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Old 03-09-2004, 08:06 PM   #1
JulesVerne
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Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Mandrake and Debian
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Debian and Gentoo


Hello Everyone
I know - distro flamewar is out of date, but I really want to know hear/read a few of your minds relating to Debian versus Gentoo. I really like both of them. Actually I was using Debian for quite a long time - and loved it. But one thing that really always made me want to change is that I had to use unstable to get the packages that are a not totally out of date, ... but even using unstable made me use "older" versions, ... I admit, I always want to have bleding edge software, but I love the apt-get system... . I want to be able to just say "apt-get update && apt-get upgrade" and everything's upgraded.
So I thought Gentoo might be the right thing for me, by having a port system with always the latetest software. But I by reading the comments people made, I got afraid Gentoo might be a little bit too much of work to configure. I don't want to make myself so much more work than I have to. I used Mandrake for a long time... but Mandrake is not controlled by the community AND (more important: ) does not have a good portage/apt-get-like system. So... what would you say?
Is the Gentoo-usability and simplisity just as good as Debian or will mean so much more work? And does it pay of to change the distro only because of the portage system?

Thanks
 
Old 03-09-2004, 08:48 PM   #2
jtshaw
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Registered: Nov 2000
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Distribution: Ubuntu @ Home, RHEL @ Work
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I have used all kinds of distributions, but most of my use has been with Slackware, Debian, and Gentoo.

Debian is a great system. Superb package management. But I always wished there was a little bit of a middle ground. I found I didn't really fit well into any of the three categories: stable, testing, and unstable because I like cutting edge software, but I am not interested in some of the highly unstable packages that I sometimes got. That is why I went to Gentoo.

Gentoo certainly has it's positives and negatives. It takes a while to install (especially if you are starting from a Stage1 tarball). It takes a while to upgrade some packages (for instance, if you have a slow computer, which I used to have, KDE could take 4 days to compile). And the last negative I can think of right now is sometimes bad ebuilds make it into the stable tree (but I haven't seen this happen in a while). But for the most part the "stable" gentoo packages are the newest available (or at least real close to it) and they work very well. The level of customization in Gentoo is great and I have been very happy with my Gentoo system. It certainly doesn't have the rock solid 400+ day uptime records my Slackware machine has, but that is because I use the latest and greatest kernels (2.6.3 right now) and I am using freedesktop.org's Xserver (which has been known to crash when I screw with it to much).

It is certainly debatable as to whether portage is reason enough to switch for most users. But since my knew machine is an Opteron system I really love it. I pretty much always have the newest gcc (which can make a big difference for us AMD64 folk) and many packages I would have to compile myself to get how I want on any distribution anyway.
 
Old 03-09-2004, 09:04 PM   #3
slakmagik
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Registered: Feb 2003
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Similar deal - almost entirely Slack, but a distant next is Gentoo and Debian. All desktop, though. I tend to be more up to date in a lot of things that matter to me with Slackware, just because I download and compile the source myself - no ebuild intermediary which often means it isn't as 'bleeding edge' in Gentoo as it's made out to be, or waiting on community-built Slackware packages. And I never mastered 'emerge', so probably felt a bit more constricted in it and less able to deal with problems that cropped up than I might have. But, yeah, if newish, mostly stable apps are your goal and Debian and Gentoo are the two choices, then it sounds like Gentoo is what you want. The running system's not that hard to configure - it's not even that hard to build - just takes a while. Debian's actually harder to screw around with to me and apt-get is nice if you like that sort of thing, I guess, but then you'd probably love emerge. Both are decidedly second and third banana to Slack, though, so take my impressions with a grain of salt. Gentoo is a neat system though, even aside from portage. You might find it worthwhile to experience, even if you don't make a permanent switch.
 
Old 03-09-2004, 09:17 PM   #4
hw-tph
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Sweden
Distribution: Debian
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I use both Debian and Gentoo. Currently I only have Debian on my server, but IMHO there is where Debian really shines. For desktops I have been using Debian Testing with Garnome for a bleeding edge Gnome desktop. Well, actually I mostly use Garnome to provide the apps since I prefer running XFCE4 (also built from source). The fine thing is you can install Garnome to /usr/local/garnome (or whatever) so all users can access it and build applications against the Garnome libs, and the killer is that it doesn't affect your installed version of Gnome either. This approach can be taken with other applications as well, and for me it works very well. The stability and powerful management of Debian plus the bleeding edge desktop apps and libs from Garnome.

Gentoo, well what can I say that hasn't been said already? It may be fine for a home machine but using Gentoo in a business environment is just plain stupid. A critical security upgrade or the need to quickly install apps because of something else can take more than a whole workday. It's just not an option there, but for a home box and if you have the time and patience, Gentoo will be quite fun to use. I use it both on my two desktops and on my laptop and it works fine, but I do have to admit I am getting tired of compiling *everything*, especially since performance improvement is so slim (virtually un-noticeable) on common machines. Users of not-so-common platforms like SPARC, AMD64 and the Alpha can probably gain more than a common P3/P4/Athlon user.



Håkan
 
  


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