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Gentoo 2005.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
15 53262 05-03-2006
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
93% of reviewers None indicated 9.3

Description: Gentoo 2005.1 is the latest version of the meta-distribution provided by the Gentoo Linux community. As the previous ones, it provides the best community support of ever, tons of documentation and an on-line packages database
Keywords: Gentoo Linux 2005.1 - special flavour of Linux, meta-distribution

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Old 08-23-2005, 10:16 AM   #1
Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: SuSE, Gentoo, many others :)
Posts: 5

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: Flexible, stable, well-documentated, very adaptive to the users needs
Cons: if you're a newbie, it isn't easy to install or configure, but ofcourse you'll learn tons of things on Linux

First of all, I falled in love for this distro since a year ago, when a friend suggested me to try it (I was using a "huge" SuSE Linux 9.1). He told me that there were a distro that allows user to build his own Linux installation such as "from scratch", so I decided to try it. I wasn't a "newbie", but either I wasn't a guru :p, so I considered this new way of installation such as a challenge. He also suggested me to FIRST read all the documentation (With other distros, I haven't yet done this BEFORE but AFTER the installation...) and first of all to plan very well for what purposes I had to "build" my system. Between braces, I turn this suggestions to all of you which will decide to try Gentoo :)... so, I started with downloading the 2004.2 (that times...) and reading the well shaped installation Handbook (with the CAPITAL H as it's a REAL Handbook :).... ), and I started to plan this: A multimedia station optimized for Gnome/GTK+ (nothing against KDE, but I'd better to decide which environment fits my needs, and I think that having both of them is such a confusion...) alsa, cd-recording and DVD reading.
Well, after this planning I started to discover the "magical hidden world" of Gentoo represented by the Portage System for packages handling. Inspired from the old Unix "ports" but MORE powerful (or, as someone likes to say "powerfool" :p...). after a couple of days made by mistakes, misconfigurations, tries, I finally had a "builded" system and I compared it with such a "minimalist" installation of the SuSE 9.1: 1 GB against the 4.2 of the SuSE! And, consider that I installed an "huge" environment like the Gnome, and to be secure I also installed the QT libraries (but not the whole KDE) if someday I'll need some program that requires them; and, ofcourse I added all the server I need for my "experiments" (Apache w. PHP, MySQL, QMail), and something else I consider important in a network environent (IPtables handlers, DNS, SSH/OpenSSL...). Everything WELL optimized (from the Kernel to the latest unuseful library), "fitted" on my specific hardware and so everything I launch on it is FASTER than if I was picked up the usual collection of pre-builded binaries (optimized, I have to say, for the largest range of hardware to better fit general needs...).
Everything seems to be so good, so amazing and shining, but all these beautiful things needs a cost to be payed for: time to configure (and, sometimes, go crazy to fix problems when something doesn't works as you expected...), patience, and a huge amount of work more than it's needed to keep working other binary-based distros. But, ofcourse, once you've faced all the difficulties involved into a Gentoo installation, you could really feel PROUD of your Linux "Building".
Ah, I forgot: no grafic, wizards, windows, buttons-checkboxes-scrollingmenus, no "point'n'click" installation! Everything is left on the tips of your fingers: if you've never heard before, there's a beautiful user interface called CONSOLE, and Gentoo gives you the chance to finally LEARN to use it as that powerful things it is!
Since that installation, I've experienced the other "funny" side of Gentoo: Portage is NOT ONLY "something that helps you to install" packages, but also is one of the best packages UPDATE tools I ever heard! If you want to update some packages, you'll use the same tool you've used to install it, by simply add a POSIX switch (-u) or a GNU-SIX switch (--update) to your "emerge" command :), and ofcourse your packages will be UPDATED, or again.. you can RE-BUILD your packages to re-optimize it for other purposes (i.e. : you decided to optimize for "gnome gtk" and you would "switch" the whole system to another optimization like "kde qt3"), even with the "emerge" tool and its options. Or, again, you can update the WHOLE system (emerge --update world) instead of "re-installing" the whole distro.
Ofcourse, also this other BEAUTIFUL feature of Gentoo has a cost to be payed for: you really need a FAST internet connection, as all the packages to be update are available "on-line" and downloaded before beeing unpacked-configured-compiled-installed. If you have such a 56.6K modem, I really suggest to DON'T approach this distro, or to download and install manually the single packages you want to update or switch to a REAL "Linux From Scratch" approach.
Using the Portage update system I didn't had needs to download the newest distros released by Gentoo, so my system is, now, like a 2005.1 (with newest updates made yesterday night).
Ofcourse I downloaded another time the WHOLE install-CD (universal) as I'd like to try it in order to find some changes since the last releases.
Now, some tech:

You can obtain Gentoo from the internet, downloading it for free or buying a CD from the on-line Gentoo store (such a donation or contribute to the Gentoo Foundation). The main difference between Gentoo and the other distro is that is NOT necessary to have the Installation CD to install it: you can start from your own, already installed Linux System, partition it and download from the network a "Stage" from which start. The installation CDs (there are a "Minimal" and an "Universal" CD) are such as "live" CD with a pre-configured general environment with all the necessary tools to start configuring your disk(s) and prepare the installation (if you haven't an already installed Linux Sys). The "Minimal CD" doesn't contains any "Stage", you have to download the stage you choose and each package you need (including the Kernel...); the "Universal CD" contains the three default stages for the arch you choose when you downloaded it and a minimal collection of packages needed for a VERY BASIC installation without an internet connection. If you need a more extendend installation without having internet connection, you can download the "packages" CD and configure Portage to use it instead download packages from the internet. The advantage with this kind of installation is that you're not forced to have an high-speed internet connection, the disavantage is that, probably, you wont install the LAST updated package. There's another method to avoid the usual slowliness of a "standard" Gentoo build, you can use the "GRP" packages instead of the "source code" ones, but you'll probably bring down all the advantages provided by the "build" process (and, probably, if you can't take this advantage, or you don't want, you'd better to switch to a standard/bindary distro...). For more info about the GRPs take a look at Finally, the "Stage" method can simply beeing explained in this way: stage1 gives you the opportunity to REALLY build the compiler, libgcc and everything is needed in the basic environment. Such as a real "LFS" build. The stage2 is a little bit ahead (with the STATIC gcc and libgcc compiled, and some other stuff), while the stage3 gives you a ready pre-built basic environment (even without kernel) with all you need just ready to work and a basc FSH (FileSystem Hierarchy).

About the changes in the Gentoo 2005.1 against the other releases, I think there's nothing to add: all the basic layout of this distro is the same since the 2004.X distros (I've never tried some Gentoo before 2004), just some details like the splash-screen, the migration to the 2.6.x kernel (since 2004.2) and various update (subversions) for the main tools used in the Install CD.

I can advice Gentoo Linux to all that user who wants to really understand how a Linux (*nix) system is structured and builded, how it works "deep inside".... and, ofcourse, who wants to make some "practice" in the Linux Kernel Compiling :)
I can suggest to STAY AHEAD from Gentoo to the users who believes that Linux could be "similar" to Window$ and other stuffs: easy, quick, dirty and not accessible "under the cover".
Finally I can suggest to try Gentoo Linux to all the users that wants to taste this "special flavour of Linux" :).

I'll leave you with this thought:
when you build a house, you start from the "windows" or from the foundaments?
Old 08-27-2005, 03:28 PM   #2
Registered: Jun 2002
Distribution: *buntu (usually Kubuntu)
Posts: 2,682

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Ease of management, up to date packages and very good documentation.
Cons: packages are downloaded as source, then compiled. It can take a while.

So, Gentoo! Well it seems to have a reputation as a "Power User" distro. Personally, I don't think this is necessarily appropriate.

It's available for many architectures. It can be installed from CD or as a network install. It can be installed as 3 different levels (stages), depending on which stage you choose to install, depends on how long it will take.

I don't know enough to install as a stage 1 or 2 installation, but as someone who does have a certain amount of "prior knowledge", I still tend to choose the "stage 3 + GRP" install (I've heard that if you chose a stage 1, it can take a couple of days - due to the need for compilation).

I'll explain. The stage 3 still does a certain amount of "compilation", but if you opt to use the precompiled binary packages for your applications (know as GRP packages - or Gentoo Reference Platform), then it's quite feasible to have a system installed with the Gentoo distribution in an hour.

To do that, I should point out, that you will need to have access to the current installation handbook, either on another computer, downloaded and printed or it's also available on the CD's to view while you install the system.

The documentation is, in my opinion, some of the best and easiest to follow available for any distribution.

When/if you get it installed, if you have some knowledge it's relatively easy to change the system from relatively "cutting edge" to "bleeding edge", though having never really tried that, except for specific packages, I can't say how easy that might be to manage.

Gentoo doesn't have the same "only open source/free" packages that debian has. For example, as I type this, I've got "emerge realplayer" running in the background. Not something that you'd be able to do quite so easily with debian (though granted, it's not that difficult). It's also just as easy to install the nvidia driver for those systems with nvidia based graphics.

It's fair to say, that Gentoo can be installed reasonably painlessly, but you must follow the install handbook "religiously", unless you already have some prior knowledge of how linux systems work.

The only downside that I can think of, is that because it's based on source packages, is that whenever you enter the "emerge xxxxxxx" command, it will download the package and then compile it - so big packages can take time to install. But you can still use the system in the meantime - so in truth, I personally, see this as a "non-issue".

Of course, you can find assistance here at LQ, or much more extensively just by googling for the gentoo forums. They have a massive amount of distro specific help there (in more than one language as well).

Obviously not as vast as LQ. Though LQ covers "linux", and not just the one distro.

For me (having tried out a fair number of other distro's), this is the _ONE_. It might not remain so, but for the while it's what I'm gonna stick with.

Hopefully thats of some use to you.


Old 09-05-2005, 08:12 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2004
Distribution: Slackware 10.1
Posts: 8

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: fast, small, control over everything, portage
Cons: not for newbs, need lots of patience

Wow. I must say im very impressed with Gentoo and before i had tried it i thought it was a stupid distro. Boy was I wrong.

I decided to go with Gentoo as the OS of choice for my personal server and wanted it fast so I did a stage 1 install. ~12hrs of compiling and configuring later I had my system ready to boot. Damn this sucker is fast. portage, USE flags, and rc-update make admining it a breeze. I get what I want, how I want. All I wanted was to be able to use lighttpd, fastcgi php, and mysql and thats what I got.

I also recommend Gentoo for the people who want to learn how to compile a kernel. I know it helped me learn alot.

Impatient people can always do stage2 or 3 installs if they want 8).
Old 09-15-2005, 02:47 AM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: RH9
Posts: 37

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Pros: Fast --> faster --> lightning --> Gentoo
Cons: you need to put on some coffee...

After a while all I wanted was to have my apps running as fast as possible (graphics, database, webserver), furtermore I wanted to tell my computer what to install and which version...

And then I tried gentoo...

When you have tried them all (Yes, I probably missed your favorite...) as I have :-)

(Red Hat(5.1,6,7,8,9,2.1,3,4), Centos, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu (which shines btw), Slackware, DSL, SUSE (Novell desktop), Mandrake, Knoppix, Toms root'n'boot...)
+ HP-UX, Solaris, Aix, Irix...

None of the above can match speed and level of customization with Gentoo. Some people will tell you that high level of customization is very difficult for a *new* user to handle...

That's just bs...

Gentoo is very well documented and you will learn a ton of stuff you didn't know about Gnu/Linux.

Do not listen to the people telling you not to try it because it is difficult. (or so they say...)

Remember --> "failure is only motivation to try again..."

Once you go Gentoo you will never go back...

Old 09-20-2005, 09:05 AM   #5
Registered: Nov 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 8,507

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Flexibility, Stability, Ease of Use, Cost ($0)
Cons: Compile Times

Gentoo Linux has provided me with a stable base for all of my computers, ranging from my notebook to my servers. I've run various forms of gentoo on 3 architectures over the past year and a half.

I've never had "dependency hell" with Gentoo's portage system. It may take a few minutes to build things from source, but you end up with a system configured how you want it. You can have portage build in all kinds of optional components, or not.

All contributions by the Gentoo project itself are released under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
Old 09-21-2005, 11:18 AM   #6
Registered: Jun 2002
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.1
Posts: 213

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Total Control, Optimised
Cons: Compile Times, Source Downloading

This has got to be one of the better Distro's in my opinion, Have used this for over a year now and there is nothing better than optimised packages that you have built yourself.

This Distro is also very good as a server Distro in my eyes as you can totally customise everything and have the version of apps that you want quickly and easily, plus when you go to build Apache or whatever you can build the parts you want e.g php support etc.

I am currently running SuSE 10 OCC RC1 and it is too a very good distro, but when it comes to total control and optimising then it has to be Gentoo!
Old 10-22-2005, 12:52 PM   #7
Registered: Sep 2005
Distribution: Slackware 10.2, Caldera OpenLinux 3.1, Corel Linux (Thanks xhi!), Debian GNU/HURD etc...
Posts: 296

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9

Pros: ROCK=STABLE , flexible, fast... no-ULTRA FAST!
Cons: Definetly not easy to install...

So! Gentoo...

I installed Gentoo at the 5th of april 2005, having moved from Windoze XP to Mandriva LE 2005, and upon finding out that Mandriva was totally unflexible, I decided to try something with a rep of a Power User distro.

