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View Poll Results: Should I pick Gentoo or Slackware ?
Gentoo 4 36.36%
Slackware 7 63.64%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-07-2005, 08:33 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Debian -unstable
Posts: 700

Rep: Reputation: 31
Gentoo or Slackware for development workstation

Hello ! I am having difficulty picking one of the two: Gentoo , Slackware .

I use my computer for C, Perl, Python, PHP and (will be using for) x86 Linux32 ASM programming and of course "regular user" tasks such as web browsing, ftp, (sometimes) IRC etc.

While Slackware has been the first distribution that I "really liked" , since I last used it I have been through a lot of different operating systems in an attempt to find the one that "suited me best" . It finally came down to 3 : FreeBSD, Gentoo Linux and Slackware Linux. FreeBSD is FreeBSD so I woun't ask opinions on it. Now. Gentoo Linux and Slackware Linux.

Pros for Gentoo from my side:
* easy package installs
* bleeding edge technology
* the install process allows me to build the whole system "from the ground up" which is a very good thing (how much "custom" do you get!?)
* good documentation
* 100% free

Cons for Gentoo from my side:
* lengthy install process
* some package installs are lengthy

Pros for Slackware from my side:
* simple
* clean
* stable
* easy to use once configured
* it's a legend

Cons for Slackware :
* it sometimes gives me an "old" feeling ..
* package managment isn't always easy

Now .. sais :

Gentoo : Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Power user
Description: Gentoo Linux is designed for the developer, power user and enthusiast.It incorporates the latest sources and technologies (such as ReiserFS and the Portage system).
Slackware : Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Power user

Now , I consider myself a "developer, enthusiast" and would like to reach "power user" status etc. , the ideea of Gentoo's bleeding edge appeals to me and yet FreeBSD's (slackware's) technicality appeals to me to the same extent .

Why is Gentoo "for the developer and enthusiast" (i.e.) and Slackware isn't !? What does Gentoo give to the developer that slackware doesn't ?

I would really appreciate it if I could get :
#1 Your opinion as to wich of Gentoo/Slackware I should chose for my platform
#2 Reasons (either a comparison between the two or your personal "pros" and "cons" for each/either of the distributions)

And one more thing : a Slackware 10.1 review starts something like this :
While I might be the last Linux user on the planet to do it, I have finally installed SLACKWARE.
( )

Is Slackware considered to be a Distribution that is on it's path to extinction ? And that the only people who want to use it are those who are already familiar with it ? Does it draw *almost* no new users ?

I don't know why people are *so scared* by Slackware's install process .. if they think That is hard .. they should try a Gentoo Stage 1 install and then make a comparison . (of course, I don't *back off* from *any* install process)

Thank you !
Old 06-07-2005, 08:39 AM   #2
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 583

Rep: Reputation: 33
tbh all those pros of gentoo pretty much apply to slackware, the slackware install lets you choose or not every package (heck on expert you can chose not to install stuf that your system won't run without. (and you save a bunch of time not having to compile, the supposed advantages of self-compiling I've never seen hard evidence of), it's free, has good documentation and -current is pretty, well, current.
Old 06-07-2005, 09:13 AM   #3
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: Puppy Linux/ Mint
Posts: 210

Rep: Reputation: 31
My interpretation of 'enthusiast' is 'Linux enthusiast', This is: People that like to thinker around with Linux just for the fun of it, not to achieve any productive work. (Other than the learning experience).

My interpretation of 'Power user' is: People that know enough about Linux that understands where all the configuration files are (or should be) and what all the options mean (Or understands the explanation) to use them to their advantage.

I like Gentoo as an enthusiasts, that's why it is on an additional partition on my HDD. But when I have real work to do (even if it is playing games or converting AVIs to VCDs), I use a binary distribution.

The main difference being that, when I need to install something to continue working, I want it to take seconds to install, not minutes or hours.

I like Gentoo as a way to become a power user. You learn a lot through Gentoo documentation, even when you are doing things the 'Gentoo way'.

As the previous post says, If you are a power user you can configure slackware (or almost any other distribution) as much as you can with Gentoo.

So based on your stated priorities: Programming and regular everyday use; I would think that you are better off with a binary distribution such as Slackware. Specially because 'bleeding edge' can be painfull and while some people can be full time masoquists, some of us prefer to suffer just part time until it stops being funny.

You don't want to be sitting on the bleeding edge when you are programming and what you actually want is to finish that other feature that does not work because you just emerged the latest library.

As you also have the secondary priority of becoming a power user: I would think that creating an extra 5 GB partition for playing around with Gentoo wouldn't be too bad, you can go through the ropes at your own leasure.

Gentoo is a META distribution. People tend to skip that part when reading about Gentoo.

Full disclosure:
  • I have used Slackware derivatives but never Slackware.
  • I play around with Gentoo and I still have a long way to become a Linux power user.
  • I use Fedora Core 3 as the desktop environment, not the fastest, not the smallests, but I already know my ways around it.
Old 06-08-2005, 06:40 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2005
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 213
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 30
I am new to linux only a few months,(years of hesitation, in fact i have the red hat 3 box cd box set someone, never used it) the only distro i use is slackware, so your answer to does slackware attract new users? is a definate YES

There is nothing that i have found difficult, after a few days searching this site or asking on irc or man pages.

I am glad i went straight to slackware, of course i would not use the rh3 cds , the drivers on there were suited for a diffrent box at the time.

i will one day try bsd varients, at the moment i am happy with linux.
Old 06-08-2005, 08:27 AM   #5
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Atlantic City, NJ
Distribution: Ubuntu & Arch
Posts: 3,503

Rep: Reputation: 57
Originally posted by ror
tbh all those pros of gentoo pretty much apply to slackware, the slackware install lets you choose or not every package (heck on expert you can chose not to install stuf that your system won't run without. (and you save a bunch of time not having to compile, the supposed advantages of self-compiling I've never seen hard evidence of), it's free, has good documentation and -current is pretty, well, current.
Except the first and third points. Slackware's package management is average at best and its install process, although easier and faster, does not have the amount of control that the gentoo install does.
Old 06-08-2005, 09:40 AM   #6
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Brasil
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 1,037

Rep: Reputation: 46
hi there,
even being a slackware fan, i think it is not adequated a comparison between slackware package management with portage...
slackware provides you with binary packages. ok, it comes solid and robust as rocks, but they are already compiled..
gentoo portage give you the freedom to compile and set any flags that you want... imho, only 10% of gentoo users can take a really good result of that... most of users don't know what they are doing setting files like make.conf...
look that i am not talking that one is better than the other.. i just think that compare a package management with portage is not adequated..


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