Saturday, 4 June 2011

Gentoo: AKA Time Well Spent

Eight days ago, I started installing Gentoo Linux on my laptop.
Three days later, I had a working Gnome Desktop.

And now, after much patience, it's finished. Who'd have thought I'd finally get around to doing this?
Not me, if you'd asked me when I first understood what Gentoo was about.

There's still the odd little thing now and then, but they're now restricted to my making spelling error when trying to use Portage. The graphic frontends aren't entirely perfect, but they're good at what they do, and I'm getting to grips with how the whole thing works.
I've even managed to get some apps working that never worked for me before.

The biggest bother for me though is lib* updates - more often than not, this results in a lot of packages that depended on the old version needing to be rebuilt - but with the handy command of 'revdep-rebuild', even this is no problem.

I like Gentoo. It's a bit of a hassle to get up and running, especially if you're a stranger to configuring your own kernel (Which I cheat on and use genkernel with a few tweaks), but in the end I think it's worth it.

Not one for those without much patience though, that's for sure - especially if you decide to compile Firefox, Xulrunner, Wine or LibreOffice from source. These do take time. LibreOffice's ebuild helpfully says that it could take 'up to a day' depending on system speed. I found this to be a little inaccurate, taking this laptop a little over six hours - but even so, this is a bit of a wait.

Right, I'm done for now. Expect Gentoo-related posts whenever I remember I have a blog again unless something manages to push me off it. Which isn't likely.
Rock on.


  1. hello i was intending to go Gentoo too, seems like Sabyon is easier option for beginners..

    What do you mean Libre office compiling took six hours? Waiting for six hours? I thought it's a single command

  2. The waiting was mostly because it's a massive project, and takes a long time to compile. If you're impatient and don't mind losing out on some of the USE flags and compile-time optimising, Portage does provide the 'libreoffice-bin' package, a prebuilt version. Most Mozilla packages are similar in this regard, but you'll find that being patient, especially with Firefox, will result in a much snappier application.

    Do try Sabayon before you go with Gentoo though - it's how I started. The nice thing about Sabayon is that Portage is still there, it's just using the 'sabayon' overlay in layman. It's wise to read the Sabayon wiki page on making Portage and Entropy play nice, but after that it's relatively simple.
    And of course, if you accidentally break something with Portage, you can use Entropy to fix it again.