Instead of writing all over the place, i'll just highlight some of the most important cons and pros. This distro is just too damn good to describe it normally. SO:

-Portage system (see for more info)
-SPEED!!! (Time form bootloader to the "KDE is up and running" is 4 seconds on my box, compared to the 36 secs on Mandrake and 47 on Windoze)
-Great documentation
-Logo ;)

-The install could be more friendly( install is made by hand, with manual kernel compilation, bootstrapping and everything else)
-Sometimes problem with the video drivers (I've got GF6200)

All in all - Gentoo is a great distro, if you know Linux pretty well. I was a total noob, when I started the first install (had 7 of 'em), but right now i know a lot about Unix. In other words gentoo is a prime teaching tool ;).

PS : Before the install read the manual 100 times over. Really helps :)
Old 10-27-2005, 01:31 AM   #8
Registered: Oct 2004
Posts: 21

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 4

Pros: much faster on fast machines
Cons: only a bit faster on slow machines. compilation time.

If your comp is 1-3 years old then a gentoo is a OS for your computer. That doesn't mean it is for you as an user. The compilation time is not important in this case. The configuration time is. If you are school student + you have some job, girlfriend, hobbys, it will take you months to configure it. It doesn't pays off.

If your comp is older than 3 years, you won't see any big changes between gentoo and slack for example. In such case your computer is slow, because of the hardware, so even the brightness OS won't help you.

From my point of view gentoo is only for linux maniacs with a lot of spare time.
Old 11-12-2005, 09:05 AM   #9
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: Gentoo/FBSD/Slack
Posts: 65

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10

Pros: Speed, Flexabilty, Stability, PKG Managemant
Cons: Compilation timeis slow.

I was a diehard slack user for a long time. My Main box ran Slack10.1 for more then a year. I started to have issues w/ it and I just became dis-satisfied w/ it. The help from freenode/#slackware was less then desriable. 2 of my buddies had recomended Gentoo in the past. I was reluctant to try it though, I had given it a few tries via a VMWare install and was liking it, each time I tried the install, it got a little better and little better, it also became a little easier .... the install that is. I became more and more familure w/ the install and I understood how it worked, why and all of that. Once I had my system up and running the first time and I saw how clean, how crisp and efficiant this OS is and can be, I was sold right then and there. I think this is a d*mn fine distro.

P.S. I think it worthy enough for > Forums > Linux - Distributions > Gentoo Linux. Just my two cents. can be very helpful as well as freenode/#Gentoo but always having a 3rd wealth source of information is great to have in your back pocket ;p
Old 01-19-2006, 05:28 PM   #10
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Debian -unstable
Posts: 700

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: nice install method; nice package manager; very nice over-all once everything is installed and configured
Cons: build time for software like firefox; users who use it for "rice"

I think Gentoo is a very nice distribution if you don't plan on using KDE/Gnome. I'm not a fan of the two desktop environments so this is not an issue for me. I'm a fluxbox fan who likes to keep his system minimal yet fully functional and efficient. The installation process is very nice as it gives you a clean base to start with (keeps the bloat out). Build times can be pretty nasty with packages like firefox but once that's out of the way, it's all ok. I do painles updates once or twice a week.
Old 01-23-2006, 07:23 PM   #11
Registered: Nov 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
Posts: 843

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Pros: Fast speed, customized kernel and system, made for me
Cons: kdebase and xorg takes forever

I tried Mandrake, Fedora Core, and a bunch of other distros. I was quite please with Mandrake, but I was very pleased with Gentoo. Gentoo permitted me to use the full speed that my laptop could give me, and permitted me to learn much about linux along the way.

Overall, the system I made myself with Gentoo is made for me, it works like I want, and does what I want it to do. It doesn't mess up configs, it doesn't have weird things running in cron jobs and voodoo magic.

The downside is that no one else can use the computer. The system boots straight in the console ;)

However, I made myself a nice script that brings up my Atheros card (working fine), gets an IP and all while loading Xorg and KDE.

The portage system is a BIG feature of Gentoo. Portage, a big system that takes about 500MB of your harddrive, makes sure that everything gets built with the options YOU want. So if you want mp3 support in all your applications, let say, you add "mp3" to your USE flag, and everything built with emerge from now on will have mp3 suppose.

Gentoo is NOT easy, it's a big learning process, and you will need another computer or OS installed if you plan to install Gentoo for the first time, because your system will be unusable until you fully learn how to bring your system up and running.

You need to follow the Handbook TO THE LETTER. Make no mistake, skipping entire chapters will result in crying, screaming, and denial. Read it, I speak from experience here.

If you want to learn linux, Gentoo is the way to go. If you plan on looking at the screen until your system is done installing, bring lots of chips, and coffee, or beer.

Compiling kdebase and xorg is long, but NOT a horror story... for kde just leave it running for a couple of hours (depending on make flags and speed of PC) for it to download and install all the dependencies and kdebase itself. The dependencies is more or less half the job depending on the volume of your USE flag. Oh, don't forget to set parralel compiling, that is MAKEOPTS="-j2" , the number is how many parralel cc process will run side by side. The rule is generally the number of CPUs + 1. But it's not an exact science.

This distro is not for the Windows newbie. Only attempt this when you are sure you are done learning the intermidiate linux knowledge.

The good thing with this distro, personally that I like, is that compiling the kernel is a 5 minutes job, compared to the kernel and configurations coming with other distros, it makes adding a new feature and driver easy.

Overall, I spend more time compiling things with Gentoo, but less time making them work.
Old 02-01-2006, 12:46 PM   #12
Registered: Oct 2005
Distribution: SLES 12
Posts: 1,876

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: very fast
Cons: nothing for newbies; compile time

It took about 2 hours to install the base system without x11 without any problem.
Compile time for x11, qt and kde (complete) was about 7 hours.
Very good Gentoo forum.
Uses much less RAM compared to Suse 10.0. Much faster than Suse.
Try it out!
Old 02-16-2006, 03:08 PM   #13
Registered: Feb 2006
Distribution: Studio 64 - SMP
Posts: 3

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I started as a complete newbie - the gyyrls and others on #linuxchics made a very real difference. I have now tried a number of distros, and I keep coming back to Gentoo. Yes, its a big ask to install when you "know nothing", but the manual is actually mostly informative, if you follow it strictly step by step. Compilation time is fine on a dual opteron.
Old 03-13-2006, 02:55 AM   #14
Registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 0

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Easy Maintainance, Very Fast, Not Bloated
Cons: Long install, bad choice for newbies

Gentoo is the best if you're an intermediate to advanced user. If you're one of these users, stop reading reviews and just go download and install it (FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!) It's faster, more stable, more configurable, and just all around better than any other distro (Mandrake, PCLOS, MEPIS, Slackware, Fedora) I've tried.

But Newbies, seriously consider trying another one of the above mentioned distros before you move to Gentoo. Gentoo is NOT for newbies in my humble opinion. You need to know certain things before you can venture into the world of Gentoo, like the following:

Protocols and Programs: When configuring USE flags (a huge part of what makes Gentoo so awesome), you need to know what you want and need compiled into your programs and what you can live without. This takes time and experience. Also, what programs do you want to install? You should know them by name before you use Gentoo.

How to use the console: You must be comfortable using the console (the black screen of doom) Being a linux newbie means inevitably breaking your distro at some point. You DON'T want to install gentoo more than once if you don't have to!

Kernel Compiling: In my opinion, it's a better idea to learn how to compile and install the kernel and bootloader on a newbie distro because if you screw something up, again, reinstalling is way easier.

Like I said, Gentoo is a wonderful distro. But I don't see it as the kind of distro that you wrecklessly poke around in and carelessly break. That's what newbie distros are for!

Once being a newbie, I wish someone would have told me this. My recommendation for learning linux is:

Get a newbie distro (PCLinuxOS, Mandriva, MEPIS, etc)

Poke around and learn. Learn the filesystem. Learn how things work. Learn how to use the console. Learn what the important system files are and how to use them. Don't use graphical utilities for anything because they are distro specific! Learn what hardware you have and what drivers you need to make it work. Learn what programs you like and what you don't want to use.

Once you are comfortable, switch to another distro that uses different package management. If you were using Mandriva or PCLinuxOS, try MEPIS or some Debian based distro. See what you like and don't like.

Finally, when you're comfortable and know what you want in your distro, install Gentoo and never look back!
Old 05-03-2006, 08:50 AM   #15
Registered: Apr 2006
Distribution: Gentoo 2006.1(2.6.17-gentoo-r7)
Posts: 222

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0

Pros: not bloated, USE="" is very nice, Portage has it all, Light on the hardware, Source rules.
Cons: waaaaaaay to long compilations, well thats src for you. <-- Prebuilt is faster but then you are dated :-(

Nice overall distro, but dam! cant it build any faster :-)


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