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Gentoo on the PS3 - Full Install Instructions 239

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the white-knight-hasn't-shipped-yet-anyway dept.
An anonymous reader writes "My friend Jake just bought a PS3, and he wanted to install Linux on it. Since he didn't know much about Linux, it was my responsibility to help him with it. His requirements — Install a distribution which is easy to maintain and run. He wanted to make the full use of his Linux install, so he needed a distro which wouldn't hold him back with frustrating problems. The only solution was using a distro which had a better package management system, and did its work without bothering you, the end user. Having used Gentoo extensively, I knew that this would be the solution to my problems. What follows is full install instructions, plus personal opinions, on why Gentoo is better than Fedora Core or YDL on the PS3"
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Gentoo on the PS3 - Full Install Instructions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:49AM (#17539172)
    Come on, this just sounds like another fanboy slashvertisement. Gentoo is a decent operating system (although I'm not a fan myself) but half of the description is just telling how great it is and how good it is for a newbie, a fact many people would disagree with. How about keeping the descriptions on topic? On the other hand this is slashdot.
    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:16AM (#17539580) Homepage
      This post is not flamebait, the article summary is flamebait. The summary is basically a troll about why Gentoo is the greatest Linux distro ever and every other distro sucks.

      The summary was clearly written by a Gentoo fanboy, as the "requirements" he lists are fairly common, and it's definitely arguable that Gentoo would be the best (or even in the top 5) distro to solve the particular issues he brings up. His friend asked for a distro recommendation, so he (surprise!) recommends the distro he's used "extensively" and then proceeds to slam the other major distros. Flame. Bait.
      • by smallfries (601545) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:59AM (#17540318) Homepage
        OK, I am a big fan of Gentoo and use it on all my boxes .... but this article is trash. It's not just the summary that is flamebait. The "reasons" for why Gentoo is superior to Fedora in the article are laughable. But the worst point, truely one of the worst tips that I've ever heard, is the idea that when the installation is too hard for a newbie they get can an "expert" to remotely install it for them on irc. Sure, tell people who don't know better than getting owned by a script-kiddie on irc is a reason to use Gentoo...
  • Overkill (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ganniterix (863430) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:52AM (#17539216)
    I really think that someone taking his first steps in linux world should not be left out in the cold with Gentoo!! Gentoo has its benefits ... but being user friendly to beginners is definitely not one of them!!
    • Re:Overkill....not (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i've a different view, i've used some linux distro back in the 90's (SUSE mainly) but in 2001 when I've decided to start to learn more about and - eventually using a linux distro as my main desktop - I've (re)started with gentoo and here are the main point that i love about it:

      1. do everything by "hand" - this way you learn a bit more about the OS "bricks" and you stop calling everything "linux", just the kernel...
      2. Best documentation around
      3. Best documentation around

      sure it takes sometimes to g
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei (128717)
        You know what I like best about (Insert Non-Gentoo Distro Here)?

        1. Not having to do everything by hand.
        2. Not having to read the documentation for most apps.
        3. Not having to read the documentation for most apps.
    • Re:Overkill (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArcherB (796902) * on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:04AM (#17539416) Journal
      I really think that someone taking his first steps in linux world should not be left out in the cold with Gentoo!! Gentoo has its benefits ... but being user friendly to beginners is definitely not one of them!!

      The hard part of Gentoo is setting it up and that's really by choice. I've set it up from both stage 1 and 3 and trust me, there is a huge difference. However, once Gentoo is set up, it's cake to maintain. I'd go as far to say that it is the easiest distro I've ever used when it comes to installing software if it is set up correctly. As long as it is set to sync the portage tree regularly (via Cron) and GUI tools such as Porthole or Kuroo, maintenance is a breeze. May I suggest checking out a Gentoo based OS like Sabayon or Vida.

      *Disclaimer: This message typed on a Sabayon powered system.

      • by mypalmike (454265)
        However, once Gentoo is set up, it's cake to maintain.

        A cake with config frosting that must be, on occasion, manually blended with incompatible new frosting.
        • by ArcherB (796902) *
          A cake with config frosting that must be,

          Yoda, is that you?
          Seriously, I assume the installer will config the system. Once the use flags are set up, that's pretty much it. While some config files will change as software is updated, not updating the configs has never been a problem for me. Updating them can cause issues, but so far, the original configs have always worked. ...on occasion, manually blended with incompatible new frosting.

          If the use flags are set up conservatively, this will rarely be a probl
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dhasenan (758719)
      It has plenty of documentation. Of all the Linux distributions I've used or viewed, it has the best.

      And the unfriendliness comes mainly in forcing you to edit config files. When I was using Gentoo, I let the system go for a few months (didn't have an Internet connection) and tried updating (just the security updates, mind)...over two hundred config files needed updating, some of which were required to continue the upgrade process. X was broken, and I didn't have the time to spend fixing everything.

      Gentoo ha
      • And if you use one of the tools developed for this (I don't recall the names), you can eliminate most of the work (for instance, a config file you haven't touched is replaced automatically).

        One of the options is to use app-portage/cfg-update
        http://people.zeelandnet.nl/xentric/ [zeelandnet.nl]
        Easy to use GUI & CLI alternative for etc-update with safe automatic updating functionality

        I use it regularly. I only have to manually update files which I myself have edited (at least once).

    • You count contend that is also the best way to cut your teeth. A few years back someone gave me a Mandrake CD, and Linux lasted all of three days on my PC. That was my only Linux experience. Then I decided to give Gentoo a shot as a total newb, and learned a lot.

      I don't know why people say you can't start with Gentoo. I think it is the place to start.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hawg2k (628081)
      It does, however, have an excellent user forum that the user community leverages to provide a lot of help to people in need. They also have a lot of excellent HOW-TO documents for various aspects of Gentoo configuration.

      I'm not arguing that Gentoo is easy, but if the person is brand new to Linux he's going to have lot's of questions and need a lot of help regardless of distro. If this person is also a very technically saavy person, Gentoo seems as good a distro as any, because of the great help one can g
  • I'm not sure what you're smoking but Gentoo is a pain in the but to install, and I'm not sure what you mean by a better package management system than say fedora.... this post seems more like a flame towards other distros and how much better gentoo is than anything.
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:47AM (#17540094)
      Especially on a PS3. While the PS3 makes a cool Linux machine, I expect that while you are waiting for Gentoo to compile on it that you may as well start a family, raise them up, and watch them have kids. Then finally if you're lucky, the build will have completed before your time on this earth is up.

      Anyway, the PS3 is absolutely the last machine you should ever, ever need Gentoo on. Every single PS3 is exactly the same. There is no need to "optimise" a build for a PS3 simply because the build should be optimal anyway, assuming you pick a dist which targets the PS3 exclusively. It's not like x86 where you have a gazillion different processors and devices that you might get some measurable gain by tweaking a build switch or two.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050)
        Which is precisely what he was doing.
        Had you read the article you would have known that:

        Other PS3 compatible distros (yellow dog, fedora) are compiled for a generic PPC not specifically for the PS3
        He wasn't compiling gentoo from source, he was installing precompiled packages from a repository of packages which were build specifically for the PS3.
        For any package which has not been built by someone else for PS3 yet, he has the opportunity to easily compile it, as opposed to having to do without it or perform
  • This whole summary seems to be slamming non-Gentoo Linux distros.. The author was right to submit anonymously, if he hadn't, he would have been burnt to a crisp.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The whole article is pretty dumb IMO. I'm a gentoo user, I like gentoo, but I don't need a reason to install it on my PS3. Instead, I need instructions on how to install it for my PS3 with Cell support. The article isn't really about Gentoo on the PS3, it's about why Gentoo is better than YDL or Red Hat on the PS3. This is just a huge flamebait article.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gfxguy (98788)
        I agree the article is dumb, but I think it's even worse:
        My friend Jake just bought a PS3, and he wanted to install Linux on it. Since he didn't know much about Linux,...

        Why on earth would someone who doesn't know much about Linux want to install in on a PS3, of all things.

        That's a nice experiment for geeks, and I'm sure there's potential, but it's not partiularly useful for someone who doesn't know much about Linux.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I agree that installing Gentoo on the PS3 is probably more of a geek experiment, but we miss the potential of getting Linux to the masses. The YDL install is supposedly quite easy, and doesn't wipe out the usefulness of the PS3 either. You can still switch over to the PS3 OS whenever you want. Compare this to installing any Linux distro on a normal store-bought PC. You have to wipe out Windows/OSX/whatever and then install Linux, and it's not that easy to go back. Not to mention that the install proces
          • by gfxguy (98788)
            I disagree. PC's got everything you need to run Linux in a useful manner - keyboard, mouse, and peripherals like printers.

            Linux on a PS3 is pointless for someone who wouldn't use it on the desktop.

            Moreover, every single modern Linux distribution allows you to easily select a dual boot option when you install.
  • by Canthros (5769) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:55AM (#17539270)
    if only I couldn't buy an actual computer for less than it would cost to buy a PS3.
  • **Disclaimer: I have limited experience with Linux** Ignoring the cell, is there a reason to use the PS3 instead of a PC? I've never run into any distro that is hugely processor intensive. I'm guessing most of us have a cast of 500 Mhz PC that would work fine for tinkering so that you could avoid the $600 entry fee.
    • by ArcherB (796902) * on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:07AM (#17539450) Journal
      is there a reason to use the PS3 instead of a PC?

      YES
      Because you can!
    • I'd have to say 'no' unless you want to do development for Cell. Otherwise, it's just another Linux distribution on a PowerPC architecture.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dahl_ag (415660)
      With 218GFLOPS available on the CPU (not considering disabled daughter cores) the PS3 has way more floating point number crunching power than your average P4. At least an order of magnitude more. While MOST users have no need for this power, some do. I myself play with designing neural networks that would definately benefit from this power. Other applications that come to mind include things like Folding@Home and SETI@Home.
      • And that would be two great uses of the processing power of a PS3. I suppose I should have framed my question as "for the average linux user". I do appreciate the input though.
    • Well, for one thing, he'd still be waiting for all his Gentoo packages to compile if he'd used a 500Mhz PC. :)
  • questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kv9 (697238) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:57AM (#17539302) Homepage

    Since he didn't know much about Linux, it was my responsibility to help him with it.

    * if he doesn't know the first thing about Linux, what does he need it for? on a PS3 of all things

    he wants to learn the ropes you say? OK

    * why doesn't he install it on his own? no better way to do it and the interwebs are full of documentation

    this is not meant to be flamy in any way. I was just wondering how come everyone wants penguin power these days, but at the same time they are not willing to invest time/sweat in it.

    • by Minwee (522556)
      if he doesn't know the first thing about Linux, what does he need it for? on a PS3 of all things

      Well, that's obvious. To pick up chicks.

      The only thing that impresses the ladies more than a really expensive game console is a really expensive pimped out game console with a picture of a penguin on it.

  • What's the point? Why spend $600+ on a PS3 only to put Linux on it. You can get a PC much cheaper, one which will happily accept most any Linux distro with alot less pain.

    *If* I buy a PS3, it will be so I can play cool games and watch Hi-Def (blu-ray) movies, not so I can load Linux and surf the web on a 65" screen.

    Just because you *can* doesn't mean you *should*.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:03AM (#17539394)
    friend1: -My requirements Install a distribution which is easy to maintain and run.
    friend2: -Gentoo, then! (mouahahaha! Done with this sucker, no, let's get it worse, let's troll slashdot with it!!! Should I put his email online too?)
  • 1. Theoretically, faster than any other distro.
    Yes, theoretically. Practically, you don't see or feel the difference. Citing this as #1 reason to use gentoo is stupid.
    2. Modular distro, so you have full control over the installation.
    Oh yeah, because the other distros dictate which software you have to install
    3. It teaches you more about Linux.
    Yes, because watching compiler output scrolling by for 8 hours gives me super linux skillz!
    4. You can update it whenever you want, don't have t
    • Gentoo users think by tweaking make setting and c-flags they are somehow getting faster apps than let's say Debian. This is is silly; it's not like Debian compiles it's x86 packages on a Sparc box.
      • Even if Debian x86 was compiled on a sparc, they would still be able to produce the same binaries with a cross compiler. Incidentally, Gentoo is a great environment for working with cross compilers.
      • by Bert64 (520050)
        If you compile specifically for your CPU, then your programs will maybe average 2-3% more performance, they certainly won't perform slower.
        Some apps however, seriously benefit from being compiled for a specific CPU...

