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Old 09-02-2004, 07:47 AM   #1
ChaseCrum
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The woes of Gentoo


Before I get too far into this let me preface with this:
I am not a noobie. I am not a linux expert either. I am like most, somewhere in the middle. I've been using linux for a couple of years now. I have tried and installed just about every major distro out there. It's not that I havn't found a flavor I like, it's that I enjoy trying something new with each one. Each has it's benefits and drawbacks.

That being said, I was told some time ago that if I wasn't extreemly linux savy, that I should leave slackware to those who are. This only made it more desireable for me to try. I have to say, it wasn't that bad, and I enjoyed the program thoroughly. This brings me to Gentoo.

A neighbor here runs a company that provides open source solutions. They only use Gentoo. I thought for sure, that if they felt this strongly about it, I should give it a try also.

There are several here that leave messages singing the glorious praises of Gentoo. They only encouraged me. Portage sounded great. It still does.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that if you can't get it, you are eventualy going to have to RTFM. Every time I jump in head first, thinking how bad can it be. Hours of frustration later, I find myself flipping through stacks of printed docs, and find that had I started there, my problems would have been minimal. I think we all re-learn this lesson from time to time, and occasionaly it's funny.

To mak a long story longer than is really neccessary, I do not possess the PHD that Gentoo seemingly requires to install. Slackware folks, come on ! If slack wasn't that bad, and it was supposed to be, what is the deal with Gentoo ? I find it hard to believe that it's biggest difference is in it's user help. Most distros have one or two people who have figured it out, boiled it down, and publish their own docs making our world a little easier. It asking for it to be a little easier makes me a noobie in your eyes, I'm sorry. Ease it a good thing, and i like it. So do most of us.

I want the same things you do. I want a world where M$ has to compete for our business. I want a world that isn't afraid to use Linux. I want a world were the greatness of linux is as obvious to the average homeowner as it is to us.
That being said, why is such a great program so damned complicated. As it stands, I doubt I will try Gentoo again any time soon. A week to install is more than I care to experiance.

(I'm done venting)

-Chase
 
Old 09-02-2004, 09:39 PM   #2
ozar
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Cool

The trick to a successful Gentoo install is to print out and follow the handbook precisely. It took a couple of attempts before I got it right but I've successfully installed and used Gentoo on about 5 machines since then.

The problem for me with Gentoo is that it's far too time intensive. I change computer systems regularly and don't have two or three days to tie up while all that code compiles. If I kept the same machine and OS for long periods, Gentoo would be perfect.

For that reason, I've reverted back to Slackware. It installs so much more quickly and it's a much easier install. It's also just as snappy in performance on my boxes.

Now, that's not to say I don't like Gentoo - it's a great OS, especially due to portage, but it's simply too time intensive for my tastes and needs.
 
Old 09-03-2004, 07:31 AM   #3
ChaseCrum
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I think we can both agree that is no "handbook"...

for todays serman let us turn in our handbooks to Gentoo chapter 475 verse 8.2.1.3.... sheesh !
-Chase
 
Old 09-03-2004, 07:47 AM   #4
acid_kewpie
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i've installed gentoo a number of times on different systems. Maybe i've just hit lucky, but every time it's gone on just fine. i think that this is not least beacuse i read the installation guide. if you read EVERY step then it WILL be fine. The exception is of course some sort of error during an emerge or something, but you'd know if you had one... it just not working can only (imho) be down to not reading things correctly.
 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:06 AM   #5
ChaseCrum
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I don't doubt your opinion for a second. I believe that if you do follow the manual step by step you will in fact have a successful install, when your ninety. My problem was that slack was suppoed to be the ever daunting task, and it went painlessly. If Gentoo is such a wonderful distro, and everything I have heard says it is, then why the complex install ? I felt like I was reading the technical manual for the space shuttle. If that makes me a noobie, or worse, a nuisance for experiance linux users then I'm sorry. Ease does have it's value. If it is this great, imagine how many people would use it if it were easier to install ?

Maybe I just need to watch someone put it in sometime.
(try to remember I am not knocking it as a distro)

-Chase
 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:14 AM   #6
philip_bonev
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Hi,

I've also installed few times Gentoo and it's great I have two machines in home one with gentoo and one with slack(second is router), I must say gentoo is really easy to install, even last time i didn't read the handbook I installed from some things from gentoo forum. Now I have gentoo compiled with nptl+headers2.6.8.1 and a lot of compiler optimization. I must say gentoo is great. .
Why so complex you say. I don't think so, you just choose what you want and install it. I don't think following steps is so hard.
 
Old 09-03-2004, 09:56 AM   #7
ChaseCrum
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All I can say is good for you. Really, I'm not being sarcastic. I would assume that like anything, after a few installs, it gets easier. There are those who can just get it on the first try. I'm not that person. If you have success with it I would say go with what works. Try to remeber I am not judging the distro. I am however judging the install. I think the greatness of the distro could develope a much larger following if it were easier. IMHO.
-Chase
 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:08 PM   #8
J.W.
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Hey man if if makes you feel any better, I once spent an entire weekend trying to install Gentoo, with literally hours of time being spent waiting for things to build before something would go wrong. Pretty much the only result was a lot of dents in the wall, caused mainly by beating my head against it except for one where I threw the mouse.

There are a lot of people who really love Gentoo, and I'm sure it's a great distro, but at least for me, I just couldn't get the hang of it. To each his own, as they say -- J.W.
 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:16 PM   #9
eflester
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I will jump into this with my $.02: I built a machine one week ago. It's supposed to be a file server. I bought an MSI board with SATA, 2 Seagate 120GB SATA hdds, a 40GB IDE hdd, etc. etc. Put it all together. Loaded RH9, that's what we use mostly for servers where I work. Oops. No support for SATA in RH9. Tried to figure out how to fix that. Failed. Guy at work talked me into loading Gentoo: I will love it. OK. I started on Tuesday. Finally gave up today. I make a living doing this stuff. I have all kinds of resources, ran the whole install with another PC tuned to Gentoo's site/handbook -- followed every step like it was instructions for defusing a nuclear device.

First result: no boot. Screwed around for a while and managed to fix that -- the grub.conf file was messed up because I followed ambiguous directions incorrectly.

OK, now it boots. But ifconfig shows no eth0 device?? This has never happened to me in any distro or even any version of the unmentionable legacy operating system. Sheesh. And when I type startx I get the 'no such command' error. As a matter of fact it seems that just about anything I try gets me that error.

Mind you, the machine ran connected to the Internet for 4 DAYS while I was installing from the CD.

Anyway, I gave up. Grabbed a Mandrake 10 install, loaded it and the machine was running online in a half hour, and that's no exaggeration. Granted, it's a very light load, but that's more like it.

Now I am wrestling with the RAID1 config across those SATA drives (ICH5 controller, if you're interested) and didn't get that to work by the end of the day but I probably will next week.

So, as much as I like(d) the _idea_ of Gentoo, sorry Charlie. I'm not investing another 4 days. I'm too darned old.

Thanks for listening.
 
Old 09-03-2004, 08:38 PM   #10
PGDubbin
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I thought gentoo was one of the easier distro's to install. I've done it about 3 times now, and have been running gentoo for about 9 months.

Now, I had the exact same problems you mentioned, it not finding my ethernet card, it not recognizing startx, and other commands, but solutions to all of this are in the users guide or google search. I'd tell you the answer, but I've forgotten at this point.
 
Old 09-04-2004, 12:33 PM   #11
eflester
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No doubt you are correct. But I am only human, alas, and after 4 days of niggling instructions in order to install one OS on one computer, my energy for searching was low. I did look in Gentoo's stuff, and failed to find anything that helped, but probably just didn't look hard enough. And Google, sure, I even found someone who had the same error message right on this forum -- and no solution posted. And this was not strictly done for fun and entertainment: although my bit is loosely arranged I am a workhorse and obliged to produce -- sooner or later -- a working fileserver for people where I am employed. It was hard to justify spending any more time. And even harder to contemplate ever trying this again, except on my 'own' time.

But I do appreciate your helpful comment.
 
Old 09-04-2004, 12:58 PM   #12
bughead1
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Not trying to step on any toes here, or give offense, because there are a lot of Gentoo advocates, and it is a good distribution, but at some point in a commercial environment, you simply have to ask yourself: "What is my time worth?"

And when you ask that of yourself, the answer in most cases is: "Too expensive to devote the time to set up source distributions."

There are a lot of server tasks where there isn't a requirement to run third party apps, or run a lot of services. Debian and Slackware are examples of binary distributions that will fill the bill when you don't need a guarantee that something like Oracle can be up and running quickly. Either is ideal out-of-the-box for SME file serving, print serving, mailservers, web servers, etc., (and are as suited to desktop use as any other distro in an environment where sysadmins, rather than users, take care of the desktops).

The performance benefits of a source distro are mostly theoretical when you look at it all in the harsh light of cost:benefit. Sure, you might shave a second or two each hour off from load time for some application, but your desktop users aren't going to see any difference in how "snappy" the network drive "feels" by switching from Debian or Slackware to Gentoo.

Keep it simple by running binary distributions for this sort of deployment, and if you feel the "need for speed," run hdparm to optomize your disk I/O, and if it makes you feel better, compile a custom kernel.

The thing is, Linux doesn't have to be a lot of work, and if it is ever going to lower your TCO compared to Windows, you need to be able to install and configure a Samba server in an hour or two at most.

You just can't do that with a source distribution, and so you have to decide whether you're using Linux for work, or if there is an element of play in your endeavors. If you aren't there, in part, to play...don't waste time playing with source distros.

My $0.02.
 
Old 09-04-2004, 02:02 PM   #13
elluva
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True, I am trying gentoo at this very moment. I am exactly 24 hours compiling and now I have a GUI (XFCE) and some web tools (AMSN, Evolution, Mozilla). I do feel a serious speed gain, but I cannot imagine some company is willing to let there servers compile more then a day simply for getting its software on it and then it isn't even configured yet.

Btw. I don't know what manuals/handbooks you guys used, but I followed some links on the gentoo site and the complete install went great. Though they could've automated some stuff w/scripts, all in all the install was simple.

If you have the time and really want to run Linux in a very good shape, gentoo is something for you.

I think it will be a discussion that will last forever, but as J.W. said To each his own...
 
Old 09-04-2004, 08:52 PM   #14
qwijibow
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Quote:
but I cannot imagine some company is willing to let there servers compile more then a day simply for getting its software on it and then it isn't even configured yet.
most servers in a company tend to be connected to other servers / machines.

a decent net admin would take advantage of gentoo portage's ability to use DistCC to use the total processing power of the network (over low usage time) to compile gentoo super fast.
 
Old 09-04-2004, 09:27 PM   #15
scohens
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Lets daydream a little

I was wondering if you didn't have to do the compiling yourself (long time), that if you could download precompiled binaries for your system what would it be WORTH?

Lets say a system that you could change the "USE" Flags and click and download a binary compiled package already.

What would it be WORTH?
Would you pay for it?
 
  


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