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Gentoo Linux Musings 395

ChaserPnk writes "Gentoo has been in the news recently. First with the news that Daniel Robbins leaving Gentoo and then with Gentoo Linux 2004.1 being recently released. Have you ever wondered how Gentoo got started? An article at IBM DeveloperWorks explains how. Get to know the history of Gentoo." darthcamaro wrote in with a related story that suggests that Gentoo is preparing to change directions soon: "Is Gentoo gearing up to be the third major enterprise distro? That's what an article running on points to. They talked to the head of Gentoo's enterprise efforts. For those that think that Gentoo Enterprise is far off, Gentoo's guy figures if they had the cash they'd be up and running in 6 months."
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Gentoo Linux Musings

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  • by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:21PM (#9015532) Homepage
    There is something very appealing about a distro that is so source-code driven (for lack of a better tem). It embodies all the best things about open-source software.

    I have been extremely happy with Gentoo. It's rock-solid stable, and its the speediest of any distro I have tried (no doubt due to all your applications being optimized for your specific system).

    If they came out with an "enterprise" version I think I would give it a whirl, I can see it easily being a great fit in my server room. I wish them all the best.
    • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:02AM (#9015747)
      I think it's insane to reformat and reinstall a Linux distro every year a new version comes out.

      The way Gentoo is set up, you never have to do that, ever. You upgrade as you go. Gentoo 2004.1 came out, but that's just the installation CDs...I installed using 1.4 CDs months ago, and I'm up to date as one would be if they installed this weekend (I love doing "emerge -upD world" and seeing what's new).
      • The way Gentoo is set up, you never have to do that, ever.

        And what if you want to upgrade gcc (assuming the new version has broken binary compatibility) or glibc? You'd have to build all the new software against the new toolchain, but you'd either break everything in the process, or build a temporary toolchain, then build a new one on top of the old one. In either case, you still have to reboot at least once.

        There are some packages you just can't upgrade on the fly.

        • by pantherace ( 165052 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @01:44AM (#9016214)
          There really are only a few you can't: the kernel, all others can be upgraded with the possible exception of glibc changing major versions (not minor versions). Or the one? occasion where the gcc people broke compatibility.

          We have 3 packages. Which really only need a reboot generally on one (and 2 others in very specfic cases), not to mention: Gentoo has a concept of slots, and I am pretty sure that is used to allow multiple glibc versions to exist, so nothing stops working, just new things get built against the new library. In this case, it takes a bit of extra room, but what do you think the compat-* rpms do?

          And lets face it, people are still running systems from before the current versions, so this has been handled already. Not to mention, generally there are more bleeding edge gentoo users than other distros, so bugs get found out fairly rapidly.

        • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @01:53AM (#9016244) Homepage Journal
          I've gone through several glibc and gcc upgrades on gentoo. Including the imfamous gcc 3.0 to 3.1 upgrade which wasn't fully binary compatible. Gentoo (and plenty of other distros) easily figure out the depedencies. Also Linux does not stop you from running two versions of glibc at once. So you don't have to migrate everything over at the same time unless you can't afford the RAM.

          FreeBSD and NetBSD both cope with this as well. I'm sure Debian and SuSE do too.
      • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @01:32AM (#9016169) Journal
        and I'm up to date as one would be if they installed this weekend

        Actually, that's not strictly true. Look for the symlink called /etc/make.profile and you will see that it is pointing to a 1.4 profile (probably /usr/portage/profiles/default-x86-1.4) unless you changed it. The default-x86-1.4 and default-x86-2004.0 profiles are almost identical, but not quite.

        Of course these profiles may diverge more in the future.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:22PM (#9015534)
  • I first looked at the install procudure, and freaked out. After moving on from mandrake, and instlaling debian a few times, and getting the hang of linux a good bit more, I actually gave gentoo a try. The install, although tedious and quite slow, was straight forward and somewhat enjoyable. Finally, I had a bootable system. Unfortuneatly, I couldn't get it to detect my network card, so I tried to get the network driver of the live cd. Next, I couldn't find my cd-rom. Finally, I found that (it started
  • When (Score:2, Insightful)

    by odano ( 735445 )
    When I used linux, I used gentoo. If I had a choice now, I would probably use debian, but the "emerge" command and portage tree in gentoo was just awesome and really made linux a lot easier, which for me was nice because I was using linux soley as a development environment.
  • I like Gentoo... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nuclear305 ( 674185 ) * on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:23PM (#9015541)
    I've been a Gentoo user for about 9 months, and it certainly has a promising future regardless of direction.

    The portage system takes one of the best features of FreeBSD and actually *improved* on the idea rather than creating a poorly ported system. Decided you want to try out a few optimizations to see what your server likes best? Just 'emerge -e world' and you've got yourself a freshly recompiled system. Dreading the release of 2004.2? No sweat...Gentoo isn't like other distros (read: Redhat/Fedora) where upgrading remotely is a nightmare...just update the system through portage and it's essentially the same system. No need to worry about how you're going to upgrade your hosting servers to the newest release or worry that it will come to an EOL and you're no longer getting your juicy security patches.

    It seems the most common complaint is the time it takes Gentoo to compile anything. The flexibility this system provides is well worth the extra few minutes rather than installing *.deb or *.rpm files and entering dependency hell.

