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New Gentoo 2007.0 Release Gets Mixed Review 273

lisah writes "Gentoo's recently released version 2007.0 gets a fair-to-middling review from Linux.com. Installation was a headache from the live CD and DVD versions, but the Gentoo Linux Installer saved the day and gets high marks for being 'far better than it's predecessor.' The user experience is also mixed — on the one hand, the distribution boots quickly, has great hardware support, and new, user-friendly artwork. On the other hand, 'for some strange reason, the installed Gentoo doesn't allow normal users to run any administrative applications.' Overall, it doesn't look like Gentoo offers any compelling reasons to switch to 'Secret Sauce' if they're happy with their current, uh, flavor."
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New Gentoo 2007.0 Release Gets Mixed Review

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:20PM (#19324041)
    It's The Official Gentoo-Linux-Zealot Translator-o-matic!

    Gentoo Linux is an interesting new distribution with some great
    features.  Unfortunately, it has attracted a large number of clueless
    wannabes who absolutely MUST advocate Gentoo at every opportunity.
    Let's look at the language of these zealots, and find out what it really

    * Gentoo makes me so much more productive.

        Although I can't use the box at the moment because it's
        compiling something, as it will be for the next five days, it
        gives me more time to check out the latest USE flags and
        potentially unstable optimisation settings.

    * Gentoo is more in the spirit of open source!

        Apart from Hello World in Pascal at school, I've never written a
        single program in my life or contributed to an open source
        project, yet staring at endless streams of GCC output whizzing
        by somehow helps me contribute to international freedom.

    * I use Gentoo because it's more like the BSDs.

        Last month I tried to install FreeBSD on a well-supported
        machine, but the text-based installer scared me off. I've never
        used a BSD, but the guys on Slashdot say that it's l33t though,
        so surely I must be for using Gentoo.

    * Heh, my system is soooo much faster after installing Gentoo.

        I've spent hours recompiling Fetchmail, X-Chat, gEdit and
        thousands of other programs which spend 99% of their time
        waiting for user input. Even though only the kernel and glibc
        make a significant difference with optimisations, and RPMs and
        .debs can be rebuilt with a handful of commands, my box MUST be
        faster. It's nothing to do with the fact that I've disabled all
        startup services and I'm running BlackBox instead of GNOME or

    * ...my Gentoo Linux workstation...

        ...my overclocked AMD eMachines box from PC World, and apart
        from the third-grade made-to-break components and dodgy

    * You Red Hat guys must get sick of dependency hell...

        I'm too stupid to understand that circular dependencies can be
        resolved by specifying BOTH .rpms together on the command line,
        and that problems hardly ever occur if one uses proper Red Hat
        packages instead of mixing SuSE, Mandrake and Joe's Linux
        packages together (which the system wasn't designed for).

    * All the other distros are soooo out of date.

        Constantly upgrading to the latest bleeding-edge untested
        software makes me more productive. Never mind the extensive
        testing and patching that Debian and Red Hat perform on their
        packages; I've just emerged the latest GNOME beta snapshot and
        compiled with -09 -fomit-instructions, and it only crashes once
        every few hours.

    * Let's face it, Gentoo is the future.

        OK, so no serious business is going to even consider Gentoo in
        the near future, and even with proper support and QA in place,
        it'll still eat up far too much of a company's valuable time.
        But this guy I met on #animepr0n is now using it, so it must be
    • by syylk ( 538519 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:35PM (#19324281) Homepage

      Even if I *am* a Gentoo zealot myself, couldn't help but laugh reading your "translation" message. It's so damn true! :)

      OTOH, you typed a 3K chars message as first post. Why I have the distinct feeling you already had it ready somewhere, to copy and paste it at the first chance, when anything gentooish reached front page?

      Ah, I counted the chars with my ultra-optimized, distcc-recompiled "wc"! Zowie, I'm 1337! :D
      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        How can this thing be true, with no mention of Paludis?
      • by jimstapleton ( 999106 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:06PM (#19324747) Journal
        what part is true?

        * The inability to use the box while compiling (not true - I do stuff when compiling all the time, not what is being compiled mind you).

        * Slashdot saying BSDs are 1337? Funny, posts saying that they like BSD tend to get modded "Troll"

        * That circular dependancies are the only thing to cause Dep-hell? I've had plenty of cases where I have had "Package A" and "Package B", where both required "Package C" of differing versions, where neither would accept the same version of C, and the two versions of C didn't want to coexist. Maybe more helical than circular...

        Sorry, while some of it is true in some cases, I find the lot of it quite not funny.
        And no, I don't use Gentoo. While emerge has treated me better than some of the alternatives in the Linux world, it's not quite as hassle-free as I'd like.
        • This reminds me of one of David Cross'es stand ups routines.

          David: I don't mean to sound like a suck up, but I think women are much smarter than men. I also think that dogs are smarter than women
          Woman in audience:I don't believe that
          David:You don't think that it's true? You don't think I've done research? Well, you're right. It's not true. That's what's known as a joke. I'll be telling a few of them here tonight.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vdboor ( 827057 )

      So true. Having used Gentoo for 2 years my box was actually slower. It had to compile security updates + all unrelated upgraded every week. emerge has no (official) way to install security updates only. And once you have ldap + mysql installed, all ./configure scripts start to pick those libraries up too, making the whole system link to each other.

      Tell me what objdump -x `which $kdeapp` | grep NEEDED returns at your system. It should only return direct deps, not the whole list. And remember RPM-based distr

      • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @07:07PM (#19329709) Journal

        I'm also getting really tired of bug reports from Gentoo users. They report my app is broken, when it appears they managed to compile KDElibs without SSL, or use a bleeding edge build system which is not supported by stable KDE releases.

        If they managed to compile KDElibs without SSL, and if that's something KDElibs allows you to do (easily), then it is not their fault for custom-compiling something, it is your fault for not specifying SSL as a dependency.

        As for the bleeding-edge build system, I can understand your frustration, but if (emphasis on if) KDE is moving towards that bleeding-edge system -- if it's actually on the roadmap -- then you should be putting it in your own bleeding-edge builds, too. I hate when we get things like upstart (in Ubuntu Edgy and Feisty) which has all these amazing capabilities, but ends up basically being used for launching runlevels because no developers actually wrote upstart-specific init scripts. (Which is one nice thing I can say for Gentoo; they do tend to always write Gentoo-specific init scripts.)

        Now, I don't use Gentoo anymore, don't really like it for a couple of reasons, but if there's anything I hate about Gentoo bug reports, it's the ones I send to the Gentoo guys that get ignored for years at a time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 )

      * ...my Gentoo Linux workstation... ...my overclocked AMD eMachines box from PC World, and apart from the third-grade made-to-break components and dodgy fan...

      Hehehehe, not sure about the others. But that one pretty much described my Gentoo workstation. I have no idea where it came from (I found the PC in a dump), but the mobo is an AMD machine from some time in the 99's/ early 2000's. And yes, it is overclocked (to a whopping 1.2GHz, almost twice its original speed) and a dodgy fan.

      But thinking about it. One of the main reasons I made use of Gentoo is in its flexibility. Originally I found it was far easier to do custom compiles and installs on a machine

      • by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:22PM (#19324983) Homepage
        It does have some of the best documentation I have come across. In the form of the gentoo-wiki site. I always find what I need in that site, even when fixing problems with other distros. That site deserved a mention for being so damn good, but I forgot to place it in my original post.
    • by garlicbready ( 846542 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:44PM (#19325347)
      Like with everything else it has it's advantages and it's disadvantages
      it all depends on what you want to use it for
      (it's a bit like hitting a screw with a hammer and saying, hmmm this isn't going into the wall very well)

      if you want something that's going to work first time, and that your not going to have to arse about setting up
      (e.g. a commercial environment) then go with a rpm solution like redhat or suse (this way you've always got the option of support as well at the same time)

