Distro Wars: Gentoo Linux

John Kristensen

Distro Wars!

Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux

  • "version-less meta-distribution"
  • packages compiled from source
  • extremely customisable
  • runs on either Linux or FreeBSD


  • a mostly manual process
  • bootstrap from minimal system
  • set-up and configure the system by hand
    • ie. partitioning, filesystems, kernel, networking, environment, etc.


  • similar to the BSD ports system
  • packages managed using the emerge tool
    • emerge --sync
    • emerge <package>
  • ebuild files define how packages are installed
  • USE flags are used to customise the packages


  • excellent documentation
  • great for learning the innards of GNU/Linux
  • has some really nice management tools
    • etc-update, eselect
  • "rolling release" / bleeding edge
  • personally found that the system was less buggy (when working)


  • updates can take a very long time
  • important stuff breaks occasionally
  • ZOMG! OPTIMISED![citation needed]