| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 99, 9 May 2005
Welcome to this year's 19th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Robert Storey installed Gentoo Linux for the first time and he summarises his impressions in a mini-review. Despite some reports in the media, the FTP edition of SUSE LINUX 9.3 has not been released just yet, but there is much to look forward to in the next few weeks - the 3rd test of Fedora Core 4 should be out this coming Tuesday and, according to a new report, Debian Sarge is not far off either. Also in this issue - focus on Frugalware Linux as our featured distribution of the week. Happy reading!
Mini review: Gentoo Linux 2005.0
by Robert Storey
"Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students."
-- Hector Berlioz
Gentoo is a type of penguin, but is also the name of a popular Linux distro. As I write this, it's No. 8 on the DistroWatch page hit ranking. Of course, that does not guarantee that it's the 8th most popular distro on the planet, but clearly there are a lot of people interested in this operating system. So finally I decided to download the CDs, install and find out what all the hullabaloo is about.
A confession - I've been aware of Gentoo Linux since even before its version 1.0 release in early 2002, yet I've never tried it until this week. Why? Because of fear. Not fear of a formidable technical challenge, but rather fear that I didn't have enough time.
And that's an important point. You see the word "time" frequently mentioned when you read reviews about Gentoo. The usual reason is because this source-based distro requires that you spend a good deal of time compiling. Yet ironically, this was not my biggest complaint about it, but more on that below.
Installation - Not for Wimps
With Gentoo, you (the user) are the installation program. The way to install is to download the Gentoo Handbook, print it out (or put it on another nearby computer), and manually go through each step one-by-one while typing commands. First partition the hard drive with fdisk. Then run the mkswap and swapon commands. Then format a partition with mkreiserfs, and mount it on /mnt/gentoo. And so on.
How long this will take varies considerably depending on your hardware, experience and endurance. It took me all day because it was my first time, but battle-hardened Gentoo veterans could probably do it in two or three hours. It must be noted that this is for a "Stage 3" (that is, binary) install. You can optionally go for a "Stage 1" install in which you compile everything from scratch - if you go this route, be prepared to spend three days. Personally, I see little reason not to do Stage 3 install, unless you enjoy spending a full weekend watching stuff like this scroll down your screen:
gcc -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I. -I.. -I.. -I../libs -I/usr/X11R6/include -DFVWM_MODULEDIR=\"/usr/local/libexec/fvwm/2.4.16\" -DFVWM_DATADIR=\"/usr/local/share/fvwm\" -DFVWM_CONFDIR=\"/usr/local/etc\" -g -O2 -c `test -f 'menus.c' || echo './'`menus.c
Of course, some people find that entertaining.
Before I leave the topic of installation, I should add that I had a few issues. First off, the user-friendly cfdisk program is available, so you needn't mess with user-hostile fdisk that the Gentoo Handbook recommends. Also, the instructions call for creating a 32MB /boot partition, but I soon discovered that I couldn't mount this partition. So I decided to do away with the /boot partition altogether and just kept everything in the / partition, which worked fine.
At the end of my installation I found that the module for my Ethernet card was not being loaded, so I had no network. I know that my card uses the via-rhine driver, and typing "modprobe via-rhine" worked, so I added "via-rhine" to file /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6 and all was well on the next reboot.
Finally, the Gentoo Handbook makes no mention of how to set up X Window. Fortunately, I'm already familiar with the xorgcfg utility which is also included with Gentoo - this worked, except that my USB mouse wasn't detected. Having no mouse was a definite drag - the solution was to edit file /etc/X11/xorg.conf and make my mouse settings as follows:
Option "Protocol" "auto"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "zaxismapping" "4 5"
A Little Learning is Dangerous
After spending a week playing with Gentoo, I now understand what is so addictive about it: the educational value. The fact that it's source-based is cute, but no big deal, at least not for me. The real benefit of Gentoo, in my opinion, is the education.
Next to Linux from Scratch, Gentoo is probably the best teaching distro around. Did you ever want to compile your own kernel but were afraid to try? Well, with Gentoo "being afraid" is not an option - if you want this baby to fly, you must compile the kernel. And of course, before you can compile the kernel you first have to configure it manually with menuconfig.
But compiling a kernel is just the start. Did you know how to configure /boot/grub/grub.conf? Did you know that /usr/share/zoneinfo is a symbolic link to a file in the /usr/share/zoneinfo/ directory? These and other fascinating facts await survivors of a successful Gentoo install.
Tweak Till You Squeak
Aside from the forced education, proponents of the Gentoo WayTM also wax euphoric about the distro's tweakability. In particular, Gentoo lets you play around with "USE flags", which can affect features and performance of the operating system. If you don't know what USE flags are, you're in good company - most people happily go through life without ever twiddling their OS's USE flags, apparently with no ill effects. I won't try to explain the concept - you'll find more than you ever wanted to know about this subject in the Gentoo Handbook. Let it also be said that you really don't need to mess with USE flags - the operating system will work fine if you just accept its defaults. However, defaults are for sissies - real men customize their OS to the Nth degree.
But this raises another question - does all this twiddling in fact do any good? Opinions are divided. The Gentoo faithful claim that they can enhance performance this way, but comparing the results side-by-side with another fast distro like Slackware or Debian, I must say that it's hard to see the difference.
Then again, the ability to get under the hood and see how things work is of crucial importance to developers. Just yesterday I was reading this story about a Gentoo developer who has created a system called initng which dramatically speeds up boot time. It will be ported to other distros eventually, so it's not Gentoo-specific, but it's probably no coincidence that it was developed on Gentoo.
Conclusion - Not for Aunt Tilly
Gentoo is a time-consuming and technically challenging distro that you'd better not install on Aunt Tilly's computer (unless you don't like her). In the right hands, Gentoo can be educational and a good platform for development. In the wrong hands, it can be fritterware (because it fritters your time away). No doubt the developers could make Gentoo a lot easier to use by adding an installation program and a few clever configuration tools, but then it wouldn't be Gentoo. The question you have to ask yourself is, do you want to spend your time tweaking, or do you want something that just works?
Gentoo Linux can be educational and a good platform for development
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News: SUSE LINUX 9.3 FTP edition not released
If you have tried to download and install the FTP edition of SUSE LINUX 9.3 then you were disappointed to find out that you were wasting your time - it has not been publicly released yet. This, of course, wouldn't be news under normal circumstances, except that there have been several news reports claiming that SUSE's FTP servers and mirrors now carry a boot ISO image for FTP install. This is not the case.
The mini-installation ISO image available from SUSE's FTP server is designed for system administrators who have access to the full installation tree (perhaps on their own purchased DVD) and who need to install SUSE LINUX on a large number of computers. Using this method, they can simply copy the content of the SUSE LINUX DVD on one of the computers' hard disk, configure it as an FTP server, and use the mini-installation ISO to grab all files from this FTP server. The advantage of this approach is that the system administrators can perform the installation on several machines at once. The alternative would be to load the SUSE LINUX DVD into each computer, wait for the installation process to complete, then move to the next computer - certainly a more time-consuming process, if you have to do it on more than just a handful of computers.
SUSE normally uploads the complete installation tree of SUSE LINUX to public FTP servers about 1 - 3 months after the official release. Only then will you be able to use the mini-installation CD to perform an FTP installation of SUSE LINUX 9.3. As always, we'll let you know when that happens.
|Featured distribution of the week: Frugalware Linux
Have you had a chance to check out the new Frugalware Linux? One of the most up-to-date Linux distributions available today, Frugalware Linux 0.2 was released two weeks ago as a set of four CD images or one DVD image (a small FTP install image is also available). We spent some time to install and evaluate several less well-known Linux distributions during the past week, but in the end we decided that it was Frugalware Linux 0.2 that deserved the spotlight as the "featured distribution of the week".
What is so impressive about Frugalware Linux? The installer, a menu-driven program similar to Slackware's own installer, is an intuitive and well-designed application with all the necessary options we have come to expect from any modern operating system installer. It also configured all our hardware without much user interaction before setting up the KDM login screen for a graphical login into KDE (version 3.4.0), Frugalware's default desktop. Apart from a standard desktop (KDE, GNOME and XFce are available), Frugalware comes with a couple of custom-built utilities - Frugalware Package Manager and Frugalware Runlevel Editor (see screenshot below).
And this is where things became interesting. As a matter of fact, Frugalware Linux is loosely modelled on Slackware Linux, the preferred distribution of the project's lead developer Miklós Vajna. But in a recent interview with a Hungarian online publication, Miklós revealed his three main grievances with Slackware: slow package manager, a comparatively complex procedure for installing security updates and for upgrading the entire distribution, and poor support for languages other than English. These deficiencies prompted Miklós to start working on his own distribution in April 2003. The first stable release (version 0.1) of Frugalware Linux came out in November 2004 and the current latest release (version 0.2) some six months later.
How did the developers address the problem with the Slackware's package manager? They did it by adopting Arch Linux's "pacman" to work with Frugalware and by creating a graphical front-end to handle all package management needs from a comfort of an intuitive GUI application. Unlike Slackware's package tools, pacman is written in C, which makes it noticeably speedier. As one would expect from a modern package manager, it is also able to resolve dependencies automatically. If a certain package is not available, users can either build it themselves or they can make a request on the Frugalware web site.
We have had good experiences with the latest Frugalware Linux release during the few hours we gave ourselves to test it. Possibly the only problem with this project is that there are now too many other excellent distribution competing for the relatively small number of users willing to try out all the different Linux "flavours". As such, only a few users might wonder that far down our page hit ranking list to consider a relatively little-known project, such as Frugalware. Which is a pity; Frugalware Linux is a solid distribution with an excellent development infrastructure and a complete range of support resources, including documentation, user forums and mailing lists. Next time you get a few spare moments, give Frugalware a partition on your hard disk - you are likely to be pleasantly surprised.
Frugalware Linux - a combination of Slackware's simplicity and Arch's package manager with a highly up-to-date package set.
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|Released Last Week
Minislack has been updated to version 1.0.1: "Minislack 1.0.1 is a maintenance release providing the following changes: a new service management tool called 'service'; a more pleasant setup color; addition of the Ruby language interpreter; cleanup in the package tree; minor bugfixes (XFce package). The ISO is already available in the download section (by the way, the torrent mirror is currently unavailable, sorry for this)." This is the full release announcement.
Kaella - Knoppix Linux Azur 2.0
A new version of Kaella Knoppix Linux Azur, which is an adaptation of the Knoppix live CD for French speakers, has been released. Some of the changes, as detailed in the README file (in French), include the following: "The default kernel is now 2.6.11; UnionFS file system, which makes it possible to write to the virtual file system while live CD is in use; native support for the ipw2200 (Centrino2) WLAN chipsets; user's home directory and configuration can now be saved on hard disk, even on a NTFS partition; KDE 3.3.2, GIMP 2.2.4, OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 and many other package updates."
Kaella 2.0 - a new version of the Knoppix-based live CD with a complete support for French
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This is a new release of MCNLive, a Linux live CD based on Mandriva Linux: "Based on Mandriva Limited Edition 2005 with kernel 2.6.11, MCNLive 'Brugge' features a complete KDE desktop (on less than 300MB) for the Internet, office, sound and video, graphics, games, educational programs and network tools. Dutch (user mcnl) and English (user root) available. Save your personal settings and your documents on a USB flash drive to create a persistent home. The 'Brugge' release comes with UnionFS, which is enabled by default, so you can install (into RAM) additional applications on the running live CD from preconfigured Mandriva FTP sources." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
New releases of the SLAX live CD are coming fast these days - this is version 5.0.5. What's new? "Fixed error message during X startup (about hostname); guest user can see mixer icon and screensize icon too; added kio_imap for KMail; LISA is started with KDE to allow LAN browsing; startx didn't start KDE after flux command, fixed; updated Fluxbox menu; created nice Fluxbox plastik theme; added fstab-create script to make sure all devices are listed in fstab; fixed uselivemod and webconfig feature." Find more details in the changelog.
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.50
Parsix GNU/Linux is an Iranian live CD based on Knoppix with support for the Persian language. Version 0.50 has been released: "Another release and a big step forward for Parsix GNU/Linux project. Parsix GNU/Linux 0.50 is built from scratch using Knoppix 3.8.1 with the latest Debian Sarge packages (May 1 2005). There are many new features and additions like UnionFS that allows full read/write on CD, users can add/remove packages while running on CD, NTFS read/write support, Kernel 2.6.11, Gnome 2.8.3, OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 preconfigured for RTL languages, GIMP 2.2.6, Firefox 1.0.3, Thunderbird 1.0.2...." Read the full release announcement and view the screenshots page for further details.
Damn Small Linux 1.1
Damn Small Linux 1.1 has been released. From the changelog: "New boot time option 'secure' will prompt for passwords for root & dsl; new boot time option 'protect' will prompt for an encryption password and then triple des encrypt the backup file; new boot time option 'host' to pass hostname; added webdata, a triple des secure backup/restore to remote FTP server; lspci now display textual description from pci database; added button to emelfm 'Add2Filetool' to easily select and add files to the filetool.lst; updated Word view, Excel view, and Powerpoint view to accept spaces in filenames...."
Pardus Live CD 1.1
Pardus is a Turkish project with the goal of creating a Gentoo-based live CD for Turkish speakers. Version 1.1 is the project's second release and the good news is that it will be included in this month's Chip magazine (Turkish edition) as a cover CD. The major differences between 1.0 and 1.1 include the following: X loads v41 module by default; all bookmarks in Firefox are now in Turkish; NTFS module parameters have been updated; Gtk-Qt engine comes with an updated default font; the Java symbolic link was fixed in all Mozilla browsers; certain symbolic links under /etc were fixed (GConf and some modem drivers). Here is the complete release announcement (in Turkish).
LliureX is a project of the Council of Culture, Education and Sport at the Municipality of Valencia, Spain. The LliureX distribution is a Knoppix-based live and installation CD with support for Valencian (a language very similar to Catalan) and Spanish. It is intended as an operating system for educational institutions in the Valencia region. LliureX uses exclusively Free Software and is distributed free of charge. The project's inaugural version was released yesterday, during the Congress of Free Software of the Community of Valencia. Find more details about Lliurex on its web site (in Valencian and Spanish) and in this discussion (in Spanish) at Barrapunto.
White Box Enterprise Linux 4
White Box is the latest project to release a Linux distribution rebuilt from source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4: "Yes it has been delayed a few weeks longer than planned, but this baby is finally born! White Box Enterprise Linux 4 is now moving to the mirrors. The i386 ISO images are widely distributed as I type and the x86_64 and source images should appear within 24 hours. ... This release is starting out with i386 and AMD64 ports built from the exact same source package set, which is RHEL4 updated with all errata released through April 30. The kernel is an exception to the WB naming convention." Find a lot more details in the release announcement.
After a long delay, the PHLAK (Professional Hacker's Linux Assault Kit) project has released a brand new version of their live and installation CD: "Here it is - the version that everyone has been waiting for. Some of the changes are as follows: kernel version 2.6.9; wireless drivers: wlan-ng, patched Orinoco, madwifi, HostAP, Centrino, and NdisWrapper; UnionFS - allows you perform updates and changes as though the filesystem was read/write; PHLAK Control Panel - all your system related needs including a hard drive installer; PHLAK Security Panel - lock your box down quickly or start/stop services; USB pen drive support; and more. Thanks for all your support and happy Phlaking!" Here is the full release announcement.
PHLAK 0.3 - the much awaited release comes with a new control centre and excellent documentation
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QiLinux 1.2 has been released: "We are proud to announce the immediate availability of the new QiLinux 1.2 release. A list of the most important changes follows: 220.127.116.11 kernel; proprietary ATI and NVIDIA video drivers integrated; support for many USB ADSL modems; graphical installation tool Qist (QiLinux Installation Tool), giving a choice among a tenth of groups and thousands of packages; installations and updates management with apt and the graphical tool synaptic; remote desktop administration with FreeNX; detailed installation guide; a lot of new software packages for multimedia, graphics, office and productivity. We suggest you to carefully read the installation guide and try this new release full of new features!" See the release announcement for more information.
Mutagenix is a Slackware- and SLAX-based Linux distribution for the desktop. A new version is out: "2.6.10-1 is released. Some Mutagenix features are: starts automatically as a DHCP client; integrated firewall which auto starts on DHCP networks in stealth mode; slapt-get, with multiple rc files with different sources, is included. cpan2tgz for automatically downloading and installing Perl CPAN modules; ext2 partitioned USB keys will be mounted as your home dir (/root) so your environment can be saved; an xorg.conf on the mounted USB key will be used instead of the default supplied xorg.conf; Windows password changing utility." Find more details in the release announcement and changelog.
redWall Firewall 0.5.5
A new version of redWall Firewall is available: "Good day firewallers and spam fighters! The redWall Firewall version 0.5.5 has been released. This is a major update. A lot of bugs have been fixed and a lot of new features have been implemented: Openswan and OpenVPN have been upgraded which should fix a lot of VPN-based problems and bugs; the kernel has been upgraded to 2.4.30-ow1; the whole mail server setup and spam filtering has been reviewed and enhanced; altermime has been added in order to add email disclaimers to outgoing emails (see /etc/altermime); 'rules du jour' has been added in order to keep SpamAssassin up-to-date with new rules; tcptrack has been added in order to track what's going on on your firewall...." See the release announcement for more details.
A new version of the AUSTRUMI mini live CD has been released. What's new? "Removed stardict, added stardict-ed; removed games: marbles, xskat, xonix; added games: atomix, gsoko, icebreaker; added PHP programs - uebimiau (webmail), xpai (xmail administration); variant b: updated Opera, Skype; variant a: removed Opera and Skype, added Firefox with Flash player, Linphone and xchat; Kaspar Melkis translated netconfig and ppconfig into English; updated some programs; fixed some bugs." Read the full changelog on the distribution's home page for more information.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 "Sarge"
Steve Langasek has posted a message presenting a new timeline for the release of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 "Sarge": "Sarge is now frozen! ... And if everything goes well, we'll be ready to release at the end of the month." That's a big "if" in the world of Debian developers; just remember that the first scheduled release date for Sarge was set to 1 December 2003. Nevertheless, Sarge is now in a considerably better shape that it has ever been so perhaps the release is not too far off (don't count on 30 May, though).
