything is compiled from source, security patches can take days to install instead of minutes. Also, since most people will use bleeding-edge software more often if it's just as easy as well-established software (2.6.x kernels vs. 2.4.x), crashes and bugs are most likely. On the other hand, the ebuilds aren't as bleeding-edge as pure source installs, as people must put together the ebuilds and get them on portage. Some programs are also harder to configure, as the USE flags can be tricky at times.

Overall:
GREAT distro, I use it on desktop systems that are behind firewalls and routers already. For servers, Gentoo is okay, but not great. Slackware has my vote for servers.
 
Old 03-16-2004, 10:09 AM   #2
nikko
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Distribution: Knoppix,Slackware
Posts: 10

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 8

Pros: Lots of options, nice package tool (emerge)
Cons: Lots of options, 2.6 kernel docs shaky


I try new distributions frequently, and I just tried my hand at Gentoo 2004.0 with a 2.6 kernel. Being a tweaker, I insisted on a Stage I installation, which builds the world. It wen't pretty smooth, but once it is finished and you have a complete system, it's time to get a desktop manager and XFree86 running. There are inconsistencies in the docs on how to do this on a 2.6 kernel, and I still haven't gottenit running.

Performance is great on a Stage I build, because it is tuned for your specific hardware. The Portage system of package management is nice, but the list of packages is a little overwhelming (Gentoo is all about choices, you know), and I need to find an online brosweable database of all the packages available. A good distribution overall, but needs some polish.
 
Old 03-22-2004, 08:37 AM   #3
tmp123
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Knoppix, Debian, Gentoo, Arch, FreeBSD, NetBSD, QNX, FreeDOS, L4...
Posts: 8

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 6

Pros: Easy install by hand, advanced package manager, up-to-date, lots of software
Cons: Upgrades take a LONG TIME, pointless ideas, messy archives


Pros:
-If you like to customize everything you would like the (absence of the) installer
-APT-like package manager (emerge)
-Packages are usually up-to-date
-Many software available

Cons:
-Sources are bigger than tar.gz-ed binaries, compiling takes about 100x more time than unrolling a tar.gz => long upgrading
-The average user is just happy with the default compile-time settings, no point in compiling EVERYTHING from source
-The FTP archive is really messy

Messy archives?
Well, since the pakcage manager can download everything automatically noone would have to use the archives by hand, but big mirroring sites (eg FSN) refused to mirror Gentoo because it's so messy.

Comminuty:
The supporting community is large, but mostly they <flame/> rather than support.

Head: Daniel Robbins
 
Old 03-24-2004, 12:39 PM   #4
druchyun
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Posts: 2

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Everything works perfectly, super fast
Cons: compile time, they need more precompiled binaries


A lot of people complain about compile times in Gentoo, and I hope they realize that there are precompiled packages on cd-2 and you can also emerge -K or -k packages to grab any available precompiled packages

Redhat hasn't been fast since 7.3 (or earlier) and Mandrake and Suse (although I like Suse) are too bloated as well. Super Slow. Debian has a crap installer, bad hardware detection and setup, packages are outdated and testing packages are broken (KDE...).

I avoided Gentoo because the whole idea of compiling every time I needed a package didn't appeal to me, but I have a faster computer now and decided to give it a shot after debian and fedora shat on me. Although it took a while to set up, the hard work is worth it, because it doesn't install all that bloat that Fedora and friends do. It never ceases to amaze me how it boots so fast, even though I have most of the same modules as I did on Fedora.

Performancewise, I think it performs well, but then again I have a 3ghz computer so it sure better. I am still not convinced that compiling everything from scratch give a whole buttload more speed, but it seems to be fast nonetheless. I haven't seen a broken package yet.

Emerge Rocks - Debian is so anal about using non-free software that they're reluctant to put in packages like Opera, realplayer etc.. Gentoo doesn't care, they just want things to work, so they included it in their repositories. Moreover, they have tons of games and demos, so we no longer have to go back to XP for our frag fix. Play blackjack, its awesome.

All I can say is that in the past, I'd use linux for fun, but my primary system would be XP (I know, i''ve sinned). Gentoo is so pleasant, that I really don't miss XP, and I use XP only to play games.
 
Old 04-01-2004, 04:23 AM   #5
garbagedisposal
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Posts: 8

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 1

Pros: none, unless you like doing EVERYTHING by hand...
Cons: Cons : Speed claims GROSSLY exagerated. Non existant installer/Hardware detection. Buggy implementation. Poorly documented. Hype.


A classic case of the emperors new clothes.
The most over hyped distro on the planet.
Gentoo is essentialy 'Linux From Scratch' plus an attempt at a BSD style package manager.
Speed claims are grossly exagerated.


Due to the extreme lenghts the user must got to in order to install it & compile it, the user base is largely tech obsessed teenage zealots with a lot of time on their hands & arrogant attitudes.


Pros :
none, unless you like doing EVERYTHING by hand...


Cons :
Speed claims GROSSLY exagerated.
Non existant installer/Hardware detection.
Buggy implementation.
Poorly documented.
Arrogant user base.
Hype.
 
Old 04-01-2004, 10:53 AM   #6
DerekBerube
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Gentoo 2004.0
Posts: 0

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Speedy, Flexible, Stable, Portage (package manager), and Support Forums
Cons: Time-consuming build process when compiling from scratch


Before moving to Gentoo LINUX, I had been working with Red Hat LINUX 9. About a year ago, I decided that I was going to move to using LINUX as my primary operating system and rather than install Red Hat LINUX 9, I was eager for the opportunity to work with Gentoo.

A friend had turned me onto the distribution and cautioned me that it wasn't for the feint of heart. However, he said that if you wanted to thoroughly understand LINUX then Gentoo was a good platform as you had to download everything (versus other distributions which contain thousands of predefined packages installed on your machine).

Since I decided to work with Gentoo LINUX, I performed a Stage 1 build - basically I manually prepared my file system and downloaded the Stage 1 tarball then compiled the compiler. I admit that, at times, it is a little frustrating to try to run a tool only to find that it hasn't been installed. On the plus side, finding the right tool generally isn't much further than "emerge search <program_name>".

I also like the fact that the Gentoo community has put together ebuild files for commercial packages like VMWare and my nVidia drivers.

One thing that I have to give the Gentoo community kudos for is their support resources. I've been very pleased with the response that I've gotten from bugs that I've logged in their Bugzilla. I have to say that I haven't run into a problem where I haven't been able to find an answer to.

A good example, IMHO, is an issue that I had with the 4.0 build of VMWare - when I upgraded my kernel VM Ware started hanging. A quick search of the forums provided me with an answer - a change in the source code for part of the VMWare software. After applying the fix, I was up and running. Of course, Gentoo LINUX isn't officially supported by VMWare so I didn't get any help there.

I also like the way you configure Gentoo LINUX. Configuration files are modular and based on an application by application basis. Primary configuration files are generated by assembling the various components.

I find the documentation to be some of the best available when compared to what you find from other open source (and even better than a lot of commercial) products.

All in all, I have no complaints about Gentoo LINUX. It is very capable and gives me as much flexibility as I want. I feel that I've learned a lot using the product.
 
Old 04-01-2004, 03:45 PM   #7
rentonj7
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 3

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Customized Installation, Easy package system, Educational Install
Cons: Confusing at times for newbies, Long install IF you decide to compile everything from source.


First, a caveat: I'm not a Linux expert, this is only my third distribution. I've used Mandrake, and Slackware, but both for only a week.

Complaints on this page reference that it takes too long to install, and that it is difficult. While this can be true, it's not something that should come as a surprise - they state this on their webpage. Also, if one wishes, the system can be installed precompiled, which basically negates the time criticism. It's true that you don't pop a cd in, click a few buttons, and have a system operating 100%, but that's not the point. If you don't want to tinker, look somewhere else.

I found the installation to be enjoyable, and informative. I learned about things that I probably would not have using one of the other distributions, unless I knew to look for them.

As far as the speed claims go, I'm sure that results will vary. I know that it feels faster than Mandrake of Slackware. As I didn't run any benchmarks, I can't be sure.

From my experience, I found the documentation to be quite good, but not perfect. Some things that I felt should have been included in the install handbook were located elsewhere - but in the process of setting it up on two machines (a pIII 450, and an athlon 1200) I was able to find all neccessary information on the Gentoo website, either in the reference documents, or in the active forum. To address another issue, some of the forum members do appear to be "tech zealots" as another reviewer called them, but for the most part, forum users are very helpful.

I think this is a great distribution for someone looking to learn about linux, and who wants to spend the time playing around with it. If you're looking for something quick that will have most of what you need, and maybe a lot of what you don't, try one of the others.
 
Old 04-02-2004, 04:31 AM   #8
distantlyyours
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 23

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 7

Pros: Thousands of programs easily available via portage
Cons: Upgrades haven't worked right for me, compiling everything seems overkill


I'm still a relative Linux newbie, so learning how to install Gentoo correctly took me about a week. Once I finally got it setup, I had a great system.

Gentoo's greatest strength is its "Portage" package management system. They keep sources for thousands of programs on their servers, and run QA on them to make sure that they run. The package database is even searchable and browsable through the web, at http://packages.gentoo.org. To install a new program, like mplayer, all you have to do is type "emerge mplayer" in a terminal, and portage takes care of the rest. It checks for dependencies and downloads and installs them first.

I got all sorts of things running in Gentoo that I could only dream of getting to run in Slackware, like mplayer, and the mplayerplug-in that let me watch movie trailers online over at apple.com/trailers. Wine also seemed to work much better in Gentoo than it did in Slack.

Also, when you first install your system, everything is up-do-date. Heck, some of is beyond up-to-date. While the gaim project struggles to prepare its 0.76 release with its fixes for the Yahoo IM protocol, Gentoo offers you a 0.75 version with patches from the CVS branch to fix the Yahoo support.

My problems with Gentoo are the weird way it deals with updating software. It tries to protect your config files, and in the process, upgrading almost any piece of software, in my experience, breaks it, and I don't know how to fix it. In fact, I just tried upgrading to Gnome 2.6 and now I can't even get GDM to run. For all I know, I need to reinstall again (although I can get a machine up and running in about 24 hours by starting from Stage 3).

I'm not convinced compiling my own software offers a giant speed advantage, even with a ton of use flags set.

The other problem I've bumped into is that something involving portage just seems to eat up hundreds of megabytes of disk space for no reason, and I don't know where to look to halt it. That's the other reason I have to reinstall my desktop system from scratch: it's on a partition with only about 4gb anyway, and it's totally full. I have to delete something before I reboot or else GDM won't run next time I boot up, and that means picking a program to uninstall.

Gentoo has a lot of potential, because as far as being able to get programs onto your system, it not only works great, but browsing the package database is also a fantastic way to discover new programs! Unfortunately, upgrading software needs to be a no-brainer, especially in a network-saavy Linux distro, and Gentoo hasn't gotten there yet.
 
Old 04-04-2004, 03:57 PM   #9
manlief
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: gentoo
Posts: 1

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: Flexibility, speed, reliability
Cons: Complexity


Pros:
+Very flexible. A default stage 3 installation comes with very little bloat. Install only what you use. Great default settings, fairly secure. Being able to easily custom compile from gcc on up for your architecture is also good for intermediate hackers.
+Package system. Non-packaged programs give me far less trouble than with RPM. I also take major advantage of the pre-compiled binaries system, with a ~1.5gb nfs volume of packages.
+Ease of install. Once you've done it once, it's a snap to very rapidly deploy Gentoo on many systems, especially if you take full advantage of the packages system.

Cons:
-Compiling from stage1 and not using packages can take quite a while.
-Emerge screws up sometimes, just like all the other package systems.
-Complex. Not for beginners and n00bies unless you are willing to RTFM.

Overall:
Fantastic distro. Very powerful in the hands of an experienced user. Hands-on install approach is both good and bad. It can be fairly technically complex, but you run into less problems because there is little obfuscation. Gentoo is my new favorite server distro, after slackware Even without using Gentoo Hardened, it's quite easy to set up an up-to-date system with very tight security. Gentoo also offers some interesting patched kernel sources for a variety of uses.

The bottom line:
Not for computer illiterates or Linux newbies.
Great for powerusers.
Rapid deployment.
Good security.
 
Old 04-05-2004, 12:32 AM   #10
phoenix
 
Registered: Jan 2003
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 27

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: portage, documentation, great customization
Cons: installation is lengthy


How much easier can you get when installing a new program than emerge <yourprog>
the only drawbacks to portage is sometimes you dont get the newest versions and you have to know the exact name of the ebuild. However, the latter is easily rectified my searching the online package db.

The documentation is great. With a little knowledge of how linux works you can follow the installation guide and have your own linstallation up and running in a day or less. Yes even from a stage 3 the installation can be a bit lengthy but thats a price you pay when you compile all the source with your own settings.

I think it is the best distro overall. I have used Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, Gentoo and of them Gentoo seems to be the most stable.

Also, if you want to know a lot about the inner workings of linux then install gentoo a few times. You'll learn a whole lot more in one day of installation than in a month of using another distro!
 
Old 04-16-2004, 07:19 PM   #11
darin3200
 
Registered: Dec 2002
Distribution: Gentoo!
Posts: 1,153

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Speed, size, customization
Cons: compile time


Gentoo is compiled fromt the ground so you have the option of adding all of the compile options which inceases performance. You also install things as you need them instead of getting a bloated distros with a bunch of apps that you will never use. The only thing I don't think is that good is the compile time. I don't mind though because you get better performance which can actually save you time.
 
