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Gentoo Linux 1.2 393

Posted by michael
from the worthy-competitor dept.
MrOutlander writes "Gentoo Linux releases version 1.2 of their cutting edge distribution with many updates including KDE 3.0.1 (20020604) and GNOME 2 (beta, 20020607) support. I love emerge :)"
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Gentoo Linux 1.2

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  • Cutting edge? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gazbo (517111) on Monday June 17, 2002 @03:40AM (#3713993)
    What exactly is cutting edge about this distribution? What does this have that no other distribution has, that is light-years ahead?
    • Re:Cutting edge? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      see gentoo as a linking between completely source based "distributions" like linux-from-scratch (http://www.linuxfromscratch.org) and a distribution with package management which handles dependencies (f.ex. debian). in gentoo all "packages" are downloaded from their server, patched and installed (with a ./configure [some switches], make [some switches], make install).
    • Re:Cutting edge? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday June 17, 2002 @03:55AM (#3714024) Homepage Journal
      What's cutting edge about it is that it uses the BSD-concept of ports-trees instead of the likes of RPM and Debian packages. This has all the advantages of compiling from source (tailored for your system, latest-and-greatest), but also does dependency-checking and (if desired) -installing. It fits in nicely with the earlier discussion about binary packages: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/06/16/123252 &tid=106 .

      From the website :
      ``Note that the i686 CD will allow a build from scratch for *all* systems, but also has pre-built stuff for i686+ CPUs.''
      IMHO they would have done better by creating a i386+ binary CD, because compiling everything from source on a 386 is hardly feasible, whereas on a 686 it's almost a breeze. Still, I love this distro, and will probably continue to use it for quite some time. Drink one from me, guys (and girls)!
      • Re:Cutting edge? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Graymalkin (13732)
        The 386 designation isn't the processor, it is the instruction set revision. A 686 binary isn't necessarily 100% backwards compatible with older processors. Also any 686 family optimizations could totally hamburger the performance of an older processor due to scheduling and instruction arrangement problems. The reason the primary ISO image (the 16MB one) doesn't have any optimizations is you need to be able to run it on any system. The 686 ISO exists so you don't need to take the time to compile the entire distro from scratch if you've got a Pentium Pro or better processor.
        • Re:Cutting edge? (Score:2, Informative)

          by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          ``The 686 ISO exists so you don't need to take the time to compile the entire distro from scratch if you've got a Pentium Pro or better processor.''
          Yes, I figured that, but compiling on a 686 is much less painful than on a 386. Providing precompiled 386-binaries would allow people with older machines a quick-start, while people with newer machines can get their fully-optimized stuff in a matter of hours. The way they do it now, people who cannot run the 686-binaries are forced to compile everything from scratch, which can take weeks. People with the latest-and-greatest are still likely to recompile, as I suspect that the precompiled binaries will not be fully-optimized for their systems, and as it only takes a few hours anyway...
          • They say their distribution is geared at power users. That being the case, most of their user base will be installing on higher end machines, IMO. If you are looking to install on a lower than Pentium Pro, this may not be the best distribution for you anyway. Plenty of other distributions are compiled for i386.

            -Pete
      • Re:Cutting edge? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MADCOWbeserk (515545)
        While I agree with everyone above. I think it would be neat to have a "compile as go" dist. for PDA/embedded systems. This might give better performance with things like the Zaurus, with could use all the extra performance they can get:) No Sig today. Not feeling very smart.
    • Re:Cutting edge? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 42forty-two42 (532340)

      In addition to what everyone else said, it has an excellent way of upgrading/removing packages. All files installed by a package are md5ed and the md5sums stored with the package. In removal, a file is only removed if:

      1. Its md5sum matches
      2. Its modification time matches
      3. It is not in a directory protected from configuration file upgrades

      Upgrading is done by installing a new version, then afterwards uninstalling the old.

    • To understand what's so cutting edge about Gentoo, one has to use it.

      First of all, thanks to its Ports-like Portage tree, most the software is up-to-date.

      Secondly, well, it's just about the highest-performance distribution I've ever used. You name a feature that can improve the performance of a modern Linux system; you'll find it here.

      Thirdly, the init scripts are light-years ahead of what you'll find on most Linux systems.

  • Gentoo rocks! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Per Wigren (5315) on Monday June 17, 2002 @03:43AM (#3714001) Homepage
    After being a fanatical Debian-user for four years, Gentoo was a "love at first sight".. :) I've been running Gentoo for about a year now and always when I find out about a new detail about it, I think to myself "Yes, this is how it SHOULD have been in the other distros also"..
    The only thing I'm missing is a way to make "recursive" library updates.. For example, if I upgrade libSDL to a new version, all apps that depends on SDL should be recompiled automatically.. There is still no easy way to do this in Gentoo, but I heard that it is comming in portage v2...
    • Do Gentoo packages place the contents of the compile in the correct directory even if the upstream source does not?

      For example, debian packages move all documentation to /usr/share/doc even though many upstream sources try to install to /usr/doc

      A great deal of the work of debian is deciding policy of where files get installed. I'm just wondering if gentoo is following debian's lead.
      • Yes, all ebuilds do that. If you find an ebuild that doesn't, it should be reported as a bug.

    • The only thing I'm missing is a way to make "recursive" library updates.. For example, if I upgrade libSDL to a new version, all apps that depends on SDL should be recompiled automatically.. There is still no easy way to do this in Gentoo, but I heard that it is comming in portage v2...

      Wouldn't that mean that upgrading something like libc would require *everything* to be recompiled? And what would be the point anyway? If they are shared libraries, your programs will use the new versions immediately. I fail to see what recompiling will do, unless there are new features in the libraries. But in that case the apps themselves would need to be modified to use them.
    • There is still no easy way to do this in Gentoo, but I heard that it is comming in portage v2...

      When this is implimented Gentoo will really, really rock!

