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Old 04-22-2007, 01:45 AM   #1
jaakkop
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Distribution(s) similar to FreeBSD / Is Gentoo stable?


Hello,

I've been a Slackware user for a few years now. What I like about Slackware is that it is stable and pretty secure. Also it doesn't bloat the software with insane patches and keeps things simple.

However, I feel very frustrated when using it in desktop. There are lots of software that you need to compile yourself. I don't mind compiling, but fetching the sources manually and then compiling gets me down. It's even worse when the software needs a software/library which isn't located in official repos either.

I have recently tried FreeBSD and discovered that it is a wonderful distribution. Just a couple of command inputs and it installs pretty much every software I need along with depencies. It is quite stable and secure.

So I was wondering if there is a Linux distribution similar to FreeBSD.

Gentoo is said to be the FreeBSD of Linux distributions. I know both of them use port system, but do they share anything else? I've heard lots of bad things about Gentoo like "building takes forever" and "gentoo is unstable and breaks easily". Is it really true that Gentoo breaks easily or can it offer a stable system?

Thank you,
jaakkop


PS. I don't really care if the distro is source based or not, or if it has the latest (and the greatest) software. Stability comes first.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 02:04 AM   #2
MS3FGX
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Slackware is generally considered the most like BSD in terms of Linux distributions, so you won't get any closer to that then you are now.

It sounds like what you really want is just automatic dependency resolution with a lot of available applications (and not have those applications crash). So why not just use Debian or one of it's offshoots?
 
Old 04-22-2007, 02:29 AM   #3
jaakkop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX
It sounds like what you really want is just automatic dependency resolution with a lot of available applications (and not have those applications crash). So why not just use Debian or one of it's offshoots?
Yes, it is true that Debian has "what I need", but I don't agree with the choices they've made, like chopping the software into several pieces.

I actually have tried Debian 4.0 recently (a few days before it became stable) and I wasn't satisfied. It is like it behaves on it's own will. For example, I installed wesnoth and suddenly some xfce panel plugins stopped working. And no, I hadn't installed anything else in the last 10-15 hours. I even had the whole system booted a couple of times during that time. I might try it again, now that it is stable.

Debian is a fine distribution and I even have a small etch installation on my laptop, but it just isn't for my desktop.

Last edited by jaakkop; 04-22-2007 at 02:41 AM.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 03:02 AM   #4
MS3FGX
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Ah, I see.

I am not crazy about automatic dependency resolution myself. I find a lot of things happen "on their own" when the system decides for itself what is best for me.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 03:19 AM   #5
jaakkop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX
Ah, I see.

I am not crazy about automatic dependency resolution myself. I find a lot of things happen "on their own" when the system decides for itself what is best for me.
I like dependency resolution only if it is made well. If application X needs libraries Y and Z, then it should only install Y, Z and X (and the software that Y and Z require), and not do anything unneccessary. It shouldn't be on user's way.

Last edited by jaakkop; 04-22-2007 at 03:20 AM.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 03:44 AM   #6
syg00
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Portage is great, although gentoo appeals less than it used to.
Still use it on my "priority" system though.
I found the plethora of package management software under Slack a distraction. One of the major reasons I tossed it - maybe you should have a look at something like Arch.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 04:23 AM   #7
jaakkop
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Originally Posted by syg00
...maybe you should have a look at something like Arch.
Arch has nice collection of stable packages, but its package management tool, pacman, is stupid IMO. A conflict between two packages, for example, makes pacman just stop and do nothing instead of trying to fix it in any way. It was very frustrating when trying to install Arch to computer: After spending some time in choosing what packages to install it decided to just stop the installation because some X11 fonts had conflicts with each other. IIRC this happened even if there was dependencies between two packages... correct me, if I am wrong.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 04:28 AM   #8
reddazz
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The only thing about Slackware that is similar to the BSDs is the startup scripts for services. In terms of package management, portage is quite similar to FreeBSD ports so if you like ports, then I suggest you try Gentoo.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 04:38 AM   #9
jaakkop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddazz
The only thing about Slackware that is similar to the BSDs is the startup scripts for services. In terms of package management, portage is quite similar to FreeBSD ports so if you like ports, then I suggest you try Gentoo.
From your experience, how stable is Gentoo when compared to FreeBSD and/or Slackware?
 
Old 04-22-2007, 05:13 AM   #10
syg00
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I find pacman adequate for my uses - which are minimal. I use Arch as my kernel patch-test system, so I don't need much.
You *really* need to stay on top of the news releases - which I never do. Pity they don't have a decent log facility for the updates. Especially those important messages that fall off the edge of the world into the ether while I go get a coffee.

I've had some problems, but easily rectified.

As for the stability question, never had an issue with gentoo, but it's hardly "bleeding edge" these days.
Backups are always a handy fallback, regardless of distro.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 05:30 AM   #11
reddazz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaakkop
From your experience, how stable is Gentoo when compared to FreeBSD and/or Slackware?
Stability on Gentoo (even on FreeBSD), really depends on you as a user. I like the bleeding edge, so always install the latest packages and sometimes this approach has its problems. Some users are more conservative and prefer the stable packages which don't usually cause problems. I suggest you give it a shot and determine for yourself whether its the right distro for you.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 05:32 AM   #12
jaakkop
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Originally Posted by syg00
You *really* need to stay on top of the news releases - which I never do. Pity they don't have a decent log facility for the updates. Especially those important messages that fall off the edge of the world into the ether while I go get a coffee.
Indeed, it took me a few hours to figure out why I got kernel panic after updates. After searching the arch forums, I found out that the initrd was renamed and that I should have edited grub's menu.lst.
 
Old 04-22-2007, 06:56 PM   #13
ingvildr
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I'd say try Crux if you haven't before, its very light (all but man documentation is stripped)and it comes with its own version of the ports system. Alot of what is good about Arch came from Crux so its kind of a simplistic arch i spose, anyway give it a try
 
Old 04-23-2007, 03:48 AM   #14
coolezt
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Gentoo is kinda hard to install unlike free BSD... I just hope they can improve the installation into much simpler, specially when your rushing things.
 
Old 04-23-2007, 03:50 AM   #15
coolezt
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But it's great distro; almost similar to BSD.
 
  


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