Lindsay Haisley posted on Sat, 11 Sep 2010 19:17:36 -0500 as excerpted:
> On Sat, 2010-09-11 at 23:13 +0000, Duncan wrote:
>> I wish there were some way to really drum this into every Gentoo user's
>> head when they started, so they never ended up having to learn it the
>> hard way, as you did. But as they say, if wishes were fishes...
> You know, I set up my Gentoo boxes - 2 commercial servers and a desktop
> box - over 5 years ago.
I started in 2004. What was ironic was that for some reason I never did
actually figure out, 2004.0 didn't work for me, and by the time I got
around to working on it again, 2004.1 was out (in those days Gentoo did
four releases a year, one a quarter). But in the mean time I was
following the user list, the dev list, the desktop list, and the amd64
list. I had also read the handbook over, including the working with
portage and working with Gentoo sections (there wasn't yet a network
section). Plus, I read into the list archives a bit. So I had a decent
feel for all the common places folks had problems, and was actually
answering questions about Gentoo and helping people with the common
problems anyway, from my still-Mandrake box, before I even had Gentoo up
I always thought it was a shame how many folks read only the install
section of the handbook, and that only once, when they were actually
installing. Those folks may get a Gentoo system up and running, but miss
all the good hints that make it easier to administer! =:^( I wish there
were some way to have everybody go thru the process I did, actually
reading the handbook, then helping out on the forms/lists/irc, whichever
they prefer, for at least a month, before they actually got a working
install up and running. It'd make people's experience a /lot/ smoother,
once they did get up and running.
> Gentoo was a lot simpler then. There were no
> eselect news items to read because there was no eselect news. There was
> also no decent system to read the emerge notes, so Eldad Zack and I
> wrote one.
I think comparing it to steering systems is reasonable.
I installed from stage-1, because I wanted to understand it from the
ground up. And remember the bootstrapping script? Due to hardware issues
(borderline memory, really wasn't up to the clocking it was rated at, and
my system BIOS didn't have a way to underclock it until a BIOS update some
time later, after which it was solid as a rock on the same memory... until
I upgraded memory some years later), I couldn't get that whole script to
run at once, so I opened it up in an editor and did each step of the
script manually, redoing it, sometimes crashing and rebooting, until the
step completed successfully, after which I went to the next step.
I'd compare that to "tracked vehicle steering". Like Caterpillars or
other tracked vehicles, where you steer with levers that stop the tracks
on one side or the other, while the other continues to turn, so the
vehicle turns toward the stopped side.
Conventional stage-1 or stage-2 installs, like we did back then, without
eselect news, etc, would be like conventional direct steering, while using
the installer that was available for awhile, or a stage-3 tarball, is like
Each level is easier, but more complex and farther removed from the
details. Power steering is a lot easier than conventional steering, which
is easier than tracked vehicle steering, but you lose the feel for the
road -- the reason sports-car enthusiasts generally prefer manual steering
and gearing -- automatic/power takes all the fun out of it!
> I've had to learn a lot of stuff "the hard way" but as the
> years go by I have less and less patience with having to get under the
> hood and tinker. I'm kinda stuck with what I have. My servers are
> running mysql 5.0. If I took them off line to upgrade everything to
> mysql 5.1, every system on the boxes on which my customers depend would
> break - mail service, DNS, SpamAssassin, billing, to mention a few, and
> these would be down for who knows how long. I'm almost 70 years old.
> I'll probably sell my business and let someone else worry about this
> crap before I get everything truly up-to-date.
> As far as the desktop system goes, I'll probably build a 2nd box, maybe
> running another distribution, and migrate stuff to it incrementally. My
> time and my sanity have value, and doing this may be less costly, in the
> long run, than trying to hack this 5-year old box and being without a
> desktop (and my company's billing system, and my email, and my web
> development tools, etc. etc.) until I get it figured out.
Wow! I'm often one of the older guys around, both in Linux dev circles
(I'm not really a dev but I enjoy hanging out with them and speaking the
lingo), where so many are in college, and quit when they get done and take
normal employment, and in my regular non-computer-related job. But I'm
only in my lower to mid 40s (nearing 44).
I've often wondered how long I'll keep up with Linux and Gentoo... tho I
do find Gentoo a perfect match for me right now. I've been around Gentoo
for over six years now, and expect that if it's still around in updated
but reasonably similar purposed form a decade from now, I'll very likely
still be running it. Two decades... it's very tough to predict /what/
computers will be like 20 years out, and Gentoo could easily be long gone
history by then, or changed so much it wouldn't be recognizable, but
still, it's conceivable that if it's still around, I might still be
running it. Put it this way: I don't foresee a reason to change,
assuming Gentoo's still around in similar purposed form, by then.
70's a bit beyond that, for me. Hopefully I'm still in reasonable shape
by then. I've idly speculated what it might be like when my generation
gets to that age. We're really the first ones to have computers, at least
C64 level, as kids or teens. How will that affect our approach to
technology as we age? I really don't know, but I sort of have this
picture in my head of me being involved with and perhaps president of the
LUG in my retirement home! =;^)
Would I still have the patience to run Gentoo, or would I be running
something really simple and hand-holdy, like Ubuntu, by then? What
questions to be contemplating! =:^)
FWIW, I've read very good things about Arch, including from a number of
former Gentooers who got tired of the full from-source for /everything/.
Apparently, it allows a lot more control of the installation than most
binary distributions, with rather less hassle than Gentoo. Like Gentoo,
it's a rolling distribution, something I'd consider a bonus. If I were to
consider taking it down a notch, that would be the first one I'd try. So
that's what I'd suggest, if indeed you are considering taking it down a
Beyond that, I think Debian unstable would be my next choice, for the
desktop, probably testing for servers. They're big enough to have the
power of numbers behind them, both people and packages, and are a
community distribution. Here at least, I consider that a good thing.
I've tried commercial/company-backed distributions and simply don't find
them appropriate for me. As such, I doubt I'll ever run a Mandriva,
Fedora, or Ubuntu, again, unless it happens due to my switching to the
computer field for my job, and it ends up just being simpler to run the
same thing on my own computers as well. But I don't see myself as happy
enough with such distributions to ever run them on my own. Thus, if I
/were/ to go mainstream binary distribution, Debian is almost certainly
what I'd choose, over the Redhats/Fedoras, NLSs/NLDs/SuSEs/OpenSuSEs,
Mandrivas, Ubuntus, etc.
> Enough of this geezer-rant. Peace and love to everyone in these crazy
> times. I mean it!
Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman