Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: mirian@cosmic.com (Mirian Crzig Lennox)
To: gentoo-dev@g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] general questions and thoughts on Gentoo
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 09:59:16
Message-Id: slrna5at0p.60e.mirian@trantor.cosmic.com
Greetings all...

I'm a newcomer to Gentoo (although I've been a Linux users since 1994),
and spent an extremely enjoyable weekend installing it.  I must say, I'm
very impressed -- this is what Slackware should have become: a
wizard-level distribution totally geared to the expert who wants total
control over the system.  Plus, the up-to-date-ness of the source
packages was a refreshing change from most other distributions I have
used.

Some thoughts I had as I was playing with portage:

    When using portage, it's often the case that I know the name of the
    package I want to install, but not what category it lives in.  Under
    debian, for example, I could say "apt-get install zsh" to install
    zsh, whereas in gentoo, I seem to have to remember that zsh lives in
    app-shells.  This seems unnecessarily inconvenient, since it would
    only be an issue if the same package name were used by more than one
    package in more than one group.

    Another thing I kind of miss from other package systems is the
    ability to know *before* I download a package what files it will
    install.  The Mandrake, Debian, and FreeBSD ports collection provide
    this information in various forms, which I've gotten used to, but
    the /usr/portage hierarchy doesn't seem to store it anywhere.  

    There are a few utilities which seem to be lacking, but which it
    would appear to be trivial to add.  Something like RPM's "rpm -qf
    <file>" facility to find out which package "owns" a particular file
    would be useful.  This information is in the /var/db/pkg hierarchy,
    so some kind of 'find&grep' method is all that's needed.

    I've noticed that much of the "guts" of portage is written in
    Python, which is a language I deeply respect and which certainly
    makes sense for this kind of application, but which is not my
    personal preference as a scripting language.  However, it looks as
    though all the Python code is confined to /usr/lib/portage; none of
    the actual .ebuild scripts use Python.  Is this a deliberate choice,
    and if so, does this leave the door open for people wishing to
    access portage from other languages, such as Ruby or Scheme?

    Finally, given that Gentoo is designed to be compiled from source at
    install means that it should be fairly portable to other
    architectures.  Has anyone tried installing Gentoo on a non-i386
    architecture?  I wouldn't mind giving it a shot on my PPC-based
    iBook (currently running YellowDog 2.1).

Anyway... these are just random thoughts... in the main, I'm really
happy and impressed with Gentoo.  Excellent work, everyone!

--Mirian

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