    Yes, yes...let the distro wars begin.
    • Oh god.... dependency hell? DEPENDENCY HELL? You do realize, don't you, that when you use *emerge*, it automatically compiles package dependencies as well (exactly the same as apt-get, natuarally)? It's not as if dependencies have simply ceased to exist in your distribution.

      You also realize that if you uninstall a package in Gentoo, it doesn't check for whether that will break other packages' dependencies, right? Unless they've changed that since last time I had it on a machine.

      I don't even have a pro
    • Re:I like Gentoo... (Score:2, Informative)

      by ophix ( 680455 )
      redhat/fedora isnt difficult to upgrade to a newer version remotely. there is this great tool called APT that was started by the debian project...

      i have used apt to upgrade from a redhat9 box to a fedora core box _while i was still using the system_
    • Dreading the release of 2004.2? No sweat...Gentoo isn't like other distros (read: Redhat/Fedora) where upgrading remotely is a nightmare...

      You mean updating your repositories in Synaptic, then just hitting upgrade all? Yes, upgrading remotely used to be a problem for some distributions, but I can think of very few that haven't worked out a nice system for making it simple these days.

      The flexibility this system provides is well worth the extra few minutes rather than installing *.deb or *.rpm files and
      • APT, yum, Portage, et al only save you from dependency hell if all the packages you need are in their repositories. I still run into dependency problems much more often with RedHat/Fedora than I do on Gentoo. Why? Because Gentoo has by far more packages in its repository than any other distro I've used, even Debian.
        • Re:I like Gentoo... (Score:3, Informative)

          by pantherace ( 165052 )
          That honestly isn't true that portage has more 'packages' than other distros. If gentoo used as many subpackages as other distros as opposed to use flags, the only one that could rival it would probably be debian.

          See, portage has between 6000-8000 ebuilds in it. There are a few which don't really build anything and are lists of dependancies (see the 'kde' ebuild, it's essentially just an empty thing that requires kdelibs, kdebase, kdepim etc) However, dispite the few of these, almost all ebuilds are a who

    • Speaking of FreeBSD, I'd love to see Gentoo's Portage ported to FreeBSD. I know about ports, but I just like how Portage works. Feels more elegant to me.

      It seems the most common complaint is the time it takes Gentoo to compile anything. The flexibility this system provides is well worth the extra few minutes rather than installing *.deb or *.rpm files and entering dependency hell.

      Not to mention that Portage readily installs binary packages just fine if you do a Stage 3 install.
    • Re:I like Gentoo... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      The portage system takes one of the best features of FreeBSD and actually *improved* on the idea

      Until it's safe to do an "emerge --unmerge", it's not an improvement. Portage has some nice polish, but a few basic pieces simply aren't complete.
    • Re:I like Gentoo... (Score:3, Informative)

      by zsau ( 266209 )
      I stopped using Gentoo because I kept getting dependency hell. I also found the time it took to install everything from source annoying.

      I went to Slackware.

      No, I'm not sure if I'm trolling either... :) (But no, in all seriousness, I left Gentoo and went to Slackware for the reasons mentioned and because of Eugina Loli-Q. of OSNews's review; it was pretty nice until I upgraded to Dropline Gnome 2.6. I'm now using ROX-Session and Zero-Install and OroboROX.)
  • I just wanted to say (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I started playing with Gentoo a few days ago... and I'm in love. I've been using computers for a while (DOS, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD primarily), and this is the first Linux distro that I've come across that I really like working with. I think part of it appeals to the elitist inside me that wants to compile everything heavily optimized, but it also just feels... right... to me. So, thanks to the Gentoo developers.
  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) * on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:25PM (#9015553)
    Who are the first two major ones? Red Hat and SuSE? Red Hat and Mandrake? SuSE and Mandrake?

    (No, I'm not stupid, I'm just a diehard Debian partisan. No jokes, please. ;) )
  • by LucidityZero ( 602202 ) <<sometimesitsalex> <at> <>> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:26PM (#9015558) Homepage
    First, I'd like to start off by saying that I currently don't even have gentoo installed on any of my systems. I am not a gentoo zealot.

    That being said, while I was reading the article posted earlier regarding Linux Useability [] I actually asked a few friends: Does Portage have a GUI browser/installer yet?

    If it did, Gentoo could instantly be turned into the single most user-friendly distro on the planet. The primary problem with Linux (besides game support, etc.) is the ease of program installation. Imagine how easy it would be to code a pretty GUI to allow you to browse the Gentoo Portage Tree (which is already split up into intuitive categories) and install whatever you need.

    Gentoo is a phenominal distro. It would take very minor amounts of tweaking to make it incredibly user-friendly.

    • If it did, Gentoo could instantly be turned into the single most user-friendly distro on the planet. The primary problem with Linux (besides game support, etc.) is the ease of program installation. Imagine how easy it would be to code a pretty GUI to allow you to browse the Gentoo Portage Tree (which is already split up into intuitive categories) and install whatever you need.

      That's a very interesting idea. Strangely enough, I never even considered a GUI for portage because the the emerge commands are so

    • KPortage was around for quite a while but I heard it got stale. I wouldn't know because I eventually got bored of it, but it was actually quite good in its time. Porthole is the latest offering but I've heard it's GTK-based.
    • You mean something that might look a little like this [], with nice descriptions of the packages, and filters to see only upgradable packages, or new packages in the archive or even searches, like this []?

      Right, well, done. It;s called Synaptic. Except it works with apt not portage and is available for debian, fedora, connectiva, and any other distro using apt.

      I'm sure a system is being developed for Gentoo - only logical really - but Synpatic has been available for quite some time now to make package managem
    • I hate KDE, but kportage is a decent app, and lets you merge, unmerge, inject, clean, prune, and depclean.

  • by MarkWPiper ( 604760 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:26PM (#9015562) Homepage
    Debian's true success has been in spawning so many other interesting distros (Knoppix, Libranet, Lindows, and on and on).

    I believe however, that Gentoo is even better suited to this task. A fix in the source is a fix for every distro, where as a fix in a package fixes only a single release of a single distro.

    With the recent release of catalyst, gentoo makes even more sense in this role.

    I guess there are two knocks against Gentoo as a 'distribution base distribution': installation, and packaging. Honestly though, packaging -- once the source has been compiled once -- now works great. That's what the knockoff distros would be doing. Installation, they've left somewhat open-ended. Every distro seems to make an installer though, so I can assume it'd be easy to make one for a Gentoo knockoff.

    Gentoo's source database is simply of the highest quality. I think it is the distro to watch, but because it is so useful as a technology to create truly customized, useful distros.

    • Distribution packaging is as easy as --usepkg. I think something should be added to portage to allow cataloging of install CDs, then saying "please insert CD X", but it's almost there. Gentoo's source based distribution doesn't force you to compile everything from scratch, it's just the default option.
    • Setting up for an installation is trivial, you just need to create a snapshot of your filesystem after following the install process. Then put that on a CD, and make an installer whose only job is to copy the files back to the hard drive. A new install just means uncompressing the file, syncing and updating the system. :-)
  • by Inhibit ( 105449 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:28PM (#9015569) Homepage Journal
    Actually, it's kind of odd thinking of Gentoo in an enterprise setting. It's always billed itself as a "meta distribution" in the sense that it's something solid distributions could be culled off of.

    Due to it's ever changing and rotating nature, it's about dead opposite the rock solid Debian distribution. While it *could* be a Enterprise distribution, it'd be easier to create a solid locked branch built off Gentoo and kept clean of the nasty problems that tend to have (often) entered the portage tree in the past. And then it wouldn't really be Gentoo proper.
    • by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:41PM (#9015651) Homepage
      If I understand their strategy correctly, the idea is to keep a 'stable' CVS tag in the manner of FreeBSD, and to distribute that to the enterprise portage tree. The same CVS repository would still be used for all the files, it would just be pointing at a different tag. And as long as it's using Portage, it's Gentoo. :-)
    • You do know that Gentoo has varying levels of stability built into the portage system right?

      For the uninformed, you simply state whether or not you want the stable or the buggy version, and you get it. They do a fair amount of testing for each version of any program to make sure it's stable. For instance, gnome 2.6 still hasn't hit the stable setting. Even the 2.6 kernel isn't the default kernel for some sources (the gaming sources come to mind).

      They have a great system, if you ask me.
      • Sure, good enough to run my servers on :). Most people don't get a kick out of fixing up gcc though.

        I tend to have to do my own testing and check out the package versions for issues. Another level of stability should address that though. Good stuff.
      • emerge grub from .93 to .94, reboot your machine and come back and tell me that stable means stable in the gentoo portage tree.

        Don't get me wrong, I use and like gentoo, but as I have said before, you gotta watch your ass with gentoo.

        They seem to have a hard time upgrading packages without screwing up configs and no there wasn't anything to be done by etc-update after the emerge and there were no messages about potential issues.
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:30PM (#9015581) Journal
    Businesses want support, stability and a minimum of fuss, not exactly areas where Gentoo enjoys advantages over other Linux distributions such as, say, Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake and Debian.

    At the moment, it's not positioned to compete against the major distributions for a share of the business market. It may be so at some point down the line, but it certainly isn't so right now.
  • Interesting start (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:30PM (#9015583)
    It's interesting to see how Daniel Robbins went and, on his own, built Enoch, and how he went from there to a distro as popular as Gentoo. It's also encouraging for many of us--when he started with Linux, he was just an NT sysadmin; this sure encourages me that I don't need to be a guru with assembly and C to make contributions.

    I suppose the other valuable lesson, though, is that he did make it that far not just because of enthusiasm or hard work, but because he had a good idea (ebuilds). I see a lot of knock-off distros--yet another CD-based router, for example--that just don't have any great ideas behind them. Sure, that's the point of Linux--I've got no complaints with people doing what they want, but it strikes me that the valuable lesson here is that a good idea can go far--but without that idea, you've got nothing.

    (That's the best I can come up with--just trying to focus the freakin' discussion on something other than ``I like Gentoo'' ``I don't!'')

  • Gentoo over dialup (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajutla ( 720182 ) <ajutla at gm a i l d o t com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:31PM (#9015590) Homepage
    I'm pretty new to Linux in general, but am not afraid of trying out something difficult or heavily CLI-based. I started with Mandrake and Fedora, but found them too bloated / Windows-esque for my taste, and am now relatively happily using Debian sarge, and have been eagerly awaiting its release. However, due to, er, some recent stuff, I'm getting slightly annoyed with Debian, wondering if the wait for Sarge might in fact be quite long, or indeed, interminable, and am looking at trying another distro. Gentoo looks rather appealing--it seems well-documented and so on, and looks like it might be pretty fun to set up. One thing, though: I have a dial-up connection. Is it possible/desireable to easily install Gentoo this way? I've got a fast connection at the University, and it seems [from reading the docs] that one can download ISOs containing binary packages built for Gentoo. But, er, doesn't that entirely defeat the purpose of installing Gentoo? Should I take the plunge? Is it a good idea to use Gentoo over dialup? I'd be interested if anyone has any thoughts on this.
    • by petabyte ( 238821 )
      Are you going to and from the University or are you just coming home? If you can get on and off that connection you can do an emerge -f to download the packages at the university and continue the compile at home.

      The binary packages can also be out of date fairly fast. Gentoo is going to take some bandwidth to get the source files for building intially but assuming you leave them in /usr/portage/distfiles, all you really have to do is emerge sync once a day (equiv of apt-get update) and then emerging new
  • meh Gentoo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vlion ( 653369 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:40PM (#9015645) Journal
    Pros of Gentoo:
    Perfect for that old system you want to keep using.
    If you are clustering, it probably would be the way to go.
    Easy to update.

    Cons of Gentoo:
    Installation- un-believably frustrating.
    Ever even seen Red Hat's system? Its SIMPLE and it WORKS. RH and Mandrake both can get my system to boot with grub on first install and boot, but nooooo, not Gentoo.
    Too tweak-heavy.

    I'm sorry. Gentoo is a great special-purpose distro. If it wants to go mainstream, it must have a better install system.
    Go take a look at woody's(Debian) installer, and compare with the Gentoo install scheme.
    Gentoo installations are crap.

    I've done Gentoo, Debian, Red Hat 8, and Mandrake 10 installs.
    Gentoo is the most difficult to install.

    • Re:meh Gentoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:58PM (#9015731) Homepage Journal
      anyone could write an installer for gentoo. it is the smallest part of the process (it's only frustrating if you don't follow the directions which can mostly be typed verbatim from the installation instructions) and really quite trivial amounting to just a handful of commands.

      I have installed gentoo on numerous systems including several vmware virtual machines, a network engines roadster lx (slightly weird PC), a compaq presario 1692 laptop (k6-based, I wanted to compile everything to get k6 optimizations), and an SGI Indy. In none of these cases did I need to do any major tweaks. Follow the build instructions, edit the /etc/conf.d/net to suit, and that was it.

      Gentoo is the most difficult to install of these, but with a little knowledge it can be done without help.

      RedHat has refused to install on many systems I have tried it on. Gentoo has failed on none. Both of us can present only anecdotal evidence but gentoo's lack of an installer means there's no installer bugs :) Plus their initial kernel is fantastic.

    • Gentoo's install is unbelievably frustrating? Give me a break. In the last 2 years i've done it 4 times total on 4 different machines with different hardware, one being a laptop and it's gone perfectly fine every time.

      Seriously. Look at this: i ckinsta ll.xml

      Unless you're a setup.exe jockey, and/or you can't read, there is nothing hard about it. 75% of what is on the page is code snippets that can be copy and pasted right into an SSH session.
      • Re:meh Gentoo (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gregmac ( 629064 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:25AM (#9015865) Homepage
        Gentoo's install is unbelievably frustrating? [...] Unless you're a setup.exe jockey, and/or you can't read, there is nothing hard about it. 75% of what is on the page is code snippets that can be copy and pasted right into an SSH session.

        Uh, thank you for proving his point. No matter how you cut it, copying and pasting code snippets is a pain in the ass (well, not to mention it's fairly difficult to copy and paste to a system that doesn't work yet...). The first time I installed Debian (Woody), I selected "medium" as the question level to use, figuring that I'd like to maintain somewhat strict control over my system. After about the 20th dialog asking me some stupid assinine question, I just started pressing enter to pretty much all of them, accepting defaults, with the reasoning that it would be easier to fix what was broken once I found out it was broken, rather than sit and read through pages and pages of crap I don't really care about or that doesn't even apply to me (of course, you have to read it before figuring that part out).

        How hard is it to make a script to do all those actions on that page? Not very.. Though granted, it is a bit more difficult to make a nice installer that recovers from errors and can handle strange situations -- but it's been done before. Debian's new installer for sarge is great. Set it to high question level, and you barely have to touch it and end up with a working system.

        Enterprise speaking (or any business, for that matter), it's not worth the performance benefit of compiling cpu-specific code (vs generic 386 code or whatnot) if you have to spend a hell of a lot more hours setting it up. Those hours cost money - and moreso if it's taking away from billable time. On the other hand, hardware is cheap. If it costs more in time than it does to throw a faster CPU or more ram at it to get more speed in the system, then you've lost the benefit.

        • Re:meh Gentoo (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pantherace ( 165052 )
          Enterprise speaking, you would have a technical staff that was competent (or SHOULD). You are not going to have the users messing with systems. The ease of install matters not, when you will be installing essentially ghosted machines. Before you install it, you will be testing it.

