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duende, I noticed you switched from debian to gentoo. How do you like it?

I have been running a gentoo test box for quite sometime (my testbox boots to gentoo, RH9, FedoraCore1, SUSE 9, Mandrake 9.2, Debian SID, and slackware 9.1) and other than gentoo updates taking for freaking ever (because of compiling each update), I think I like it.

With RedHat stopping support for RH7.3 and RH8 on 12/31/03 and for RH9 in the First QTR of 2004, I am looking to upgrade my dual p4 xeon (2.4ghz) machine ... this machine is my main workstation and my PVR (with mythtv and tvtime). I don't think I am going to like FedoraCore1 ... there have been several updates that broke my testbox over the last few weeks, so I'm looking for a new distro. I can setup and run either of the distros from my test box on my main workstation with no problem ... but I need to make a decision on which distro to use.

I have just added a new hard drive to the machine (took out my RH9 primary drive and put it away in case I decide I don't like gentoo! ) and installed gentoo from stage 1 ... and I have a basic workstation with Xfree/gnome 2.4/Mozilla Firebird after about 18 hours. Now that X is working, I am surfing while compiling all the other things (mysql, blackdown-jdk, open-office, mplayer, mythtv, tvtime, etc.) ... I think I can live with the performance hit of compiling stuff in the background.

So my question is, who is using gentoo for thier workstation/desktop ... and what distro you gurus here at linuxhelp recommend....
I have two boxes at home, one is my server, and the other is my client.

My server is running Debian GNU/Linux 3.0, and I have absolutly no problem with it. I find Debian is perfect if you're looking for a nice, secure, stable platform. A lot of people whine about Debian because of it's lack of the most updated software in stable, but, for a server, that's not really a problem. Debian is always on top of it's security advisories and updates, which is the main thing. Apt-get makes it very simple and quick to do quick software updates, and to ensure that all security advisories are installed. Debian is also scalable down to the 386 processor for pre-compiled packages. My server has been in constant evolution, starting on a 486/66 to a Celeron 300, and now it's a P3 450, and guess what? I"ve never had to re-install anything, I just swapped the processors and/or motherboards. Heck, I never even recompiled my kernel for those upgrades, not until recently. The server acts as a: webserver, email server, dns server, ftp server, irc bot, etc.

So, all in all, I believe that Debian is the safest, securist (sp?) and stablest distribution which makes it perfect for a server.

On my main box, I started out with Redhat years ago, but was always getting ticked off at the amount of dependancy issues I faced when it came to the RPM system. It got so bad that while using redhat 6.0, I used very little RPM's, while the rest of my system was stuff i compiled manually. Redhat 6.2 was the last good Redhat release, once they moved to 7.0, I moved away. I bounced from distro to distro, Mandrake got a short stint, but once again, RPM dependancy hell. Finally I found debian, and fell in love with it. Once I got past the steep learning curve of "do-it-yourself-in-console" method, I absolutly loved it.
I tried other distributions as new ones were released, but always found my way back to Debian, I even tried Gentoo once, and went back to Debian. Finally I decided to go back and try Gentoo one last time because I was hearing so many good things about it in the community. After downloading a Gentoo LIVEcd with Stage1, 2 and 3 tarballs all pre-compiled optimized for Athlon, I decided to go for it, one of the main drawbacks in using a source-based distribution is the amount of compile time just to get a basic running system. This Gentoo Live cd fixed that problem and brought me right to a working system with only compiling my kernel, logger, bootloader and hotplug.
Finally I realized the power of Gentoo, and it's abundance of software. While Debian boasts the largest pre-compiled software collection in the Linux world, it's become too bloated of a mess. Gentoo breaks down their software into sensible categories. Also, but not including the pre-compiled binaries, they are able to include much more then just free software, such as the NVidia kernel and glx drivers, commercial games like America's Army, Quake 3 Arena, and Unreal Tournament.
The major drawback is of course the compile time it takes to get everything up and running, but once you get past that (a few days), you have a nice working system that you will love.
The Gentoo community is probably the most helpful and friendly Linux community out there. Their homepage forums are an amazing array of information that is not just Gentoo specific, but stuff that can be used for any distro. Those of you out there who have dabbled in Debian and have attempted to get help from #Debian on freenode, or mailing lists, you were most likely met with sarcasm, "RTFM", and other rude comments. You will most likely not find this in the Gentoo community. The gentoo community is the way that the open source community should be.

For a quick distribution suggestion:

Debian GNU/Linux - Perfect for your server or low-end computers. Security updates are always on time, and the Apt system is awesome.

SuSE Linux - A great distribution for new users. I have installed SuSE on my girlfriend's computer and my parents computer, both love it, and find it easy to use and understand. I have also introduced several other computer users migrating from Windows by using SuSE.

Gentoo Linux - A distribution for Linux users. If you have past experience in linux, and want something a little more technical, this is for you. If you don't have a fairly recent computer, you may want to stick to Debian because of compile times. I find the compile times fine with my Athlon 1800+
OK ... I did some installing and testing. I really liked gentoo, but I just couldn't get past the requirement to compile all the programs for updates ... so I decided that Debian was going to be my new default Installation on my main machine (dual p4 xeon 2.4 ghz). I don't want Woody (since I really want Gnome 2.4, Mozilla Firebird, OpenOffice 1.1, etc, as well as MythTV and TVTime) ... so Debian SID it is!

In three hours I was finished with the install ... and now I have a 2.4.22 smp kernel running on my dual processor machine. I haven't had any real problems to speak of.

I have to say that I really like SID, MythTV and TVTime are both running great...I have been using apt on my RedHat machines since version 7.3 anyway, so I am already comfortable with doing updates; and the software library is huge.
distributions are only as secure as the system administrator makes them.
QUOTE (Joey @ Nov 14 2003, 04:43 PM)
distributions are only as secure as the system administrator makes them.

Agreed ....
But some distributions are much better than others at providing security updates that the system administrators can put on the systems in question biggrin.gif. RedHat was (in my opinion) the best at providing security updates, followed closely by SUSE, Debian, Slackware and Gentoo ... then by Mandrake.

My concern about RedHat 7.3, 8.0, and 9.0 is that RedHat is no longer providing any Errata security updates (for RH7.3 and RH8.0 after 12/31/2003 and for RH9.0 after April 2004).

I have a couple RedHat Enterprise Linux ES Servers ... so I'm not concerned about those....but I'm afraid to stay with RedHat 7.3/8/9 on anything important ... and my MythTV Video Recorder is very important !!! laugh.gif

I'm not impressed yet with the FedoraCore updates ... my test machine with Fedora is broke after updates as often as not (at least so far)...and they haven't articulated a plan to provide security updates. Fine for a PC that isn't important ... not fine for a PC that has anything important on it (In my opinion).

I really don't want to use Mandrake (although they do have security updates) ... because most of the business application people (IBM, Oracle, Sun, etc.) aren't supporting it.

SUSE is an option, but it's not really free ... kind of like RHEL. SUSE (now Novell) and RHEL both have plenty of enterprise support...and I would use them (if they were downloadable for free).

That narrows the choice down to only a couple major players...Debian, Gentoo, Slackware. I don't like the slackware or gentoo update procedures ... that leaves Debian ... or maybe Mandrake.

Anyway, that was how my thinking went.... and Debian Cid is still working like a Champ.
Here is an article discussing just this situation ...
I burnt fedora last friday but I've been busy in atlanta this week and haven't had a chance to install it yet. I hope that the security updates processes etc for it get better soon.
Altlanta ... that is a long way from Mississauga, Ontario !
Just an update for everyone wondering about Fedora/RedHat support here are a couple more articles:,00.html

I personally would upgrade to and continue to use FedoraCore 1 on workstations that don't require external support ... or on my home workstation if I had RedHat 9.0 installed.

I do have FedoraCore1 on my test box as it's primary OS ...

But for any servers, I would recommend a different OS ... I like Debian, but SUSE or RedHat ES are also good (although non-free) options. Mandrake would probably be good as well. Slackware is a good OS, but it is very different than all the other Linuxes .. not neceassarily bad, but I wouldn't use it. I wouldn't use gentoo on a server either.

I completed my upgrade to Debian (I am using the unstable version known as SID) on my dual p4 machine ... and it works like a champ with the 2.4.22-i686 smp kernel from debian. I enabled prelinking and the machine is flying! I have been using this machine as a main workstation and video recorder(PVR) almost 2 years ... and it has never been this responsive with any OS (including Windows XP).

I can enthusiastically recommend Debian as a full featured OS for a workstation or server ... and I haven't had any SID related problems ... although I would not use SID on a production server. I would recommend SARGE (the testing branch or debian) as a production server however....
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