On 2011-05-06, Dale <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> P. S. One would think a Gentoo system could sit idle for a couple
> months without this sort of mess.
It depends on which "couple of months" you happen to pick.
Most of the time "a couple months" is OK. Once in a while there will
be several major updates for different packages in a short span and
for certain configurations if you don't do them incrementally stuff
breaks rather badly without some rather detailed shepherding from the
user along the way.
Still, it's nothing like the major upgrade disasters and RPM
dependency hell that I so vividly remember from my RedHat and Mandrake
I specifically remember trying to upgrade from RedHat 6.x to 7.0. It
was a complete disaster. It turned out that even a clean install of
RH 7.0 was almost unusable, and the "7" series was really ready for
prime time until about 7.3. That was when I gave up on RedHat -- and
I had been using RedHat since before they used version numbers (I
think I started with the "Mother's Day" release).
Mandrake seemd a little better, but it still had the same basic
problem: any time you wanted a package that wasn't on the base install
CD, the only viable choice was to build it from sources, because every
binary RPM that you could find always required different library
versions that what you hand installed. When you tried to build from
source, you found out you didn't have have the "devel" versions of the
right libararies. If you tried to update libraries it would start a
chain-reaction of dependancy problems that didn't end until you were
standing there with a smoking gun picking bits of drive platter out of