      If you want something for running the latest cutting edge software and damned the consequences
      the sort of person that would make the attempt at building his own conservatory on the side of his house go for Gentoo

      1. it's source based
      which can mean less stable / well tested
      ultimately gentoo is a source based dist, which means any binary files you end up with won't have been tested
      and there's no guarantee of behavior as it all depends on how things have been linked

      2. rpm's do some amount of checking when installing the binary, with gentoo it's assumed that whatever has been compiled is correct
      (unless make install throws up an error during the build process or you write some checking into the script it's not always possible to guarantee that everything is installed the way it's supposed to be
      admitily problems are rare but do crop up now and again

      3. it takes ages to compile / install etc
      the trade-off here is having access to the latest stuff, so I'm happy with this one

      1. if you want to get something working that's only just been released
            it takes me 5 mins to write an ebuild script
            it takes much longer to write an rpm spec file
            (this especially comes in handy when your trying to add / remove patches / custom graft as part of the script)
            the reason for this is a lot of the common stuff has been functionalised (is that a word?) into eclass files
            this makes the whole thing default to a certain common behavior unless overridden in the script

            also you don't have to list all the files that should be installed as it works it out for itself all auto-magically
            in an ideal scenario for rpm you'd at least have both options depending on the use of the system (do some checking, don't do some checking)
            ideally I'd really like rpm to take on some of the same advantages as this one (why not?, it might need testing / change of spec files but it'd be well worth it)

      2. a lot of the scripts that form the bootup are much more up-to-date
            again most of the stuff in the /etc/init.d scripts has been placed into common functions referenced elsewhere
            it's part of the whole "if it's not broke don't fix it" thing, which in principle gives advantages to commonality if everyone is using the same sort of
            startup scripts if your writing a RPM for several dists and may be more stable / tested
            but the gentoo method is much simpler to write for / more automated

      3. it's sourced based
            which means it'll run on pretty much anything, any weird ass bit of hardware you can throw at it (usually)
            (PS3 hint hint)

      Personally I'm confident I can fix most things when they go wrong in the portage tree, via an overlay (or at least have the patience to wait for it to be fixed). but for the average Joe user in an office that couldn't give a monkey's for that sort of thing something binary / rpm is better suited

      There's probably lots of stuff I've missed here but the general idea is
      if you like home brew go to Gentoo (mmm tasty brew)
      If you like it plain and flat go for Red Hat

  • With the founder leaving for Microsoft, would it? Too bad, there is a need for ability to configure a modern Linux system from scratch, with any number of options (X11? no X11? and so on). If nothing else, this helps makers of distributions for specialized devices.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bssteph ( 967858 ) *
      The "from scratch" (or, actually, from scratch discounting the bare essentials) method still exists in Gentoo. It's just old news, I guess the review...-like... thing wanted to focus on the installer because it's improved, I guess (I haven't had to use 2007.0 media yet).

      And the founder (drobbins) has already come back from Microsoft and left again because he no longer fit in.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Yetihehe ( 971185 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:21PM (#19324055)
    Yes, but would it run an Indy car?
  • by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:21PM (#19324057) Journal
    Installation was a headache from the live CD and DVD versions....

    Ease of installation is not one of the drawing points of Gentoo. In fact, for some of us, an arcane installation procedure is the main draw...nothing teaches you more about linux than having to choose, configure, and compile every single piece of the OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blhack ( 921171 )

      Just the other day, one of my very close friends (who works in a high performance computing lab at a major university), called to ask me "how to get data onto a disk after you format it".....basically she was asking how you actually get files from one place to another after a format. A VERY VERY basic basic operation, one that would seem very obvious to most every linux user. However, she runs Ubuntu on her desktop, and has therefore NEVER EVER had to touch anything related to the operating system
      • by JerkBoB ( 7130 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:30PM (#19325109)
        Just the other day, one of my very close friends (who works in a high performance computing lab at a major university) ...

