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Gentoo on the PS3 - Full Install Instructions 239

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 @10:49AM (#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.
  • questions (Score:5, Insightful)

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

  • Re:Overkill....not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:02AM (#17539366)
    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 get to a usable system, but after that i think you've got a better view of the system and are more able to diagnose/correct some problem you may get, and more you are no more afraid of the console

    but i must admit that this day i use ubuntu on my main desktop (gentoo is still around on server and x(media)box)
  • Re:Overkill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:04AM (#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.

  • Re:questions (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Chutulu ( 982382 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:13AM (#17539550)
    Because most people just want a system that works. They have better thing to do in life than to learn the core of a new operating system. They just want stuff to work. Because of people like you, Linux will never go mainstream.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:16AM (#17539580)
    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 caluml ( 551744 ) <> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#17539674) Homepage
    Nice troll. +5 Informative too.
    But as usual, you miss the most important point. USE flags [].
    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 nadamsieee ( 708934 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:26AM (#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.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fistfullast33l ( 819270 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:27AM (#17539736) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • head asplode (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:32AM (#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.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:43AM (#17540024)
    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:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:47AM (#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:Overkill (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dhasenan ( 758719 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:47AM (#17540098)
    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 has a high cost for maintenance, but it's manageable if you keep up to date--you only have to look at five or ten config files a week. 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).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @12:15PM (#17540592)
    I only use Gentoo also. But this article sounded like it was wrote with someone with a stick in their ass. I don't know where people like this come from as I also participate in the gentoo forums and usually never see stuff like this. Please forgive him, he isn't the representation of all of us gentoo users.
  • Re:Overkill....not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @01:09PM (#17541646) Homepage
    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.
  • by wolf31o2 ( 778801 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:37PM (#17545530)

    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 the PS3 by default, but we aren't the only ones.

    2. Modular distro, so you have full control over the installation.
    Oh yeah, because the other distros dictate which software you have to install

    I believe he means the ability to change how things are compiled via USE flags, such as the ability to disable LDAP support in your system, as another commenter said.

    3. It teaches you more about Linux.
    Yes, because watching compiler output scrolling by for 8 hours gives me super linux skillz!

    When will the Gentoo hater quit using this crap? You don't learn shit from watching compiler output. What you learn from is editing configuration files and seeing how changes you make to the system directly affect the output of that system.

    4. You can update it whenever you want, don't have to wait for the latest version of the distro like Fedora Core 5/6, Yellow Dog Linux 5
    Ah, you mean it's like with the other distros who let you download the latest and greatest. Debian testing is usually pretty bleeding edge, and Debian is considered to be one of the slowest distros to upgrade....

    That distinction is usually held for Debian's stable release, not the distribution as a whole. Of course, the article is pretty full of it on this point, since many distributions allow for more frequent upgrades these days.

    5. Huge community of people, and the best documentation among all Linux distros, so you'll never have unsolved problems.
    Hmmm. Google "gentoo problem": 1,520,000 results
    Huge community? I would say Ubuntu or SuSe or Red Hat all have far bigger communities.

    Had you said "Debian" to include Debian/Ubuntu/Knoppix/all the other derivatives, I would agree. The other communities are likely much larger. Red Hat seems to be quite a bit smaller than it used to be, especially outside the United States. While the Gentoo community definitely isn't the largest, our documentation surely is some of the best out there.

    This article does show one of the major downfalls of Gentoo. There are a large number of "fanboys" who post false claims about Gentoo, and make the entire distribution look bad, as a result. Gentoo is primarily a developer platform, written by developers, for developers. It takes a very different approach to package management than other mainstream distributions, and provides tools to allow for greater customization easier than most others. Of course, there's nothing you can do on Gentoo that you cannot do elsewhere, it's just generally easier under Gentoo for those that know what they're doing. We provide tools that you use to tailor the distribution to suit your needs. For some people, that is exactly what they want, for others, it's too much work, and there's nothing wrong with that. We fill a specific role.

  • by wolf31o2 ( 778801 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:42PM (#17545614)

    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.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @07:02AM (#17554368) Homepage
    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 all the build steps manually.
  • Re:Overkill....not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @02:58PM (#17560310)
    Like every other distro, Gentoo comes with sensible defaults. Gentoo just gives you more flexibility in overriding those defaults. But then, you shouldn't bother with Gentoo unless you are going to take the time to customize some things.

    There really is no reason to complain about having options. If you don't like having options, get a mac and get off slashdot.
  • Re:Overkill....not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @04:06PM (#17561904) Homepage
    Yeah. Because if you don't want to have to build and configure everything on your system, Linux and news focused on geeky topics clearly has nothing to do with you. Right? Slashdot is only for those with too much time on their hands and a desire to spend it unproductively, right? I mean, it's not like I'm so geeky that I spend my spare time doing things like programming for open-source video games or contributing patches to make a Linux scsi driver work with a card of mine, or things like that. No -- clearly because I don't want to waste my time, because I have more productive things to do, I have no business being here on Slashdot. Thanks for setting me straight.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley