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neyuru
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 1:08 pm    Post subject: Why do you use Gentoo? Reply with quote

This has been asked many times, like here and here but those were asked a long time ago.

If you would be so inclined to answer, I would like to limit the answers to the following:

1) Name (at most) 3 important features you find on Gentoo but won't in other distros (or simply is better implemented in Gentoo)?
2) Name (at most) 3 features you don't find on Gentoo but wished it had?

thanks!
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fturco
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Gentoo mostly because it is highly customizable (via USE flags, for example) and because it has great documentation.
On the other hand, I wish Gentoo was a 100% free GNU/Linux distribution without any proprietary software.
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ipic
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is my only distribution because it is a meta distribution. Which means that I can make my machines (virtual or physical) be exactly as I want them, and not as some arbitrary choices made by package managers (looking at you systemd crowd).

Quote:
On the other hand, I wish Gentoo was a 100% free GNU/Linux distribution without any proprietary software.

You know all that choice means you can do that - right??
You decide what goes onto your machine - not Gentoo.
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fturco
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ipic wrote:
Quote:
On the other hand, I wish Gentoo was a 100% free GNU/Linux distribution without any proprietary software.

You know all that choice means you can do that - right??
You decide what goes onto your machine - not Gentoo.

I perfectly know how I can personally avoid proprietary software on my computers (examples: ACCEPT_LICENSE, linux-libre, etc.), but I still wish a collective decision could be made to remove all proprietary software from the official Gentoo repository, from the Gentoo wiki, etc.
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ipic
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that would remove the choice for people who don't mind using proprietary software, which would go against the only reason I use it - choice.

Why the crusade?
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fturco
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Proprietary software is evil and should not exist.
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fturco wrote:
Proprietary software is evil and should not exist.

I wouldn't go that far, but yeah. I'd like to see it on overlays only.
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Banana
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fturco wrote:
Proprietary software is evil and should not exist.

that is bold statement which is equal dumb as "free and open source is evil and should not exists"

back to topic: I like it because you have really the choice of what you can install and what not.
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etnull
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like configuratability of gentoo, and that most people here don't like systemd, which is close to my own 'ideology'.

What I want is for Gentoo to innovate more, and to have something similar to guix, but not written in guile and fully integrated as a main package manager. I think in modern days having friction-less installs is more valuable than the saved space we have from shared libraries. That's why flatpacks and snaps getting more popular. The days when you needed to fit the entire distribution in 700MB are over, today 250GB SSD is cheap as dirt, why saving space with the big downside of conflicts if you can just install everything the app needs or wants, the exact version it wants it. Of course there are places where you have space constraints, like routers, microprocessors etc, but we are not positioning Gentoo as a system tailored to those needs anyway.
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Banana
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

etnull wrote:
...The days when you needed to fit the entire distribution in 700MB are over, today 250GB SSD is cheap as dirt....

why build an olympic pool if you need only a bath in your home? Why go bigger if you can achieve the same in less?
I don't get the bigger, better and faster. Just do it because we can? Well, that is a lazy exuse.

But we are getting off topic here...
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

etnull,

That way lies a security nightmare. Say 30 apps with 30 different versions of the same library and 29 of them with security issues ...
How do you keep track of and fix that?

Its not a space problem, as you say. Its a security problem.

Gentoo tells me when it wants to update something but can't because something else wants an older version.
I would like it to tell me the update fixes a security problen so I can decide there and then if the risk is tolerable or not.
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etnull
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
etnull,

That way lies a security nightmare. Say 30 apps with 30 different versions of the same library and 29 of them with security issues ...
How do you keep track of and fix that?

What I think of is 1 or 2 most recent versions and their respective libraries, not 30x30, when they are updated by the upstream old ones are discarded altogether, why carrying the old vulnerable junk, plus it's less work for the maintainers.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

etnull,

You trust upstream too much. Especially volunteer upstreams.
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liree
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to topic:

1) I started with Suse, and was always SRC-Compiling Video codecs to get the most out of them.

Then I found Gentoo :) SRC-Compiled everywhere. (Like)

2) Thanks to all the maintainers (Thank you), and the overlays: Newest versions of many software packages.

3) I can configure anything.
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zsitvaij
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started with Gentoo and got too used to the flexibility to give it up. I've used Suse, Ubuntu and Debian, but none stuck.

Having my own portage overlay synchronized with git is vastly superior to trying to keep a private PPA.
One install lasts me the life of the hardware, as I can debug any issue that comes up. (The fact that the world file exists and is responsible for every non-system package, barring sets, is unique.)
Patching my kernel is easy, and so is any other package. Either for my not-then-supported soundcard on my 2009 laptop for 2.6.31, or for ZFS-breaking changes in 5.5.

Gentoo is having my way, even if sometimes I get to keep both pieces.
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shevy
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I currently do not use Gentoo; I did use it in the past, but that was many years ago. I am sort
of a ruby-guy (ruby-nut) e. g. using ruby wherever possible. I do however had also use python,
but I'd prefer ruby as a base (emerge/portage is mostly in python if I remember correctly),
and as a base layout I sort of favour GoboLinux. It just makes more sense to me than
the traditional FHS layout.

Having said that, though, I think Gentoo has something people often don't see: it has lots of
really really clever people on board. Like the guy who patched out systemd from GNOME3 8or provided
shims for it) - that was a heroic task. This is not the only example though, there really were or
are lots of clever people using Gentoo. (I understand that user base fluctuates, people leave,
but new folks come about, so a distribution should try to seek to attract new users too of
course, while retaining old users as much as possible. Quality control is a very important
factor, even if a project is free-to-use; you just have so much more leverage if you have
lots of people, they write more content, more documentation, higher quality, more eyes
to identify bugs etc...)

Void also has lots of smart folks (Arch declined a lot due to many reasons IMO).

So why is "being clever" important? Well, the thing is that being clever means that you can
typically support more configurations, more flexibility too. In Debian, though, you sort of are
just given the default that the debian devs push onto you and that was it. Don't like systemd?
Tough - you can not easily avoid it (you can of course use devuan but it is not quite debian).

On gentoo as far as I know, you can decide on your own. On LFS/BLFS (linux from scratch
etc...) you can also decide.

For casual users, using simple distributions is probably better, say, ubuntu or linux mint,
just to give two examples. But for oldschool *nix folks, I simply think that the amount of
clever devs is a REALLY really good (even if only indirect) metric.

I recommend to the gentoo devs to keep on attracting clever people too. There are already
tons of "be a simple person, use a simple distribution", which is a fine use case - but
they won't have as much choice. (Systemd was just one example; the primary focus
here is on EXTENDABILITY if that is even a word. That is, to be flexible, adaptable,
customizable - ideally while staying simple too, but to not use simple as an explanation
why flexibility is not allowed or possible)
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ChrisJumper
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi neyuru,

i am just here because its easy to use and not like Linux from the stretch. Gentoo is a bit more comfortable. If there is a Bug, linked to Source Code. I just can see if i am affected and could patch it really fast, and just have to rebuild and redistribute to my systems.

However, Gentoo is near Code and Hardware. You get error Messages and see whats happen. If you like to see more Debug Information you have to switch on the Warnings and Various-ability. In the most cases you can learn and remedy some errors by yourself with logic.

The other thing is that you can use modern, edge Code, or if you like change some parts. The dark side is the huge amount of time you can spent in it if you like what you see. But hey, i think Gentoo give so much time, during Compilation and time to think about other stuff, while i can't use this, computer. Its not important because with time you have plenty of Systems running Gentoo. And i like the Aspect of self optimization. This comes by itself with gentoo and the curiosity to learn more and have more power over the systems. Just to be more efficient then before. By Understanding, not just by mimicry a best practise.

Best Regards,

Chris
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pa4wdh
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the level of control it gives me. Feature wise that comes down to USE flags and different types of (un)masking.
My main reason to use Gentoo is that it makes use of the unique property of Free (and Open Source) Software: The code is available. Sometimes i do compile a program without portage and because all the headers and tools are available it's always easy.

I'd wish portage to have less dependencies. Especially to get rid of the python dependency. In my opinion a package manager is also a repair tool for when you somehow screwed up, and there are stories here on the forums where portage did exactly that after a partial rm -rf / for example. Having less dependencies would mean more chance of a repair when your system is in a broken state.
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 6:09 pm    Post subject: copying the live OS Reply with quote

I have a staging server where I do all installs and configuration and rsync the whole kit and caboodle to my live servers. With Gentoo (and God forbid, I should mention it, Funtoo :wink: ), it was fairly easy to know which files to exclude from the copy, so I don't stomp on something. It's surprisingly robust to be able to copy a live OS wholesale to update it. I have a sneaking suspicion it would be more difficult with something like CentOS/Ubuntu.
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paintchip
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Choice, the amount I can learn while tinkering because of this choice, the best community out of any OS/distro

2) I wish it was slightly more popular, like back in the day (mostly because of this ->). I also wish the documentation was maintained a little better. Arch has definitely surpassed us. A lot of the specific program documentation is a bit dated or missing some important stuff. I also wish there was better documentation on kernel options. There are still times when I have no idea that I need specific kernel option X because program Y wants to use it (and I had no idea it was normally on in most distros). It takes a lot of log digging and searching to resolve these issues.

Honestly, these features are just dreamy wishes, I still absolutely love Gentoo and using it feels so right. It's why I ended my distro hopping here.
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coderanger
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the first things coming to my mind are

1) The things making me stay with Gentoo:
KDE Plasma ebuilds are well polished and I can rely on plasma provided by official portage. I did not experience a crash as it was in a few other popular distros
Packages built with stable portage are reliable. I tried another rolling release distro but it was looking like I'm a beta tester for the software proxied as-is from upstream.
NetworkManager does not do any extra network activity under the hood. Other popular distros tend to make it sending heartbeats to their servers

2) The things making discomfort:
Compiling qtwebengine, chromium
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erm67
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used It on a couple of server for years, the LAMP stack is really good and timely updated, unfortunately ATM I am too busy and cannot spend the time It requires, so I moved to CENTOS + remi. I will come back later, of It doesn't die in the mean time.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like portage and the fine grained control over repositories, dependencies and optimization it gives me.
I like openrc and the way Gentoo provides a streamlined way of having a modern desktop (eudev elogind) without systemd.
I like the concept of profiles and that multiple very different approaches (like hardened or musl) can coexist that normally would require their own distro.
I like the portage news feature because it makes it hard to overlook important changes to the distro. On Arch if your system dies you get flamed at, because you should have read on the website "PSA: install killing update ahead".
I like the concept of webapp-config because it makes installing and updating web-apps to your server almost as easy as using some bloated container software like docker.

However:

I dislike that portage does not have the ability to automatically set use-flag dependencies, like when I set abi_x86_32 on wine, it should propagate through the depenendy tree.
I dislike how ruby/python versions are managed because either it makes it hard to only have the minimal necessary versions installed, or you have to manually update PYTHON_TARGETS or RUBY_TARGETS all the time.
I dislike that portage's auxiliary tools are so fragmented and all have differently structured CLIs (like emerge, eix, equery, q, qlop, genlop, etc...), sometimes it's hard to remember which tool has the desired functionality.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I end up always returning to the distribution. It gives me loads of control (via USE flags, for example) and allows me to choose exactly what I want to install. I also like that it's source based, so I can create binaries exactly tailored to my processor. I also like the fact that I don't need systemd to use it. Some of the tooling (eselect, comes to mind here). Is really useful.

Paradoxically, I don't like that it's source based. I have a humble amount of 8GB of ram and that just doesn't allow for -lto and -pgo for larger packages. At times I feel like I'm missing out on the better performance optimizations, but than again... do I need those? I have taken a look at void and, while it has its attractiveness, it's a bit too bare bones for me.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fturco wrote:
but I still wish a collective decision could be made to remove all proprietary software from the official Gentoo repository, from the Gentoo wiki, etc.


So, you want to impose your preferences on all other users. Blech!
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