Old 04-17-2004, 04:04 PM   #12
dazk
 
Registered: Dec 2002
Distribution: Gentoo Linux 1.4
Posts: 43

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: highly configurable, very up to date, no fixed releases
Cons: compiling takes some time but that's about it


I started out Linux with RedHat 4.0, then tried DLR, Suse, a couple of RedHat releases until 8.0 which was awful. Then I moved around trying to find a distro I liked trying Mandrake (nice), Suse and even Debian. I ended up being a LFS user for quite a while and moved to Gentoo shortly after 1.0 got out. I'm a happy Gentoo user since.

Let's start with the sort of bad stuff. Installing and updating Gentoo certainly takes some time and every once in a while ebuilds won't work. But not working ebuilds are usually fixed in a matter of a couple of days.

In my opinion though, the positive aspects of Gentoo outweigh the negative ones by far.

First of all, the distribution is highly configurable. Dependancy hell even get's fun with gentoo. Ever wondered why you would need gnome for xmms with some distributions? Well it's because some distributor decided you wanted the gnome integration. What if you don't want it? Well, bad luck most of the time. With gentoo you can create custom build packages and leave out optional dependancies by simply putting USE flags. In the example it would be -gnome.

Gentoo tends to be up to date. New software versions usually quickly make their way into the portage tree. But to make things stable they usually are flagged ~x86 at first, meaning you can install them if you are adventuerous. Once the packages are considered stalbe you get them updating your distribution. What I really like about the gentoo way is that you continously update your distribution. Switching from 1.0 to 1.2 has been a little harder but since then my Desktop system simply evolved without having to reinstall. There is no need to download fresh isos and hope the installer doesn't make a mess of your system.

I would not recommend Gentoo for the absolute beginner since knowledge about the workings of a linux system is required but it's a great if not the best distribution for little more advanced users. The additional time needed to install and update is rewarded with a modern, well designed and flexible System.

 
Old 04-26-2004, 04:22 PM   #13
Freeman-Jo
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 30

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 8

Pros: fully customizable, Learning is part of installtion
Cons: Too much handon, require more space than tradition binary installation, require access to internet(for both installation and looking at web for finding solution to the problem)


Gentoo is taking an old style linux back to live.
It require you to think ahead before and during the installation. (possibly more documentation as well.) Spending a lot of time on this distro is very common. Compiling and recompiling is basically what you will be doing most of the time. The other time is going to the web looking for answer when you couldn't get something install right or try to hit the oops key which isn't on you keyboard. The result is faster Linux than other distro, but not too much.

On the down side is, because you will be spending a lot of time compiling, or seek solution, it's not a good distro in the productive environment. Imagine you recompile each program everytime a bug fix is announced. That's like recompiling every week if not day. Also, you will need more space, for both sourcecode and binary. for example, you need to have about 2.5-3GB for installing openoffice.(for those of you who plan on running dualboot, you can't just mount an empty FAT32 partition and use it during the installation either) And that wasn't a joke.
Also, if you forgot to include some feature during the installation of the program, you have to recompile that program. eg: I forgot to include samba as part of the mplayer, so I can't streaming a music/mpeg across the lan and I have recompile the mplayer.

I would say, this distro is a very good learning tool, and very nice for those box with fast CPU, and lots of resources or slow PC but will not do a lot of updating like a laptop(you will have a little more performace boost for that). But for most people, stick w/ red hat or mandrake. I would think something like gentoo will very take off, if the opensource getting very stable and secure, no bug fix every day/week and the cost of very long installation process is well worth the tradeoff.
 
Old 05-01-2004, 10:53 PM   #14
andrewlorien
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Posts: 23

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: community
Cons: living on the bleeding edge



i won't repeat the things that everyone agrees on...

but the most surprising benefit of installing gentoo was the community. i no longer spend all day wading through google searches to find out how to get some piece of hardware working, or making gnome do something it doesn't want to. linuxquestions and the google forums now have all the answers for me. someone above said that the forums are full of arrogant kids with too much time on their hands, but i have never found that. someone else said they have been able to solve every problem - that is my experience, and that's the reason i left windows and then left redhat, because i was frustrated that there were things i just couldn't do.

my con is the paradox of the compiled system. i feel like everything is faster and less bloated, and it's great to have the newest versions and most up to date hardware support. but to do all the compiling it takes to have your computer cutting the bleeding edge, you need a fast cpu and a lot of hard drive space and ram. my amd64 is easily fast enough to compile in the background while i get on with stuff, but i'm not moving my old server to gentoo.
 
Old 09-15-2004, 07:42 AM   #15
badgers
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 26

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: package management, optimisation for your hardware
Cons: time to compile programs


I love this distro over all the others I have tried(4)
The package management "emerge" and the etc-update make it straight forward to get a system that is custom for what you are doing and the hardware you are doing it on.

ex. I was setting up a render farm for video editing. when I built the "nodes" I left out all the fluff, and built the programs as optimised as possible.
 




  



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