          In fact, gentoo, is possibly even more suited to the enterprise than RedHat or SuSE. Why? The admins have even more control. They also only have to compile a package once for each group of machines, and can deploy it to all the m

        • Re:meh Gentoo (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jasno ( 124830 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @02:59AM (#9016436) Journal
          I don't think you understand the unbelieveable feeling you get when you follow the instructions, line by line, and everything works the first time. Really. I still can't believe it. It makes me want to go back and reinstall just to relive it...

          There's a reason we're called Gentoo Zealots. You will be assimilated.
    • Re:meh Gentoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by m1a1 ( 622864 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:25AM (#9015860)
      I find it funny that you say gentoo cannot get grub to work on the first boot on your systems when gentoo does not in fact install grub... you do.

      What you actually mean is that left to install grub on your own you can't make it work. Personal problem? I think so.
      • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 )
        I find it funny that you say gentoo cannot get grub to work on the first boot on your systems when gentoo does not in fact install grub... you do.

        What you actually mean is that left to install grub on your own you can't make it work. Personal problem? I think so.

        The question is whether it is reasonable to insult him for it.

        I do not consider myself an inept Linux user. I am certainly not the most knowledgeable person out there, but I have been using Linux heavily and exclusively for about five years now
  • Let me say that Gentoo is great. I've used Red Hat, Mandrake, and recently Suse. But now that I've tried Gentoo, I wouldn't go to any other distro, at least not for personal use.
  • by lwells-au ( 548448 ) <{lwells} {at} {}> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:45PM (#9015673)
    From the "what-I-would-like-to-see" department :)

    What I would love to see in Gentoo, or any other distro that is source-based really, is a way of setting up the system from binaries and then have the system transmogrify itself.

    What do I mean? Well, after the initial install the distro could start to compile the optimised packages with a preset set of flags and "replace" the existing pre-compiled binaries as it finishes the optimisations.

    Why? Well I think this would offer the absolute best of both worlds. It would allow you to get a Gentoo-based system up quickly without waiting hours and hours for compilation. It would then take advantage of unused CPU cycles (and lets face it, I doubt most machines use a large amount of resources more than 5-10% of their operating lives) to compile optimised packages, thus giving the benefits that everyone loves about source-based distros?

    Is it possible? I have no idea. Frankly, I don't use Gentoo or even Linux all that often, but it strikes me as very neat solution for the one weakness present in distros that have to be compiled from source.

    I think it might also be quite useful in getting acceptence in the business world. Being able to get a system up and customised quickly could be an important selling point, particularly in SME business where there is a diverse range of hardware (and thus ghosting is not necessarily a good option). It such a networked environment, it might even be possible to use a distributed compilation system.

    Anyway, that's my little suggestion. As I said, it may not even be practical let alone possible, but it might stimulate further ideas that make Gentoo (and perhaps linux in general) an even better solution. Again, I don't even use Linux (well, only very infrequently) but I strongly support the underlying philosophy behind much of the OSS movement. /rant mode :)
    • Gentoo already does this.

      See id=38&osCsid=62491a6d8c10e18966ed74cb48351b4a

      I should add that you can get all those versions for free off the FTP, but the FTP doesn't offer nice fluffy marketing-speak like that does :)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:05AM (#9015762)
      I just did this using the gentoo CDs.

      I did a netless install. I install the basics from packages on the CD (KDE, compilers, etc). I got back to work (I just did't have to time to sit and wait).

      While working I did "emerge sync; emerge -fu world" which updated the versions and downloaded all the source code.

      Then at the end of the work day I logged out (just in case upgrading KDE in-place would screw it up), and did "emerge -u world" at the console.

      Voila, my gentoo system was transmogrified with the latest updates.

      Pretty cool and I hope they explore this further (i.e., let's have "netless install", "net with precompiled binaries", and "net from scratch").
    • Why don't you just install from Stage 3 binaries, then recompile what you need optimized?
    • Actually, the basic installation of Gentoo does this already... albeit with a minimal set of packages. During install, you copy a generic root filesystem to your hard drive, chroot into it, and start replacing the "stock" binaries with your own compiled binaries. That's where much of the waiting is (ie: compiling gcc [twice, I think]).

      That's the case for the most basic install (stage 1). If you do a stage 3 install, you're closer to what the parent wants.

      Then, if you go to the GRP releases (which I hav
  • "People can get ugly" is a headline.
    And this comes as a surprise? I mean... come on... we read Slashdot. We don't need to be reminded of our own physical failures HERE.
  • by asv108 ( 141455 ) <[moc.ssovi] [ta] [vsa]> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:48PM (#9015685) Homepage Journal
    Debian on the servers. Seriously, after the whole Redhat EOL debacle, I stopped relying on commercial distros for my Linux needs. Both distros have huge packaging systems and sport the ability to upgrade to major OS updates with one simple command.

    On the desktop end, I prefer gentoo because it is more lenient with accepting non-free packages and packages with potential legal issues. I also like the optimization abilities of a source based distro. As a java developer, Gentoo is simply the best Linux distro for Java developement. The major jre's are integrated in to the packaging system and the java-config utility allows me to easily switch from multiple jres on the fly.

    On the server side, debian provides stability and quality control. Contrary to popular myth, there are quite a few pay support options available [] for debian.

