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Old 04-19-2004, 06:50 PM   #1
diefree
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Debian vs. Gentoo which is better?


Which is better? Debian or Gentoo?

I am a new linux user and would like to install one of the two.

Gentoo seems like they have more of a marketing type slant, and therefore, I would think that the install might be slightly easier than with Debian, which only downside I can see is the install is fairly archaic.

For those with experience with both, please respond.

Many thanks.
 
Old 04-19-2004, 06:57 PM   #2
Mega Man X
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For a newbie? Neither. Still, there're some alternatives for Debian, as Libranet which is Debian-based and 100% compatible with Debian Linux
 
Old 04-19-2004, 09:08 PM   #3
mbegovic
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Re: Debian vs. Gentoo which is better?

Quote:
Originally posted by diefree

Gentoo seems like they have more of a marketing type slant, and therefore, I would think that the install might be slightly easier than with Debian, which only downside I can see is the install is fairly archaic.
The Gentoo install is not easy, dude. Gentoo has a great installation handbook, and just going through it you'll learn more about Linux than you would in months using Mandrake or Fedora or something. It does take a really long time, though, and it does require that you read carefully and have an understanding of how the system functions. If you've never used Linux, I wouldn't recommend it. Unless you have a few days to kill and consider the command line fun, of course. I have no experience with Debian, but I heard that the installation is difficult.
 
Old 04-19-2004, 09:15 PM   #4
jcookeman
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I've had the best luck with Slackware when it comes to bringing people to the Linux community. That is definately the distro that I recommend you start off with. Go do it.

Justin
 
Old 04-19-2004, 09:26 PM   #5
ehawk
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MEPIS, knoppix

Use one of these two live-evaluation CD's to ease into Debian-based systems.
 
Old 04-19-2004, 09:54 PM   #6
diefree
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I've actually used Knoppix. It was way cool, but couldn't recognize my built in Broadcom 54g wireless adapter on my HP P4 laptop.

I'm going with Red Hat 9.

Thanks.
 
Old 04-19-2004, 10:12 PM   #7
viniosity
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I've used both

Having used both I can tell you that Gentoo is easier to install on newer hardware than Debian is. Debian is a wonderful distro, but if you're running a box with modern components (such as an nForce2 system) Gentoo will support it while Debian will not. That's not saying you can't get it working with Debian! But, it will take more time to find/download/compile/install the drivers.

If you have hardware that is relatively well supported (such as a mini-itx system) Debian is a better choice since it will be easier to install and maintain. I know the Gentoo crowd may disagree, but if something breaks in Gentoo (e.g. broken packages with an emerge world) it can be really tough to get your system humming again. Also, Gentoo takes a really really really long time to install since all the code is downloaded and compiled. (Again, this can be avoided by setting CF Flags but newbies will hardly know.) Lastly, I found the speed difference of running compiled code in Gentoo vs. using Debian code to be insignficant. (Probably since I'm a bit of a newbie still and did not optimize my CF Flags)

Bottom line recommendation: If your hardware is supported by Debian, use it. If it's not, and you won't consider a debian-based distro (like Xandros, Mepis, etc) then go with Gentoo.

For the record, I like BOTH distros a LOT.
 
Old 04-19-2004, 10:19 PM   #8
mrcheeks
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i guess i would say i don't have to talk but...but...if you don't know nothing about linux or are a pure mandrake redhat user you might not find it as easy to start with. You might find debian and gentoo painfull.
if you want to learn any distro source, anyone of slack,debian,gentoo would be good or even a bsd. With one week stuck in the cli, i bet you will get some skills pretty quick if you don't. I learnedfrom bsd than any linux: debian, slackware, gentoo and all those distros you see in this forum except the lindows stuff and suse. Almost no one will have to tell you RTFM, because usually someone in the cli know the existence of man command.
If you just want to run linux, keep it simple with mandrake or knoppix or any distro that will say user friendly.
If you want just to experiment and play with it install anything
 
Old 04-19-2004, 10:28 PM   #9
diefree
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Thanks for all of the feedback.

I want to stick with something "made in America" so I'm going to go with Red Hat 9.

Although Knoppix is very cool.
 
Old 04-19-2004, 10:55 PM   #10
Mega Man X
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"made in America".. lol. Red Hat HQ is in the US, but that by no means makes it made in America, nor in Asia, nor Europa. Linux is the result of collaborators all over the world, creating gui's, updating the kernel and providing pre-compiled packages...

The kernel itself (which is the heart of Linux) was made by a finish guy. All that Redhat does is to give a great support. And now, just so you know, Redhat is known as Deadhat. Redhat is now being developed only with Enterprises in mind. The successor is Fedora Project, a community distribution...

The only thing really made in America is.... hmmmm... huh..... eh.... hmmmmm..
 
Old 04-19-2004, 11:10 PM   #11
viniosity
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The above poster is right. If you want an example of how diverse developer contribution to a linux distro is you should check Planet Debian
 
Old 04-20-2004, 01:15 AM   #12
Mega Man X
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Thanks for your support viniosity . I am really sorry if I sounded mean, that was not meant to be like that, just that what attracts me the most on Linux is that it's done from everybody to everybody. Pretty much like discussing on either we should say "Lee-nux" or "Lie-nux". Linus Torvalds himself made clear that everyone can pronounce it as you wish, since Linux is an International OS, free to use to everyone so...
 
Old 04-20-2004, 01:43 AM   #13
spiritraveller
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I used Debian for a while, tried Gentoo for about six months, and switched back to Debian.

What I liked about Gentoo
* Portage

If something is not officially part of Portage, you can either make your own ebuild for it, or probably find one that someone else has made... If all you want is an updated version of a program that already has an older version in Portage, usually all you need to do is change the name of the ebuild and you're done.

Whether you install an application from an ebuild that you made or from an official ebuild, it will fit into the Portage system and be recognized by the Portage package management system.

* Sensible init scripts

Gentoo has the best, most easy to understand init script system I have seen so far. Debian uses SystemV style (which I still hate), Slackware uses BSD style (somewhat better)... Gentoo created something that just makes sense for mere mortals to understand.

* Great forums... makes a site like this unnecessary

* Great documentation... makes up for the fact that the install is completely via command line (although there are some unofficial isos out there that use the Red Hat anaconda installer, if you google for "gentoo anaconda")

* Very educational... would have taken me much longer to learn with Debian, because even though the difficulty is the same, the documentation for Debian is not as straightforward or as easy to find.

* Just as free as Debian... but since it is a "meta-distribution" (they don't provide the software, just the mechanism for your computer to get and compile the software from the original source) they can include non-free items (like Acrobat Reader) as ebuilds and not have a hissy fit about whether they should be including non-free software.

Why I Switched Back to Debian
* Installation of packages is much much faster

Gentoo's compile times really do get to be a drag after a while. If Gentoo had a separate binary distribution I might still use it... note: some packaes in Gentoo can be installed from binary, but this is only a few of the large items like OpenOffice... It's just not enough.

* APT just works

This is similar to the above reason, but when you have waited for 10 hours to have something compile... and it fails, you get frustrated.

Debian's packaging is already done for you, and it is renowned for its stability because Debian tests applications for a very long time before putting them in the stable branch, and they fix the bugs that they find.

* Optimization on Gentoo doesn't make up for the long compile-times... honestly, I couldn't tell the difference.

* I can still install from source in Debian (although those applications are not recognized by APT)

* Gentoo had taught me what I needed to know to run Linux effectively, so Debian was no longer as difficult as it had been before.


Installation
Installation of Debian will be easier. Gentoo is completely command line.

The new official Debian installer will be easier than before, but if you want a truly user-friendly install, use one of the offshoot distros, such as MEPIS or Libranet. MEPIS is a free download, and I believe it is fully compatible with Debian's apt repositories. Therefore, you can benefit from the more than 15,000 packages in the Debian unstable distribution, while not having to go through the officially boring official Debian installation.

I wouldn't go with Red Hat, because Red Hat 9 is the last in that line. There will be no support for Red Hat 9 soon, and there will be no Red Hat 10. Red Hat will soon consist only of its "Enterprise Server Linux" distributions, which it will offer for several hundred dollars a copy. There will be Fedora of course, but I have heard a lot of complaints about its bugginess.

Distrowatch.com is a good resource if you want to compare various distributions, find reviews and see what versions of the various packages they offer.

If you check the Debian page, you will notice that the unstable Debian branch is almost completely green, meaning that it has the most recent stable releases of almost every application... even the ones it doesn't have are available from other sources.

BTW, Debian was started in America, but it is completely volunteer-driven, and is developed and maintained around the world.

There is no one company behind it, so you can be certain that it will never go out of business or cease offering support. If you want support for Red Hat 9 in the future, you will have to buy it from the guy who started Debian. His company, Progeny, offers support both for Debian and Red Hat systems. They are currently developing a port of the Anaconda installer for Debian installation cds, which you can download from their website if you are so inclined.
 
Old 04-16-2008, 08:19 PM   #14
Mr.Ampersand()
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I myself have used Gentoo for a while up until a few years ago. I went from using Mandrake Linux straight into using Gentoo.

I learned a lot using Gentoo regarding the Linux structure. I really did enjoy the init scripting system along with emerge. I had my share of breaking the system though. Took me lots of effort to get Gentoo working again. I loved following their handbook. Overall I can say that if you are not into using the Command Line or are afraid to get your hands dirty to configure and compile a kernel along with waiting for things to compile a long long time then Gentoo is not your system. I do recommend it to those who want to learn what makes Linux tick. If you really wanna get crazy (getting offtopic) use LFS (Linux From Scratch) -- never tried this.

I am using the latest version of Debian now on my 2 servers at home. They have been running for greater than 5 months straight with no reboots. All I can say is that I love the stability and ease of using apt-get. For me Servers is where Debian will remain. Configuring in this system is decent also. I compiled both kernels manually.

On my main machine I am currently using Ubuntu Linux 7.04. I like the fact that it is easy to use and configure. As an experienced Linux user I can say that if your looking into using Linux give Ubuntu a shot. I personally configured the system to boot directly to the shell. I noticed services starting after I get to the login prompt and that really bugs me. Anyway thats one small annoyance to me. Also, when compiling a new kernel for the system the generic kernel wants to get installed then it goes to update your grub boot loader! I've left it as generic kernel. My system can handle it anyway. I'm considering to either update to Ubuntu 7.10 when it becomes stable or go back to Gentoo. Debian is currently off the table of options for me.

Thats all I gotta say for now,

--Mr.Ampersand()
 
  


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