        And what does this friend do for the lab? Scan student ID badges and watch for horseplay? If you had said that this friend was a sysadmin, or even a programmer, your argument might carry more weight.

        Having spent most of a decade as a sysadmin, and several more years doing software, I /could/ run something 1337 like gentoo or slack. But these days I just want to use the computer, not screw around. So I use Ubuntu. Saying that Ubuntu is responsible for your friend's ignorance is just silly. Your friend is responsible for her ignorance.

        Being the good, close friend that you are, you might want to introduce this person to Google, on teh internets. It's a good way to learn about things like filesystems. Also goat pr0n.
      • See! Linux HAS arrived at the desktop! Now that the day when ignorant throngs of people can sit down at their computer and have no idea how it actually works inside, Ubuntu has attained the greatness of Windows!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by batkiwi ( 137781 )
        Do you know how to replace the head gasket on the engine of your car?

        Do you even change your own oil?
  • 2007.0 ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:23PM (#19324081) Homepage Journal
    2007.0 already? And I only just finished compiling 2006.0!
  • by neersign ( 956437 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:23PM (#19324095)
    while I appreciate a good gui install, and the previous 2006.1 gentoo gui install was QAB, I'd have to agree with the review that any step forward is a good step. Also agreeing with the article, the CLI install is still the way to go and even if the gui install worked flawlessly I think I'd still choose the CLI install method over it. Once everything is installed, the review finds several things they say "don't work", but that is just the nature of the "do it yourself"/"linux my way" mentality of Gentoo. Has this realease turned Gentoo in to Ubuntu? No, and thankfully it hasn't. I believe Arch might be more up your alley if that is what you are looking for.
    • by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:36PM (#19324305)

      Personally I've always seen the strength of Gentoo in that it teaches you how an OS really works for the most part. You're doing every step along the way assuming a Stage 1 install which is the only Gentoo installs I'll perform. You are building your system from the ground up and with that you learn a lot about the underlying systems that you just won't learn from installing and using Ubuntu.

      Of course the speed and optimizations are nice as well, with a Gentoo install the only things running on the systems are applications that you explicitly command it to run. It's a pain and I wouldn't really use it for a general purpose workstation but for some servers its simply great. Of course with Gentoo you have to always wait a bit after every release since every new release has big bugs. That's what testing servers are for though.

      In short, I agree with you. There is definitely a place for both.

      • by nuzak ( 959558 )
        Watching compiler messages scroll by does not constitute "learning how an OS really works".

        I like how I can mix and match features in gentoo with USE flags, and I like being able to easily do source edits before a package install. Virtually everything else said about it is unmitigated hype.
        • I wasn't referring to watching compiler messages, I was referring to USE flags, the fact that you actually have to choose which FS you want to use, the fact that you have to add all your hardware and compile a kernel that will actually function for you. This all gives you a much lower level idea of how an OS works and gives you a lot of insight into Linux as a platform. You have to know what processor you have and depending on what release it may impact your choices during your install. The handbook is very

          • It is a pain in the ass to get going, but once you're there you are there and will stay there until the machine dies.
            Best description of Gentoo, ever. It *is* a pain to install, but my laptop's installation is almost four years old. The laptop will die before the install does.
        • Watching compiler messages scroll by does not constitute "learning how an OS really works".

          Watching compiler messages scroll by doesn't really have anything to do with learning how the OS works. For that, I'd suggest reading through the excellent documentation. Examine each installation step. Ask yourself why the current step is being performed. Examine the command being used and the parameters sent to it. After installation, I'd suggest examining the many scripts that been installed on your new system. Gentoo offers the opportunity to learn how an OS really works. Of course, you're free to blo

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nametaken ( 610866 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:24PM (#19324125)
    I get the scripted installer part for admins, but why would a distro like Gentoo, which has already found its niche, violate that niche by dumping development time into a "newbie" installer? It's not as though I'm really bothered by it, but it seems like they've been content to leave the super-easy install to the Fedora and Ubuntu's of the world... even if it meant lesser uptake on their own distro. Does this new installer still download and compile everything from source? Just seems like it takes the focus off a specialized-install-for-all and puts it squarely on increasing the userbase. Why the change?
    • why would a distro like Gentoo, which has already found its niche, violate that niche by dumping development time into a "newbie" installer?

      Because lots of Gentoo users are beginners who want to learn. Whether you think Gentoo is appropriate for them or not, they will find a good installer useful and will get to the actual using the system part without getting stuck on silly installation mistakes and giving up. Since the installer is optional, there's no harm done.

      Gentoo is about bringing both power and ease of use to the user. The installer is about the latter.

      • Because lots of Gentoo users are beginners who want to learn. Whether you think Gentoo is appropriate for them or not, they will find a good installer useful and will get to the actual using the system part without getting stuck on silly installation mistakes and giving up. Since the installer is optional, there's no harm done.

        While I agree with you in principle, and after running `sed -e s/gentoo/Ubuntu/ig`, I find I couldn't possibly disagree.

        But ask yourself this: Does Gentoo really need yet another r

    • I agree with you and if I were running the Gentoo ship I would have pumped that time into cleaning up Portage, or dumping Portage altogether in favor of something that is capable of handling the thousands of packages that are in the tree. But this is a project run by volunteers. With Daniel Robbins gone, there isn't even a BDFL. It's not as though there is anyone to say "hey, you working on this graphical installer, we need you over here cleaning up Portage." The graphical installer developer probably just
      • You don't get to pick and choose what people work on. You just get to accept or reject it.

        If you want an upgraded version of python, roll up your sleeves and work out the issues that are keeping it at an older version. Since portage is dependant on python, it's quite reasonable for gentoo to be rather conservative about it. If you want easy binary packages, buy some hardware, build a compile farm and write scripts to automate package generation and testing.

        Put up or shut up.
    • by gral ( 697468 )
      Because it is an open source project, and it was something they thought should be done, so did it.

      I particularly don't like the GUI installer, but that is also the beauty of OSS, I can choose to use the CLI installer, or even do the steps manually.

      They are all options. Choose your poison.
  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:28PM (#19324191) Journal
    The reason is "security". Login root or sudo to run admin apps.
    • Oh... I get it so one could never - or should I say no one would ever attempt to escalate privileges. I like their security methods already...
      • by arth1 ( 260657 )
        Privileges are MUCH easier escalated if you can run "sudo any-admin-command" without even entering a password.
        • You missed the sarcasm... It was intended to explain that, regardless of the fact that Gentoo removed root logins or so for security purposes, the does not remove the possibility of escalated privileges for someone who shouldn't have them..
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )
      Indeed. Instead of emulating Windows behaviour which some distros do, Gentoo sticks with Unix privileges, where the superuser is responsible for granting privileges on a case-by-case basis, without the installation giving out lots of privileges you don't even know about. This should be commended, not criticised.

      If you don't like this, go to Ubuntu instead.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) *
        Actually, Ubuntu is the same, with two differences: the first-created user is given sudo privs by default, and the root account is initially locked out (no password set). I hardly think that qualifies as "the installation giving out lots of privileges you don't even know about".
      • Gentoo by default does not allow normal user accounts to su to root. If you want a normal user account to be able to su to root, you have to add them to the "wheel" group.
  • by ColonelPanic ( 138077 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:32PM (#19324239)
    The article gets the usage right: "far better than its predecessor."

    But quoted on /., the site that HAS to always get this point wrong, it becomes "far better than it's predecessor."

    This is NOT THAT HARD to get right, people. No apostrophe means that it's possessive. With an apostrophe,
    it's a contraction of "it is" or "it has".
    • Yeah, possessive "it" is "its" like "yours" and "hers", not "it's" like "John's" or "the table's".

      The confusion comes from the use being more like the second case: "Its appearance", like "The table's appearance", not like "Your appearance", which has no "s" in this case.
      • by jgoemat ( 565882 )
        But 'your' and 'her' are already possessive. You wouldn't say "Yours fly is undone" or "Hers shirt is on backwards."
        • "Her" is both possessive and non-possessive. To get around this there's another possessive version "Hers". "It's her" and "It's hers" have completely different meanings, similar to "It's it" and "It's its". Not sure why we have "your" and "yours" though, I can't think of a sentence where both make sense but with different meanings.
    • by ari_j ( 90255 )
      I'm more concerned with "predecessor." Is the prior version dead and completely unsupported in any way?
    • The article gets the usage right: "far better than its predecessor."

      The misquote is an issue; the usage is no big deal, IMO -- don't quote something unless you actually are quoting it, not paraphrasing.

      That said, if you are pedantic enough to get upset about an apostrophe where it does not belong, you should also object to the use of contractions in written material. Contractions should only be written when one is quoting the spoken word.


      John did not [1] say, "I don't [2] like to use contractions."


    • Who cares?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:40PM (#19324359)
    I use Gentoo on servers because of the flexibility. I can specify exactly what I need. I can generate custom ebuilds easily (they are just shell scripts after all). In fact I can make entire installable custom *distros* for in-house apps and combinations of libraries, etc. I can pin specific packages to specific versions. I can set the build flags for each individual app. I can selectively override the Gentoo-supplied ebuilds with overlays. I can keep track of all my config files and track changes with RCS. I can install multiple versions of PHP, MySQL, Java, whatever, and keep it all straight. This is why I use Gentoo.

    I really don't give a shit about a pretty installer. Let Gentoo focus on the power-user niche please, and if you don't like it, use something else.
  • GUI installer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davermont ( 1001265 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:41PM (#19324369)
    GUI installation is moot to most Gentoo users. If you want a nice, easy graphical installer and easy system administration go download Ubuntu, it fills that niche very well. However, if you want to toil and trouble to build an optimized system from scratch then Gentoo is still the best solution.
  • gentoo (Score:2, Funny)

    by eneville ( 745111 )
    so ... when is genthree coming out?
  • by blhack ( 921171 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:59PM (#19324643)
    I've installed redhad, suse, mandrake, ubuntu, fedora, and i'm sure quite a few other distros along the way. Gentoo has been BY FAR the most educational of them all. While Suse asked me how i wanted to partition my disks, it didn't really explain why.

    While staring at a bunch of GCC output is pointless, staring at the ./configure output, and the make install output is actually quite useful. It will show you exactly where the binaries are being put, and if there are in errors it will tell you exactly what they are (giving you the oppurtunity to fix them).

    I guess that it is the difference between owning a ford taurus (a very very easy to use, reliable, doesn't break and if it does its easy to fix, if there is a problem it just turns a light on on the dash that says "Problem" car) and owning an old muscle car. With the old muscle car, you're going to spend a LOT of time in the garage, covered in oil and grease, with a wrench in your hand either trying to get the thing to run again, or trying to squeeze just a LITTLE bit more torque out of it. While spending time in the garage playing with an old mustang doesn't make any sense to my dad the automotive investor, its freaking FUN!

    I guess in conclusion, if you want something that is totally 100% rock solid, never breaks, you just turn it on and leave it in the rack forever without touching it, or really doing anything past the initial configuration....one of the other distros is probably for you (actually one of the BSDs is probably for you).
    But if you want something that you really have to get your hands dirty with, that has all kinds of weird quirks and things that only YOU probably understand.....well then you should probably go with gentoo.
    • Car analogy ftw! Close one, I almost thought I wasn't going to see one by the end of the work day. *phew* /flaming

      I somewhat agree with your statements about learning more with Gentoo. What I didn't like about it, as you stated, was that most of the time it forced you to learn by breaking. You can still learn just as much with other distros by simply being curious about how things work (and still get work done in the meantime). Or, if you prefer the Gentoo way, you can download the unstable version of so
  • I was a gentoo user for 3-4 years and I have to say it was by far my favorite Linux distribution. I'd switch to Ubuntu or Fedora for a couple of days and then just go back because Gentoo offered me so much more flexibility and easier access to packages. Recently, however, I'm switching all of my computers to Kubuntu because Gentoo is just not keeping up with my needs. It breaks my heart but it's true.

    The thing that irks me the most is that portage is so horrendously slow. It's beyond painful to use.

    • by Dan Ost ( 415913 )
      Please elaborate: in what way is portage too slow?

      Here's my experience:

      Once a week or so I fire off 'emerge --sync' in an xterm. A little while later I fire off an 'emerge -uDvat world' and come back to it a little bit later to find it happily waiting for instructions.

      At no point am I sitting waiting for it.

      Running 'time emerge -uDvpt world' says that it took 61 seconds on my slowest machine (3 seconds on my server) to generate the list of updated packages. I never notice the time because I simply come back
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by massysett ( 910130 )
        emerge --search

        Dog slow.


        Very slow.

        "I simply come back to it once it's done." I'm sure people said the same thing in the 1970s on UNIX time sharing machines. That's like saying "I never notice the fifteen minute commercial break on television, becaue I simply come back to it once it's done."

        Portage is not bad if you don't mind waiting, but in this age of 3 GHz processors and other package managers (like apt) that do the same job in much less time, Portage is slow. And I'm not even talking about compil
    • Gentoo no longer has all of the packages I need. I've found myself having to download software from web pages more and more, which was something I wanted to avoid with Gentoo.

      You might want to give Project Sunrise [gentoo.org] and layman [gunnarwrobel.de] a look.

      Layman is a tool for managing/sync'ing multiple portage overlays.
      Project Sunrise is a collection of user submitted ebuilds.
      Together the two add a fair bit of software to the portage tree. `layman -L` lists 45 overlays including the Project Sunrise overlay.

    • by Azghoul ( 25786 )
      Totally curious now: What software have you had to download? I guess I'm not as bleeding edge as I used to be, but I can't think of anything recently that wasn't in portage...

      Also, sure, emerge --search is slow, but eix solved that little issue. So I needed to download and use eix not emerge for everything, that's okay.

  • by MostAwesomeDude ( 980382 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:01PM (#19324661) Homepage
    'for some strange reason, the installed Gentoo doesn't allow normal users to run any administrative applications.'

    Gentoo is set up the same way as older Unices for privilege escalation. You cannot su if you are not a member of the wheel group.
  • by funtoo ( 1109261 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:22PM (#19324981) Homepage
    I posted a review of Gentoo 2007.0 on my blog - See: http://www.funtoo.org/drobbins/blog/2007/05/gentoo -linux-20070-review-first.html [funtoo.org]

    Oh, and check out http://www.funtoo.org/ [funtoo.org] while you're at it and let me know what you think of the new logo.

  • Gentoo's great (Score:2, Informative)

    by timonvo ( 1063686 )

    Gentoo is great.

    • The blazing fast updates (ebuilds are added daily)
    • The total control you have with it
    • The great community

    These all make Gentoo my favorite distro.

    If you don't want so many updates, sync less. If you don't want to see all the output, use a frontend. If you want to criticize the founder, go ahead, at least we haven't got Microsoft selling our software.

    But the fact is: Gentoo installs great if you use the CLI, you haven't got any extra services running at boot, you can fully customize

  • I found that over the past year Intel released some funky motherboards (i.e. the i965) and installing Gentoo on them was not really easy. I rather like 2007.0 if only because the installer has a more recent kernel that has added hardware support.
  • If it runs on my laptop (Dell E1705 with a Raedon X1400), I'll give it a go. I liked Gentoo back in 2004 (?) when I tried the live cd with Unreal Tournament demo installed. That was amazing, all of my hardware from 3d video to sound worked first try, unlike any other Linux distribution I tried...
  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @06:16PM (#19328851)
    In my current job, I inherited a whole bunch of servers running Gentoo.

    Not wishing to rock the boat, and not having a problem with gentoo per se, initially I maintained the status quo.

    A few weeks ago, I made a decision. Future server rollouts will be Debian, Gentoo will slowly be discontinued. The reason is nothing to do with installation - I've got enough experience with it that I could install Gentoo in my sleep with my hands tied behind my back.

    The problem is one of maintenance. With Debian or RedHat or Mandriva or almost any other Linux distribution, there's a specific version. A line in the sand, if you will, which states "this is what version we're dealing with".

    Gentoo gets rid of all that, in favour of individual packages being marked stable/masked ("unstable")/hard masked ("very unstable, will break things, you have been warned"). In theory, you never have to do a major version upgrade of a Gentoo system. You just install everything that's marked stable that you want, if you need something specific that hasn't been marked stable you unmask it. A bit like running Debian Stable with the odd package from the testing branch.

    This sounds great, until I now point out the problem.... Gentoo suffers from bit rot. Before you mark me down as a troll, let me explain. Packages still turnover as they age. Eventually, packages are marked obsolete - ie. dropped from portage altogether - and unless you've already taken account of this possibility, once that happens it's a bugger to reinstall them. And once a package is dropped because it's obsolete, sooner or later other packages won't take account of the older versions quirks and version dependencies become at least partly down to luck. Good luck rebuilding a system which has failed with the exact same versions of all the packages it had on there - if it's not been updated in a while and you haven't accounted for such a possibility, the task is to all practical purposes impossible. Combine this with package QA which frankly is nothing like that of Debian - "Stable" generally means "It doesn't cause anyones individual PC to keel over horribly", not "It plays nicely with everything else in the network like it's suppsoed to" - and you've got a recipe for long drawn-out pain if you're trying to run Gentoo on anything more than a few systems.

    The only solutions that I've found are:
    • Take account of this, download and compile everything you're ever likely to need on day 1, then if your needs ever change, repeat the entirety of this with a new server and migrate data across. Never upgrade individual packages, nor install anything new after day 1. Not really an option unless you really like missing out on security updates.
    • Update your system with emerge --sync ; emerge world regularly. "Regularly" probably means at least once a week. Be warned that package upgrades can and do occasionally break things - sometimes you get told about this, generally shortly after the new package is installed and sometimes you don't and you find out the hard way. Only really practical if you've got a complete replication of every damn system to test things on first, and even then it soon falls apart once you've got any serious number of servers.

    Note that I've omitted "keep a copy of every package you install" or "make a note of the version of every package you install". These are effectively useless because ebuilds frequently use the packages sourceforge site to download the code from, and if the package moves or the version that you have in your (old) copy of the portage database is removed from sourceforge, you can't install that package and you've got to do an emerge --sync to get an updated ebuild (and an updated everything else in the process). It's not like any other distribution where the mirrors keep a copy of every package so it doesn't much matter if the upstream server on which the project is hosted breaks somehow. Unless you keep every package from day 1 complete with all its dep

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The problem is one of maintenance. With Debian or RedHat or Mandriva or almost any other Linux distribution, there's a specific version. A line in the sand, if you will, which states "this is what version we're dealing with".

      That's what we ran into. There's just no lifecycle support for a Gentoo system. Unlike, say, RHEL where you're promised X years of backported security fixes. Gentoo is too much of a shifting target, which makes it difficult to use as a server platform.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle