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9 28860 01-27-2005
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89% of reviewers None indicated 8.4

Description: Gentoo linux is a very customizable distrobution that allows you to compile almost every peice of software for YOUR hardware.
Keywords: Linux Gentoo Customizable Options Compile Emerge

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Old 09-15-2004, 10:09 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: Gentoo(2.6.23-r3)
Posts: 181

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

Pros: VERY well documented :: Good learning experience :: Portage Package Manager :: Optimized, Fast, and Stable
Cons: No surround on my SBLive5.1 :: Long install :: Install on Many machines is a No Go...

Gotta say, This one is the best... Mainly because of the Portage Package manager. Portage has just about every Linux App ever made in it's repositories. Installation of any app is a simple "emerge <app>" command. Portage solves any dependencies and downloads and compiles everything seemlessly. At least if you have the Gentoo Kernel installed... haven't tried any other kernels because the Gentoo Kernel works so well.

Ok, Gentoo took a long time to install but once it was done, I had a streamlined, fast, stable working environment. I decided to give WINEX a try, grabbed the packeges from Transgaming(It's a commercial app) then typed in "emerge point2play" (actually the command was a touch more complicated -there was a directory tree thing in there- but it only took a moment to figure out the command) After a bit of compiling and installing I had a complete WINEX/Point2Play setup installed and ready to use. So far I've failed to setup WINE or WINEX on RH8/9, FC2, or Peanut Linux.

On the downside, Installation is TOO interactive. If, for instance, I wanted to install Linux on 20 computers in an office, I would not, logically, choose Gentoo. Install would simply be TOO demanding and time-consuming. The computers in the office would be unavailable for anywhere between 2 days and a week while I was making the switch. I would instead install FC2 with apt-get, synaptic, Xine, and Firefox. Not as clean, or easily maintainable but necessary, See I could install FC2 on every computer in the office in a matter of hours and have them all set up and ready to use by the time the office opened in the morning. Now if I was given a week to set the office up, I would go with Gentoo. But chances are, unless it's a new office that's just going in, I'm not gonna have more than a weekend. I've been there actually. Been given 2 days to rework every computer in the office( it was only 6) with Windoze XP/2k, Barely got it done actually... Gentoo would be impossible...

But who cares? I don't deal with that anymore. So, for anyone with the time for the initial setup, Gentoo is the best. If you don't have the time, or a broadband internet connection, Get Fedora Core 2. Works great. Has a few glitches but most of those glitches are in things I don't even use(Like the Apache Configurator -I just edit httpd.conf directly)

My only real beef w/ Gentoo is that, like every other distro except FC2 that I've tried, it doesn't like my surround sound card too well... all I could get out of it was 2 channels... I'm sure there is a fix for this... Well there would have to be... Fedora gives me surround sound so there has to be a way to get it in other distros too... but, quite frankly all I need is 2 channels most of the time... Look a little harder at the sound thing though if that's important to you... It's simply that the Creative Emu10k driver for linux doesn't support surround sound... Probably another driver out there that does but I couldn't find one...

Anyhow. Gentoo is my personal favorite simply because Portage makes installing and maintaining applications a snap. As well as the fact that it's a source distro so everything is optimised for your hardware. Not for some generic hardware(Most people are still distributing their packages as 386 optimized which doesn't even take advantage of an old Pentium or K6)
Old 10-17-2004, 02:31 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 135

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

Pros: Portage, customisability, speed, unbloated-ness, great documentation, very up-to-date
Cons: Compile time

I love Gentoo, I've tried lots of other distros (Mandrake, SuSE, Slackware, Debian, Arch, Fedora) but Gentoo is what I was looking for.

It has taught me a lot about Linux, it doesn't try and hide what it's doing from you. I like the install for that reason, even though I installed from a stage 3, I still had more control over/understanding of the install process than I had with other distros.

There aren't any GUI tools for config, I like that too, that way if something goes wrong, I know which file I can edit to get it back to normal, instead of wrecking something using a GUI and not having the slightest idea of how to fix it.

I like the USE flags, (even though it's annoying when you have to recompile a program because you forgot to add support for something you later needed!) because I can compile in exactly what I want.

Out of Arch, Fedora, and Gentoo, (I had no need to use Chinese before Arch), Gentoo supported Chinese the best for me, not sure why, maybe it was because I compiled everything with "cjk" (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) support?

It's very unbloated, I love that, it doesn't come with anything except the very essentials, and then you install what you need. No going around with 3 browsers, email programs, desktops, etc, etc unless you want those things.

And when you do want a certain program, most of the time it is very easy to install it, due to how many ebuilds portage has and how it automatically resolves the dependencies for you.

I have gotten programs to work on Gentoo that I couldn't get working on other distros or had a very hard time with. Mplayer worked quickly for me on gentoo, just "emerge mplayer".. and it worked great! No running around trying to find all the libraries I needed, it installed them for me automatically.

Another thing I like is that Gentoo doesn't endlessly tweak stuff, like Fedora, Mandrake, etc.
Packages tend to be standard looking/acting, not all tweaked (and therefore usually quite buggy). I like having a nice standard KDE/Gnome/whatever else.

It seems to be quite fast, not sure if the optimisations make all that much difference or not, but it certainly doesn't seem sluggish. The speed increase might be more noticable if you compile from a stage 1 or 2. It's just nice to know I'm taking full advantage of my hardware. (Pentium 4 - 3ghz w/hyperthreading)

Only downside I can really think of is compile time. The install (booting off install CD - to your new CLI system) doesn't take that long if you go from a stage 3, but I for one don't exactly consider the system "installed" until I have KDE and most of my commonly used apps running. So, yeah, it does take awhile.. then again, there are precompiled packages for KDE, Gnome, X, etc... but I lost my packages CD the last install and was too lazy to burn a new one, lol...

So, overall, Gentoo is great and I would recommend to users who are not afraid of the command line and editing config files, or who want to take some time to get used to such things and learn more about Linux. It would probably not be an ideal distro for someone with older and/or flakey hardware due to all the compiling, however.
Old 10-21-2004, 06:58 PM   #3
Registered: Aug 2004
Distribution: --------- Gentoo-2004.2 [2.6.8] Redhat-9 [2.6.6]
Posts: 545

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

Pros: Portage,User choice, Upto-date software , Excellent Documentation
Cons: a lil hard to install, needs a lotta patience, not for newbies

An excellent distro , i started off with Redhat 9 then to Fedora .. Slack.. go ahead call me a Distro junkie.. But I found Gentoo to be the best..

emerge [The lord of all Tools] is a touch of class... installing software is a breeze.. and the community is vibrant and very helpful..

hmm!!.. what else .. it took me about a day to emerge kde and get the system running ,not a big deal coz u do it only once.. and I understand linux better now .. as other distro's had a layer of abstraction to shield user's from the complexity.. But with Gentoo i feel a lot closer to the GNU/L1nuX OS and a lot of satisfaction that i assembled it with my own hands to my need's.

For all the people who are addicted to the internet and cant afford to stay away from their computer while installing Gentoo.. U guys could boot up from Knoppix and install Gentoo while browsing the Net...
Old 10-24-2004, 01:50 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2004
Distribution: 1 Gentoo 2005.0 system(desktop), 1 hardened-gentoo SeLinux stage1 server ;)
Posts: 262

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

Pros: Customisation, performance, reliabilty
Cons: install time

i think Gentoo is A-Class! i have tried RH7.3, RH9, FC2, FreeBSD and gentoo beats them all.

There is no hassel what so ever once the system is setup and package instalation is a doddle!

I cant beat other peoples reviews as they totally sum it up except that i agree 100% with what they say.

The installation. Yes it does take a long time but it is a huge learning curve and considering the system you get at the end of it, its not really that bad. I have learnt so much since i installed gentoo and i have just finished my first server-hardened-gentoo installation, from stage 1 :). admitidly i have come across a little problem finalizing the installation but hopefully it will soon be sorted.

To finish up all i can say is that as long as you are mildly confadent with the CLI you will be fine as the online manual is excelent. make sure you have acess to another computer close by to use the manual. you could print it if you have to but it is about 100 pages long so u might not want to. And yes, emerge is the best command in the world ;)

A Great System.
Old 11-19-2004, 03:25 PM   #5
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
Posts: 485

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

Pros: Where do I start? The forums, manual, speed, you name it
Cons: Takes a long time to install; daunting for a newbie; traps for the unwary.

I originally posted a review under Gentoo 1.4, I have been using it for a while now and have installed on a new computer.

Last time I gave it 8/10. Now it's 10. Why?

I have learned a lot on the way. This time I got a Mandrake disk, installed it in a small partition, and built Gentoo in a chrooted environment whilst I continued to play with my computer. No more days of computer deprivation!

The manuals are getting better. Chrooting from another environment means you can have them onscreen while you build your installation.

The choice you get is more useful than just selecting browser "a" as opposed to browser "b". As it is a source-based distro, you can compile downloaded sources alongside the Gentoo system provided dependencies are met. This means that I can build, say, Scribus, from cvs, simply by doing "emerge -pv scribus", then emerging all the dependencies, but not Scribus itself, before following the instructions at the Scribus site for building from cvs. You soon learn which packages are stable even in cvs form and which are not...

Whenever I try another distro, something is not as I want it, or doesn't seem to work properly. This just doesn't seem to happen with Gentoo. OK it takes a while getting there, but the portage system has dependencies figured out, and the USE flags enable the system to make the best choice of the options available.

I've recently played with Xandros Personal and Mandrake CE10.1, and they're good, they just have Xandros and Mandrake stamped all over them. Gentoo, on the other hand, just looks like a Linux system, with no branding (unless of course you want to add it).

Does it go faster? I tried Mandrake 10.1CE in the "other" partition, and yes it does, a little. Where Gentoo really stars is in its configurability, I don't necessarily want loads of icons on my desktop and Mandrake forces me to have some I don't want! To me, three is enough. One to mount my Optical drive, one to mount my USB storage, and the Wastebin (I don't have a floppy).

Everything I need is here, everything "just works", I normally solve any problems and I have a large group of friends I've never met at the Gentoo forums to help me through any difficulties, and in return, I'll help those who I can be of service to.

What more do I need?
Old 11-24-2004, 08:46 PM   #6
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: #1 PCLinuxOS -- for laughs -> Ubuntu, Suse, Mepis
Posts: 315

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

Pros: high Hacker heaven, multiple shells at install time - great idea
Cons: Totally messed up - junk grade

I downloaded the 2004.3 after rave reviews from some of the posts.
I was disappointed .. this product belongs to 60's .. not even in 70's and 80's Even dos 1.4 had better installation support. In short .. DON'T BELIEVE THE HACKERS some of whom may have some personal interest in the project.

It's SOOOOOOOOOOOO F*******ING convoluted that one can't fathom the arrogance that gave it birth to it in the first place.

let me give you an example .. to all those who say ".. this is what they were looking for" ..

I WILL BET ANYTHING THAT NONE OF THEM A CLUE ABOUT 30 different bluetooth protocols you are "allowed" to choose from (at more than 2 places) for building the kernel .. It's insane.

This product is someone's wet dream unleashed on unsuspecting folks .. I bet you can't find a single person who
a) is not a student "learing"
b) a nerd without a date for the evening.
who would bother with this load of crap ( now I am neither)

There are bugs in the install programs,
mirrorselect tries to run ipv6 and puts junk in /etc/make.conf, then there are hours spent in mirrorselect and then in various emerges .. finally one is fully submerged into this pile of dung.

instructions in html are jumbled with 18million options y and famosly.... explantion AFTER you have done somethings at times that CAN'T BE UNDONE.

There are BOGUS mixed instructions, mysteriously you can build a 2.4 or a 2.6 kernel !!!! it doesn't get any more hilarious than this, and there are folks who say it doesn't MATTER ? ???? what do you say about compatibility with the planet earth ? if someone says the package is for 2.6 .. you say .. hell no I will MAGICALLY "EMERGE" it ...

You are supposed to remember about 20 steps in install .. I guess you have to have a notebook to take notes because that's what it asks you to do.

In short it's a glorious POS, oh not just a piece .. but a PILE .. those who love it, let them be, I am too pissed at it for having wasted 10 hours.
It also managed to mess up my MBR as it was "instructing" me to create the bootimage. It's use of GRUB is not "consistent" and it's instructions are not to be believed literally.

GUYS get a life .. this is NOT 1968, I repeat 1968 .. Woodstock happened long ago, man landed on moon in 69 with less compute power than most of you will spend in your life time, all of JimmyC's peanuts have been sold and Billy's beer drunk and bubba's ho's done .. This IS 2000000004

I universally recommend to ban this abomination from this and all sites !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flame me IF YOU HAVE A REASON otherwise go back and figure out how to make 4=6
Old 11-25-2004, 05:32 PM   #7
a slacker
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 44

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

Pros: Fast, great package management, great support.
Cons: Have to compile everything from scratch, takes forever to install

I've used Gentoo several times on my spare box, and I like it quite a bit.

It's cool how you can build a system from scratch, and automatically build any new packages as you need them. Emerge will also locate and build any dependencies as you need them as well, meaning that you won't have to go out and look for them on your own, and will never get trapped in "dependency hell". It's also very up-to-date with it's packages, and always includes the newest stuff. It's also great for learning about the way Linux (and the other applications around it) works. I've been using Linux for a while now, and learned things from installing/using Gentoo that I probably would have never learned otherwise. Very great as an educational tool.

It does have some problems though. Installing it is not easy. Even if you can get the thing installed, it takes forever to do it. The stage-1 installation took me a whole day to get installed, and that was just basic console, no X, KDE/Fluxbox, etc... To get the thing installed in less than a day, you'd have to do a stage-3 installation. but then you'd be missing out on a good bit of the benefits of even using it in the first place. Plus, you'd still have to build X, etc.. which can take quite a long time, especially if you want to use KDE/Gnome.

Overall, it's a pretty good distro. I would recommend that you try it at least once, and then even if you don't like it, I guarantee that you will have learned from the experience. It will never replace my Slack though.
Old 12-08-2004, 01:13 PM   #8
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Server: Gentoo2004; Desktop: Ubuntu
Posts: 720

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

Pros: totally optimised for system, fun, big learning curve
Cons: time to install


I run Gentoo whenever I can. It is a brilliant distro. I think that winsnomore's review is far to harsh! In fact, there are excellent installation instructions provided online, and on the livecd.

In my experience (and I have installed it serveral times) you just calmly following the install instructions word for word, and you do just fine.

Regarding mirrorselect, this is optional and it works fine without it.

I'm very happy with gentoo and recommend it to everyone.

Old 01-27-2005, 03:14 AM   #9
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: Redhat, Gentoo
Posts: 16

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

Pros: Almost everything, fine tuning based on ur h/w
Cons: its a type of LFS(Linux from scratch), so it takes time.

hi ppl,
By installing Gentoo u can learn a lot that u werent aware of. People say that it takes time to install Gentoo, but it doesnt take much time to install thru stage3. it has three stages of installation. stage1: here you to start from the scratch, ur h/w config can be fine tuned. stage2: much settings can be tweaked. stage3: u cant tweak settings & config. but that doesnt make it bad. u still have control over ur Gentoo
Gentoo is the best distro for people who dont want toget their hands dirty, meddling with libs, deps while installing a package. emerge <pkg_name> and u forget it(make sure u r online). By using the nohup command u can logout and hangout for a while.
Gentoo has introduced the framebuffer which provides graphics for text consoles
The highlight in Gentoo is that lets suppose u wont be using KDE, then u need not install kde based libs deps for that package.


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