      That is exceptionally good news. The one thing I really miss from using Source Mage (well, actually I miss several things about Source Mage, but my employer opted for Gentoo, so Gentoo is what I must use for now[1]) is Source Mage's 'auto-healing' feature, which uses the recursive approach you describe. Actually, IIRC it recursively determines what needs to be recompiled, then flattens the recursion to a list, ordered based on dependency, then recompiles the necessary software in order.

      Very nice, and the one really important feature Gentoo has been missing up until now.

      I'm delighted to see some cross-polination between Gentoo and Source Mage. Both are incredibly excellent distributions (though both are very different from one another), and seeing them take the best features from one another and impliment them is marvelous.

      [1]Looking at this it sounds a little like I regret using Gentoo instead of Source Mage, which isn't really the case. What regret I feel is mostly nostalgia, and very mild ... Source Mage is really fun to work with too, and I enjoyed it a lot. Technically they are both very good distros, with different strengths and weaknesses, and very different approaches to how source packages are managed. I'd be hard pressed to say one is better than the other, in all fairness (though I always enjoyed the 'sorcery' motif of Source Mage ... casting spells to install apps, etc.). I just want to make clear that I really like Gentoo also. Both are fantastic distros, and which one a person uses is largely a question of personal taste.
  • by prizzznecious (551920) <hwky@[ ]eshell.org ['fre' in gap]> on Monday June 17, 2002 @03:44AM (#3714004) Homepage
    Gentoo 1.2 was released on June 10. This is one of the top 10 Linux distributions, and one of the few Linux distributions that generates any excitement anymore. Does Slashdot care at all about being current? My understanding is that this is a Linux website (I have come to this understanding from reading postings about minor kernel patches etc.). Perhaps it would be well to keep up on Linux news.
  • by bc90021 (43730) <<ten.12009cb> <ta> <12009cb>> on Monday June 17, 2002 @03:54AM (#3714019) Homepage
    While Gentoo does rock, I don't suggest any of the cutting edge stuff for production boxes. While that's a given for the most part, the ease with which Gentoo allows you to install new and tempting things may make it harder for some to resist. (Emerge just rules.)

    Installing Gnome2 and then Evolution left me with no X/Window Manager (or, rather, Gnome 1.4 and Gnome2 at the same time). The machine I did this on is one I use to fool around with, but in a production environment, I suggest avoiding the temptations Gentoo puts before you and sticking with the tried and true (ie, Gnome 1.4 if you like Gnome, and whatever the stable version of KDE is ;) ).
    • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday June 17, 2002 @09:44AM (#3714854)
      While Gentoo does rock, I don't suggest any of the cutting edge stuff for production boxes.

      One should always do significant testing before rolling something out for production use. This is true whether or not the software in question is "cutting edge."

      That having been said, there can be real advantages to using up-to-date software in a production environment. You may need the new features (e.g. X support of a new touchscreen the tablets you want to deploy require) or bugfixes (KDE 3.0.1 v. KDE 2.2.1 is a good example here), so cutting edge software, while it should be treated with caution, can be very beneficial.

      The key is rigorous testing prior to deployment, so while this means the software your using will likely be at least a month or two old, it can still be pretty cutting edge if that is what is required, and it holds up in testing. In our case, X 4.2 was deployed very quickly (within 6 weeks of its release), as was KDE 3.x, while other "cutting edge" stuff, like gcc 3.x, probably won't be deployed for another 6 months because it didn't hold up in testing.

      You are right, though, Gentoo (and Source Mage, for those who like trying out a pallate of different source based distros) can lead one into temptation. I've installed and backed out more than one bleeding edge app on my home machine for just this reason ... but again, I was able to back out stuff quite easilly, and the benefits of having current stuff that does work makes this added burden very worthwhile IMHO.

      At the other extreme, Debian's 2-year-old plus 'stable' distro isn't the answer. With the speed with which free software evolves, running 2 year-old free software is analogous to running 10-year old proprietary software ... something that in many cases simply isn't acceptable (though in some cases it can be ... I do have an old GNU/Linux 2.0.x box that hasn't been upgraded in years, because it is behind a much more current firewall and does its one simple task just fine). Gentoo (and Source Mage, to be fair) solves this problem by giving you pretty good stability while allowing you to run very up-to-date software.
  • Gentoo is great!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mnemia (218659) on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:00AM (#3714031)

    I've been using Gentoo for the last couple months and I have to say that Gentoo has really restored the sense of wonder I had when I set up my first install of Slackware years ago. I was skeptical at first but Gentoo has so totally won me over that I can't imagine going back to anything else. I think if Gentoo ever failed I would probably go to something like BSD now.

    Gentoo probably isn't really a newbie distro since it has no automatic installation or setup, but then again I know some people have been able to manage it on only some limited experience from Redhat or Mandrake. It really makes you understand how your system is set up and works to a degree that most of the package based distros don't but also feels far "cleaner" than Slack (my previous favorite) or LFS. I've learned more about Linux in a couple months of Gentoo than in a year of Redhat, and I'm happier with my setup and customization than I ever have been before.

    Also, Gentoo is FAST. I run it on a somewhat older laptop (Celery 500, 128 MB) and though the compiles do take quite some time for large packages like KDE and X, the system really does have a much faster "feel" to it than in other distros. I don't have any hard data on it but the speed increase was enough to be quite noticable going from Redhat.

    Anyway, I've been 99% satisfied with Gentoo and I'd recommend it to anyone with a little Linux experience (though definitely not as a server distro) who wants to have fun with a desktop Linux setup. Now if I could only tear myself away from tinkering with my Gentoo and find time to work ;)

    • by nathanh (1214) on Monday June 17, 2002 @05:09AM (#3714175) Homepage
      Anyway, I've been 99% satisfied with Gentoo and I'd recommend it to anyone with a little Linux experience (though definitely not as a server distro) who wants to have fun with a desktop Linux setup.

