I can more or less agree with your sentiments, but given the choice of needing to maintain
compatibility between many applications and being able to support multiple architectures
such as SPARC and Power Gentoo is really the only choice.
The only real close candidate would be FreeBSD which treats anything that isn't x86 as
a second class citizen. I have my own issues with Linux as well, and as I said earlier I
would much rather use illumos, but when it comes to business applications that always have
to run and always maintain compatibility is new versions come out gentoo is as close to a
BSD/Unix that I can get to and maintain compatibility with everything I need.
Use flags can be cumbersome if you have tons of applications such as a desktop system. But
that's generally not the case for servers which is really all I care about in this
case. For me it's generally just maintaining a set of used flags for each application
that I need which is generally pretty minimal per server / container.
Profiles help make Use flags not as cumbersome, but it doesn't quite fix the issue.
Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
-------- Original message --------
From: Swift Griggs <swiftgriggs at gmail.com>
Date: 4/29/2016 12:10 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" <cctalk at
Subject: Gentoo (was Re: strangest systems I've sent email from)
On Fri, 29 Apr 2016, alexmcwhirter at triadic.us wrote:
Gentoo is powerful because you get to chose your init
options, and every other piece of software that runs on the box.
Other than the swapping init systems, many OSS OS distributions have the
ability to choose what you want to run. Not all are as granular as Gentoo
(but some, say embedded distros, have even more control). There are dozens
of Linux distros as you know, and this degree of control & granularity is
one of the main variable. Ubuntu users want "just-worky-ness", Gentoo
users often want tweakability in the extreme. It all depends on your needs
and value system.
For example, dovecot on ubuntu pulls in ldap, sasl,
etc... On gentoo you
choose what gets pulled in via USE flags.
I guess there is no accounting for taste. I would not call USE flags a
feature, my opinion is that they are painful in implementation (dragging
around a list of way-too-many little keywords is not fun, IMHO), nasty to
work with and have to look at (some giant wrap-around variables in the
conf file), and make me feel dirty and disorganized. Plus, in my
experience, if you accidentally put in two mutually exclusive or
not-very-well-tested USE flags you are in for a hard time that might be
difficult to track down (ie.. if the effects don't immediately surface).
CrossDev is also a great to that has helped me port
gentoo to SPARC64
with little to no issues.
Cross compiling is neat, for sure. However, Gentoo doesn't have any unique
claim on that (not that you implied that). Many other OSs have used the
same methodology since long before Linux, much less Gentoo.