8 Dec 2002 forrest   » (Journeyer)

Ok, I hate Gentoo

About the only thing I've done since I've installed Gentoo Linux is twiddle with my system, which is an annoying waste of time. I will be going back to Debian soon. There are a few things I like about Gentoo:

  • I like the fact that Gentoo uses GRUB instead of LILO. This makes it easier to experiment with other OSes like FreeBSD or The Hurd, should I choose to do so.
  • It was fairly easy to set up a ReiserFS partition, which isn't part of Debian's default install.
  • I also find the idea of keeping the boot partition unmounted during normal use intriguing (although I've never had a problem with a corrupt boot sector in my seven years of running Linux).
But these are all things I can bring to a Debian install, I'm sure. I can also do optimized building from source, perhaps using apt-src.

So, what sucks about Gentoo? Let me count the ways ...

  • The account and group management scripts are pathetically primitive. Gentoo's "useradd" can't even create a home directory for a new user. Maybe it's more BSD-like; whatever. It's crude. Sure, I could write my own scripts, but I don't consider that "doing something useful" when every other Linux distribution on the planet has already solved this.
  • It was hell getting an fvwm desktop set up. I had to read startup scripts to figure out I could create a ~/.xinitrc file containing "exec fvwm". Some things are tacked together -- when I emerge a new program it may show up on my fvwm menu, but hell if I know how. There is zero documentation, and I don't want to spend my time digging through scripts to get things to work.
  • There are things which aren't working quite right: when I minimize a window in fvwm, it tries to to this cute twisty thing as it shrinks. Well, that leaves lines all over my screen -- even inside other application windows. In KDE, the xv image viewer program (yeah, I know I should switch to something "more free" ... but anyway) doesn't refresh -- I have to minimize or move a window in front or something to prompt a refresh every time I change the image.
Soooooo ... back to Debian. I guess I've learned a few things, but I'd say my experience with Gentoo has mostly been a waste.

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