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Used Gentoo and found their community very helpful and intelligent. It is installed right now as a backup.
Prefer both since Gentoo shows me how a system is put together from scratch. But Slackware lets me be lazy, mess around without breaking stuff, and build from source code with my own optimizations on an already running-installed system, and I don't need an internet connection to do it or install (except for those slackbuilds that need serious updating; dev86 for example and those annoying ones with hard-coded vanilla CFLAGS). Seems faster than Gentoo and I use the same optimization on both (probably because of the KISS structure and pure scripting setup). Also ended up doing bash this way and got more familiar with sed, grep, bash and Linux (for f in `blah`; do echo $f | sed 's|**|*|g' | xargs blah ; done || etc). It's more stable for me (emerge -e world caused more problems than Slackware bootstrap, and broke system more than once; portage doesn't always like python updates e.g. and your system is gone if portage goes) and I fixed a borked Slackware system more than once (broke system downgrading glibc. Booted Slackware DVD, fixed links, and succesfully bootstrapped on older glibc without internet).
Gentoo is like a learning tool but Slackware lets me learn in a lazy way that's fun without breaking stuff. It's also the coolest thing to have multiple window managers and switch them cleanly via xwmconfig.
I'm not going to argue with above posts.
However, being a Gentoo user since 2004 I can tell running Gentoo is not masochistic and it will not take the best part of your day. Once you get used to it five to ten minutes of your time weekly is enough to keep it up to date - and I'm running unstable! It will take significantly more of CPU time indeed, but do you care? I have Gentoo in all of my boxes, even low power ones. Building using distcc in pump mode, using portage binpkg feature, etc. You won't kill your Raspberry Pi if you run Gentoo on it.
I had very little experience but it had impressed me with how much you can learn simply by installing it. Their documentation and forums are very helpful. However I have very little spare time to learn anything this days, so I stick to Slackware as I find it much more cost effective in terms of effort to get it up and running. Also I think that for a production environment, Gentoo is not an option, while Slackware excels. Other considerations are economical and environmental. I cannot justify the waste of such resources unless you really need to and compiling _everything_ is expensive. Then there are the technological resources. Consider the limited capabilities of the Raspberry Pi for example, Gentoo would not be a feasible option for me.
Last edited by ChrisAbela; 02-07-2014 at 07:18 AM.
I installed it once. It was a fun experience. I liked some things, didn't like the others, but got more respect for Gentoo out of the experiment. Generally a nice distro, just too time-consuming and too automatic for my taste.
I installed it several times, but always when X or Xfce was compiling i said to myself "nah, i have better things to do in life".
If i wanted rolling release distro, i would be installing Gentoo. I like that it is not necessarily bleeding edge; software is just a little postponed, but i believe it's better tested. And i like that if you install a package as a dependency, it gets updated only if the package it depends upon needs this dependency package in newer version than you have installed - not like Arch, which updates everything everytime.
Plus the Gentoo liveDVD has the smoothest and coolest KDE implementation i have ever seen.
Originally Posted by moisespedro
I've always heard about gentoo "optimisation". At least that is one its selling points, according to its fans. It'd be nice if it really boosted performance. Since that is not true I don't see the point of it. And if you want something from scratch, Linux from Scratch is the way to go imo.
I believe back in the 32bit days the difference between 386 and SSE optimized code could have been noticeable.
I recently wiped it off the partition. Gentoo is fun to install, all of the software I use is available, ati proprietary driver works well, It performs admirably. I do not like the package manager at all, I use USE="" mainly from the command line and seem to get everything I want installed. I use slackware as a host system to build Gentoo, as well as use slackware as a host system to build lfs. the portage system seems to want to mimic FreeBSD with the exception of actually working. It is a fun distro, and a great teaching tool, and also teaches me how to avoid installing all of system-d.. unless I want to use gnome.. which I do not.