Gentoo is the best distribution and anyone who says different is a liar.

Discuss.

Seriously, can we talk about our experiences with different distros? What we like, what we don’t like?

I originally started way back with Red Hat 4.2, when fvwm2 was the reigning window manager, people still played Xevil, and things were as simple as they possibly could be. It was a ridiculous amount of work getting anything graphical to work and 3D accelerators were still a long way ahead. From that I moved to Red Hat 5.2, but then SuSE caught my eye and I became enthralled with that.

I always made the joke that SuSE was the most efficient operating system ever made by the most efficient country ever, But SuSE really floored me when KDE was just starting to find its legs. I used it faithfully for years until I learned that no one did things like SuSE and it was a pain just to find compatible RPMs.

And then I found the church of Gentoo. Gentoo was everything I wanted in a distribution. Fast, effective, and almost infinitely customizable. Compiling from source wasn’t a big deal on dorm bandwidth, and most importantly, all the cutting edge stuff was just another day at the office for the Gentoo maintainers, to mix metaphors.

And now I couldn’t be happier. Gentoo does everything I want, and dutifully. I used to think Ubuntu was a designer distro, a clever gimmick based on bringing simple eye candy to the masses. But then it grew, big, fast, and is very useful to a lot of people, so I’m far less critical of it now. Its rise from simple little distro to full-blown monolith was as rapid as I’ve ever seen a piece of software rise to prominence and that speaks volumes of its worth all by itself.

So that’s where I stand. Gentoo is awesome, Ubuntu is decent. And everything else? Why do you use what you use?

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3 Comments

  1. bruchio
    Posted July 8, 2006 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I just use the right tool for the job. I use NetBSD on “one-size-fits-all” machines and Linux on the desktop.

    I used to use Gentoo almost exclusively. Then someone asked me to try SuSE. I liked it for a while, but found it to be disorganized (this was SuSE 9.3). After that, I used Fedora. Bleh. FreeBSD, Slackware. Then I settled on NetBSD for about a year and a half. I /still/ like it more than *any* other system, but it lacks a few features, mainly because of it´s perception by the community (developers not writing clean, portable code usually). Then I switched again to Gentoo. I had a number of disappointments, but finally got it to install. I used it for a while, until I got crazy with USE flags and masked packages and finally hosed my system completely. I didn´t like the ricer community anyway, so I decided to go back to Debian, where I remained for some time.

    Now I have a second computer. A beast. I´m in the process of setting them both up to work in tandem as we speak. The older box will be a router/storage device/testbed for servers. The newer one will be a diskless/dataless hybrid, as described on my blog. But I´m an OC neatfreak, so It´s taking me a while to plan properly. My end goal is to have the best of both (or all three) worlds—I boot into one, and chroot into another. I can run Gentoo inside Ubuntu or Ubunto inside Gentoo or Gentoo inside NetBSD or… I did this once before on some really low grade hardware (y´know…bedroom experimentation), but now I hope to do it seriously so I can actually start being productive.

    Now for the reasons. 1) Package Managers. 2) Stability 3)”safe” bleeding edge testing 3) sharing of filesystems between operating systems seamlessly (and I do mean seamlessly…even with WindowsXP added to the bag). 4) Because I can.

  2. Francisco
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Having a dial-up connection and an 850MHz computer –> I use Kubuntu

  3. John
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Gentoo is the only one I can stand. It seems somehow, that every time I decide to give Ubuntu *one* more chance… something has gone more terribly wrong with it than the last time I tried it.
    Gentoo just works, and for me, navigating package.keywords and package.use, including all of the problems that come with package masking and dependency loops… seem insignificant. Since I know anything that’s gone wrong is my own fault, I know I can find out what went wrong, and how to fix it.
    Not so with ubuntu :\


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