Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back > Reviews > Distributions > Gentoo
User Name


Search · Register · Submit New Review · Download your favorite Linux Distributions ·

Gentoo 1.4
Reviews Views Date of last review
23 118545 08-30-2005
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
78% of reviewers None indicated 8.4

Description: A distribution with a difference, all compiled from source code designed to optimize every single program for your system. Also uses a comprehensive package management system, Portage, to automatically download and install a vast amount of source packages from the net.
Keywords: source optimized portage emerge sync advanced

Post A Reply 
Old 01-21-2004, 02:46 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2000
Distribution: Ubuntu @ Home, RHEL @ Work
Posts: 3,892

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

Pros: Perhaps the best package management system ever created.
Cons: Build times on new systems can be a while, package downloads can be big.

I started using linux about 4 years ago. The first system was an inherited Red Hat server that eventually got switched to Slackware. I really liked Slackware because of the ease of configuration and compactness of the system. Slackware quickly because my system of choice for the next 3 years. The one thing that bothered me about it was the package management system. Upgrading to a new version with new basic packages was just plain awful.

Then I tried Gentoo. The configuration reminded me alot of Slackware (mostly editing text files, very easy to do) but the package management system was out of this world. It reminded me a little bit of Debian apt-get but with a BSD ports spin on things.

I always thought Debians package managment system was a good idea pourly implemented. On one hand, you have the Debian-Stable tree, which is very stable, but also contains software versions that are just plain out of date in many cases. Then you have the Debian Testing tree which contains a lot of the new packages I would like, and a lot of alpha and beta software that I don't want to go anywhere near. There isn't much middle ground without a lot of manual work.

Portage is all about the middle ground. When a new version of a popular piece of software is released it makes it into the portage system exteremly quickly. If it is a piece of software that goes through much testing before release (say a new KDE build) then it will pretty much be marked as stable and you will get it the next time you run the upgrade tools. If the package is something that wasn't neccesarily tested well by the authors it sits in the portage tree marked as not stable while people test it and bug fix it before it is eventually marked as the most stable version in protage. This means you end up with a system that is pretty darn stable and pretty close to the bleeding edge of linux software. You also can easily use protage to hand pick some apps you want to try the possibly unstable versions of.

Oh ya.... and you can optimize everything to any extent you wish by customizing the portage build flags.

Two thumbs up for Gentoo.
Old 02-04-2004, 09:54 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 52

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

Pros: Very fast system, very customizable
Cons: Could take a long time on slow(er) system's.


When you talk about a linux user who is in the know about gentoo, the first words that will pop up in the conversation will be speed, optimizations, and compilation.

Gentoo has been around for a while, and is reaching a very stable level on this moment. Allways up to par with packages (not always _that_ good ;))


Installation was quite difficult, but Gentoo has one of the best (if not the best) installation guides. If you follow the guide almost exactly then nothing will happen.

Gentoo requires a lot of reading and checking out; a broadband connection could be handy, although they are mission critical packages on the live cd's.

Gentoo has a great package system. If you went through the installation, and finally succeeded, you get a great tool with it. Nothing is as handy as the 'emerge' tool. Wanna install, update, uninstall something ? Emerge does the job, without you doing a single thing ! (if everything goes right ;))


In Gentoo you can customize & optimize everything to your likings. You decide wich options you select in your kernel. You build your system from zero to ... .

Because of the optimization's, you get a fast system, but requires a lot of compiling.

You can either choose for pre-compiled binaries of you can choose for compiling it yourself. You feel a lot more men / women (choose) when you compile it; you get far more results from it.

Eg. KDE. If compiled (wich takes about ~ 6 hours on a dual 1,8 Ghz) it's faster then a precompiled one (at least, that's what i noticed).


It's pretty obvious i recommend this distro. It's not for everyone (slow computers) but hey, if you have patience you can do it (i did a gentoo install with standard X and fluxbox on a p II 400 in about 8 hours, everything compiled).

It's fast and does what you want. Great package system. And last but not least, you actually learn something about Linux ! (wich cannot always been said about Windows clones like Red hat etc.)
Old 02-11-2004, 03:22 PM   #3
Registered: Dec 2002
Distribution: Gentoo!
Posts: 1,153

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

Pros: Customizable, fast, educational, portage
Cons: portage stability

Gentoo is a relatively small distribution. The command line install appears difficult but is easy to use with documentation. The install is unique in that is allows you to choose features you want. You also complie your own kernel from the start so Gentoo is very customized. Gentoo is also very fast because of the customization although the installation process takes much longer. The portage system is great to install programs although it can be unstable at times and not always get the program installed.
Old 02-15-2004, 11:28 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2002
Distribution: Gentoo 2004.0
Posts: 174

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

Pros: EXTREMELY fast, very customizable, emerge is fantastic, loads of freedom
Cons: A weary installation, broadband is a necesity, very hard for newbies

I was a pretty big newbie to the Linux world before I installed Gentoo for the first time. My first distribution was Slackware 9.0, and then 9.1. This distro was a great starter for me because I built a basic understanding of the inners and outters of the Linux OS.

