[oclug] Gentoo Linux.
milan.budimirovic at sympatico.ca
Sat Jul 12 08:18:50 EDT 2003
On Fri, 2003-07-11 at 16:19, Rod Giffin wrote:
> You know, I'd probably give Gentoo a try if it wasn't for the length of
> time to get it running. As it is, I KNOW I don't have the time right
> now to compile an entire Linux system.
> That's why I use Mandrake and/or RedHat, I don't have to concern myself
> with the time it takes... just pop in the CD, and away you go. On my
> systems, a slow install is one that takes more than 30 minutes start to
> finish. It just goes to show though that each distribution has its
> strengths and weaknesses - users and situations each is right for, and
> those each is wrong for.
The problem I have with Gentoo is this: who are the users that this
distro is intended for?
Surely not the novice user. I mean, really, you want people to come over
from Windows or MacOS, and you're telling them that they need to compile
everything? Non-starter. 99% of those people don't even know what a
I also question its true value for the programmer/sysadmin. I mean, yes,
there are situations where you do want to compile everything yourself,
but they are comparatively rare. The reason why Redhat and Debian are so
popular in production environments is that they provide a fixed set of
parameters for the programmer/sysadmin to deal with, and a reasonable
assurance that the compiled packages have been tested. And they still
give you all the tools you need to compile your own packages where you
don't like the off-the-shelf version. As Perl-meister Damian Conway
would put it, "The programmer is constantly butting his head up against
two forces of nature: entropy and human stupidity." I have yet to meet
an IT worker worth his text editor who doesn't know the truth of this.
It has nothing to do with "instant gratification", as DFS put it. It's
about maintaining order in a sea of chaos.
Put another way, it takes over two years of testing and resolving of
dependancies by hundreds of package maintainers before a Debian distro
is declared "stable". I simply do not believe that in the long run you
can get the same level of reliability when you have individual users
compiling everything themselves.
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