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OSNews: Building a Gentoo Linux for All

Sep 14, 2002, 01:00 (26 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eugenia Loli-Queru)

"The users' main gripe (except the involved installation process) is that Gentoo takes too long to compile either itself (during installation) or when later compiling big packages (eg. KDE/Gnome) or when updating the system. Installing the system, using the Stage 1 tarball, can take from 24 hours up to 2 days, depending on the power of your system. Also, (un)fortunately, most packages have new ebuilds in the Portage tree every few days or weeks, with fixed bugs. This is of course a good thing. But it is not when you need to wait hours to recompile from scratch all these packages every few days. And when "updating world", most of the times it would take a while. This is a tiring process.

"Purists will say that they just leave the compilation processes taking place overnight, but let's face it, this is hardly an elegant solution, it does not solve the problem, it just hides it (in the dark of the night). Developers will argue that Portage is great for solving dependancies automatically, and I will agree with this.

"However, on my personal experience with Gentoo since this April, there were more than 10 distinct cases where updating the system or libraries it broke other packages or even the system. And at the end of the day, Portage is not an easy to use system. Sure, 'emerge -u world' or 'emerge kde' sounds like a piece of cake, and it is a piece of cake. But when you actually get to use the system, you will see that you need to get your nose in several /etc/ scripts or Portage's own command line arguments. Many times I had to edit portage-related ebuild scripts or configuration files (both on /etc/ and /usr/portage/ and elsewhere) and when it comes to the cryptic USE command, it just becomes too complicated and too involved for the plain user. It is just more than I would wish to do with my system..."

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