      If you think installing and compiling software is fun, sure. Gentoo fills a specific niche for people who (like yourself) want to learn more about their systems, and also the rare breed of people who want everything compiled from source. It's not for everyone. Some people don't like their desktops to break. And I personally don't care how my desktop works just as long as it does! That's why I stick with Debian: it may not have all the latest stuff but I can install software with 99% certainty that it will work because the maintainers have built and tested the packages.

      And when I say that you're a niche user I don't mean to belittle you. Nor do I intend to put you on a pedestal. Gentoo is attractive to you. Debian is attractive to me. RedHat is attractive to other people. They all fit a particular niche. Gentoo offers features that you find attractive and this makes Gentoo a worthwhile distribution. But don't make the mistake of thinking that because you find Gentoo fun that everybody "with a little Linux experience" will find it fun too. I've tried Gentoo and RedHat and I think RedHat is more "fun" as a desktop. But that's because I think compiling software is boring and pointless.

      The diversity in Linux distributions is an incredible strength. If there was only one Linux distribution then I strongly believe there would be fewer Linux users.

      • Re:Gentoo is great!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mnemia (218659)

        I totally agree, 100%. I'm quite enthusiastic about Gentoo and it shows in my praise of it. But yeah, I totally agree that it isn't for everyone and it isn't for all applications.

        Linux offers so many choices and I think that it's great that there are so many distros out there, even if it sometimes is a hassle. The different distros have lots of different strengths:

        Support/Documentation: Debian, Redhat, SuSE, Mandrake

        Stability: Debian, Slack

        Desktop use (normal users, newbies): Redhat, Mandrake, Debian etc.

        Desktop use/Bleeding edge (tinkerers, experimenters): Gentoo, Source Mage, Slack, LFS

        Obviously, this is far from a complete list and just represents some ideas of mine. I'm 100% with ya on the diversity thing; the best part of Linux is indeed that you have so many option for making it just right for you.

      • by nathanm (12287)
        The diversity in Linux distributions is an incredible strength.
        That's not entirely true. There's strength in unity: software runs on Linux across an incredible variety of distributions and platforms. Diversity gives Linux an advantage for survival, but it's not a strength.

        If there was only one Linux distribution then I strongly believe there would be fewer Linux users.
        I agree wholeheartedly!
      • If you like Debian, I would heartily recommend Gentoo. It doesn't sound like you've given it a try, and you probably should. I used to use Debian, but the ridiculous politics and crippled-on-ideology packages really got to me, and Gentoo was a huge relief after moving to it. The packaging system is truly excellent.
      • Re:Gentoo is great!! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fault0 (514452)
        Well, I ran Debian/Unstable for nearly 3 years before ditching it for Gentoo several months ago. I update all new versions of all installed packages almost every night. I've found that fewer breakages happen in Gentoo than in SID, while being more up-to-date.

        I was really happy with Debian until release freezes and packagers waiting for obscure platforms like hppa.
  • by oever (233119) on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:08AM (#3714049) Homepage
    Gentoo Linux or for that matter all source derived distributions cost a lot of time waiting for a compile and a lot of energy hours of CPU usage for compilation.

    This will increase the greenhouse effect and melt the icecaps. Then the only gentoo surviving will be those in zoos and those on harddisks.
  • by Moosifer (168884) on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:12AM (#3714058)
    Doesn't naming a Linux distro after a religion violate some sort of public license?

    (it could be that I really am that stupid)
    • Re:just curious.... (Score:2, Informative)

      by JPriest (547211)
      Gentoo is named after a small fast breed of penguin.
    • by ukryule (186826)
      Can be found here [aad.gov.au]. For example:

      Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) breed on subantarctic islands and on the Antarctic Peninsula in small to large colonies. Larger populations of gentoo penguins are found at South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and the Iles Kerguelen.


      Gentoo penguins are the least abundant of the penguins found on the subantarctic islands, with a total breeding population of approximately 314 000 pairs.


      Unlike other penguin species, gentoo penguins may breed as early as two years of age.


      The gentoo penguin is a medium sized penguin, standing 75-90cm tall and the females are smaller than the male birds.


      Given that the penguin has a latin name, should the full name of this distro be:
      Connochaetes taurinus [nature.ca]/Pygoscelis papua Linus ?
  • Install from floppy. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MartinG (52587) on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:14AM (#3714063) Homepage Journal
    One of the attractive features to me is that everything is built from source and optimised for the machine it is running on. The reason this is attractive is because I have a number of older machines which I want to "squeeze" as much as I can from.

    However, being older machines some do not have cdrom drives, only floppy drives and network connections. Given that most of the gentoo install is done on the network anyway, it's a shame the install discs provided are only cdroms.

    If anyone has a "HOWTO install gentoo from floppy" I would be happy to know about it.
    • by KFK2 (23515) on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:42AM (#3714118) Homepage
      Actually it's not that hard.. You just need to have a boot disk that will allow you network support and some file transfer protocol. tomsrtbt [toms.net] and mulinux [sunsite.dk] come to mind.
      Instructions:
      Mount the CD on some computer with a cd-rom and network support.
      Follow boot disk instructions to get the computer that Gentoo Linux is going to be installed on running and the network up.
      Look at Normal Instructions [gentoo.org] and Skip steps 1 - 5; Follow step 6 (partitions) and 7 (mounting); skip 8; and for step 9, instead of copying from cd-rom, copy stages from the network (using whatever protocol meets your fancy); then continue on with the rest of the instructions.
    • Well, it's possible, though not easy. You would have to boot from floppy and then get SSH or NFS or some such thing running to allow you to mount the install files over a network. From what I've heard it's not possible to install Gentoo from a floppy alone without the assistance of another machine on the network.

