I have been on Linux for a bit over a year and have found I really like the minimal install distros. I have been on Arch for most of the year, but about 3 months ago I decided to give Gentoo a try and I really enjoy how it works and it seems to be more stable even on testing than Arch had been. However I am having A hard time justifying the time it takes to manage Gentoo over Arch (or others). I am hopping back and forth between Gentoo and Arch trying to pick. The performance difference seems very negligible. Are there advantages of Gentoo I am missing? So far I really like portage and the minimal amount of software I have to install, but It seems lots of software Is missing from Gentoo repos, the overlays make up a good bit, but still missing a bit. The AUR makes using Gentoo a hard pick over Arch for me. I am asking if I am missing something because I need to decide what distro I am staying on before I start back college this fall.
Last year i asked Is Gentoo Linux worth it? at the time I was asking if it was worth learning to use it. Most seems to say yes. Now I am asking is Gentoo worth staying on?
I normally only use Gentoo when I am doing single use devices like a webserver where speed is king and the amount of compiles is low. As a daily driver I find it to be more of a hassle than it is worth. I Normally stick to a minimal install of Suse or Ubuntu and build it up into what I want save an install image and stick with it for a couple of years.
Gentoo is a very niche distro for very niche users.
Is it worth it? depends if you are either impatient, or you feel time is invaluable. a properly compiled system with XFCE can use about 400-ish Megabytes of RAM. but that’s beside the point, it’s IMO excellent for server use cause you can squeeze the performance out of all the packages when everything is compiled to your system. however it does come with it’s own headaches.
For one, for a rolling release distros there is a metric ass-tonne of packages that are poorly maintained. the up-to-date version of GNOME on Gentoo that is currently available on Portage is 3.24… mind you it’s been about a year in a half and GNOME 3.30 is coming sometime around October. and for there are some packages that are in beta that are thrown into the “Unstable” Portage Tree. yeah in theory (a package that is unstable should go there) the problem is all the up-to-date packages are thrown in there, some are for the most part stable… but aren’t ever thrown into the Stable Portage Tree.
Also it’s worth noting that Gentoo has a hard dependency on GCC. if that breaks or you uninstall it (like you can on binary based Distros) Portage will break and you need to chroot into the system to re-install it. also unlike Arch, you do have something similar to the AUR, aka Layman… which allows you to combine third-party repositories into your Portage Tree (This is required to install Budgie Desktop or Pantheon Desktops) but you kinda have to do that on your own risk.
Overall though it’s an excellent distro, but it’s not the most up-to-date and it’s not really for the faint of heart. if you are impatient, or you are a nutcase like me, who runs it as their primary distro just cause they like Portage a bit better than other Package Mangers… than it’s worth it. however coming from binary distros it’s going to take a lot of time to get used to compiling shit over and over whereas a distro like Ubuntu or Fedora you can install a package in about 30 seconds with one command.
That I did not know. I thought it was more bleeding edge than that.
I have seen this GCC dependency where earlier this year I seen that Gentoo needed to be recompiled due to a GCC update if I am understanding correctly. I have had an Okay experience with Layman so far It seems to be fairly easy to use.
See so far I really like it where the time is almost a non issues and I really like portage. I really like how much it has taught me in a short amount of time about how ditros work and openRC feel much easier to use than systemd. I just do not feel comfortable with it yet and have lots to learn, and going into school makes me nervous
The biggest feature of Gentoo right now is probably that they support systems without systemd.
You can run Arch and others without systemd, but it’s not officially supported. For rolling distros especially, this can be a huge pain in the ass because packages that once worked fine without systemd aren’t guaranteed to do so next time you update.
I’ve been using Gentoo for most the past 14 years. I feel so comfortable in Gentoo, that Ubuntu seems hard.
I think one of the biggest advantages Gentoo has over Arch is, it maintains multiple versions of packages. In Arch once a new version of something is released, the old versions are removed whether it breaks something or not.