Gentoo installation

Last Saturday I finished installation and configuration of Gentoo distribution. My previous major operating system was also Linux flavour. It was OpenSUSE. Despite it worked well, there were several areas to improve:

  • support of Geforce2 MX400 nvidia graphic card and HP 710C printer was problematic, it was definitely downgrade in compare to older releases of SUSE,
  • package repositories miss a lot of applications that I use daily,
  • installation of programs that are outside of repositories is weird,
  • in general, doing things like downloading KDE 4 sources and building them require too much IMO manual work; Yast isn’t helpful in that case,

So why I choose to try Gentoo (not Debian for e.g.):

  • it’s different; almost all Linux distributions are build around packaging, of course they have different formats or dependencies system, but the philosophy is the same: “pack it”; while Gentoo provide recipes how to build it,
  • it has well-written documentation,
  • I’m on a holiday so compile time doesn’t really matter;
  • it is the most popular OS among finalists of Polish Olympics in Informatics,

Thoughts after installation

I’m satisfied with gentoo distribution. Portage (gentoo “package” system) works well. It extremely easy to install an older version of a program or an unstable one. Moreover, the configuration took as much time as in SUSE. SUSE GUIs are nice, but they don’t speed up your work.


  • during the installation you’re encouraged to use tool mirrorselect; It use “space” to select and enter to “end” program. However It doesn’t metion anything about using “space” and doesn’t prompt if you doesn’t select anything. A typical user (not *NIX) might be confused.
  • two hassles with portage, while I try install nvidia-driver opengl was required to one of the packet and installation stop; another was audacity which require wxGTK 2.4.x but not 2.6.x which is default, error messages was unhelpful;
  • searching packages information takes too much time(“emerge -s” and “emerge –searchdesc”), it should use suffix trees as indexes;
  • There is no one package in portage tree that I use frequently – kydpdict.
  1. Pawel Murias • 2006-08-29 09:58

    Use eix for better search times.

  2. Jacek Migdał2006-08-29 10:54

    That is what I need. I wonder why it wasn’t mentioned in install docs. Anyway, that tool is really helpful. Thank you!

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