  • Gentoo Usage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mozingod ( 738108 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:49PM (#9015701)
    We're already using Gentoo on about a dozen or so production machines. Its been great. Setup time takes about two business days (system over night, bootstrap overnight), but who cares? We have the installation procedure we use down to the point where we don't even have to look at the screen, our self-made guides have everything written down. All the machines have a common configuration this way too.

    I'm currently working on a web based system to very easily keep all these systems up to date and allow us to choose which packages we want to upgrade, so we don't have to get the newest if we don't want.

    I hope they do release commercial support for it, we'd be one of the first on the list to purchase!
    • Re:Gentoo Usage (Score:5, Informative)

      by birukun ( 145245 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:09AM (#9015777)
      You must try distcc - it has saved me tons of time! - they even offer a link to for information on how to install and configure. It is so simple I am still amazed that more people are not using it.

      distcc offloads compiler jobs to other machines over the network. My PIII 700 laptop now has a little help - the Athlon XP2100 and the PIII 600 perform alot of the work now.

      Another thing I use is ccache - I don't exactly know how it works, but it supposedly adds 20 -40% faster compile times.

      I also read somewhere in the forums that it is possible to set up a server internal to compile the packages once for the target machines (if they are all the same) and then perform a binary install to each machine from there.

      Use distcc to have all the machines compile the packages once; use the binary package emerge to install locally! *SWEET*
      Good Luck!
      Birukun (here and on the Gentoo forums)
  • by KJE ( 640748 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:55PM (#9015723) Homepage
    I had played around with Linux at home, with SuSE and Red Hat and the like. But they were all so big on that 400MHz Celeron. Then I put on Gentoo, and it flew. MythTV, no problem! With the famous pvr-250, and me striping down the system to be a mythtv only box, I was smokin.

    But in the server room? Sadly, I don't see this happening. What sells there is support. And for people who don't know, when we talk about someone providing support, we talk about someone to *blame*. "Hey, the server is down, wtf? Well, I'm paying RH $XXXX, I'll let them figure it out." And for the most part, they do.

    The whole philosophy of Gentoo seems to go against this though. Red Hat can support it, cause they know you are running RedHat 7.2 with the 2.4.9-31MPT-SP kernel, cause that's what they shipped with. If you buiild your own they'll have one word for you: Unsupported.

    Now look at Gentoo Linux, they are at the other end of the spectrum, 100% custom. Who in their right mind is going to support that? How could they? I just don't see it.

    • by Mnemia ( 218659 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:37AM (#9015914)

      Yes, but I believe what the Gentoo people meant by "enterprise support" is that they will be providing periodic stable forks of the Portage tree on a regular basis. The new quarterly release structure is a step towards that goal. They intend to take a snapshot of the Portage tree every 3-6 months and work on getting the packages in it very stable. Then they'll offer guaranteed support for those packages including things like security fixes for the lifetime of that "version" of Gentoo. Essentially it'll be like Redhat is now but you'll have a lot more flexibility in customizing the configuration to meet specific needs.

      It's not there yet, and some things need to get worked on before they're ready for this. They may need more developer manpower too. As a Gentoo user since early 2002, I'll be interested to see what they come up with with the new non-profit foundation. A very interesting concept to me would be a nonprofit that offers paid support for these "stable" snapshots of Gentoo for enterprise customers - I think Mozilla is offering something similar.

    • Gentoo per se, you might be right, especially if people are doing things like rolling their own kernels. But, consider a company that promises to provide support. The company installs Gentoo on the client machines, does all the necessary security upgrades and the like, and then tells the client not to mess with portage and genkernel or they void their service contract on that machine. The company can remotely kick off portage or kernel compiles on client machines via ssh, so they always know what's on a par
  • nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by treat ( 84622 )
    Enterprise users do not want to compile anything. A Redhat install can be done in under 10 minutes on a fast machine with a fast network. An install that takes two days and requires manual work at every step is simply not reasonable.

    Enterprise users do not generally care about performance to the extent that a different compiler option tailored for their CPU will benefit.

    Enterprise users do care about the software being tested with the exact same compiler and compiler options and libraries that they are us
    • Re:nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mastergoon ( 648848 )
      I'd say the opposite, a lot of enterprise users want to squeeze out every last drop of performance they can get.
      • Re:nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

        by neurojab ( 15737 )
        >I'd say the opposite, a lot of enterprise users want to squeeze out every last drop of performance they can get.

        That depends on what you mean by "enterprise". I'm sure in the educational and research sector this is true, but in the business sector, hardware is cheap and man-hours are expensive. Squeezing every last drop of performance, as you say, is not something that would get bankrolled.
    • Re:nonsense (Score:3, Informative)

      by macdaddy ( 38372 )
      I guess I must be the exception to your uneducated theory because I'm doing just that.
    • Re:nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @01:35AM (#9016185) Journal
      Enterprise users [are lazy people with no time to do anything with their computers]

      What crack are you smoking? It's the enterprise users who have stuff that's so mission critical they buy Windows source code from Microsoft and do stuff with it. You know, because tons of money is at stake.

      It's the poor schmoes with three computers and a network hub that just want to plug things in and make it work, because one person-week wasted is a significant percentage of the company's time.

      You obvious have no clue. If the enterprise users can score any kind of 10% improvement enterprise-wide with merely a few thousand man-hours invested, that's a good deal.
  • Gentooo..EOOO! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deathguppie ( 768263 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:09AM (#9015778)

    I see the future of Gentoo not only as a meta distrobution, but also as a comunication method between developers and users

    The biggest thing about Gentoo for me hasn't just been the fact that I can get anything (fresh out of the oven), but the fact that I can report bugs, and get feedback within hours....I can go to the gentoo forums and get answeres within minutes

    It's because I feel the future of linux is in its ability to progess, to find new way's of doing thing s, to find new......on a five year mission to .... well you get the idea.

    Gentoo is just plain FUNNN!!!!

  • Gentoo's guy figures if they had the cash they'd be up and running in 6 months.

    If I had "the" money, I'd be up and running with it now!!

  • by GoClick ( 775762 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:19AM (#9015828)
    We will take some random people in the following magnitudes and administer an OS test to see who's really king. Now I agree that Windows has a greater advantage because of market share, HOWEVER that's the real world and the one we play in.

    30, 9th graders selected at random
    30, Fresh high school grads
    60, members of the general population
    30, persons age 30-60
    30, persons age 60+
    30 small business _owners_ not in IT

    FYI this is 210 people.

    We will have them attempt the following tasks Using the latest versions of
    OS X

    Participants will be timed and rewarded with a prize if they succeed in their tasks, say a candy bar (to simulate a work environment where they would get money)

    There will be two tasks to do 1/2 of each group will do each

    The first half will have to complete the tasks without any documentation other than what is provided standard ON SCREEN.

    The second half with a full printed manual including screen shots and detailed step by step instructions

    Our tests will be

    Install the OS (I realize this isn't realistic cause every Mac already comes with it but it'll have to do)
    Create 5 users
    Log in as one of the users and complete the following tasks
    Write a complex document with some formatting and colors and save it as a HTML document
    configure e-mail and send that HTML document to someone
    make a spread sheet and save it to a location and upload it to a website

    Users will have to find and install all the software to do these things either durring the OS install or from the Internet, they can make 2 phone calls durring the test

    Then we'll see what OS is really easiest and fastest and cheapest, we'll assume these people all cost $0.002 per second... Meaning that the commercial OSes already start with quite an expensive handicap.

    I'm sure with some more time and thought one could make this more fair but I personally expect OSX (Followed by Linspire) to win the on screen only event by a wide margin even considering the heavy price tag of the OS (we'll just assume a PC that costs as much G4 to level the feild) Most of us have seen a newbie use OS X and it's almost like they know what their doing..... For the well documented test I would expect Linspire to win followed by RedHat.

    Now test could be expanded to setting up a small office network typical to a small business, I once again expect OS X to clean up
    • I think we should level the playing field just a tad. First of all, if you're taking that broad of a selection of people (well, it's not THAT broad but broad enough for testing), you have to consider that a decently high percentage of said people have trouble installing a program on their computer and that's with propmting, so, I would personally ditch the OS installation idea right off the bat.

      Next up, creating the users. I can count on my hands how many people on their home based computers actually have more than one user created on their systems (and this is regardless of OS), let alone 5 users. If we're going to keep this real world, we have to look at real world situations.

      Third. The setting up of email is a good one. Everyone basically has to do that at some point and time (except people using AOL basically) so that is a good test. Another good one would be setting up the internet connection, and I am talking about making the people setup a dialup connection. Broadband is cheating in some respects and a bit more difficult in others.

      Fourth, navigation of the OS/GUI. Make them find various programs and give the location. Nothing really obscure, but make them have to use the search functions of the OS/GUI. This will test how well the various OSs handle searches and how intuitive they are to people (if you're wondering, I'm looking thoroughly and only at usability here).

      Fifth, ask the users to create a folder in a given location, create a document to put into it, save this document to the removable media of your choice, and hand it to another person to open. This will test interoperability between platforms/programs. It is cheating to put the same Office Suite (hell, leave out the office suite, just use supplied text editors) on every system, regardless of availability.

      I can go on and on with this and I am seriously going to try and carry out these tests in the not too distant future. Some of these things I would use to gauge how well students were comprehending what I was teaching during Linux and MCSE courses. Others are jujst ramblings off the top of my head. hehehe Anyways, it's time to eat and I'm hungry...


  • I was a little surprised by the article [] about Gentoo being used in the enterprise. Kurt Lieber (of Gentoo) even claims that "Gentoo is being widely used in corporations today", although his definition of "widely used" may be different than mine.

    As great as Gentoo is, it's not high on the list of distros that I would have guessed the business world would embrace. Granted, Gentoo's flexibility does seem to make it well-suited for certain enterprise-level applications; and if Debian can be
  • I've used Mandrake, Red-Hat, SuSE and now Gentoo. Gentoo was by far the most difficult one to install.

    It also taught me more about linux than any other distro I ever tried. Now, that's great for me and anyone else who has the *time* to learn, but bad for someone just wanting a desktop they can uber-customize. The answer is, of course, an installer that is easy and painless. I think there should be 2 ways to do this with a gui installer:

    1.) The advanced option to install everything from source using ei
  • by diablobsb ( 444773 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:40AM (#9015930)
    the most common complain (and mistake) about gentoo is that it "takes forever compiling" etc etc yadda yadda....
    this is BS....

    first: I have like 20 servers running gentoo, the oldest of them is a pentium3-1ghz...
    even on this machine mostly everything compiles just fine (doesn't take long).

    2nd: for the things that WOULD take a lot to compile on this hardware, I can always resort to the binary packages (emerge -k)... kde/openoffice/gnome/etc gets installed in seconds....

    3rd: most my servers don't need kde/X/gnome/etc...

    4th: if there is a package i use often, and it's not avaliable as a precompiled package... i can just have emerge "create" one and store it on the network... if i do an emerge things get compiled from source... if I do emerge -k , the portage will first look into my packages dir to see if it finds a precompiled version, and if it does... use it...

    5th: distcc is your friend... i have 5 xeons 3.06ghz on my distcc farm... talk about fast compiles :)

    6th: gentoo rox :) i would never, ever trade it for other distro....
  • Baselines! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:51AM (#9015989) Homepage Journal
    I love gentoo but still wouldn't run it on a critical server because of the compile demands.

    I feel an enterprise version of gentoo needs some sort of master compiling server that can build binary packages (perhaps optimized for each arch in the company). That way, every 90 days (or whatever period, the IT department can build a 'cutting-edge' stable release and subject it to their quality control procedures.

    Once it has passed, they need to produce the binary packages, and every system in the company can then emerge those (binary) packages on a nightly basis.

    It doesn't make sense to have all your workstations and servers compiling everything for themselves.
    • and why should it? (Score:3, Informative)

      by sadler121 ( 735320 )
      Is that really the point of Gentoo though? Gentoo is a META distro, NOT a full distro. If you read the handbook, there is a lot of emphesis on making Linux YOUR way. What's to stop an IT department from taking Gentoo as a basis, and implimenting it to the demands you specify? Gentoo already has a way to lighten the compile burden through distributed compiling, you can already set up your own portage system in a corperate style intranet for easy, fast access to packages, that, surprise surprise, can be hand
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @03:53AM (#9016565) Homepage
    I fail to see the benefit of gentoo in a work environment. In my experience, it requires nearly as much tinkering to "get working right" (ie, trying multiple package versions) as LFS. emerge simple streamlines some of the steps normally taken with LFS.

    Some serious shortcomings in gentoo besides the above mentioned which make it inadequate for such a task:
    - It's time consuming to install. Time is money. Companies don't like spending money if they don't have to.
    - emerge doesn't do dependency checking when removing packages. For example, if I accidentally remove libc instead of glibc (for example), I've just fscked myself.
    - there doesn't appear to be any significant review process as Debian and RedHat has in terms of stability - Debian in particular. For instance: Someone used the fact that gentoo only requires the updating of the source code to update all gentoo machines. This isn't a good thing - it doesn't allow for a sufficient review of the code to make sure that there aren't serious problems with it. Contrast that to the armies of reviewers that debian has - even to the relatively new packages which are currently in sarge.

    My personal experience with gentoo is that it's too much of a hastle to install - only marginally more irritating than LFS. The only reason to do LFS, IMO, is if you're an anal retentive control freak, have some sort of philosophical bent, or you're doing it for the learning experience - once.

    I do know experienced users that use gentoo, however the majority of them are of the "I used Redhat for a short while, it sucked and broke a lot. Then I used slack, because it's leet, and now I'm using gentoo because it's leeter." Not many of them have even tried debian; several that I've convinced to try debian have started to turn their backs to gentoo to some degree. Nearly all of the people that I'd trust to babysit my servers run either debian predominantly or run multiple distros and have experience with all of them. I'd likely not want to work with someone that's so reckless to put such an untested system as gentoo in a critical role.
  • by carlitoslinux ( 766841 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @04:41AM (#9016703) Homepage
    If you are having touble installing gentoo or does not understand the handbook manual on the oficial webpage of gentoo i recommend you to take a look at the anaconda-gentoo graphical installer that victor padra make just go to:
  • by alex_tibbles ( 754541 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @05:07AM (#9016790) Journal
    From here []:
    "[M]y new machine wasn't very stable.
    Obviously my first reaction was to go back down to 2x366Mhz. But now I experienced an even stranger problem. As long as my machine kept the CPUs chugging away, the machine didn't lock up. But if I left the machine idle overnight, there was a good probability that the system would lock up completely. Yes, an idle bug -- argh!"

    And thus Gentoo was born: as a way to prevent idle bugs by keeping the CPU active 24/7!
  • by pherris ( 314792 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @08:45AM (#9017468) Homepage Journal
    emerge mplayer

    No looking for parts here and there, just "emerge mplayer" and BAM! It's all there, working great with all the codecs in one shot.

    Fast and clean. Gentoo rocks.

  • Speed? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ( 673283 ) < minus punct> on Friday April 30, 2004 @08:58AM (#9017552) Homepage
    Why do so many of the gentoo-zealots only mention the speed optimizations as a reason to run gentoo?
    The reason why *I* run gentoo is because it allows me to very easy customize the features of all packages. Also it very easy to apply custom patches and still have the package managed by portage (therefor knowing when there is a new version out :). The speed improvement (that atleast I haven't noticed) is just a bonus.

    In soviet russia gentoo compiles you!

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker