Gentoo advantages?

i cant help it if you read stuff wrong man thats not my business

I have seen this and did not think about that It hasn’t saved me yet, but that could be just inexperience. I know the gentoo wiki is packed with information. I have read over the handbook, but is there a guide for new users or just expected to learn as things break and need to be fixed?

The handbook is the guide for new users. Whenever there is a possiblity of something breaking…GCC updates, Perl, or profile changes, after emerge there will be a news item that will explain steps needed to maintain compatibility. News is read using the eselect tool.

eselect news list


eselect news read (number)

It’s important to always read the news.

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Welp there was my problem, i remember reading this, but I did not give it enough weight.

I would use it for customization. It is really easy to optimize the installed system for a certain role. Compiler optimizations might be negligible but the real value lies with the ability to make sure the environment was built with this flag or with support for this library and it is just enough to run what you want.


I’ve been using gentoo for about 9 years now and although I do like it, there are some issues, which I would say are just something that comes with the way gentoo operates, i.e. stuff often won’t compile in an update and has to be fixed manually which sometimes is very annoying. However I think I arrived at a point where I am able to fix 90% of the stuff myself and if I can’t, it’s usually possible to just downgrade what’s broken to the last functioning version.

I actually use systemd with Gentoo (Yeah, burn the heretic), and I’m not sure that I actually am able to use all the advantages.

I did make a slim custom kernel config, but I’d be able to use it to build a custom kernel on another Distro as well.

USE flags are a very useful feature of Gentoo - it allows you to specify how software is to be configured at compile time (what libraries to use, what support to include, etc…)

I’m very fond of crossdev, which allows you to quite easily install a cross-compilation toolchain, i.e. ARM or AVR toolchains or a mingw x86 toolchain for windows, etc… and install packages with cross emerge for it (although not all packages work)

Actually I’ve been using Arch on my work computer and found that, compared to gentoo, it kinda gets out of your way and lets you work. Have been playing with the Idea to switch, but stuck with gentoo so far.


Pros: you might learn more about the way linux works
Cons: everything else

Compile everything yourself = any bugs are yours to troubleshoot.

You’re not going to miraculously turn that i5 into an i7 speed wise.

I enjoyed using Sabayon (a Gentoo based distro) for a while. Why Sabayon? Because:

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You people talking about gentoo for server use are out of your minds. Servers need to be stable. That means you run CentOS or maybe Ubuntu LTS. Nothing bleeding-edge that has to be upgraded every 6 months, much less gentoo where you’re compiling your own packages.

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It is actually quite stable if you know what you’re doing. But that could be said for any distro tbh.


Gentoo isn’t that bleeding edge if you stick to Stable. Plus you can do glsa-check (Gentoo Linux Security Advisories) which will only do security updates.

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Does it have a LTS release, where you don’t get new versions of packages but instead get backported bug and security fixes? If not, it’s fine for your home server or play machine, but not appropriate for business use.

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The only thing backported are kernels.

Yeah. Let me put it this way, I had a production server running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS until 18.04.1 LTS released last week. Skipped 16.04 LTS entirely. I would have skipped 18.04 too but 14.04 is being desupported before 20.04 comes out. Servers aren’t my toys, I don’t mess around with them, I want them to just work.

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This is why I really like it, it feels nice to tinker with everything. And so far I enjoy it, but it feels super time consuming.

This is the debate that I am having with myself. I like Gentoo for the tinkering and challenge/Learning curve. I feel like the issues that I have had to fix running gentoo has taught me quite a bit. Arch on the other hand is simple and allows me to get work done.

I mean yeah at this point this is pretty accurate.

This is perfect right now.

I can see both arguments for and aginist using Gentoo for severs. For me I would just not because I do not trust myself enough with it, but someone that can fix most issues and has use Gentoo for quite a while I could see as an option.

This is something I have really just picked up on most of Arch’s instability came from when I had no idea what I was doing and just wanted to rice my desktop. May not have given Arch a fair shake on stability. I know it is still not stable tho depending on the users idea of stable. I still feel like Gentoo has to be more stable than arch just due to the fact that Arch is so bleeding edge.

Disclaimer: some side-tracked rambling about how things are when you’re getting paid for this…

Software version/behaviour/compatibility stability and “not crashing” are two entirely different things.

If you are upgrading software regularly, either you’re not doing change management or your change management process is going to have a lot more difficult time linking problems to actual changes, instead of random software breakage.

Don’t get me wrong. If you want to learn about linux and the way the software stack works in a development/toy/play environment, go nuts. But do you really need to know that low level stuff? Why? Reinventing the wheel? The “problem” of “develop a base platform” has been solved. There are various distributions out there that all do a serviceable job.

No one in the real/business world cares if you can build your own only supported by you custom linux platform. They’re more interested to know if you can maintain/support an application stack. Any linux server in a business exists to run an application. Not to run linux. Linux is merely a platform requirement that can and may be swapped out in the future as needs change.

Spend more time learning the applications/services running on top of Linux rather than the base platform itself unless you’re planning to get into custom/embedded linux stuff. Learn how to harden the machine, learn how to do funky network stuff with it, learn how to instrument and diagnose performance metrics, etc. There’s a lot more to enterprise application performance optimisation than using -O9 or whatever on the compiler.

In terms of learning all that, editing build options and watching compiler output scroll by is simply wasting your time.

That won’t do shit for you if, for example the application performance bottleneck is in the storage, the network, etc. Learn how to diagnose where the bottlenecks are and you can make far more intelligent performance optimisation decisions.

As @Ruffalo said above - in the real/business world there are plenty of other issues to deal with. You don’t want to go changing things un-necessarily because otherwise you have no basis for performance/reliability/etc. comparison for things like database/application level changes (if the platform has changed underneath you).

This is why enterprise is so resistant to un-necessary change. Because there’s enough to do and analyze without throwing extra stuff into the mix. In 99% of cases, having a “known good” platform with minimal change is FAR more valuable than shaving a few milliseconds here and there for performance reasons.

Generally, if your server is that close to the limit in terms of performance, that you need to go compiling your own stuff with custom, not necessarily supported build flags, you bought the wrong hardware (or your application/process needs to be optimised).

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One of the biggest advantages is it maintains packages. Arch only has 5k official packages the rest are all have to be maintained by the community. Gentoo manages 19.5k.

Gentoo and Arch are very different distros.


I understand this and agree with you about not needing to learn any of this for the most part and I am not going at it as I want to learn all the technical details of Linux I am mostly doing this because I fine it fun. To learn, but as this post goes on I am starting to feel like i could learn most of this faster and more detailed just by reading a book.

This I kind of need to hear. I know this, but have gotten side tracked hopping ditsros and playing with Linux.

I should probably be spending my time learning applications and services not the base. I really agree with this. I may still use Arch or something with some tinkering to it, but I really need to get back to learning to develop software.

This is my issues I had the summer off this year from school to do whatever and stumbled into playing with Gentoo. It is fun to me, but honestly I should have used the summer to work on C++ or python and gotten really good at one or the other.

So I really like this advantage and really do see it as a massive advantage for Gentoo. It is one of the reasons i have stuck with it without knowing the other advantages. i really like not having to use Layman I have 3 things installed from layman where as Arch’s AUR I would guess like 15 or so after the first day of having it installed.

The more I have played with Gentoo this is more and more truth I seen in this statement. At first I did not see how different they really are. Gentoo and Arch only are similar in that they both have a minimal install. Gentoo feel way more detail oriented while Arch feels like a relatively simple way to build your own distro and have only what one needs and not have to worry about the details. Yeah more than ubuntu or other distros, but not nearly as much as Gentoo.

After hearing what everyone had to say I think I may move back to Arch or try Debian or Void. Gentoo just doesn’t have the advantages that I thought It had. When I first looked into Gentoo I thought being a rolling distro meant bleeding or close to bleeding edge software. I like source, but the time trade off I just cant afford in college. I really Like Gentoo and it is where I have had the most fun with Linux and will return to it later.

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Sounds like a good idea.

If you’re dealing with source in college, changes are it will be writing your own stuff. Having a stable platform for your own stuff is a good thing. You don’t want to be debugging random application problems in code you write only to find out you’ve stumbled across some sort of breakage in the most recent version of package X.

You’ll also more accurately be able to benchmark your code if the platform isn’t constantly shifting underneath you with rolling updates.

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That is what I was thinking, It kind of hit me earlier. Also with papers and studying I should have more than enough to keep me occupied.

That I did not think about I may look into something other than Arch due to that and the above. Maybe Debian or Ubuntu meh did not think about that.