      Also, though using Gentoo to speed up those old machines does hold some appeal, it may not really be feasible to do since the compile time would be prohibitive. The best option if you really want Gentoo on those machines would probably be to install Gentoo on a faster machine, compile all the packages you want on that machine with "fake" installs, and then move the binaries over. IMHO it would be less trouble to just use a binary distro for machines that are old enough to not have a CD-ROM drive.

    • I have installed Gentoo on a bunch of old boxen (P75-P166, 32-64MB, 1-3GB) to use as routing firewalls (throw in a few PCI NICs and they rock with iptables) and although a kernel compile takes forever and a day, you can easily do all that stuff on ANOTHER machine. My main workstation is an Athlon 1800+ with one of those removable IDE disk drive bays so when I need a new firewall I stick its drive into the workstation, boot the Gentoo CD, bootstrap and emerge what I need and then move the disk back to the P75 or whatever. Since you can tell Gentoo what CPU to compile for (i586) and what to stick in the kernel (iptables, NIC), it is not a problem to cross-install like this.

      As an added bonus, the GRSecurity stuff is great and you just know that if you didn't do an emerge telnet, it's not going to be there, waiting to be exploited. The thing doesn't even have -traceroute- in the basic setup. I love it. :-)

      And, the simplicity of the ebuild format (no need to re-package the entire program) makes new releases (close to 2000 supported programs last time I checked) show up much quicker here than in RPM format.

      Yesterday, I installed it on my workstation (to stay, this time) and the last thing I did before leaving for home was 'emerge kde'. When I came in this morning, it was all done - not a problem.

    • If anyone has a "HOWTO install gentoo from floppy" I would be happy to know about it.


      No howto, but why not use a floppy-based linux like 2-disk xwindows or baslinux or even tomsrtbt from here [ibiblio.org] to connect to ftp.gentoo.org, download the ISO, mount it as a loopback device and install from the laptop's HD?

    • http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?p=21311#213 11

      If you've got another (faster) computer and some extra hard drive space, that's the ticket. Substitute vmware for a nice fat directory on your box and you'll be rocking.

      Alternatively, you can hook your cd-rom-less's computer's hard drive up to one with a cdrom and compile with the appropriate flags.
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:18AM (#3714070)
    Gentoo's great, if you have a Pentium-or-better machine (for the partially-built distro) and a bootable CD-ROM. Don't even bother if you can't boot from CD, and good luck if you try to do a "live" install from an existing Linux installation. A good alternative is LFS [linuxfromscratch.org], which accomplishes much of what Gentoo has set out to accomplish but without all of the superfluous extras. More importantly, LFS is meant to be built using an existing (if possibly broken) Linux platform. If building a Linux system from scratch is what you're looking for, LFS certainly delivers.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Dude, seriously, if you can't afford a 'Pentium-or-better machine' you need to re-evaulate your life. Go outside, get a job, have a bath, move out of home.
    • I've used both LFS and Gentoo. The basic fact is, LFS is wonderful for learning about Linux but doesn't have anything comparable to Portage. Indeed, LFS doesn't have any kind of package management system except one you set up yourself. That's one example of a major difference which might have you choosing a Gentoo install over "doing" LFS.

      Now, I loved doing LFS, it was great to learn more about Linux, see what depended on what and compile things "by hand," but when I was looking for an upgrade, I didn't want to spend the time, so I picked Gentoo: it's very low-level in some nice ways, but doesn't make me doing every single little thing to get it running. They are two different distributions (if you can call LFS a distribution) with different positive points. So why compare them like this? You're just trolling and spreading confusion. Please explain what you mean when you say "LFS...accomplishes much of what Gentoo has set out to accomplish but without all of the superfluous extras." Is a BSD-style ports system superfluous? Superfluous is what is superfluous to you depending on your needs. This is why we have different distributions. So what are you talking about, what is your point?

      BTW, Gentoo does also have a PPC version, please check your facts or make sure you are saying what you mean to say before posting: http://www.gentoo.org/doc/gentooppc-quickstart.htm l [gentoo.org].

    • Don't even bother if you can't boot from CD

      Odd. I just installed on a box here a few days ago on a system that can't boot from a CD. It's only a 500mhz pentium machine. I just booted using grub and tftp and mounted the cd and went from there. Took me a couple days to build everything but it works great.

    • Don't even bother if you can't boot from CD

      This is total BS. I installed it on two machines that only had floppy drives. There's no "official" way to do it, but all you need is a boot disk like Tom's root boot. Just boot, and follow all the instructions like you normally would with the cd, when it gets to the part where you copy the 16mb tarball to the hard drive, just ftp it down from somewhere. I've done it twice.

  • I've been using Gentoo since Slashdot's last story [slashdot.org] on them, and I have had nothing but good experiences. The portage system has made my system noticeably faster, since my binaries finally are not optimized for a 386. The ease of applying my own patches on top of the normal package source is also a major selling point. The nice people at Gentoo even added the driver for my printer [sourceforge.net] to Ghostscript's source, something I used to have to do by hand.

    But the coolest feature (besides portage) is the beautiful init script infrastructure. The init scripts are the prettiest of any I've seen so far, and also the easiest to modify. Having all the configuration files in plain-text is a very nice thing.

    Sorry if this is redunant, because I'm sure everyone already knows that GENTOO IS GREAT!
  • This isn't meant to be trolling ...

    With the previous discussion whether source based distros or binary distros are better I wonder, why you can't simply download a binary distro and recompile all important packages from the Source RPMS. So you can get the comfort from e.g. Mandrake with the efficiency of e.g. Gentoo.

    Is it a possible way to enhance a binary based distibution with a recompilation feature?

    Bye egghat.
    • Is the fact that the issue is one of control, not source-v-binary. In this case you suggest, the question would be, 'Which packages are important?'

      If you want a desktop, you will have different needs to desiring a server. You will want eye-candy. So who decides what the important packages are?

      Policy dictates, if you use Debian. Something or other, if you use Red Hat or Mandrake. Gentoo and LFS put the control in your hands.

      Doing what you suggest can be done, but the question of control then comes up. Either you trust others to know their Linux (binary), or you dig yourself and come up with the goods (source).

      For me, it's Debian unstable. I don't have time to look at recompiling all the source for any machine at the moment, though I won't rule it out. And I have no problem whatsoever following what the Debian Project recommends as the results have been nearly perfect thus far.

      It really depends on what you want to do.
    • rpm --rebuild

      heh, I did this with redhat over the years and while it can be done, it just doesn't seem natural. Tarballs are easy to work with if a person likes to have the source as a quick reference to why things work. Having a source tree available is like having the most comprehensive man pages if I want to know the most obscure details.

      With a source based distribution, the temptation to tinker and try interesting hacks out is overwhelming. Gentoo provides an environment that is friendly for making changes if one wants control how far across the system modifications will reach. I don't see how it would be possible for rpm --rebuild to recompile just the system or selected parts of the world, while emerge makes this easy.
    • Pulling it out of my ass, I'm willing to bet most of the perceived speedup probably comes from custom compilation of glibc and XFree86.

  • by g1n3tix2k (219791) <helix.manx@net> on Monday June 17, 2002 @04:58AM (#3714157) Homepage
    I saw Gentoo a while ago and thought i would giving it a try, boasting an excellent portage system and a tiny initial download. The portage system is the best i have found, even compared to the FBSD Ports its is, i think, by far superior, giving you an interface very similar to apt-get and dpkg to install the ports. The install, even though time-consuming, is actually very straight forwards, whter beginner, experienced admin, or hardened guru, you will get along with it just fine. Everything is compiled from source, so true enough, its not really suited to a slow machine. Unless your a very patient person, or its designed to be a server. However even though i think binary packages might be a good idea for those who dont want to compile, the system becomes extremely fast due to optimizations in the compile process. The website is comprehensive and the people at Gentoo exceptionally happy to help you out. if you find it hard to get an answer then let me know! ill help you! The bleeding edge software that theyre happy to supply, and the very latest in everything is an extreme advantage when coming form a debian backgroud. finally you dont have things breaking, and you dont have to trapes around looking for latest updates or debs. just emerge rsync, and get the latest one! Gnome2 is exceptionally nice! :) But i guess you guys should try it out for yourself. im sure you wont be dissapointed
  • Gentoo Euphemism (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darkewolf (24563)
    It seems that Gentoo was a south african word, used as an international term for a 'prostitute'. I just wonder whether it is an appropriate word-relationship for a linux distribution. I mean, you get linux for free rather than pay for it.
  • by Quazion (237706) on Monday June 17, 2002 @05:53AM (#3714238) Homepage
    hmmm the article said I love Emerge ?

    I tried Emerging love but nothing happend.
  • I've never heard of this, I must have missed the last slashdot article on it.

    On their web site they suggest buying a cd from:
    http://www.tuxcds.com/ [tuxcds.com]

    -Pete
  • New Gentoo ports (Score:3, Informative)

    by Charlotte (16886) on Monday June 17, 2002 @06:27AM (#3714278)
    The article doesn't mention Gentoo/Linux is now available also on Sparc, PPC and a MIPS port is also underway.
  • I have a question for anyone who uses this.

    Is there measurable speed increase by using this distribution, or do you really just save a couple microseconds here and there?

    I would like to consider myself a fairly experienced linux user. I have done my fair share of deep digging into my first pre kernel2.0 slackware system through my curent one. May it be worth my time to attempt to convert my RedHat 7.2 Dell lAttitude C800 to this? I use it for java development (IDEA rocks!), and related web work.

    -Pete
    • I think much of the speed improvement comes from the distribution's infrastructure--servers aren't started by default unless you installed something that needs them, the appropriate libraries are compiled shared for all apps that need them if you put them in USE, overall the memory usage is less because of this. I feel Slackware is faster than Redhat for this reason; it doesn't load the kitchen sink by default.

      A 5% to 30% increase in speed is not a big deal for a single program but if you can get it for the entire system without much inconvenience it really starts to add up. So whatever server processes are left run efficiently.

      Also, if you use X Gentoo makes it very easy to install the preemptive and realtime kernel patches, and at least KDE works well with that. It does make a big difference in interactive speed. No, you won't see some number-crunching program working miracles once you install Gentoo, but it is much more pleasant to me.

      I find the system as a whole so clean that even if it were a binary-only system I'd prefer it to Debian and RedHat derivatives. Very easy base to expand upon _without_ branching from the original, which is a new thing to me. I'd expect central storage of binary packages, keyed to the specific processors and optimizations used, to be integrated into Portage in the future without breaking anything.
    • "Is there measurable speed increase by using this distribution, or do you really just save a couple microseconds here and there?"

      I don't have benchmarks or anything, but I think my workstation runs a good bit faster as a result of switching from Red Hat 7.2 to Gentoo 1.2. Things like Mozilla and KDE, which were fairly slow in Red Hat, run surprisingly fast now. I don't know if this is because Gentoo optimizes them for my machine or if it's just because I have the latest versions now, but the speed increase is real.

      I've been extremely happy with Gentoo (though I haven't been at it for that long). I switched because I was tired of a lot of the bloat that comes with recent versions of Red Hat. They have you install a lot of stuff by default, and I'm scared that I'll break something if I go in and start removing things. Gentoo gives you what you need, then you use the ports system (Portage) to install what you want on top of that. So far, this has resulted in less bloat.

      Portage is great. If you decide that you want to install the LyX word processor, you just type:

      $ emerge app-office/lyx

      No RPM dependencies, no screwing around on rpmfind.net, no trouble at all.

      Another cool thing about Portage is that, if you want, you can set global compile options. For example, you tell it to "use SSL", and then, every time you build something that has optional SSL support, it compiles that in automatically.

