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Old 08-10-2017, 09:42 AM   #1
halldor2
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Unhappy Why is the Gentoo distribution so complex?


Having spent rather a long time trying to install Gentoo, without success, I'm wondering why this distribution exists, when so many others can be installed without the labyrinthine progressions outlined in the Gentoo Handbook.

I accept that by trying to make the installation work, a user could learn quite a lot about Linux - but isn't this learning procedure better covered, in a more systematic, less digressive way, by a project like Linux From Scratch?

What are the particular advantages and merits of Gentoo?
 
Old 08-10-2017, 02:36 PM   #2
Rickkkk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halldor2 View Post
Having spent rather a long time trying to install Gentoo, without success, I'm wondering why this distribution exists, when so many others can be installed without the labyrinthine progressions outlined in the Gentoo Handbook.

I accept that by trying to make the installation work, a user could learn quite a lot about Linux - but isn't this learning procedure better covered, in a more systematic, less digressive way, by a project like Linux From Scratch?

What are the particular advantages and merits of Gentoo?
Hi halldor2,

Welcome to LQ.

I'll let our Gentoo-using members elaborate, but suffice to say that in my experience, Gentoo is a linux OS very appreciated by very experienced linux users. While not requiring a build from scratch, it allows for a very high degree of customization and control on the user's part.

It was never conceived as a user-friendly system, in the sense of a Windows-like experience, for example, and it is not meant as a system for casual users.

I can tell you that it is also a very respected and popular choice in certain business environments.

Cheers.
 
Old 08-10-2017, 03:40 PM   #3
lazydog
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Welcome to LQ halldor2,

I run Gentoo presently on my desktop. Like you I had my problems getting it installed and it has taken several tries to get it up and running. Here is what I did to get things working right for me.

I booted Gentoo and setup ssh and added a root password so I could log in through my laptop using ssh. On my laptop I had IRC running too and was logged into the #gentoo channel. There are many experienced users there and they will help you get going. As I come to an issue I didn't know how to fix and the web searches weren't making the light go off in my head I would ask on irc what to do. By ssh'ing into the gentoo setup I was able to do any cut&paste that they would ask for, kind of hard when all you have is a console of a newly installed gentoo system.

This setup is not going to be done in a day or even 2 for that matter. It is a long process that can take days if done correctly for a beginner (which I count myself as one even though I've been using linux since the 90's). I will agree that at times following the Handbook you can get lost especially if you want to use systemd or LVM or do something that is not the straight forward way the Handbook has it laid out. I know at first I wanted to do systemd and got a lot of suggestions on how to do it but the Handbook isn't really laid out for building gentoo from scratch for a beginner using this method, which I'm sure there are others that would disagree with me on that point.

LFS really is deep in the weeds and you will learn a lot and and your system will be built from the ground up. Gentoo is in the weeds, so to say, but your head is above them so you can see your way forward. The ground work has been completed for you so all you are doing is setting up your system the way you want it to be.

I can try and help you as much as I can but my best advice would be to go the route I did and use 2 systems when installing Gentoo and logged into irc. Of course if you don't have 2 systems to use you could always fall back on using the Gentoo install system I do believe there is an IRC package on there as well. Then you only need to switch between consoles.
 
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:54 AM   #4
DavidMcCann
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I think it's basically the case that you'll like Gentoo if Gentoo is the sort of thing you like! The users like the idea of being in control of everything. The non-users say they've got better things to do than all that compilation. Linus was once asked if he'd ever used it and he said that he hadn't as he couldn't see the point.
 
Old 08-11-2017, 01:11 PM   #5
hazel
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The marks of Gentoo are huge choice (of software, software versions, architectures, even differently patched kernels), bleeding edge software, and local building with automatic adjustment to the details of your system. It's a pig to set up, but can be worth it if you really like the above points.

@DavidMcCann: you don't have to do any compiling in Gentoo. It's Portage that does the compiling. The whole system is just as automated as a binary package manager like apt or yum. And while it's going on, you can do something else.
 
Old 08-11-2017, 01:16 PM   #6
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
The marks of Gentoo are huge choice (of software, software versions, architectures, even differently patched kernels), bleeding edge software, and local building with automatic adjustment to the details of your system. It's a pig to set up, but can be worth it if you really like the above points.

@DavidMcCann: you don't have to do any compiling in Gentoo. It's Portage that does the compiling. The whole system is just as automated as a binary package manager like apt or yum. And while it's going on, you can do something else.
Well, I think the point he was making is if you're someone who turns computer on, uses, turns off (like most people in the world), then Gentoo is a massive hassle to keep updated because you're finished what you needed to do, and portage is 15% done. This is the reason I don't use it. I quite like the design, it simply takes too much time to update because of everything compiling and I don't want to set and wait for it to finish when I'm done and want to leave.
 
Old 08-11-2017, 01:35 PM   #7
halldor2
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It's interesting to read what Linus Torvalds had to say about "technical" distributions back in 2008:

Quote:
And when it comes to distributions, ease of installation has actually been one of my main issues - I'm a technical person, but I have a very specific area of interest, and I don't want to fight the rest. So the only distributions I have actively avoided are the ones that are known to be "overly technical" - like the ones that encourage you to compile your own programs etc.
On the other hand, Linus declared himself to be a believer in choice:

Quote:
So I don’t personally think we’d have gotten anywhere without all those wild-and-wacky distributions. I’d rather have a bit of spirited discussion and even infighting than a staid landscape with a single vendor (or a couple of vendors who carve out the market).
 
Old 08-11-2017, 01:50 PM   #8
273
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Isn't this like asking why orange soda exists because you, personally, do not like Orange soda?
Or, perhaps, it goes further into asking why quad bikes exist because (like me) you've founbd them to be problematic?
 
Old 08-11-2017, 01:56 PM   #9
halldor2
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Originally Posted by 273 View Post
Isn't this like asking why orange soda exists because you, personally, do not like Orange soda?
Or, perhaps, it goes further into asking why quad bikes exist because (like me) you've founbd them to be problematic?
I think there may be a lot of truth in that, yes.

On the other hand, as I understand it, Linux was originally developed as a tool that could be accessible to everyone, not just a chosen few. So there is that side to the debate as well.
 
Old 08-11-2017, 02:04 PM   #10
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halldor2 View Post
I think there may be a lot of truth in that, yes.

On the other hand, as I understand it, Linux was originally developed as a tool that could be accessible to everyone, not just a chosen few. So there is that side to the debate as well.
I'll admit I haven't read the original Linux posts in quite some time and I didn't really give that much attention to them. However, I really doubt Linus has ever been against a distibution with a steep learning curve and a committed community.
One can use anything from Android and Chrome to LFS, Gentoo and Arch -- to me, at least, that's the appeal of Linus's impact upon operating systems.
 
Old 08-11-2017, 02:11 PM   #11
halldor2
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Originally Posted by 273 View Post
I really doubt Linus has ever been against a distibution with a steep learning curve and a committed community
I don't think he has ever been against such distributions - it's just that for him they don't represent the direction he wanted the Linux operating system to follow. Ubuntu is clearly more to his liking than, say, Gentoo. That doesn't mean that Gentoo is bad, merely that it's possibly not what Linux was intended to be.

Last edited by halldor2; 08-11-2017 at 02:13 PM.
 
Old 08-11-2017, 08:13 PM   #12
jefro
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I think that every serious linux user ought to try LFS and Gentoo if they want to know the nuts and bolts. Gentoo is/was a great distro for tuning a one of a kind system for maximum results. If you simply want something to work then you have distrowatch.com for more choices.
 
Old 08-12-2017, 01:44 AM   #13
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halldor2 View Post
I don't think he has ever been against such distributions - it's just that for him they don't represent the direction he wanted the Linux operating system to follow. Ubuntu is clearly more to his liking than, say, Gentoo. That doesn't mean that Gentoo is bad, merely that it's possibly not what Linux was intended to be.
I'm not sure that's true. I think Linus chooses not to use more technical distributions himself because he has other things to do with his time.
 
Old 08-12-2017, 02:54 AM   #14
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halldor2 View Post
I don't think he has ever been against such distributions - it's just that for him they don't represent the direction he wanted the Linux operating system to follow.
wrong.
linus torvalds has stated on many occasions that his work is the kernel and he doesn't care about distros too much either way, and for his work (coding C, keeping in touch with development & developers) he uses whatever distro suits him best.

Last edited by ondoho; 08-12-2017 at 02:57 AM.
 
Old 08-12-2017, 03:32 AM   #15
halldor2
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Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
wrong.
linus torvalds has stated on many occasions that his work is the kernel and he doesn't care about distros too much either way, and for his work (coding C, keeping in touch with development & developers) he uses whatever distro suits him best.
Though he has said:
Quote:
Yeah, I can do it, but it kind of defeats the whole point of a distribution for me. So I like the ones that have a name of being easy to use. I’ve never used plain Debian, for example, but I like Ubuntu. And before Debian people attack me – yeah, I know, I know, it’s supposedly much simpler and easier to install these days. But it certainly didn’t use to be, so I never had any reason to go for it. ‘
https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk...k-of-the-week/
 
  


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