        Since you mention sparc, the earlier sparc (v7) chips had no (i believe) long division instructions in their FPUs. Thus, code compiled for the most generic sparc chips will use other instructions to emulate a long divide. Calculations like this are common in encryption.
        Later sparcs (v8, v9/ultr
    • by caluml (551744) <[slashdot] [at] [spamgoeshere.calum.org]> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:22AM (#17539674) Homepage
      Nice troll. +5 Informative too.
      But as usual, you miss the most important point. USE flags [gentoo.org].
      Why compile Samba with ldap support if you're never going to use LDAP in your network. In fact, isn't it nice to specify to the whole install that nothing should be built with LDAP support? I think so. Less code compiled in = small binaries, less code, less chance of a crash/security update.
      I couldn't care less about the speed of Gentoo. I don't change my CFLAGs at all. But I like being able to tailor my machine to the purpose of the system.
      • by Bandman (86149)
        You're actually saying that an install of samba compiled without ldap is less likely to crash than an install of samba compiled WITH ldap, when ldap isn't being used?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 644bd346996 (1012333)
          While samba's stability probably does not depend much on ldap support, the binaries will be measurably smaller, which is nice. Gentoo is frequently the only distribution where you can easily have an unusual software or hardware configuration without breaking the package management system.

          For example, my previous computer had a Voodoo 3, which requires the glide libraries to get accelerated 3d on linux. Gentoo is the only modern distro I know of that lets me use glide, and it is trivial to enable it. It is p
          • by Bandman (86149)
            well, glide itself is not "modern", but that doesn't matter much in the scheme of things.

            I can see only a very small benefit to custom compiling all (or even most of) your packages, except in very specific cases, and binary size is probably of secondary concern in the era of almost free 80GB drives.

            I'm glad Gentoo exists as a solution for the people who want it, but some people pitch it as the end-all be-all solution of linux machines, and that's just not how it goes. With the proper administrator, even Fed
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I can see only a very small benefit to custom compiling all (or even most of) your packages, except in very specific cases, and binary size is probably of secondary concern in the era of almost free 80GB drives.

              So what? I can see only a very small drawback to it, assuming you have a sufficiently fast machine and a sufficiently fast network connection. I think it IS pretty stupid on the PS3 unless you happen to have another gentoo system around (or I guess any linux) so you can use a cross-compiling dist

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by wolf31o2 (778801)

              I'm glad Gentoo exists as a solution for the people who want it, but some people pitch it as the end-all be-all solution of linux machines, and that's just not how it goes. With the proper administrator, even Fedora will run well on a server.

              ...of course, I'm biased. I've used Slackware for 10 years or so and that will make ANYONE a curmudgeon.

              Exactly. Gentoo is a solution for people to use how they see fit. No more... no less. It isn't the solution for everyone, nor do we try to be. Instead, we try to be a solution for as many people as possible, and give the user the tools necessary to tailor the distribution to suit their needs if it doesn't already.

        • by Bert64 (520050)
          And what if a security vulnerability is found in the LDAP features of samba? You may not be using them, but they will still be loaded because they're compiled in.
          Also, to enable LDAP support in samba you need various ldap libraries installed, wasting even more space and providing new places for security holes to be found.