      The biggest problem with Gentoo is that, when you install something, you have to wait for Portage to download it and any dependencies onto your machine and compile everything. It took my machine an entire afternoon to do emerge kde-base/kde on a 1GHz Athlon with 256 MB of RAM. I didn't mind this so much, because I had plenty of time to wait for it, but a Gentoo install requires a lot of patience (or Playstation games, which the installation guide recommends). You've been warned. Also, configuring the system involves manually editing text files -- I haven't found any graphical wizards yet. Again, that's fine by me, but you may have better things to do with your time.

      If you decide to switch, make sure you hang on to your XF86Config-4 file. I had trouble getting X installed and was glad that I had a copy to refer to. However, if you were using Slackware before the 2.0 kernel came out, you're tougher than I am, so you'll probably have better luck than me.

      I hope this helps -- good luck with whatever you decide to do.

      Steve
    • Yes, Gentoo has really sped up my system. I just switched yesterday (I kid you not) from Debian. For example, lbreakout2, a SDL game, would lag considerably on my debian box even with all "features" turned off. It screams with all the eyecandy *on* in Gentoo.

      It's possible it was a misconfiguration, but I really doubt it since I looked long and hard for one and the lagging would scale roughly with load from "just barely acceptable" to "unbelievably bad for a 900Mhz box."

      And even if it *was* a misconfiguration, I'm glad I switched. Emerge is my new favorite application.

      --Knots
    • Well, it depends on what you do.

      Optimizing doesn't help in commands like ls, but I've seen a modest boost in things like compiling, and programs like KDE/GNOME/Mozilla/XFree86)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2002 @06:57AM (#3714336)
    I am a former FreeBSD user who installed Gentoo Linux after reading about it on Slashdot a couple of months ago. I am still amazed how well it is designed and documented! If you don't believe me, just go to here [gentoo.org] and have a look. I now have a fully operational (sound, video - everything works!) desktop system which is far better than any *BSD system could deliver. I have learned to enjoy the sheer speed and performace I get when I use Gentoo Linux. Native NVidia video drivers and ALSA sound makes my desktop experience enjoyable. Perhaps the most coolest thing about Gentoo is the portage system, which is a nail in FreeBSD's coffin. It is the most advanced ports system you will find in the whole world.
  • emerge is great, however there are quite a few packages that need working out before it's production -ready.

    For example, if I want to emerge PHP on my firewall PC, emerge also thinks it needs to install XFree86 and some Java utilities.

    Besides that though, it's quite nice.
    • Did you set -X -java in the USE variable in /etc/make.conf?

      Of course this is one of the items that could be made easier, it isn't intuitive from the start, but if an item is set by default in the USE variable any package that has support for that item will require it.

      In other words, any package that has some features that require X _will_ use those features if "X" is present in the USE variable, and it will be compiled as a requirement for those packages. Same for Java.

      This is one of the less intuitive items of Gentoo but is also one of the items that allows great control over the extra baggage once understood.

      You can control this on a per-package basis by setting/removing items with environment variables. export USE="-java -X" would be a good start before compiling PHP.
  • Gentoo Baby (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bdowne01 (30824) on Monday June 17, 2002 @07:37AM (#3714411) Homepage Journal
    Gentoo is the penultimate Linux distro in my opinion. I've installed it on every machine in my house, and on a CVS server at work.

    Quite possibly the best feature is the ability to update critical packages with a single command. When the latest OpenSSH hole was discovered, the Gentoo developers had a new ebuild package up on their rsync mirrors within a few hours . All it took on my Gentoo boxes was a simple:
    emerge -u openssh
    And it was done. My collegues on their HP-UX boxes were spending their day looking for patches from HP's site while I was back relaxing a reading /. :)
    • Re:Gentoo Baby (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bronster (13157)
      All it took on my Gentoo boxes was a simple:
      emerge -u openssh


      Whereas on my Debian boxes at work it was a simple:

      % apt-get update
      % apt-get upgrade

      and I didn't have to wait while it re-built.

      • However we did have to wait until they added the patch into openssh, compiled it, built the package, ran tests on it, and added some extra time to release in there (I remember the Gentoo people rubbing this fact in our face at the time :).

        Still, I prefer Debian. If I want to build from source, then I'll install a source package instead of the binary package. If the package maintainers are too slow to patch what I have on a critical system, then I'll patch it myself. There are just too many times I'll pull a package because I want to use it immediately for what I'm doing, as well as too many times that I pull a pacakge and realize it's not what I want, to build everything from source.
      • Whereas on my Debian boxes at work it was a simple [two commands] and I didn't have to wait while it re-built.

        No, but you did have to wait for debian to release the binary. In the case of ssh it was done quickly (and, if you are running 2-year old software in debian Stable it will always be quick to get security fixes, but at the very high price of running archaic software).

        Even security releated fixes don't make it into unstable as quickly as they do stable, and testing is generally a couple of weeks later still. And if you want to run software that is anything approaching modern under Debian, you have to either run unstable or testing, or compile the software yourself. If you're doing the latter, you may as well be using a source-based distro that will manage the compilation process and handle dependencies for you.

        Then there are all those packages that aren't security related per se, but still contain signficant bug fixes or enhancements people may really need. Have you tried to apt-get X 4.2 under Debian lately? You can't, because even in unstable it still isn't supported yet, despite it being months since its release to the community. On the other hand, I've been using X 4.2 since January.

        The thing that makes distros like Gentoo so powerful isn't just the performance improvement of having everything compiled optimized for your hardware (which is significant, naysayers notwithstanding), but that it makes installing from source as easy as other distros make installing precompiled binaries. This is a huge deal, as installing from source has all kinds of performance and stability advantages, not to mention less complex dependency issues, over precompiled binaries. And on a reasonably modern CPU the wait for something to compile really isn't a big deal for most packages, a few very large ones (KDE, X) excepted.
      • > and I didn't have to wait while it re-built.