However, I tried and I tried to install Gentoo. I wanted the challenge and I wanted the advantages that came with it.

So, I followed the easy-to-understand docs on the Gentoo website and it took me two tries to successfully install Gentoo linux with fully-featured workstation atributes. The time I took to install the OS was long, but it was well worth it. I gained a lot of linux knowledge while following the docs, and I gained a huge speed boost over Slackware.

An added bonus is that the user forums and the community is like no other - you WILL NOT find a better community over Gentoo. Additionally, Gentoo's famous 'emerge' system - I fell in love with it. With a HUGE package list, and many great features like the USE command - I am able to customly install any program I want AND its dependancies with nothing more than 'emerge <program>' - this will download and install the <program> AND all of its dependancies for me! This is a nifty feature that very few other distros can even come close to. This is also much better than Debian's aging 'apt-get' system.

Who would I recommend this to? I would recommend this to ANY linux user wanting that extra speed boost. This is also recommended to anyone wanting a learning experience. You really can't go wrong with this distro. As long as you have a little bit of experience in linux (very little is required; knowing how to use/edit kernels and modules is a good idea, knowing basic UNIX commands and etc.) and as long as you are willing to try more than once, you learn a lot and gain the most powerful distribution of Linux to date.
Old 02-16-2004, 05:54 AM   #5
Julian Fidge
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: RedHat 9.0, Mandrake 9.0, Smoothwall
Posts: 4

Rep: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 3

Pros: Friendly user forum, learnt a bit more about commands
Cons: Was not able to install

I was not able to install Gentoo.

I have a Grad Dip in Applied Science (Computer Science) and have five machines at home. I run a LAN for my block of flats out of a cable modem, through a Smoothwall fire, into an 8-port LAN box using cables I made myself to Red Hat, Mandrake, Windows 98 and XP.

It was fun, building from stage 3, and took about 4 hours, and really that's what it's all about for me - learning and doing.

But I never got it working, and I don't know why (self-evidently).

Having said all that, I believe Gentoo is the way of the future, because the OS is built for the machine. This has applications for use in many different levels of machine, from door openers to whatever linux can cope with.

I plan to try again, but it was a lot of time and effort for no return, sadly.

Julian Fidge
Brisbane, Australia
Old 04-01-2004, 04:18 AM   #6
Registered: Jan 2004
Posts: 8

Rep: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation: Reputation:
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 1

Pros: none, unless you like doing EVERYTHING by hand...
Cons: Speed claims exagerated, Non existant installer/Hardware detection. Poorly documented. Hyped.

A classic case of the emperors new clothes.
The most over hyped distro on the planet.
Gentoo is essentialy 'Linux From Scratch' plus an attempt at a BSD style package manager.

Due to the extreme lenghts the user must got to in order to install it & compile it, the user base is largely tech obsessed teenage zealots with a lot of time on their hands & arrogant attitudes.

Pros :
none, unless you like doing EVERYTHING by hand...

Cons :
Speed claims exagerated.
Non existant installer/Hardware detection.
Buggy implementation.
Poorly documented.
Arrogant user base.
Old 04-07-2004, 02:28 PM   #7
Registered: Dec 1969
Posts: 0

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

Pros: Fast, once its installed everything just works
Cons: Documention sometimes isn't clear

I have used several distros over the past three years, starting out with RedHat 7.1 (ugh), progressing to SuSE and Mandrake, and recently I have used Slackware and Gentoo. I did a Stage 1 install, and the install took about three days to compile everything.

The only problems I had were due to insufficient documentation, such as how to properly compile the kernel the first time with the appropriate settings for my video card, and how to set up X correctly. There is a Desktop Configuration guide, but X setup should be part of the main install documentation.

Once I got KDE up and running though, everything worked great, the system was fast and it worked smoother than any distro I have tried. Portage is a dream as long as you have a high speed connection.
Old 08-30-2005, 05:58 PM   #8
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: GENTOO
Posts: 33

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

Pros: the best OS in the world
Cons: compile times are annoying (but worth it)

I use gentoo as my main OS for normal stuff. I use windows and mac for audio work. the only bad thing about gentoo is, it wont run Logic and Cubase - with them 2 programs id never have to endure another minute starting at an inferiour OS.

Gentoo is fast, stable, fast, stable, fast and despite what some people think, user friendly. It has an excelent website and forum.

put it this way, when i get my brand new apple powerbook, im gona stick gentoo on it

u cant beat it!
Page:  1 · 2 


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:45 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration