Is Gentoo dying?

gentoo_logoI started using Gentoo linux for a few reasons:

  1. To learn the inner workings of linux, as opposed to glossing over them with ubuntu or some other “user-friendly” distro.
  2. To learn more about the software I use. Gentoo really lets you configure all the various features of the software that I use. Hooray configurability!
  3. Because it had great documentation, like the Gentoo wiki. I was using OpenSuSE at the time and I kept finding myself reading HOWTOs about Gentoo and applying them to OpenSuSE .

Anyway, now there’s all sorts of ruckus about the Gentoo Foundation being leaderless and maybe I’m just not paying attention, but I haven’t heard anything promising about that situation in a while. Also, the Gentoo wiki had a massive data loss due to an unexpected data center closure, and it hasn’t recovered since (it’s been a while now).

As for the other benefits of Gentoo, well, there are other power-user distros, even some that give you good package management that does its best to stay close to the source. I’m looking at Arch Linux at the moment. Arch Linux also does a ton of bleeding-edge software stuff, which I find myself doing a lot on Gentoo nowadays.

On that note I should mention very subjectively that recently in order to upgrade I’ve had to blindly work around a lot more issues than when I started out. One could argue that it’s something about KDE 4.2, but there’s something else going on here as well. There’s way too much unmasking and way too much manual dependency resolving for the type of basic stuff I’m trying to do, stuff that I’ve seen portage do the equivalent of in the past. And I’m doing it during a major documentation shortage, one that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end.

Well, if I switch, you can be sure I’ll post my whinings about my next distro right here.

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16 responses to “Is Gentoo dying?

  1. They need to make a fully automated version of Gentoo that boots off a cd, looks at your hardware, determines the absolute best config, allows you to fool around the config with it in a gui environment and then install from that.

    that would be an os worth using

  2. Haha, last I checked, gentoo’s install was one of the parts that was working as intended. If you want fancified gentoo, you might like Sabayon, though it seems to be branching pretty fast.

  3. thanks for the link, i’ll check it out. I tried one kind of gentoo offshoot, hoping it would be what I described but it was just a pre configured gentoo, not a customised to my machine gentoo. I was disappointed. but thanks having a look now

  4. Hi Mahmoud,

    We’ve just revamped the homepage to show you how much is going on inside Gentoo, and I’m putting a lot of thought into the “leader” side of things.

  5. I do not think Gentoo is dying, I think they are just reorganizing making necessary changes. It is not dead. Rumors is that the Cuban government is creating a Linux distro based on Gentoo. You also have Sabayon as well which is a good desktop based on Gentoo.

    Have you tried Daniel Robbin’s Funtoo, http://www.funtoo.org/. I played with it and like it. He moved Portage to Git over at Github.

    For myself, I primarily use Arch Linux now. Really like it, never breaks as much as my Gentoo system (I break the Gentoo system not Gentoo 🙂 ).

    You can always try Slackware or the BSDs as well…

  6. Wow, Donnie, thanks for the comment. It’s funny, I had read your blog immediately prior to writing this post. (Not to make it sound like it inspired the post, though). I did notice the change in the homepage, and I like it quite a bit. I also appreciate all the effort you guys have been putting into my primary distro.

    It would be very sad to see it actually fade in the time when Linux is supposed to be strengthening, what with the popularity of Ubuntu and all the little netbook flavors flying around.

  7. @SaigonNezumi, I hadn’t heard of Funtoo, so I’ll definitely look into that, as well. Also, I’d heard about the Cuba-nix, but didn’t know it was based on Gentoo. It’s always good to see FOSS take off in any sort of official capacity.

    I think I’ll be sticking to Gentoo for a while. I looked at Arch and was pretty impressed, but I just really like my USE flags. And I like a lot about Gentoo, from the bragging rights, all the way down to the color scheme. I am putting FreeBSD on one of my cursory servers, but that’s for a completely different reason that I might go into later 😉

  8. Hi Mahmoud:

    Funtoo is Gentoo. You can use Portage through Github which is faster to rsync. All the Portage commands work now.

    I installed Funtoo vanilla and liked it. They are making many changes. It should be quite stable within a year. You never know, it could be implemented back into Gentoo someday.

    Have you tried the Paludis package manager with Gentoo?

  9. I see. That sounds like a pretty good plan, frankly. I’ve made it a goal of mine to really familiarize myself with git these last few months and, despite the learning curve, really liked it.

    I’ve read up on Paludis in the past, but not recently. I probably wasn’t ready to start customizing the more central parts of the system back then anyway. Should I be looking into it now?

  10. I want to play with Git more as well. If I had the time, I would play with Funtoo full time but I get lazy and stick with Arch Linux. Funtoo is good to try in VirtualBox. I have not used it in OpenVZ yet.

    I liked Paludis. I think they guys are creating their own Gentoo distro as well. I suspect that by the later half of 2009, we will see an emergence of more Gentoo-based distros. It would be nice to have an ‘Ubuntu’ for Gentoo.

  11. Most of the ‘lost’ Gentoo Wiki is still accessible from Googles “cached page” link. What I don’t know is why not use that function (or just ask google or other service that archives web pages) to recover the Wiki. The Gentoo Wiki was great source for other distro users as well and I am very sad such a well of great linux information is now lost.

  12. Some of the Paludis developers are involved in Exherbo, which is a new distribution that is not based on Gentoo but uses many similar ideas.

  13. @Lake-end That’s true, and I end up hitting the cache way too often. Of course, the cache isn’t updated, and the gentoo-wiki wants people to manually transfer the stuff into the new wiki. I can see the merit in that, but it seems the response hasn’t been nearly strong enough to bring back the wiki. So now there’s a grossly incomplete reference and an increasingly obsolete one.

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