        Yes, but us gentoo users didn't have to wait for it to get into the distro.

        From my experience, ebuilds are made much, much, much faster than debian packages are.
        • And even if there is no ebuild available yet, making one is trivial for small changes. Ie. you have widget-3.0.0 installed and they just released widget-3.0.1, a simple "cp widget-3.0.0.ebuild widget-3.0.1.ebuild" is usually all you need.
    • Gentoo is the penultimate Linux distro in my opinion.

      Okay, I'll bite. If Gentoo is the penultimate distro, what's the ultimate distro?
    • And of course Slackware remains the ultimate...
  • 1.3b_test (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr.Ned (79679) on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:08AM (#3714468)
    The 1.3b_test just went online for download yesterday morning. It blows 1.2 away - completely based on gcc3.1 for a sweet performance increase. 1.2 is based on gcc2.95.

    From the changelog:

    "The 1.3 series is meant to get Gentoo ready for total world domination with Gentoo 1.4 ;o)"

    I haven't had many compile issues with it yet - this is a distro to watch out for.
    • So 1.3 is basically testing then?

      I'm curious about their versioning schemes. I got started with 1.1a. 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 were not testing. 1.3 is, and 1.4 won't be.

      I guess the numbering dosen't hold any pattern?
      • No, 1.3 is not testing. The next version of Gentoo will likely be 1.3, which has not been released yet.

        What has come out is 1.3b_test. Notice the b_test yet? ;)
  • Important note! (Score:4, Informative)

    by 42forty-two42 (532340) <bdonlan AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 17, 2002 @08:43AM (#3714593) Homepage Journal
    If you already have gentoo installed, there's no need to reinstall. Just do (as root) emerge rsync; emerge --update world Then you'll be on the cutting edge(again)
  • by Ivan Raikov (521143) on Monday June 17, 2002 @09:12AM (#3714695) Homepage
    I've been using RPM-based distributions for a long time, and while I like having the ability to build everything from source, I miss a couple of features that RPM has:
    • Ability to check what package a certain file is in (like `rpm -q -f file').
    • Ability to list all installed packages (well, you can do that with portage and grep, I guess).

    Oh, yeah, I also couldn't get KDE to compile with `-O3 -mcpu=i686' on a fairly new Dell Xeon machine. I'd get all sorts of random errors like 'Illegal instruction', so I had to build all KDE packages with "-mcpu=i486", then I tried i686 again and the kdebase package compiled successfully this time! The mailing lists just advise to play with the compile options in order to get KDE working. Weird.
    • If you "emerge gentoolkit" it'll give you a utility "qpkg" which will at least give you a list of all installed packages. It probably does other things, too, but I haven't played around with it much. I think that should probably be part of the default install, but whatever . . .
    • Try epm. It works just like rpm.

      gboyce@necronomicon gboyce $ epm -q evolution
      evolution-1.0.7

      gboyce@necronomicon gboyce $ epm -ql evolution
      /usr/share/man/man1/evolution.1.gz
      /us r/ share/gnome/apps/Applications/evolution.desktop
      / u sr/share/gnome/help/cal/C
      /usr/share/gnome/help/e v olution/C/index.html
      /usr/share/gnome/help/evolut i on/C/stylesheet-images/caution.gif
      /usr/share/gno m e/help/evolution/C/stylesheet-images/home.gif
      /us r / hare/gnome/help/evolution/C/stylesheet-images/impo rtant.gif
      /usr/share/gnome/help/evolution/C/style s heet-images/next.gif
      /usr/share/gnome/help/evolut i on/C/stylesheet-images/note.gif
      /usr/share/gnome/ h elp/evolution/C/stylesheet-images/prev.gif
      /usr/s h are/gnome/help/evolution/C/stylesheet-images/tip.g if
      /usr/share/gnome/help/evolution/C/stylesheet-i m ages/toc-blank.gif
      /usr/share/gnome/help/evolutio n / /stylesheet-images/toc-minus.gif
      /usr/share/gnome / help/evolution/C/stylesheet-images/toc-plus.gif
      / u sr/share/gnome/help/evolution/C/stylesheet-images/ up.gif
      /usr/share/gnome/help/evolution/C/styleshe e t-images/warning.gif
      <snip>
  • Be carefull (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swagr (244747) on Monday June 17, 2002 @09:26AM (#3714751) Homepage
    I've been a Gentoo user for 7 months now, and I do like the "cutting edge" aspect of it, but this "up to dateness" comes at a cost. Because the distro is actually one that you build with the tools that Gentoo provides, it's possible that no one is using it with the same versions of x, y and z that you have.

    This makes stability a huge issue, and on several occasions I've had to rebuild programs because they got borked by an update of something else. Also, I've had emerge f#*k my system so badly that no one on the forums could help me, and I required a "from scratch" install.

    I've been using Linux (Slackware, Debian, SuSE, etc..) for 5 or 6 years in an academic and work environment, and at this point I often feel Gentoo is more trouble than it's worth.

    Having said that, Gentoo is the distro I'm running right now...

    JUST BE CAREFULL.
  • by omnirealm (244599) on Monday June 17, 2002 @10:41AM (#3715166) Homepage

    I finally deleted my Windows partition. I figured that, as long as I'm messing with my partitions, I may as well ditch Mandrake 8.2 for a ``real'' distribution in the process.

    I set apart all of Saturday to scrounge through my system to find and backup all my data files, and then to download and install Gentoo 1.2. So far, I have been mildly impressed. I have run into the following problems though:

    I live on-campus, and my school blocks port 80 and makes everyone go through The Great Proxy Server. This does not jive well with emerge. The installation instructions, which I printed out before starting, say something about setting the HTTP_PROXY variable in the /etc/make.conf file, which I tried setting, to no avail. I then set the environment variables. That didn't work either. I looked for Lynx, or something to browse the Web with, and nothing was available (please no smart comments about telnet, thank you very much).

    My school maps my network account to the hardware address of my network card, so I couldn't just plug in my laptop to get net access to get more documentation. I was about to run out to a computer lab, when I realized that the Gentoo 1.2 installation environment included iptables (I have 2 network cards in my system)! After a little bit of NAT magic, I had my laptop on-line, and I checked the FAQ, which mentioned, ``Oh, and if setting the PROXY environment variables in make.conf doesn't work, set it in wget's configuration files.'' So it uses wget. Nice to know. Setting the proxy there worked, and I was on my way!

    I set the USE variable in make.conf, and then started emerge'ing. I was a little worried about how the compile settings really would be (i.e., would X, qt, and KDE be compiled with the necessary flags to enable anti-aliased fonts? It turns out that they were.) Compiling KDE took the better half of the afternoon, since it had to compile X and qt first. It worked like a charm!

    So far, the only problem has been trying to emerge openoffice. The first time I tried, it complained about gcc 2.95.3 (it wanted 3.0.4). After ebuild'ing gcc 3.0.4, it started up. A couple of hours later, it bombed on something about not finding javac. There's a line in openoffice-1.0.0-r1.ebuild that reads ``COMMONDEPEND='... >=virtual/jdk-1.3.1''', but it prompted me for my java directory, and I wasn't sure what to type in there. And javac isn't on my system now, although that dependency should have prompted emerge to install it.

    Well, these kinds of problems can be easily resolved by hand, but it goes to show that it can be difficult to get everything right the first time around in something like Gentoo. mozilla compiled without a hitch, and as soon as I fired it up this morning, I found this story, and thought I'd post my experience for all to enjoy. Oh... and my mozilla compiled with anti-aliased fonts, by default!

  • My primary "desktop" at home is an IBM Thinkpad 600 with a p2/266 and 288megs of ram with a 5gig drive.

    I can't give you hard benchmark figures, but I can give you personal experience. Redhat 7.2 in X on the machine was very slow. Switching VC's lagged, compiling the kernel in a Konsole would make the cursor lag around the screen and trying to load too many things really bogged the system down.

    But, with a Stage1 Gentoo 1.1a install (Stage 1 compiles everything, Stage 2 and three use increasingly larger lists of precompiled binaries.) with CCFLAGS and CCXFLAGS set to '-O3 -mcpu=i686 -march=i686 -fforce-addr -fomit-frame-pointer -funroll-loops -frerun-cse-after-loop -frerun-loop-opt -malign-functions=4' in make.conf, the system is decidedly faster in KDE3. I run XChat without gnome, Konsole, Konqueror, and the KDE desktop all compiled locally with the above optimizations. It's incredibly responsive and very very usable.

    Emerging the gentoo-sources package will bring down a laundry list of kernel patches such as the pre-empt and latency packages and all sorts of fun stuff. The only snag there is that my laptop was done with XFS as it's sole filesystem, and pre-empt and XFS don't play well, at all.

    Is it perfect? No. OpenOffice takes forever to load. Mozilla takes less time but it's still a while, but it runs very well once it's going. (This is binary OO and Moz, not compiled locally.)

    The system just plain doesnt have the balls to run something like CrossoverPlugin with QT5, and compiling a kernel still bogs the system down a bit, but not as much as with redhat. It's still a very usable machine.

    And, the biggie, "emerge KDE" took 12 hours. X took a bit less than that. A recent "emerge --update world" which updates every package on the system that's been updated on the main rsync/cvs tree took 24 hours. I have other machines that I use in the interim, so it's not a huge problem for me.

    Let me agree with one thing alot of Gentoo fans here have said. This is not a dist for everyone. It's not something I'd use for my parents, for example. But it's not a hardcore experts only dist either.

    Many here have made a big deal about "I don't want to have to compile everything." The thing is, you don't compile a thing. You never type make. Want XChat? type "emerge xchat" and portage will go out to the fast repository at ibiblio and download the tar.bz2, compile and install. You do nothing but the one command.

    Want ImageMagick? type "emerge ImageMagick" and it'll do the same. Whoops, it wants libjpeg and libpng which you don't have installed? It'll go grab those too and install them first. You've typed exactly one command.

    Sure, it takes longer to compile something than it does to install it from a binary rpm. That's a fact of life. But is it worth taking that time for binaries that run 5-10% faster because of the local optimizations? It is for me. I'm currently laying plans for a new desktop that's a dual AthlonMP 2100, with a make.conf flag to make with -j3 it'll compile pretty damn fast. And when the next Gentoo is released with gcc3, there will be athlon optimizations which will make the apps just that much faster.

    I've turned several friends of mine on to Gentoo. Hardcore dist bigots who have all been incredibly impressed. I can't say enough nice things about it.

    Every revision of redhat frustrated me more and more from the severe bloat. I had all but given up on Linux for OpenBSD. Gentoo has been impressive enough to pull me back from that brink. I've got a dual processor machine on the way (And OpenBSD has no SMP) and Gentoo got the nod. (Which, of course, the trolls will love, since, you know, BSD is dead)

  • Crank ON! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vandan (151516) on Monday June 17, 2002 @05:10PM (#3718018) Homepage
    I've been using Gentoo for 3 months now (and Slackware for 3 years before that). I am VERY satisfied with Gentoo. It is very predictable, very easy to configure, and incredibly fast (curtousy of the ease of recompiling pretty much everything). Of course I will be 'emerge rsync'ing now, but I'm REALLY waiting for Gentoo 2.0 where they will move to gcc-3.1 (or maybe 3.2) as the default compiler. I have tested Gentoo 1.1a with gcc-3.1 and 99% of stuff compiled, but it was the 1% that didn't that ended up screwing things up. But anyway Gentoo is a great distro which stays very up-to-date and is maturing quite nicely.
    Long live the compiler!

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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