          Here's another example, i tried to install pine on a redhat box fairly recently... Pine has optional support for kerberos, which on redhat is turned on, so i had to install a whole stack of
      • by Daemonstar (84116)
        Which is why most other distributions offer packages like:
        1. base package
        2. base package + feature 1
        3. base package + feature 2
        4. base package + feature 1 + feature 2
        5. base package + feature 3

        Even so, it's not like the system is going to take a big performance hit because some packages have added support to them (except maybe disk space, depending on the package dependencies). And there's the added bonus of already having built-in support without having to redo the package if you need/want support for a feature

    • Most of your points are good, but #2 is a valid concern. Last I checked, you can't install Nautilus in Fedora without installing CD burning software, because of the silly dependencies. People without CD burners shouldn't have to install CD burning software just to get a GNOME desktop.

      Gentoo can be very good for putting together a disk image with a very specific set of software, and no extra baggage. Having control over compile time settings gives you a lot more flexibility compared with RPM packages.
    • by Alchemar (720449)
      The only one I would disagree with is 3. Installing Gentoo did help me learn a lot about how linux works, mainly how it boots. That is only a fraction of learning linux, but it was very educational.

      On that note, having my friend install Gentoo for me would have been as educational as having my friend take a test for me, and tell me what grade "I" got, and don't bother me with all the confusing stuff like what the answers were, yet alone the questions.
      • by Bert64 (520050)
        Most people give up too easily...
        Someone tells them gentoo is good, they try installing it, give up quickly and never look back.
        If you let them try it first, and they grow to like it, then they will have much greater incentive to complete the process when faced with the task of installing it. Also, they will know how it *should* work, so they will be more easily be able to tell if they botched the install.
        I've installed gentoo for a few people, most of them have since tried to install gentoo on other system
    • by oglueck (235089)
      > Oh yeah, because the other distros dictate which software you have to install.

      Exactly. Try and install ONLY the software you WANT on a RedHat system for example: impossible because of dependencies. And I am not speaking of libraries here. Try and install without X, LDAP (add favourite useless app here) for instance.
    • by a.d.trick (894813)

      1. Theoretically, faster than any other distro.

      Yes, theoretically. Practically, you don't see or feel the difference. Citing this as #1 reason to use gentoo is stupid.

      In certain cases there actually is some truth to that, but unfortunately some Gentoo users horribly exaggerate it. There's a good summary [gentoo.org] on the Gentoo Forums.

      2. Modular distro, so you have full control over the installation.

      Oh yeah, because the other distros dictate which software you have to install

      He worded this badly, but to a ce

      • by Bert64 (520050)
        Instructions should always be command line if possible...
        Explaining a graphical process through screenshots and/or animation is a pain, often difficult and time consuming to follow.
        Explaining a command line process is much easier, less prone to error (cut+paste) and faster to follow (cut+paste) and any errors returned will also be in textual form so they can be reported and queried.
        You don't need to know how or why the commands you paste work, just follow the guide and paste them in. Why does anyone have a
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wolf31o2 (778801)

      1. Theoretically, faster than any other distro.
      Yes, theoretically. Practically, you don't see or feel the difference. Citing this as #1 reason to use gentoo is stupid.

      Actually, it really depends on the software/hardware combination. For example, using Gentoo on an Opteron box doesn't show much variation, since the baseline is a CPU with AMD64/EM64T extensions already. The difference in PPC, however, can be pretty astonishing. At the same time, the PS3 is PPC64, so this whole point is moot here since the distribution is already optimized pretty closely to the capabilities as a baseline. About the only thing we offer over most other 64-bit PPC systems is Altivec for

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:08AM (#17539458) Homepage Journal
    Apparently, you can now develop Linux apps on PS3. High-end Cell machines, like a Cell Blade CBE from IBM, cost about $20-50K. And those CBEs are not really finished, stable HW architectures, and are in short supply, making their OS/SW environment very changeable.

    A good strategy is to start developing on a PS3, while CBE HW catches up. If development takes 6-9 months, by then the CBEs will be cheaper, more stable, better understood by both their vendors and the community for getting support and working around weak links. And that time can be used to fundraise and team recruit around a PS3 prototype.

    But the $64,000 Question (literally) is what it takes to port a PS3 Linux app to CBE Linux. Does anyone know yet? Whitepaper? Walking/talking expert for hire/bribe? If porting a PS3/Linux app to CBE/Linux is harder than porting an embedded x86 app to a Xeon, or an embedded R6000 to a multiproc R6000 server, then it might be worth it just to wait to start on the CBEs when they're ready. Though a PS3 running a supercomputer DSP app prototype could be cool enough to be worth the whole trouble, anyway.
    • The main difference between the Blade and the PS3 configuration is memory limitations and the number of SPUs available. The Blades have 2 CBEs with 8 SPUs and 1 GB RAM each (so 16 SPUs, 2 GB total). The PS3 has 7 SPUs and 256 MB (under linux). There is also a networking limitation since inifiband can be added to the Blade system.

      The memory difference is the biggest hurdle since it will limit your data sets. However it will allow developers to prototype. The code itself will be completely portable between bo
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        That's reassuring.

        Does the PS3 API to the SPUs automatically (at compile time, or runtime) scale to the number of SPUs available? And is switching networking from PS3 to CBE infiniband completely modular?

        In other words, can the same code run faster against more data if coded to scale to resources, without the equivalent of lots of #IFDEF parallel code paths?
  • full use of the ps3 system and gentoo go hand in hand. your processors will be compiling most of the time.

    yes I have da ppc chip running linux. I prefer Fedora.
  • by crush (19364) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:25AM (#17539704)
    There are such seriously uninformed assertions in the very premises of TFA that it's hard to take what the writer says seriously. For example:

    while they're not bad in any sense, they do have problems which are associated with any RPM based distro- dependency hell. I'm sure that any of you who've tried to install any applications would have faced the problem of missing dependencies sometime. And it's all too common to have a few packages totally missing from the repository which means that you have to search for their respective RPMs on the net, download them and install them separately. While functional, this can get a little frustrating over time.

    "Dependency hell" existed before YUM (which came from Yellowdog's Seth K. Vidal) solved the problem. YUM [duke.edu] is explicitly a dependency solver. It builds on top of the RPM system to automatically find and install the dependent RPM packages.

    I knew it wasn't going to be Fedora Core or Yellow Dog since they seemed to have lots of problems when it came to media players.

    Fedora Core (don't know about Yellow Dog) explicitly chooses to stay away from software which relies upon non-Free, patent-encumbered material. As a project it considers things like Ubuntu's binary graphics driver distribution, or the inclusion of mp3 decoding software (which is encumbered by the Frauenhoefer Institute's ridiculous patent) to be against the GPL and Free Software. As a result it helps to foster the development of free alternatives, without which there would be a much smaller software ecosystem. This is sane, long-term thinking which steps away from opportunistic, short-term compromises which seek to cannibalize market-share from other Linux distros by spreading confusion and misinformation. Debian has a very similar attitude. There are some non-Fedora run repositories where people have packaged up things like the mplayer codec bundle, mpg321, flash etc. If you really have to have them it's easy to edit /etc/yum/repos.d to add the repository.

    The only solution was using a distro which had a better package management system, and did its work without bothering you, the end user.

    Look, if an ebuild isn't in the portage tree then you're not going to have much luck installing it unless you make your own. Ditto for an rpm being available to yum in a repository. Your article is uninformed fanboi-ism. To your friend: don't let him near your PS3!

    To anyone not using Gentoo, don't take this article as representative of the community, it's a great distro with many advantages and not everyone involved with it is as much as a moron as the article writer.

    • by Goaway (82658)
      So basically your shit won't work but at least somebody's else's ideologies are satisfied.
  • by nadamsieee (708934) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:26AM (#17539716)

    I've been using GNU/Linux since about 1998, and I used Gentoo for approximately 3+ years. I've even written and submitted an ebuild or two. It definitely has some advantages over other distros and definitely has disadvantages. But it (like all man-made things) is far from perfect. Statements like these simply aren't true:

    1. Best distro when compared with Fedora Core 5/6 or Yellow Dog Linux because of no RPM/dependency/repository hell

    In Gentoo packages are installed using scripts called ebuilds which are intended to contain all of the dependency information for the packages. People write the ebuilds. People (all of them) occasionally make mistakes. Its not unheard of to have a dependency bug in Gentoo.

    2. Easy to install ANY application - emerge . It will download source of all dependencies, install and setup everything.

    The ease of installation also depends on the quality of the ebuild. Were all possible combos of USE flags even tested for a particular ebuild? Do those combinations actually work? Again, ebuild aren't magic and they contain to contain errors. Also, portage only gives you a default configuration file. You have to make (and test) any configuration file changes yourself. So the statement that portage will "setup everything" is misleading.

    3. Will get the latest updates first, and you will be able to download and install it without any problems.

    This definitely isn't always true. As the Gentoo devs struggled to get a handle on quality, packages began to take a substantial amount of time to work their way into the stable arches. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but at one point new ebuilds had to sit in ~arch status (sort of like test repository in other distros) for one month without complaint before being marked as stable. It didn't seem to matter if anyone actually tested or even looked at the ~arch ebuild during that month. It was just a mandatory waiting period in which the dev hoped that some users bothered to test the ebuild and complain if it broke. I think the quality of the ebuilds are improving with the refinement of Gentoo's architecture herds, but with more process and more people comes delays. Quality and speed are almost always at odds in development.

    4. It won't take time to install applications since hundreds of binaries already available through Portage Overlays. Thus, you will get applications compiled specially for the PS3, not just a regular PPC computer. The advantages of this will be big once GCC is optimised for the Cell processor.

    Performing work always takes time, even installing binary packages, and the default behavior of Portage is to install from source.

    5. You can ask for help while installation through irc, or ask someone to install it for you remotely!

    As an experiment, I'd like to see everyone interested in Linux on PS3 to log onto IRC and ask somebody to install Gentoo for them remotely. Report back here with the results. ;)

    Basically Gentoo can be great if it fits your needs, but pretending that Gentoo is perfect and problem free isn't going to change the reality that it isn't.

    • I wish I hadn't replied already

      MOD PARENT UP
    • by oglueck (235089)
      > Also, portage only gives you a default configuration file. You have to make (and test) any configuration file changes yourself.

      That's totally on purpose! You don't want any package manager to mess with your config. When was the last time SuSE overwrote the httpd.conf with a default version? Okay, with major releases it is a bit tedious to upgrade to a new config file format. But any ebuild is free to provide an automatically updated config file for you, which you can accept, merge or reject with etc-up
    • by massysett (910130)
      I'm not sure if this is still the case, but at one point new ebuilds had to sit in ~arch status (sort of like test repository in other distros) for one month without complaint before being marked as stable. It didn't seem to matter if anyone actually tested or even looked at the ~arch ebuild during that month. It was just a mandatory waiting period in which the dev hoped that some users bothered to test the ebuild and complain if it broke.

      Well, my understanding is that a new ebuild has to sit in ~arch for a
    • by oGMo (379)
      Basically Gentoo can be great if it fits your needs, but pretending that Gentoo is perfect and problem free isn't going to change the reality that it isn't.

      This is true; however whereas binary package distributions tend to work-or-not-work, Gentoo provides you with pretty much everything you need to fix something when it doesn't. It's less a matter of "perfect" and more a matter of "perfectly transparent".

      • This is true; however whereas binary package distributions tend to work-or-not-work, Gentoo provides you with pretty much everything you need to fix something when it doesn't.

        There is nothing preventing you from rolling your own RPM or DEB. At some level, distro wars become silly and meaningless; in the end you're running pretty much the same applications and underlying operating system.

  • head asplode (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:32AM (#17539830) Homepage
    he didn't know much about Linux ... His requirements -- Install a distribution which is easy to maintain ... Gentoo

    My brain exploded when I read that. This author is WAY out of touch with reality. Of all the widely-used Linux distros, Gentoo, by FAR, requires the most administration effort and expertise.

    Gentoo is for people who want the very latest in technology and the highest possible customization ability, but don't mind manually rewriting config files every week when a new version of a given package is released. Clearly, the author of this article is not qualified to--actually, no, he's just on crack.
    • My brain exploded when I read that. This author is WAY out of touch with reality. Of all the widely-used Linux distros, Gentoo, by FAR, requires the most administration effort and expertise.

      Actually, no. Gentoo is not the easiest to install, even with the new GTK graphical installer. But to maintain, it is a breeze. "emerge --update" isn't any harder to type than "apt-get update". And yes, there are graphical frontends to portage.
      • Have you used Gentoo? Emerge is much harder than apt because gentoo packages come with new configuration files for the same release levels! You must choose to either keep, overwrite, or manually edit new config files when you emerge. Debian/Ubuntu don't do this because they don't change config file versions unless you upgrade to a new major release of the OS.
        • I admit, I had forgotten about that part of an upgrade. I think I always went with the new configuration file (or whatever the default action was). I don't remember it changing my settings for anything.

          But I still prefer portage and emerge over apt-get (except for the compiling time). It just seemed easier to do things that are complicated in Debian, like downgrading a bunch of packages, or trying out different verions of a package. And I was a noob when I used Gentoo.
          • It isn't really the fault of any tool (emerge, apt, or yum). It is a result of the package release policies of the distros. In RedHat, Debian, or Ubuntu, you can do an update every day but never have to worry about a changing config file. You only have to worry about config file changes when you do a major upgrade.

            With Gentoo, they release packages the second they are ready, instead of waiting for OS releases. You could end up doing config work every week with Gentoo that you only need to do twice a year wi
  • by Bob54321 (911744) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:41AM (#17539988)
    If I had a friend who knew nothing about Linux and owned a PS3 and thought it would be a good idea to learn Linux by running it on a PS3, I think I would just have to slap them down. You spent $600+ to play games so play games.

    On a side note, has anyone managed to screw their PS3 by installing Linux yet - is it possible the combination of shiny new toy and no real Linux knowledge could lead to expensive shiny looking bricks?
    • Just like when you spend $500+ for a iPhone to make calls, so all it should do is make calls right?

      There's NOTHING wrong with having a device that does more than one thing.
  • by john-da-luthrun (876866) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:45AM (#17540074)

    His requirements -- Install a distribution which is easy to maintain and run.

    So you installed Gentoo. You bastard. Did you run over his dog at the same time?

  • I have this dream where this guru sits in a lotus position and says, "All paths are the same." About him, his students engage in debate about the true path to enlightenment. We are focused on the guru so we hardly hear the smattering of sound bites: "Emacs all the way!" "vi, my friend." "Namaste, but SuSe is the way." "In the beginning was the command line, and so shall it be in the end." "The GUI is easier, and easier is better."

    In this dream a light wells up behind the guru. He gestures to the earth, t
  • by gregtron (1009171)
    "Among his biggest needs was an office suite..." ? Friend1: Hey, man, whatcha playin? Is it co-op? Friend2: Hell yeah, grab a controller. I'm just workin on this bitchin spreadsheet.
    • You should try "cashflow from hell!" Beats GTE when it comes to realism. Why be a pimp when you can be an Enron exec?
  • My friend Jake just bought a PS3, and he wanted to install Linux on it. Since he didn't know much about Linux...

    I totally don't know what that means, but I want it!

  • by bcmm (768152) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:41AM (#17541090)
    I use Gentoo and can't stand Ubuntu, but I still recommend Ubuntu to people with no experience or Unix-ish OSs. It's far better to start of using something that works easily and tinker with that till you know what you're doing, before switching to anything that actually requires tinkering.

    To be fair, I don't know what Gentoo's install is like now. Maybe you can do an install without knowing much.
    • by lcam (848192)
      I use gentoo too, and like it very much and use it every day and might even be a "gentoo fanboy". I might even rant about how powerful, flexible and elegant Gentoo is, but when my friends where curious about linux I give them a knoppix CD. They can try out linux without disturbing their hard drive. I can't see myself recommending gentoo to a newbie; it is like measuring a parking space in millimeters (or in microns).

      My second favorate distribution is knoppix.

      I use knoppix when there is a problem for the s
  • The only solution was using a distro which had a better package management system, and did its work without bothering you, the end user. Having used Gentoo extensively, I knew that this would be the solution to my problems.

    So the only solution was to have him install the distro you were most familiar with. I have heard of this happening before. Somewhere...

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