5 Comments

Gentoo Proud

Just about two weeks back, the article “ The Decline of Gentoo Linux” created an rippling avalance of Gentoo scantiness that caromed into an an awkwardly tied Cnet article of Gentoo vs. Ubuntu.

Distrowatch Weekly recalled attention to the original article several days later and amplified the lightly trolling post. The past two weeks Gentoo has taken a beating.

First Thomas Capricelli (a Gentoo user) voiced his disappointment that KDE-4.1 is not in the tree yet.

This has become a big issue because 4.1 essentially marks KDE out of beta and because it has been more than a month of KDE-4.1′s official release. Marcus Hanwell (part of Gentoo’s KDE team) noted three weeks ago that the KDE-4.1 delay is partly do to Portage’s new EAPI 2 standard and how KDE-4.1 can be multi-slotted. Jan Kundrát, another Gentoo KDE team member, points out the new spec as well as that several of Gentoo’s KDE team left recently.

The gong really sounded on an article last week not because of it’s content but rather it’s title. This article generated alot of unwanted buzz and stopped a few hearts (including yours truely). “Gentoo Linux Cancels Distribution” the article was largely optimistic though, and was probably just written by someone new to Linux definitions.

Justin Dugger also pondered “Is Gentoo Dying? and Loren Bandiera asks “What happened to Gentoo?

The “ The Decline of Gentoo Linux” loosely posited Gentoo’s decline by three criteria: long delay of installation media releases, KDE-4.1 not being in the portage tree yet, and the project’s fewer developers. Criteria hardly indicating his assertion that Gentoo is barely holding it together.

I’ve used Gentoo for one and a half years now and I have no evidence that Gentoo is declining. Gentoo’s package system almost always has the newest version of a package I need in the portage tree. Gentoo recently has changed it’s voting method so it is more likely the most experienced, most active developers make the decisions as part of the Council that best influence Gentoo. I also still see a good volume of postings in Gentoo’s forums, and the Gentoo-wiki.

Gentoo is in a change of flux more than usual (I believe) because of the new leadership structure. And I think you can argue here that there is a warning signal going off on Gentoo’s decentralization. Many people choose to create their own projects. But is this decentralization going to cause an unraveling of Gentoo? I don’t think so.

Gentoo is a hobbyist’s distrobution so fluxes are expected, to predict it’s demise by those three criteria is a loose exposition at best. The Gentoo Council seems to be more homegenous than I have known it for the last year and a half. So I look to a greater Gentoo later. Gentoo is a great distrobution and I plan to use it for a long time.

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About Todd Partridge (Gently)

Good times, good people, good fun.

5 comments on “Gentoo Proud

  1. Nice summary, and it’s great to hear your confidence about the future!

  2. My, there’s a lot of chatter about Gentoo on the Web at the moment.

    I agree with your conclusions, and still think Gentoo is an excellent distribution. You’re correct in saying that it’s a hobbyist’s distribution: I just wish I could stop tinkering with it constantly and leave well alone. I don’t mess around with my installations of other distributions, but Gentoo (actually I use Sabayon Linux, which is based on Gentoo) seems to bring out the mechanic in me: I just want to get under the hood and tweak things. ;-)

    Regarding comments on delays in releases and updates, perhaps the update and addition of ebuilds to the Portage tree has slowed of late, but that in itself is certainly not an indication that Gentoo is going to keel over. Actually, my impression over the last year genuinely has been that Portage itself has been in an almost constant state of development (emerge –sync often results in a message to emerge a new version of portage, for example). I think a lot of work on the fundamentals has been going on in the background, and the package manager itself is getting better as a result. And look at the migration to Baselayout-2 and OpenRC: surely an indication of an actively-developed distribution, not one in decline.

    If there’s one thing that is obvious from reading the Gentoo forums, it’s that the vast majority of Gentoo users are passionate about it. Sure, there are always some who are unhappy and move to other distributions, but the same thing applies to other distributions too; a look through other distributions’ forums and Linux news sites and magazines will show that.

    Gentoo is being used on NASA’s RAISE rocket programme, so the developers know it can go up and down. ;-) On a final note, a couple of days ago I decided to make back up images of the partitions on my hard disc, and used SystemRescueCd to do it. No prizes for guessing which Linux distribution it is based on.

  3. Just FYI, I’m not a member of Gentoo KDE team (yet).

  4. If you have only been using Gentoo for 1.5 years, you have only seen the “bad times” and not the good times. IMO ever since Robbins gave up the reigns it has been very different.

    Gentoo is a great distro, but it has recently lacked the luster it once had for me.

  5. The fate of Gentoo Wiki is one more reason for me not to try Gentoo again.

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