[linux-elitists] Gentoo Linux Releases 2004.3 (fwd from brian-slashdotnews@hyperreal.org)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sat Nov 20 21:08:28 PST 2004


on Mon, Nov 15, 2004 at 07:28:31PM -0800, Teh Entar-Nick (nick@teh.entar.net) wrote:
> begin  J. Paul Reed  quotation:
> > On 16 Nov 2004 at 13:31:47, Jeff Waugh arranged the bits on my disk
> > to say:
> > > If you can do your own integration, bug tracking and security
> > > support for everything on your system, that's... unhealthy, and I
> > > recommend you seek medial advice.
> > 
> > I don't have to; emerge and the people working in the Gentoo herds
> > do all that for me.
> 
> 	This is precisely like the old qmail problem: since in order
> to get anything done you need to apply a zillion changes and patches,
> you end up diverting so far from the official supported tree that
> almost *everyone* ends up treading a tightrope of unforseen
> interactions.
> 
> 	Debian makes an effort to support different optional
> featuresets by naming the packages differently.  That's why there's
> mtr-tiny for folks who just want the curses stuff, and all sorts of
> -gnome-suffixed packages that say "This provides the gnome version of
> <foo>"

Which is pretty much the post I'd have written, had I cared to get
involved with this discussion.

I'm not opposed to Gentoo, just that it sounds like more pain than I
need to get involved with at present.  I'll accept the statements that
it does wonderful things, but as the funrollloops website makes clear,
there's a lot of ricer idiots sucked in as well.

What Debian (or another package-oriented distro) offers is the ability
to collectively learn from experience.  The result is tools which work
well and/or quickly, but for which the knowledge for configuration is
carried at the distro level.  You don't have to teach each individual
using the system how to do stuff (or worse:  un-teach them how _not_ to
do stuff).  That's valuable.

As Nick points out, it's also possible in a package-driven distro to
provide minimal levels of packages where there's a benefit (and
interested package maintainer) for doing so.  The advantage for adopters
is that you're getting systems which are both optimized *and*
maintained.

Gentoo's probably doing a benefit for the rest of us by providing a
sandbox and lots of guinea pigs for ricing stuff up.  And some of the
rice _is_ fast.  All distros use the same distros, this is just a larger
experiential base to draw from.  The good stuff will eventually get
picked up.  Well, except of course that half the commercial distros
haven't learned what Policy's about yet....


Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   A guide to GNU/Linux backups:
     http://kmself.home.netcom.com/Linux/FAQs/backups.html
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