[linux-elitists] Gentoo, linux users too can be racers

Brandon Edens brandon@cs.uri.edu
Mon Oct 29 08:51:58 PDT 2007

On Mon, Oct 29, 2007 at 03:30:21PM +0100, Peter Lowe wrote:

> On Mon 29-10-2007 6:19 am, James Sparenberg wrote:
> > 5. Forced dependencies.  Were there is no real dependency (like a lib) but 
> > instead it's "Well people who like X also want Y and Z.) Yes I want a text 
> > editor and no I don't want a full office suite.  Why can't I install a word 
> > processor without a full office suite. 
> Thank you! You have just expressed something that I've always found
> utterly annoying but never thought too hard about (the overall experience
> being something I prefer to forget), so have never really been able to put
> my finger on. I FUCKING HATE IT when I try and install something like, I
> dunno, Samba, and end up with CUPS, X, and KDE - they're not fuckin
> *dependencies*! They're just commonly used with the associated app! Arg.

Gentoo's USE flag system is quite nice. I have run many Gentoo servers without
X, cups, and/or KDE. My only complaint is there isn't a P2Pish way of forming a
"herd" with other University Gentoo System Administrators. The Gentoo system
isn't distributed enough for my tastes.

Dropping back into this conversation and a bit off topic now but I've been
building binaries of the software on my systems for a while now. That allows for
quick reversion back to older versions if I so choose. My massive workstation
builds amd64 software and my dinky laptop slurps down the binaries.

dispatch-conf has been wonderful for handling configuration file changes across
updates. I was an etc-update user due to my insistence on using vim-diff.
dispatch-conf has allowed for vim-diff for who knows how long so I switched
over. I don't know how I went so long without rcs managing config backups and
the pleasant byproduct of my config system knowing which files I changed ala

Software configuration does change upstream. Eventually all distributions have
to address those changes. I'd prefer to handle things piece-meal as they arrive
rather than "upgrading" to some new version of my distribution and having to
relearn software configuration. Ingesting changes is nicer too.

Debian/Ubuntu's system of answering questions through dialog menus (for just a
few commonly changed options) isn't good enough. I enjoy getting a base feel for
the software I use by going in there and tweaking the configuration as was
intended by the creators.

Gentoo's minimal modifications to upstream's software means that if I have
complaints then I can direct them to upstream and they'll have at least some
understanding of what I'm talking about. The installation/configuration docs
that are posted by upstream are generally applicable too. 

GCC just introduced some new command line options in 4.3.
I administer a core 2 duo machine and have processors that utilize mssse3.  Why
shouldn't my software be compiled to take advantage? Why would I want to wait
around (possibly years) for my distribution to start building binaries that have
these features?


Brandon Edens                                   brandon@cs.uri.edu
key 0x42248B92
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