2009/2/3 Grant Edwards <email@example.com>:
> Whenever I see a write-up of Gentoo, it's describe as a system
> similar to BSD "ports" where you build packages from source.
> The main benefit claimed for this approach is that you get
> better performance because all executables are optimized for
> exactly the right instruction set.
> Where did that bit of apocrypha come from, and why is it
> parroted by so many people?
I guess that is because the average user doesn't know those other
problems. Maybe he is used to reinstall his system every few months
because he used Windows before (which was the case for me, I repeat
was). Or he just reinstalls it when something fails.
Also this sounds like a very strong argument. Just imagine! That shiny
new CPU of yours and it wasn't running at it's full potential! But
wait no more! Use Gentoo and it'll show the power of all its
> AFAICT, the "performance" benefit due to compiler optimization
> is practically nil in real-world usage.
Not nil, but very very small. Maybe some 0.25 oder 0.5 frames per
second in a game or 2 or 3 requests more per second for a webserver. I
> In my experience the huge benefit of source-based distros such
> as Gentoo is elimination of the library dependency-hell that
> mires other binary-based distros.
You are absolutely right!
> For many years I ran RedHat and then Mandrake. After a year or
> so, they became impossible to maintain because of library
> version conflicts. Every time I tried up upgrade an RPM package
> to fix a bug or security hole, it required a handful of
> libraries to be upgraded, but doing that would break a bunch of
> other RPMs for which upgrades weren't available. The solution
> was always to start building stuff from sources. Once you
> started doing that, the package manager would get upset because
> it doesn't know about some stuff that's installed (unless you
> built from source RPMs, which had another set of problems).
> The second benefit is that with Gentoo, upgrading a system
> actually works over the long-run. With RedHat/Mandrake, things
> would gradually deteriorate to the point where the system was
> unmaintainable, but attempting to upgrade between major
> releases was always futile. I've had Gentoo machines that have
> been upgraded for 4-5 years without any significant problems
> (failed hard-drives don't count).
I hope mine will run as long as yours
But I'm quite sure it will.
I just love that I can pick newer packages by unkeywording them and I
don't have all those library problems that I would happen with other
distributions. (Which can sometimes be avoided with backports, I know,
but those aren't always available...)
> The third main benefit I've seen is that there are vastly more
> packages available for Gentoo. Putting together and
> maintaining an ebuild appears to take a lot less work than
> putting together and maintaining a binary RPM package. I've
> had far fewer problems with third party ebuilds than I did with
> third-party RPMs (on the rare occasions when I found one for
> some obscure application I wanted to run). Again, the solution
> was always "build from sources".
Hmm.. I think making an ebuild is even harder. Because you have got
different combinations of USE flags and if you are a good maintainer
you should check them all, if you build an rpm it is fine if it works.
With 4 USE flags there are already 31 possible combinations.... just
imagine some larger packets with ten and more USE Flags...
> Are the real benefits of Gentoo too hard to explain to the
> unwashed masses, so instead they're told the fairy tale about
> imporoved performance?
I guess yes, because they just install packages from their
distribution or wildly from the internet so they destroy their
installation and have to reinstall anyways.
And by the way, I love the slogan "Gentoo - It's all about choices"
maybe it should be used more often, maybe it could beat that improved
Currently developing a browsergame...
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