Mandriva Linux 2006
Mandriva's development pages have been updated to include a preliminary release schedule of Mandriva Linux 2006. The first Cooker snapshot is expected next week, the first beta next month, and the final release of the Official edition is scheduled for 15 September 2005. Some of the new features expected to be included in Mandriva Linux 2006 are listed on this page.
The OpenBSD 3.7 CD sets have reportedly started shipping: "Many, many readers have written in to tell us that the 3.7 CDs have arrived at their destinations. No drunken, dancing, movie taunting everyone has been made yet, but I have faith that someone will pick up the slack and send us a video. The FTP release will still be around May 19, but stay tuned for the actual announcement. We also have word that the new wireframe puffy shirts are sooper secksi. We here at Undeadly would like to extend our thanks to all of the OpenBSD developers for putting out such a high quality release, and wish them much beer and hacking for further way life." Read more at the OpenBSD Journal. The OpenBSD 3.7 CDs can be ordered from this page (US$45.00).
NetBSD 1.6.3, 2.1 and 3.0
KernelTrap has published a mailing list post by James Chacon, presenting a timeline for the upcoming releases of NetBSD: "The next minor release is NetBSD 2.1, planned for late June of 2005. 'This will be the first minor release of the NetBSD 2 branch,' James explained, 'and will incorporate all changes from the NetBSD 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 security/critical updates as well as new feature additions/fixes.' The next major release is NetBSD 3.0, planned shortly after for late July of 2005, 'this was originally branched on March 16, 2005 and is in BETA today. It will become the next major release for NetBSD.' And the final 1.6 release, 1.6.3, is planned for August or September of 2005, 'this will be the final minor release of the NetBSD 1.6 branch and will close out any existing fixes submitted. After this has been released the 1.6 branch will be closed.'" Read more at KernelTrap.org.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
Server upgrade, statistics and upcoming features
We have a pleasure to greet you from a freshly updated DistroWatch.com server, now running on FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE. As the FreeBSD mirrors started to get populated with the new stable version, we decided to upgrade straight away. As mentioned in earlier newsletters, we have had some issues with FreeBSD 5.3, a few problems that our web hosting provider confirmed to have affected other FreeBSD 5.3 servers they manage. We hope that FreeBSD 5.4 will be a more solid operating system and that we will keep bringing you news and features without having to spend excessive amount of time administering and troubleshooting the server.
Some of the statisticians among you might be interested in a handful of figures indicating the growing popularity of DistroWatch, which hopefully translates into a growing popularity of Linux, BSD, and open source software in general. April 2005 was our busiest month ever - excluding mirrors, we served nearly 6.9 million pages and transferred 453GB of data during the month. April 2005 also recorded the highest daily number of page views on the main page - it happened on the 8th of April (the day when KNOPPIX 3.8.1 was released and one day after the final release of Ubuntu Linux 5.04) when the main page of DistroWatch was viewed a total of 102,894 times. This was the first (and so far the only) time the number of page views exceeded 100,000 in one day. The average daily number of visitors viewing the DistroWatch main page during April 2005 was 78,730, which is also a new record.
As for the upcoming site enhancements, we are currently revising the search page and will add more search options, based on your requests. We will also include a "language support" field, but collection of this data takes longer than that of most other information about each distribution. Finally, we would like to welcome Herschel, a new PHP coder who has started working on a web-based interface for translators; once complete, the new page will allow readers to translate parts of the web site into their own language easily. Watch this space for more details.
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New distribution additions
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New on the waiting list
- Boreas GNU/Linux. Boreas GNU/Linux is a new Turkish live CD based on Knoppix.
- Lin4Astro. Lin4Astro is a simplified Linux distribution, contained on only one CD, and including all the applications needed to acquire astronomical pictures using a webcam.
- paldo GNU/Linux. paldo is a Upkg-driven GNU/Linux distribution. It is kind of a mix of a source and a binary distribution. Even though it builds packages like a source distribution, it provides binary packages as well. paldo stands for "pure adaptable Linux distribution"; it comes with very few patches against its packages. You can change every package by providing a local version of the sources and specifications you've changed and you can even configure your system automatically through local differential repositories. The whole distribution is very flexible because it is built on top of Upkg.
- VnOSS LiveCD. VnOss LiveCD is a new Vietnamese live CD project based on Gentoo Linux.
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DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 404
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 11
- Number of discontinued distributions: 50
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 114
|DistroWatch in the News
DistroWatch in PC Authority
The May issue of the Australian PC Authority magazine has published a list of Top 100 web secrets. Your favourite Linux/BSD distribution web site is a "secret" number 24: "Need a version of Linux, that fits under 40MB and is translated into Esperanto? Or how about a version that's so easy your grandmother can use it? Unfortunately, the flexibility of Linux leads to an overwhelming amount of choice, where its biggest advantage can quickly turn into its biggest disadvantage for new users. Sites like www.distrowatch.com provide a searchable, centralised database of hundreds of Linux distributions to help you find the most suitable version." You can read the rest of the article here.
That's all for today. We hope that you enjoyed this week's DistroWatch Weekly!
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Gentoo installation (by beeper on 2005-05-09 10:36:17 GMT from Switzerland) |
I tried Gentoo at least 4 times and I always gave up due to the Installation.
Great distro (they say) but you need loooots of patiencea and time
2 • Gentoo (by Reuben Perelman on 2005-05-09 10:44:58 GMT from United States)
I've done stage1, stage2, and stage3, installes, and it has never takes me 3 days to install.
"Before I leave the topic of installation, I should add that I had a few issues. First off, the user-friendly cfdisk program is available, so you needn't mess with user-hostile fdisk that the Gentoo Handbook recommends."
That's Gentoo's flexibilty, you can use the tools you want to.
"Let it also be said that you really don't need to mess with USE flags - the operating system will work fine if you just accept its defaults. However, defaults are for sissies - real men customize their OS to the Nth degree."
USE flags can add features that might be curcial to you. When I first used gentoo on my dual monitor setup, KDE and Fluxbox would maximize windows to both monitors. It turned out that this was because xinerama wasn't in my use flags.
3 • Ubuntu and Kubuntu merge (by Roman on 2005-05-09 10:54:25 GMT from Canada)
What is the purpose of having both Ubuntu and Kubuntu in distro list? They are definitely not separate distros, as Kubuntu is just the same old Ubuntu with standard KDE packages included. They even get released together at the same time.
Quote from kubuntu site: "Kubuntu is the result of several months effort to get KDE 3.4 into Ubuntu's main repository and create the first major derived Ubuntu distribution. It is not a fork of Ubuntu but an official project of it, sharing the same package archive and infrastructure. It is possible to convert an Ubuntu system to Kubuntu or vice versa."
So, if they got the same package list, why don't we merge them into single distro entry?
4 • Ubuntu and Kubuntu merge (by ladislav on 2005-05-09 11:03:18 GMT from Taiwan)
What is the purpose of having both Ubuntu and Kubuntu in distro list?
What is the purpose of each of the two projects having separate web sites? Initially I was not planning to list Kubuntu separately, but since Kubuntu launched its own web site, it gave an impression that it is a separate project, or at least, different enough to warrant its own web site (and its own page on DistroWatch).
5 • Ubuntu and Kubuntu merge (by Roman on 2005-05-09 11:20:09 GMT from Canada)
This is wiki page, so I am not sure about how authoritive it is, but the tone is quite clear-cut IMO.
"The Kubuntu project aims to be to KDE what Ubuntu is to GNOME: a great integrated distro with all the great features of Ubuntu, but based on the KDE desktop.
Kubuntu and Ubuntu are not meant to be seen as distinct projects; Kubuntu is part of the Ubuntu project, and they are both part of one development team that contributes to the whole. Kubuntu is Ubuntu with a different default setup; where Ubuntu stresses (but is not limited to) the use of the GNOME desktop environment, Kubuntu is a KDE-based release.
The Ubuntu CD will contain only GNOME as a desktop environment; the Kubuntu CD will contain only KDE, and this is the primary difference."
6 • Gentoo way (by catalinuxro on 2005-05-09 11:23:11 GMT from Romania)
sorry but :
1.if you want install Gentoo in RH way is Vidalinux, a gentoo
version with Anaconda point-and-click installer (for aunt Tilly -btw )
2.if you don't want use USE flags , don't use them
3.Open source sofware(including Linux Distros) is a mather of choice.
4.read Cathedral and Bazaar by Eric S Raymond and you'll know why
5. all day for a stage 3 install? no way. P3/500-256M and 1-st time with a novice(english speakers or not)=3-4 hours-not more
7 • Frugalware (by Dima on 2005-05-09 11:27:27 GMT from Israel)
Funny, Frugalware chose KDE as the default desktop, but two of their main homebrew apps are GTK-based (as seen on the screenshot).
Make up your mind, guys! :)
8 • Gentoo Mini-review (by fdavid on 2005-05-09 11:44:54 GMT from Austria)
I don't doubt that you installed and used Gentoo, but the whole review could be written without it. The problem is that your review lists the points that are generally thoght by people never used Gentoo, and hardly list any points mentioned by people who use it.
* installation: not an issue, one can do a stage3 install within an hour. Real configuration and custumisation won't be ever done by any installer of any distro, so this must be always done manually, and always takes time.
* compilation: once you have a running system you can always work beside installing (compiling) new programs without even knowing that there are performance hungry applications running in the background. The system remains responsive, due to the niceness of processes.
* speed: not an issue, this is not what gentoo is used/liked for
* USE flags: as the name suggests they are really for customising the usage of your system. They provide a general configuration possiblity, with which you can avoid messing up your system with applications and features you don't ever need, but you can always have that ones, which are essential for your work. Setting USE flags basically influences tha package dependencies.
Not for Aunt Tilly:
* Yes, unless Aunt Tilly is a system administrator, which I presume not the case. Not surprisingly, neither my wife is a system administrator. But she still uses the system with pleasure. That's not even a question of what distro or what OS she uses, but how it is prepared for her use.
Missed points, what makes most of us using Gentoo:
* system concept (init scripts, installation (emerge), etc-update, USE flags, and so on...)
* easy update (install once for a lifetime)
* up-to-date repostiories with a plethora of software
* open and helpful community
The point you mentioned, and I fully agree:
* educational value: there's no way not to know your system. But which system administrator doesn't need to know _everything_ about the system he maintains?
Anyway, thank you for taking the time for the review, but you might have needed some more time to reveal the real values hidden behind a fearing intallation process.
9 • Gentoo (by Beavis on 2005-05-09 11:57:03 GMT from United States)
What a _poor_ reviw of Gentoo that only helps to further the myth that Gentoo is for uber geeks.
It _is_ a challange to make Gentoo into a decent desktop system, but Gentoo is a fantastic server. Especially if you don't install X and a window manager.
I can do a stage 3 install in about an hour. Once I'm done I have the most robust server platform available in the linux arena.
10 • RE: Beavis (by Jamster on 2005-05-09 12:12:06 GMT from United Kingdom)
>What a _poor_ reviw of Gentoo that only helps to further the myth that Gentoo is for uber geeks.
Well, please enlighten me by explaining which Linux Distribution, aside of Linux From Scratch, is harder to install than Gentoo. And yes, I have used both before.
In my opinion, none. Now, if the second-hardest to install Linux Distribution is not for Geeks, then there's something seriously wrong with the perception of what the average user looks like :>
11 • whitebox linux (by anonymous coward on 2005-05-09 12:12:50 GMT from United States)
Seems the owner of the http://whiteboxlinux.net and http://whiteboxlinux.com domains has decided to offer them on ebay as a peace offering between wbel and himself.This is really great news so lets hope someone with WBEL enthusiasm steps up to build a respectable community site.
12 • Frugalware (by distro_hopper on 2005-05-09 12:26:53 GMT from Germany)
Frugalware sounds very interesting, I'll probably give it a shot later during this week. Thanks for introducing this distro I didn't know about until I read your feature. DistroWatch Weekly is cool!
13 • Bla Bla (by Marauder on 2005-05-09 12:44:58 GMT from Canada)
- Yes Gentoo is hard and long to install but, if you can read you can
install it easy.
- Kubuntu and Ubuntu are better off split. Even if they share the
same base, Ubuntu is more refined.
- Thanks Ladislav for the language support criteria in you search
page, it will be used a lot.
Thanks again Robert and Ladislav for DWW.
14 • RE: fdavid (by IMQ on 2005-05-09 13:06:04 GMT from United States)
I don't doubt that you installed and used Gentoo, but the whole review could be written without it. The problem is that your review lists the points that are generally thoght by people never used Gentoo, and hardly list any points mentioned by people who use it.
He clearly stated that this is the first time he tried Gentoo. It would be impossible for him to list the points by veteran Gentoo users, wouldn't it?
one a side note, I had tried Gentoo a couple years ago, before it was released as 1.0. I learned a fews things about installing Gentoo the...Gentoo way:
3. Fast connection
4. Decent hardware
5. Of course know-how
If one is not in a hurry (well, one can't), one can get it set up over the week-end the basic system. Now add X windows and KDE and GNOME and OpenOffice.org, the week-end project will likely turn into a week-long project easily.
15 • Gentoo (by Robert Storey on 2005-05-09 13:22:49 GMT from Taiwan)
> What a _poor_ reviw of Gentoo that only helps to further the myth that Gentoo is for uber geeks.
Guilty as charged, but please remember this was a mini-review. If I was doing a full-review, I would have contacted some members of the Gentoo community and had them "review the review" before publishing (I always do that with full reviews).
And let me add that I didn't dislike Gentoo. I still have it installed, and intend to play with it some more. It's a fine learning distro. But it really does consume a lot of time.
> It _is_ a challange to make Gentoo into a decent desktop system, but Gentoo is a fantastic server. Especially if you don't install X and a window manager.
Yes, and I had some additional challenges that I didn't mention in mini-review. Some packages wouldn't compile (Sylpheed, for example). Two other people I know managed to crash their Gentoo systems irrevocably after installing some packages, though that didn't happen to me.
> I can do a stage 3 install in about an hour. Once I'm done I have the most robust server platform available in the linux arena.
I can believe it. If you go minimalist (no X, since it's not appropriate for a server), Gentoo would be a nice little system. However, if you were rolling out a whole bunch of servers (as you would at a web hosting service, for example) it would be quite a challenge without an installation program.
But Gentoo is great for learning. You'll be a better system administrator for using it. And I can see why developers like it too.
16 • Re: Gentoo Mini-review (by DiegoG on 2005-05-09 13:23:18 GMT from Argentina)
I think Robert's review was correct, since Gentoo users will probably be reading Gentoo specific resources, instead of an article in a general distro site such as this.
I've not used Gentoo, but I found Linux From Scratch highly educative. And I agree with Robert: it's for geeks. I can't give such a distribution to a final user unless I was prepared to be the system administrator if any problems should arise.
17 • Gentoo (by vic on 2005-05-09 13:28:40 GMT from Luxembourg)
Gentoo surely is a nice distro, but I think that most people (those who want to have a tidy X workstation) will not need to try it (though the installation is very interesting!). It's a matter of taste, I don't like Gentoo since every other distro can give me the same at a lower "price", which is time & patience. And yes, as a newbie you will definitely need a LOT of time to install and configure a system with X, alsa, oo.org, etc.. of course you can stick to the non-graphical terminal if you want. Arch Linux is a bit "better", since packages are precompiled.
18 • Very Punny (by SFN on 2005-05-09 13:34:11 GMT from United States)
"Having no mouse was a definite drag"
So, you're saying it just didn't click with you?
19 • Gentoo (by Cory G on 2005-05-09 14:10:16 GMT from United States)
I used Gentoo for 6 months and loved it, I decided to give Arch Linux a try on a slower Laptop, it actually ran faster and rocked more stable than Gentoo. In my opinion, Arch Linux would make a healthy choice for those who think Gentoo is too time consuming.
20 • Frugalware (by |TG| Mateo on 2005-05-09 14:30:40 GMT from United States)
Nice to see Frugalware get some press for a change. This is my favorite "stealth" distro. Does everything right, noone notices. Too bad too. Well worth the DVD download.
21 • For the upwardly mobile (by William Roddy on 2005-05-09 14:55:13 GMT from United States)
For those of you who like to live on the edge, Ubuntu now has the Breezy Badger repositories available. This is the early part of the development tree and, as such, we are warned that things might break from time to time. But if you have a partition upon which you'd like to follow the Breezy tree for the next five or six months, simply install Hoary, then search-and-replace "hoary" with "breezy" (lower case is important, he blushed) in the apt repository list and do a dist-upgrade.
Several hundred new packages are already upgradeable and, so far, except for small glitches in the KDE arena, which can be jointly install, even though it's a separate project, nothing's broken on me yet.
We are cautioned that Ubuntu Breezy Badger is a work early in progress, so I'd like to offer the suggestion that we don't criticize the cooks before the soup's done. Let's wait till the final meal, when the distro's released (on schedule, if the past is any indication) six month from the time Hoary Hedgehog came out.
I'm still keeping Scientific Linux as the stable distribution on my computer and laptop, I still like it a lot, and highly recommend folks try it, if you need stability, security and/or enterprise Linux. There's a wonderful throng of very detail-oriented geniuses using SL as their primary operating system.
Thank you, Robert, for your mini-review of Gentoo.
Thank you, Ladislav, for another great start to Monday.
22 • Notes from a resident Gentoo bigot (by Ed Borasky on 2005-05-09 15:06:26 GMT from United States)
1. Once you get the habits down and write a few bash scripts, administration of a Gentoo system is very easy. The one caution I would make is that "things are in different places" on Gentoo from where they are in Red Hat or Debian. This would be a concern if you "learned Linux system administration" with Gentoo, then had to un-learn/re-learn a bunch of stuff for the RHCE exam. That's the case with me, and CentOS 3.4 (RHEL 3 clone I'm using to study for RHCE) seems clunky to me after a year with Gentoo.
2. I've told the Gentoo developers that I don't really see the need for anything other than a stage3 plus GRP (precompiled packages) install, even on my Athlon T-bird, where the best pre-compiled packages are for i686. I did a couple of stage1 installs just to see what happens, but I didn't need to. A stage3 install with everything I use from the GRP is about the same time as a complete CentOS install -- two or three hours. It takes another half-day or so to install all the other packages I use -- science/math and audio mostly. The one gotcha is that I do have to rebuild GCC because it defaults without FORTRAN. :(
3. The slowest box I run Gentoo on is a 933 MHz P3, so I'm not sure if I'm a good one to talk about compile times. There are some packages that do take a long time to compile. xorg is a couple of hours, and KDE is, or at least used to be, overnight or longer. But most of them don't take all that long.
4. One point about Gentoo that seldom gets made is the size of the package repository that's part of the distro. They are somewhere around 9400 packages as I write this, more than Woody and about 2/3 of Sarge. Gentoo has way more than what's in CentOS. As far as I can tell, the ones marked "stable" are as solid and stable as those in Woody or CentOS. As far as I can tell, Gentoo does as good a job on security alerts as Woody or CentOS. So ... that makes Gentoo the biggest major stable secure distro in my book (Ubuntu bigots -- please feel free to contradict me).
5. Gentoo and Debian seem to be the only major distros left that still support Alpha, PowerPC, and Sparc as well as the ubiquitous x86 and its descendants. Is this good or bad? I have no idea. As long as the Linux kernel and GNU support them, distros should in my opinion.
6. Deploying identical Gentoo installs to identical machines probably isn't much more difficult than it is for other distros. A couple of simple bash scripts will do a stage3 install plus installing all packages if you have an NFS-mountable pre-compiled package repository.
23 • Aha! Spotted something re Buffalo... (by Steve on 2005-05-09 15:07:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
Buffalo, my choice of sensible distro for older machines with:
* pre-built procesor specific kernels,
* ready for either general server or desktop plus
* IceWM - very nice lightweight desktop
... has gone to liveCD! See
http://buffalolinux.dyndns.org/ and http://buffalolinux.dyndns.org/download.html
plus they've got a new, faster server.
Sounds good. Am d/l Buffalo-Live-1.7.3-4.iso right now; will report back in a day how BuffLive gets on with my machines.
24 • (K)Ubuntu LiveCD vs. Knoppix?? (by Ed Borasky on 2005-05-09 15:14:12 GMT from United States)
What would be more interesting is the differences between the Kubuntu LiveCD and Knoppix, given that the (Gnome) Ubuntu LiveCD absorbed the Gnoppix LiveCD project. Comments, anyone? I think we did Knoppix vs. Kanotix already :).
Speaking of Knoppix, I've had some problems booting Knoppix 3.8.1 on machines that did just fine with 3.7, but haven't had time to dig into what's happening. Anyone else seeing stuff like this?
25 • Gentoo (by ray carter at 2005-05-09 15:16:40 GMT from United States)
I've been doing computer software support and development for 30 years. I've also been working with Unix since 1992 (sys admin, etc) and Linux for about five years. I have several comments concerning Gentoo:
1) I have no idea exactly how much linear time is required for an install, but when I installed on my mini-itx, I did a stage one install. Total time from starting until I had the total system set up pretty much the way I wanted it was about a week. You also have to realize that I have a life outside compters, and a family which requests attention from time to time.
2) having installed Gentoo on my mini-itx box, I plan to NEVER go back to another distro. It is much more efficient, faster, etc. than anything else I ever tried.
26 • My gentoo mini-review (by EEDOK on 2005-05-09 15:19:06 GMT from Canada)
my experience with gentoo:
Day 1: Install, wait for it to compile and finish, takes all day
Day 2: Install, all graphical components, takes all day once again
Day 3: In the time the rest of the system was compiling, updates were made available, and it takes all day to compile
Day 4: Getting annoyed by the fact that I'm spending my day compiling other people's programs and am now 3 days behind with the things on my computer due to it being tied up due to compiling, I install arch linux, it takes 20 minutes to get an optimized up to date system running.
Nice to see some arch based distros making a foothold out there.
27 • sarge (by im_ka on 2005-05-09 15:20:38 GMT from Sweden)
yesterday i gave up and realized that if i want my system the way i wanna have it, i have two real options: debian and gentoo. gentoo (if done right) is faster but of course takes time to get up and running.
i installed a base sarge system on my thinkpad t23, installed x, added the xfce extra sources, installed xfce and the apps i need, compiled the driver for my wlan card (it was really easy), did some minor tweaking... now i have a beautiful, fast, up2date desktop on a rock solid system. and apt power of course. xfce should really get more attention. it's like gnome but a lot faster.
when sarge goes stable, i'll stick to stable, i don't care if it takes 1-2 years til the next release. i have a solid base, the xfce packages are being kept up to date (http://www.os-works.com/view/debian/).
28 • RE: sarge (by IMQ on 2005-05-09 15:40:23 GMT from United States)
I also have 'Sarge' installed on one of the partitions, using the Official CD images of the "testing" distribution. And it's nice. Much better than the experience I had with Woody. I added a couple repositories to sources.list to give DVD playback capability and using XFCE from os-cillation (http://www.os-works.com/view/debian/).
So far so good. I plan to keep this baby til 'Sid' arrives (wheever that will be. Probably the same time as Scientific Linux based on RHEL5 is released). A rock solid Debian desktop. Slightly outdated but who cares!
29 • No subject (by mcg on 2005-05-09 15:49:03 GMT from Netherlands)
I love you Dostrowatch.com!How nice to read fresh news about Linux and Unix!Thanks a lot Ladislav!
Gentoo is excellent distro as desktop,game server,web server or home use.I love Gentoo Linux and community!In Gentoo Linux everything works whats more it is secure,Portage does everything for you!Great handbook!yes it is for advanced users,but you can try Vida Linux,it is really nice!
30 • DW page format (by Anonymous on 2005-05-09 16:04:00 GMT from United States)
Please rearrange the left column by frequency of changes and usefulness, my suggestions being:
Packages, Distributions, Reviews, Newsletters
31 • Missed a few points (by shd on 2005-05-09 16:44:56 GMT from United States)
I applaud you for at least attempting to take the Gentoo plunge. I agree that it is not for everyone except the hardest of hard core geek (myself included).
A couple things worth mentioning:
Kernel compile - Gentoo's tool 'genkernel' I have found to be an excellent tool for allowing a user to tweak their kernel to their heart's content while automating the boring stuff like copying to /boot and generating the initrd image, etc.
Installing X: Gentoo's Desktop Documentation Resources (http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/index.xml?catid=desktop) contains tons of info for setting up your Gentoo desktop, including installing and setting up Xorg. The main installation guide does not cover X because it's main purpose is to guide the user to a working base system. From there it is up to the user whether to proceed to a desktop system or some other customized setup.
One trick I have used regarding X has been to boot into Knoppix on the machine I intend to install Gentoo and save the X config file to a USB stick. I then use this as a reference for the X config file I generate when installing Gentoo.
My personal Gentoo setup at home is a PII 300Mhz and a P4 1.7Ghz identically configured and sharing /home over NFS on our router so either computer can be used by either myself or my wife (though of course the P4 is preferred for speed) with sync'd e-mail, pictures, music, etc. I never have to consider another distro, because Gentoo fills my needs, and should for the forseeable future, as long as it continues to be so actively and capably maintained.
32 • Debian as fast as Gentoo??? (by Ariszló on 2005-05-09 16:52:21 GMT from Hungary)
Robert Storey wrote: The Gentoo faithful claim that they can enhance performance this way, but comparing the results side-by-side with another fast distro like Slackware or Debian, I must say that it's hard to see the difference.
How could you make your Debian box fast? Even a kernel optimized for your machine does not help much to speed up the 486-pessimized binaries of Debian. All I can guess is that your machine must have so much RAM that no distro can be slow on it.
33 • Gentoo.....Not bad (by R on 2005-05-09 17:03:32 GMT from United States)
I tried Gentoo last year, it took me about a week to get it done. That was building it an hour here two hours there, I don't have the time to spend all day building a system. After a week of building, I ended up with a system not any better then my Slackware. I think Gentoo is a great Distro, Any brave sole willing to try it, will learn a lot. However you don't need to spend all that time building something that someone already has built. I believe it's best to find a Distro that would provide a good base for you to build on, like Slackware, and build it up from there.
34 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2005-05-09 17:27:42 GMT from Norway)
The review got it dead right, the performance in Gentoo is disapointing considering all the time and effort spent on compiling the thing. (This does not mean that Gentoo isnt a fast distro!) I went for a Stage 1 install the first time I tried it, coming from Mandrake it seemed superfast, but when I decided to install Slackware a couple of months later I found this to be slightly *faster* then Gentoo. A so heavily customized and tweaked system as Gentoo should be faster than any generic distro with a stock kernel!
I dont really agree with you on wether this is a necessity for developers though, unless you work specifically on developing the system itself. I am a developer, and altough I certainly learned a lot from Gentoo, but I found it a bit unstable to operate properly as a development platform. By all means, it is more than stable enough for most purposes, but the bleeding edge package selection brings unstabilities wich I find unsuitable for development and server usage.
PS! I think I was using 2004.0 when I tried it
35 • Retro (by William Roddy on 2005-05-09 17:32:40 GMT from United States)
You know what's kind of cool here? For the first time, I'm beginning to read posts that indicate people are satisfied with stable systems that they are quite good enough and that there's not reason be be out there, leaking blood over the cutting edge, just to use the open-source software you want or need.
Maybe it's a sign that Linux has already matured, without us even noticing
It's just too bad that more people aren't able to enjoy what we're enjoying because they're trapped by some non-free, non-open-source software monopoly. I mean, if physicists at Fermilabs, Stanford, Cambridge, and CERN are using the equivalent of RHEL4, and a major city in Germany chose Debian, they're getting a lot of bang for their buck and they're not having to risk cutting themselves while they shave their budgets with bleeding edge software.
Not enough people read DistroWatch. If they did, there wouldn't be as many blogs, and Web sites proclaiming that Linux is substandard because the author had just tried Fedora Core 2, or SuSE 8, or some ancient Debian version.
There may never be an end to Windows, just like there may never be an end to war. But, imagine a world where everyone lived in peace AND used open source.
36 • Gentoo (by Jack on 2005-05-09 19:00:54 GMT from United States)
If you don't have a family or social life by all means use Gentoo. Wow I've done a stage 1 and stage 3 install. Did I learn anything? Not really. I installed slackware in 1998 and at that time I learned quite a bit. Been there done that.
Wish to optimize your system to make it fast? Prelink Openoffice, use XFCE 4.2.1, get more RAM, then spend some quality time with the family, done.
37 • Re: Ubuntu and Kubuntu merge (by Anonymous on 2005-05-09 19:13:17 GMT from Germany)
> They even get released together at the same time.
That was once the time but may not be always the case. If KDE's next release will be after 7 or 8 months development time it will "out of sync" with GNOME's release cycle. Kubuntu would then to my understanding release (or have an extra release additional to the one in sync with Ubuntu base) when KDE got released.
38 • (K)Ubuntu LiveCD vs. Knoppix?? (by Scott on 2005-05-09 19:14:29 GMT from United States)
Ed Borasky said...
Speaking of Knoppix, I've had some problems booting Knoppix 3.8.1 on machines that did just fine with 3.7, but haven't had time to dig into what's happening. Anyone else seeing stuff like this?
Yes, and I fussed at Distro talk 2 months ago and noone has said anything. I have no issues with Debian based distros but I get boot loops and sometimes freezes right after you enter the parameters with Knoppix remasters. They work fine with a Athlon XP's it seems but older K-6-2's have a issue. Onece in a while they will boot up with no or scrambled video and/or no sound if you fool around in the options and try and set it to a lower video resolution (xres or screen parm) on a live cd. On a HD install I always got a kernal panic or boot loop.
39 • Re: Gentoo (by Jackstraw on 2005-05-09 19:30:05 GMT from United States)
The overall Gentoo experience pays off after the install, when you never have to re-install to stay up-to-date. But agreed, you need to make the up-front investment. That said, I used Gentoo for awhile, but moved to Arch for any workstation box or slow system. Frankly, I also had fewer problems with Arch pacman than Gentoo emerge, it is also much faster to sync, albeit with fewer packages in the repository.
40 • The increasing popularity of linux, Gentoo and... (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-09 21:08:50 GMT from Italy)
There is very little doubt that Linux is getting much more popular, especially among young people, at an incredible fast speed.
The downside of it is that many of them *don't have a clue* not just about linux, but about computers in general.
I try to help as much as I can in a couple of forums, one in particular.
You would be absolutely astonished which kind of questions they ask: Aunt Tillie is a geek by comparison.
Don't take me wrong: I was also pretty cluless when I bought my first computer, so I don't blame them.
My point? Gentoo is not for geeks? No problem installing it if you read the manual? Do me a favour: get real! Go out of your little Gentoo world and help newbies in newbie-friendly distro forums: that will give you a better perspective of reality.
41 • Love linux geek comments... (by Lance Lucas on 2005-05-09 21:18:36 GMT from United States)
I love Linux geek comments, especially ones such as "Once I'm done I have the most robust server platform available in the linux arena." However, I dont know too many sysadmins who would love the idea of staying at work overnight to recompile their systems to incorporate security updates. For many many many many servers, downtimes of more than a minute or two are unacceptable, and that would be impossible on a Gentoo server. "Sorry (dhcp/ftp/samba/ssh/mail) users, a critical bug has been found and I must down (insert here) services to keep us safe. I'll be recompiling the new versions while you wait and lose productivity". In this sense, RedHat/Yum and Debian/Apt provide a better platform for any type of mission-critical server. Recompiling is for the clone test server, binary upgrades are for the production server. But I love that a linux geek would use a Gentoo server anyways :).
"How could you make your Debian box fast? Even a kernel optimized for your machine does not help much to speed up the 486-pessimized binaries of Debian. All I can guess is that your machine must have so much RAM that no distro can be slow on it."
Please post some type of technical information that can back this up. From what I can tell, there seems to be very little performance difference running i386-code-on-a-i686 compared to i686-code-on-i686. This is a bit of a petty optimization....a much better optimization is called AMD64 :). If you want binaries that are *really* optimized for your arch, buy an AMD64.
42 • SymphonyOS (by Dark Leth on 2005-05-09 21:52:27 GMT from United States)
Hey, it's Leth checking in..
A couple of months ago, SymphonyOS began testing. However, due to limited bandwidth, we could not get the release out beyond our testers. Recently, we re-submitted our application to several hosting sites, and I come to you asking for your help.
If you have additional server space for mirrors of this new OS, drop by our forum at www.symphonyos.com and tell us. It would be greatly appreciated.
43 • RE: SymphonyOS (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-09 22:02:52 GMT from Italy)
Why not a torrent? It is insanely easy to start one, and once it is up and running all you need is a tracker (just one machine) and a few seeders.
44 • Re: Love linux geek comments... (by Ariszló on 2005-05-09 22:21:21 GMT from Hungary)
Most of the machines I use are Pentium 4's with 128 or 256 MB of RAM. I do appreciate petty optimization for petty economies...
45 • remember this is linux (by bigmatt on 2005-05-09 22:24:07 GMT from United States)
Guys dont forget we're linux users and remember linux is all about choices so dont bash other people for them liking things from source or somebody liking things binary in the end it really matters what your personal preference is. Just reminding :).
46 • gentoo (by im-ka on 2005-05-09 22:50:31 GMT from Sweden)
gentoo would be my second choice after debian. it's an excellent distribution (but takes time to install it and keep it up2date), and you can install if you can read (not only english)
ps: dw keeps saying i'm from sweden. maybe it's my router. anyways, i'm in austria (where i study) most of the time, sometimes posting from hungary (where my heart belongs).
47 • Frugalware (by andrew on 2005-05-09 22:56:05 GMT from Australia)
I find Frugalware excellent in every way but one: I had serious problems with their installer, in fact this was the first time in a long while I was not able to install the system! The problem has something to do with the way it handles selection of packages - any change in installed set resulted in errors. Just accepting defaults didn't work either... Determined to succeed, I used network install instead and that finally did the trick. Once up and running, Frugalware is very pleasant to work with, so I'd recommend giving it a try and persisting if you encounter installation glitches. In any case I was using rc2 version, perhaps the final release got better...
48 • Knoppix 3.8.1 vs Kubuntu Live (by clicktician on 2005-05-09 23:54:37 GMT from United States)
Last week I bought myself a new laptop when my Sony coughed and died. I trolled the aisles armed with my Knoppix 3.8.1, Kubuntu Live 5.04, SuSe Live 9.2, Sun Java Desktop R2, and MandrakeMove disks to see what ran where, while a flock of sales-help looked on. I felt like some kind of gladiator promising a kill.
I bought an HP zd8110 because both SuSe and Kubuntu worked flawlessly. MandrakeMove booted but couldn't negotiate the network. Knoppix 3.8.1 finished dead last when it hung on the network DHCP and refused to boot up on the HP (and others).
Kubuntu was the only LiveCD that detected the native 1440x900 res on the HPs ATI Mobility, but I bought a copy of SuSe 9.3 Pro with the laptop cause I'm a wool-dyed SuSe bigot and the LiveCd worked ok. To my surprise, 9.3 refused to install even in safe mode.
So, I installed Kubuntu, of course. Sometimes progress just isn't progress.
49 • Re: Gentoo (by Jackstraw on 2005-05-10 00:05:45 GMT from United States)
The overall Gentoo experience pays off after the install, when you never have to re-install to stay up-to-date. But agreed, you need to make the up-front investment. That said, I used Gentoo for awhile, but moved to Arch for any workstation box or slow system. Frankly, I also had fewer problems with Arch pacman than Gentoo emerge, it is also much faster to sync, albeit with fewer packages in the repository.
50 • RE: Knoppix 3.8.1 vs Kubuntu Live (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-10 00:07:50 GMT from Italy)
A better comparison would be, IMHO, Kanotix vs Kubuntu Live.
I have seen Knoppix staying very much the same release after release, while Kanotix gets better all the time and now has one of the best hardware detections of any LiveCD.
51 • FREEBSD vs GENTOO (by Alex on 2005-05-10 00:51:07 GMT from United States)
Which is easier to install and which makes a better desktop OS?
52 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2005-05-10 01:10:20 GMT from United States)
"Most of the machines I use are Pentium 4's with 128 or 256 MB of RAM. I do appreciate petty optimization for petty economies..."
Find some proof that your machine runs more than 3% faster with i686 code than i386 code, and post it. And with 128mb ram, if you really think its the optimizations that are hurting you, then by all means go ahead and do an entire Gentoo compile on it. See you in three days. Or, you could install binary with less than a 3% performance hit within an hour. I guess it's your choice. In fact, please post all of the actual optimizations you're missing out on with Debian i386-compatible binarys on i686. I am becomming increasing interested in this topic and would like some proof that binary optimization outside of the kernel on i386-compatible hardware leads to measurable increases in performance.
53 • RE: im-ka (by ladislav on 2005-05-10 02:14:42 GMT from Taiwan)
dw keeps saying i'm from sweden. maybe it's my router. anyways, i'm in austria
We use a GeoIP database for translating IP addresses into countries.They claim 98% accuracy, so it looks like you fall into those 2% of people whom GeoIP misplaces.
54 • CPU Optimizations (by Benjamin Vander Jagt on 2005-05-10 02:25:35 GMT from United States)
While I was on the Red Hat mailing list, during Phoebe (Red Hat 8.0.9x), I made a little bit of a stink by complaining about the performance of a system compiled with a simple --target=athlon compared to the stock i386 packages that Red Hat always released. I recompiled everything, simply telling the compiler to build for athlon, and I saw an 11% drop in RAM usage, about 10 seconds shaved off of startup time (no, no broken packages), and a marginal (about 1/2 second) improvement in most application launches. Run-time performance wasn't really easy to measure, so I didn't.
Is an improvement like this worth spending a week to compile packages yourself? Most likely not. However, it seems perfectly reasonable to me that a distributor could make a bunch of different pre-optimized versions of his distribution, costing him extra time to compile, but not costing the thousands or millions of users any extra compile time.
These are just my thoughts, and since my company installs a LOT of desktop Linux's, I'll be recompiling SuSE 9.3 for K6-2, Athlon, and P4 for FTP install. (-:
55 • Gentoo install (by MrCorey on 2005-05-10 02:53:32 GMT from Canada)
I am beginning to think that I am the only one who reads the Gentoo manual as I install in one of the terminals. I don't ever print off the manual, as its both on the CD and online. I usually start first with ner-setup and get my network running. Then, I use Links to read the manual from the gentoo website, while doing the work in VT2 and 3. Just another way (saves a tree, too).
There are some neat config tools that Gentoo has that make life so much easier. I can think of etc-update as one
56 • RE: FREEBSD vs GENTOO (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-10 03:12:58 GMT from Italy)
I definitely feel that Freebsd is a lot easier to install, especially since PC-BSD (beta)
However Gentoo makes for a better desktop OS, IMO.
Consider VidaLinux or NavynOS
57 • Re: No Subject [Was: Love linux geek comments...] (by Anonymous on 2005-05-10 06:44:34 GMT from Hungary)
I last ran Debian on my machine with 128 MB of RAM two years ago and then decided to never do so again. (Nevertheless, I did.) Slacware was much faster and distributions like Yoper, Arch Linux, Buffalo or Onebase were very much faster. I did not measure the percentages but they were not tiny. The only major distribution that was slower than Debian is Fedora. Perhaps, the fact that there is at least one slower distribution entitles Debianites to claim that they have a fast distro? Hmmm...
As for compiling Gentoo on a machine with 128 MB of RAM, no way! Even with 256 MB, it takes days.
To sum up, I did not say that Debian was a bad distro. In fact, it has a lot of merits but speed is not among them.
58 • Correction (by Ariszló on 2005-05-10 06:47:09 GMT from Hungary)
I mean I first ran.
59 • Optimisation and Gentoo (by fdavid on 2005-05-10 07:41:11 GMT from Austria)
It's sad that people often talk about "speed gain" and "compilation time", when they think that they talk about "Gentoo". This is just not what Gentoo is about. This is simply the fact, that these people are not able to make difference between gcc (or any compiler) and Gentoo (or any distro). And, unfortunately, it is also true for certain Gentoo users.
Let's make it clear:
A source based distibution is not about optimaisation. Yes it's also possible as a side-effect, but the real gain is that
* the distibution can support a plenty of architectures without storing and maintaining too many binaries in the repository
* the configuration of packages can happen depending on user needs
All the thing about speed and compilation time is - surprisingly - a compiler issue and has nothing to do with the quality, stability, robustness, design, etc. of a distro.
You may say that the installation and updates still take too much time. Since I've already addressed these questions in my first post, I won't write it down again. Shortly: it's simply not a problem.
60 • Buffalo Live (by Steve on 2005-05-10 10:25:51 GMT from United Kingdom)
Getting back to you about Buffalo Live.
This is writ and posted on that!
On the first box I tried – boot went OK but could not talk to the LAN (nForce2 LAN chipset drivers ??). The second box (this one) has a SiS chipset & everything just works fine. I'm writing this in Open Office 1.1.4 – which had to have a minimal (“network”) install to get going.
A nice feature of BuffLive is that you can specify a local SMB share and connect to that on boot for persistent storage. That worked fine.
A few little grumbles – keyboard language mapping; always a struggle in Buffalo, I now pronounce dead. It's US keyboards only... well there is the usual dodgy route to change it.
Let's attempt this. Saving this to SMB share... worked. Going into keyboard mapping tool System >> System Admin >> Buffalo Linux System 1.1. Select “Keymap” Warning – do I want to change Keymap? Yes. Get an option list – UK is 3rd from bottom. Now comes a “try it out window” – press Shift-2 which is double-quote on UK keyboards. Hey, it says @ That didn't work. Try another 2 times – it never works. Let me see – perhaps rebooting would help? :) Trying through text-mode admin screen – also does not work; still get @. As root in text mode? Nope. This needs sorting - once and for all.
But Buffalo Live is Mcalister's first attempt at a live CD. This is a lightweight and nippy distro, full of the latest and greatest – yet it still has some rough edges and the occasional oddity. An interesting alternative showing some originality!
The vast majority works, it looks good and you can live with it. Makes a great server platform (watch out for unstarted services). The desktop, IceWM, is impressive and perhaps a little more intuitive then KDE or Gnome – and without question is the fastest of the three.
What else? Quite intrigued by the backup your existing partition into a liveCD option ... what, take whatever is already there and turn it into a booting CD?? Really? Will try that later – I can't be reading this right.
Another nice distro in the GNU/Linux world! Well done Mcalister!
(Again, if you are using old kit, THIS is the distro with a K6 optimised kernel with the flags set right – others do not.)
61 • Memory (by zilla1126 on 2005-05-10 13:32:20 GMT from United States)
I know not everyone has money to burn; but what is up with all these people trying to get by with 128mb of RAM? I know it is *possible* to install a desktop system with this amount of memory - and that you can use a "lighter" window manager and try to run as light as possible... But why? Memory is extremely cheap right now. If you can afford a P4 system then it is crazy to have less than 256mb on it. Even for a server. It is like have a Ferrari with Yugo tires on it. Shit, if you are in the US I will mail you a stick; I bags of SDRAM here... :)
62 • RE: Ariszló (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-10 15:07:22 GMT from Italy)
"The only major distribution that was slower than Debian is Fedora. "
Probably you have never tried SUSE: *every* other distro is a Ferrari by comparison.
That is maybe why Debian feels very fast to me.
As to other distros they are simply not my cup of tea, even if I keep trying almost all of them.
63 • another gentoo user (by gnobuddy on 2005-05-10 17:07:01 GMT from United States)
After using Mandrake and Mepis, and trying out a host of other distros, I've been using Gentoo at home for the past year or two.
I agree entirely that it is a time-consuming pain in the behind to install and configure. For me a week is about what it takes to go from bare hardware to a full-blown KDE based desktop system that knows about all my hardware (including things like networked printers and a USB scanner).
Despite the suffering needed to install Gentoo, I continue to use it for one big reason - the *huge* amount of software available in the Gentoo repositories, and the extreme ease of installing it. The very small download sizes of typical (source code) packages is the icing on the cake. No more downloading 450 MB of precompiled software because you want to update KDE, as happened to me with Mandrake once.
Gentoo's definitely not perfect, and I look forward to the day when a more sane Linux distro incorporates Gentoo's excellent source-based package installation. For now, I suffer through the install for the benefits that follow.
64 • Great Review (by henriquemaia on 2005-05-10 17:55:05 GMT from Portugal)
Great review, Robert. I sure like to read your texts!
65 • Affording Windows (by William Roddy on 2005-05-10 18:33:13 GMT from United States)
I submit that the people in these two articles would be good examples of why the world needs Linux. Do they look as though they can afford to purchase Windows?
An accompanying CNET article on this village reveals even more of the problem.
66 • Re: Memory & SUSE (by Ariszló on 2005-05-10 20:30:37 GMT from Hungary)
The machine with 128 MB or RAM is not mine. It's one of the machines I am using at work and I find it a very good machine to test optimization-related speed.
As for SuSE, it ran faster than Fedora on that infamous test machine, though to be honest, not really faster than Debian. Not slower, either. The only app that was a bit slow at SuSE was YaST.
67 • Re: Affording Windows (by Ariszló on 2005-05-10 20:35:02 GMT from Hungary)
No, most people do not buy Windows in my country, nevertheless they have it. Teachers get it "free" from the government, which pays about one billion Forints a year for the license.
68 • Microsoft meets with Red Hat (by William Roddy on 2005-05-10 22:53:16 GMT from United States)
This is a quote from a CNET news bullitin I just received:
"Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Red Hat's Matthew Szulik met for more than an hour at a McCormick & Schmick's restaurant in New York in late March, sources familiar with the situation said. Microsoft initiated the meeting, one source indicated."
In another article, Bill Gates is reported to have said that Microsoft plans to meet with several open source leaders.
What's going on? Is it a way to FUD the *nix community? Or are they feeling that their control of the Known Universe is slipping?
Ballmer is such a repulsive character, how could Szulik stand to spend an hour with him?
I suppose we shall see what we shall see.
69 • Question for Ariszlo (by William Roddy on 2005-05-10 22:56:49 GMT from United States)
Ariszlo, in Hungary, how much is one billion Forints, in US dollars? Sorry to be so ignorant about a country I admire. Thank you for the information.
70 • • RE: Knoppix 3.8.1 vs Kubuntu Live (by clicktician on 2005-05-11 00:34:35 GMT from United States)
Kanotix vs Kubuntu Live...
Kanotix turned me off early on, and sometimes I don't take second looks. But I should know better because you guys have taught me that Linux distros on this watch are anything but static.
I use Knoppix everyday, and am kinda grateful it doesn't change a lot, except that 3.8.1 comes with a seriously garish wallpaper that's hard to use at the office. I'm not a cosmetic worry-wort, but I live in a corporate windows world. The nail that sticks up, is quickly pounded back down.
71 • RE: Microsoft meets with Red Hat (by Anonymous Penguin on 2005-05-11 04:57:19 GMT from Italy)
"Ballmer is such a repulsive character, how could Szulik stand to spend an hour with him?"
72 • Re: Question for Ariszlo (by fdavid on 2005-05-11 06:20:09 GMT from Austria)
The exchange rate between HUF and USD is currently about 195:1. This means that 1 billion Ft is approximately 5,13 million US dollars.
73 • Time for Comments!!! Please! (by john on 2005-05-11 08:09:04 GMT from United States)
I was looking at your page average per visitor and I see that you are average very little over one page per visitor. This is not good at all.
May I suggest that now is the time to add a 'comments' section to each bit of news. This can be used by people to discuss the distro that is the topic of that news. For instance, I would love to be able to click on the Fedora Test3 Release news 'comments' and read the comments of 10 or 20 people that have installed the distro and give reviews and tips.
This should be your next priority. Please, please Ladislav!!!
74 • Re: Question for Ariszlo (by Ariszló on 2005-05-11 10:54:29 GMT from Hungary)
And those 5.13 million US dollars are paid in a country of 10 million people where the average net wage is 475 dollars a month.
75 • Thank you, Ariszlo (by William Roddy on 2005-05-11 12:56:08 GMT from United States)
So what is happening then is that Microsoft, who is not a member of the government of Hungary, is still able to tax every one of its people 51 cents each, from their $475 per month income, whether they use Windows or not? Ludicrous.
In the U.S., we call that taxation without representation. Perhaps it's time for independence-loving Magyars to have a "Budapest Tea Party," but instad of throwing tea into the Danube, throw Windows computers. Or better yet, Steve Ballmer.
76 • Budapest Tea Party (by im-ka (from hungary) on 2005-05-11 17:11:12 GMT from Sweden)
LOL William that would be great :) i think we should organize that.
77 • Re:- Budapest Tea Party > merges with Gentoo blah (by Will Doors on 2005-05-12 01:52:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
<"have a "Budapest Tea Party," but instad of throwing tea into the Danube, throw Windows computers.">
noooo.!!! ever heard of LTSP? "32MB is more than enough for anyone" (or is that anykernel+X).
Heck, I amaze people every day running Windoze2003 Server from a 32MBPentium1/166/noHdd with LTSP and VNC ;-)
More fun than any maritime-tea-tossing.
Of course, the Windoze 2003 Svr isn't online (it's a trial) that's what Gentoo's for. Installed 3 years back and still bang uptodate (nightly) never even rebooted it yet. -Not many users though, under 100 SMBs and 20 LTSP-ers, but streams lots of audio as well. I got the 10percent of the 1st year MS per-seat licencing saving as a bonus on the 2nd anniversary !
78 • Bobbing for Ballmer (by William Roddy on 2005-05-12 05:41:07 GMT from United States)
I still can't erase from my imagination the sounds of a Strauss waltz, as Ballmer bobs in the Blue Danube. The way he sweats, he could probably use a bath.
In any case, I am proud to have communicated with some of the proud people of Hungary who, at times, have been captive, but have never been defeated.
And who give us
blackPanther OS • Frugalware Linux • SULIX • UHU-Linux
79 • metadistribution (by butters on 2005-05-12 11:29:10 GMT from United States)
Gentoo is a metadistribution, and merely provides the tools you need to build your system. I've been using Gentoo since before the 1.0 rc series, so I have seen things progress from before devfs was added, when the 2.4 kernels had serious bugs with ReiserFS, to a fully mature and massive community project.
I disagree with Gentoo being the hardest "distribution" to install. The only distribution I've ever failed to get running was Debian, a couple years ago before the new installer was developed. In my experience, every distribution has aspects that piss me off. You know, the little things that just don't work the way they're supposed to. With most distributions, these problems are inevitable and unfixable. With Gentoo, I find that if there is anything I don't like about the way the system is setup, or the way an application is configured, I can fix it with ease. Portage doesn't have problems with software from different repositories coexisting like APT seems to. There's one repository, and for the most part, everything in the portage tree works fine with everything else. Stuff that won't work with versions of software on your system are identified as blockers, and it is easy to unmerge the offending package to allow the installation of a new version.
Regarding server availability, updating packages (for security updates, for example) doesn't cause any downtime. Packages will compile in the background with the lowest possible scheduler priority, and of course there is no need to reboot unless you're updating the kernel. Gentoo also has full support for using distcc to shift the compiling load to offline servers and to spread the load over a farm of servers. You can also use portage to cross-compile for different architectures.
Gentoo is Linux without limits. If the software is out there, you can use it, and you can set it up however you see fit. It is the perfect development platform for new Linux technologies, and the Gentoo community is (in)famous for finding bugs in software that traditional distributions don't uncover. Finally, there is no better community of knowledgeable and enthusiastic users than the Gentoo Forums. Every Linux forums has its share of trolls and RTFM-types, but the trifecta of good tools, best-of-breed documentation, and the best forums on the 'net make Gentoo and excellent choice for a wider audience than you might expect. If you have enough patience to be reading upwards of 100 posts on Distrowatch, then you are most certainly a candidate for Gentoo.
80 • Cool Site & PHP translations (by Benton Middleton on 2005-05-12 20:19:34 GMT from United States)
First of all ....Coool Site. New to linux (6 months or so) and still learning the command-line, but I love Linux AND the Open-Source movement and I Tell everyone I know about it at every chance I get.
Second, about translations: -- Java has a ".lang" library that accomplishes this easier than anything out there. Yeah, I know they are not open-source...."YET". Heard the news from SUN??? They just announced that they are going to allow and actually contribute to an open-source version of Java for non-proprietary developers. So you may want to check this out before you commit to a PHP implementation.
And third...Keep up the good work. Also would like to know if you have the discontinued versions in a separate list so we can look at them individually and download if we want?!
Later...!! -- The Benster!
81 • @Benster (by Anonymous on 2005-05-12 21:02:03 GMT from Germany)
Look in the 'Search'-Section for discontinued distributions.
82 • Nominations for the next Distrowatch award (by Ed Borasky on 2005-05-15 03:40:36 GMT from United States)
Here we go again:
1. FreeDuc: http://www.ofset.org/freeduc-cd
2. Quantian: http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com/quantian
3. The R Project: http://www.r-project.org/
4. Gentoo: http://www.gentoo.org
83 • the bitching (by someone on 2005-05-15 08:38:07 GMT from South Africa)
do people always have to bitch and flame others here?
84 • Nomination (by fdavid on 2005-05-16 09:06:55 GMT from Austria)
I would like to nominate the Krusader file manager for the Distrowatch Donation Programme.
A good file manager is essential for daily work, and this file manager is a really successful replacement of Total Commander, which bears a famous name in the Windows world.
Number of Comments: 84
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