Friday, 1 July 2011

USE flags and Updates

For once, something that at first seems like a regular annoyance has turned out to be an interesting habit.

I had originally decided not to customise the USE flags on my Gentoo install too much, preferring instead to modify them only where I felt necessary. After a bit of a delve into the details though, I've decided the reverse is true.

It's quite an interesting ability, being able to disable or enable support for something so easily, rather than having to dig into the configure-time details to see if things can be changed thus.

What's more, where I used to think I'd chafe at the time spent compiling periodic updates, I've found that properly set up, Gentoo is quite happy to update, or rebuild a large number of packages with new use flags or even both, without getting in the way too much. Maybe updates do take a little longer, but with the massive flexibility given, it's well worth it.

The only complaint I have is that there's no easy way to figure out what packages aren't needed any longer - you know the kind, they were pulled in as a dependency, but aren't needed any more? I used to regularly tidy up the system of such packages, but I can't seem to find any easy way to do that on Gentoo. At least not yet.

But overall... I don't think I'm going to be leaving the comfort of Gentoo anytime soon.

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