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Old 08-07-2017, 05:20 AM   #1
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Why are you using Gentoo?


I am aware of previous topics (I think), but they're not exactly like this one. I am still considering moving to Gentoo, but thought I'd ask why OTHERS are using Gentoo, so I can make an easier decision.

This is not a discussion about the merits or flaws of other distributions, nor am I requesting advice on what distribution to use. Please also don't turn this into a flame war of why software X is better then Y or Z.

I just want to know why you are using Gentoo Linux. Thanks.
Old 08-07-2017, 05:37 AM   #2
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I use Gentoo because it, in my opinions, allows to research Linux more deeply.
Also it has, unlike other distributions, a convenient package management system. The system allows to configure a build of packages to turn off/on some packages features.
But this system is more appropriate for personal use. In production it is better to use Linux distributions with binary package management systems, so time to install packages is minimal (cons: in such systems packages are compiled with all possible features).
Old 08-07-2017, 08:34 AM   #3
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I'm quite sure many people will say: I'm using Gentoo because I like choice. And I agree, Gentoo offers more choice than the average Linux distribution. Maybe LFS offers even more but there is also the question of how much time are you willing to spend on a fully working system that matches your needs. For me personally Gentoo hits that sweet spot just right.

But that's not the main reason. I strongly agree with trunikov. I started when Gentoo was still called Enoch (1999). The installation was a complete disaster because I had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2004 Gentoo was already alive and I gave it a second shot. Things went wrong again. But I realised there was a (steep) learning curve. If you are prepared to read and learn, then Gentoo might be the right choice for you. If you just want to copy/paste commands from an installation handbook into your terminal window, then don't bother with Gentoo at all. I made a print of the handbook and tried a third time, a fourth time and eventually I had a working system!

A third reason to recommend Gentoo is its active community (Gentoo forum). I'm sure other distributions have a vibrant community too, but if you have a question, other Gentoo users will gladly help you when they can.

1) Choice
2) Learned a lot (and I mean a lot)
3) Community
Old 08-07-2017, 08:56 AM   #4
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My two cents on why I'm not using Gentoo. I did use it for a while, largely because I wanted to see if I could actually install and run it. But I soon gave it up because I simply did not have the necessary energy.

If you like choice, Gentoo has more choices than any other distro. A huge range of packages and nothing is installed by default. Also the use flag system gives you maximum control over how the software is actually built. But it's bleeding edge with a vengeance. Everything is constantly being patched and repatched. You need to sync and update every day. If that's the kind of thing you like, good luck to you!
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:45 PM   #5
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One more pros.
Gentoo has an utility (eselect) which allows, among other things, easily change default versions of 'python' and 'java' implementations. The default versions can be selected on system level and/or on user account level. It could be useful if you are developer. Also the package management allows simultaneous installation of the same package but with different versions.
Old 08-08-2017, 05:07 AM   #6
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Gentoo allows you to tailor everything easily. Ease of use, in my concrete case, is the killer feature here.

In every single distro under the sun, you have to install lots of dev packages to recompile a 100 kb window manager to add a patch or whatever.

Using multiple versions of a given lib or tool is also much easier, and changing between implementations of this or that piece is also easy, in correlation with the eselect tool which someone mentioned above.

That, and the fact that, at this stage, I am too lazy and have too little time to spend my free time learning a new GUI configuration tool on every release.

That little black screen with white text works always, everywhere, you know.
Old 08-15-2017, 07:36 AM   #7
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i could elaborate on that, and add lots more, but that's the main thrust of why.
Old 08-15-2017, 12:28 PM   #8
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Why I use Gentoo? Because it give me options. When I first tried to install Gentoo I fell flat on my face. After a few years I decided to give it a go again and this time things went a lot smoother. You will need to invest time to get the system up and running the way you like. Like others have said it comes pre-installed with nothing. That's another reason I like Gentoo it only installs what I want not what someone else wants.
Old 10-21-2017, 06:36 AM   #9
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Right, I'm a heavy Windows user. Never bought into all this "wow, free software, there's so much choice omg!" thing as large amounts of software are still exclusive to Windows.

Gentoo, however, offers a real advantage: it pulls source code and compiles it as customized for your hardware as possible. As a result, it doesn't run, it flies. Not to mention it can be installed on a 486 computer. Currently I'm toying with it on Pentium computers, at 83 and 133 MHz. Their install live disc requires 256 MB, but once you have it, everything's fine.

Seriously, I believe a lot of Windows experts are competent enough to run any Linux or BSD but they don't get why. If you move to the supposedly super customizable and mega efficient world of Linux, you expect to be able to do really awesome things with it. Then you get dependency hell and recompiling kernels. And remember, most of the software you need is on the other side, for Windows.

Gentoo, at least, demands all that from you, but it's exceptionally fast and quite compatible with a lot of hardware. And I get the feeling it's more friendly to software that's quirky to install. In other words, real advantages over Windows and the actual freedom advertised by Linux enthusiasts.


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