Sunday, February 20, 2005

Goodbye Debian - Hello Gentoo!

That's right! I am leaving Debian Linux for Gentoo. After more than a year, flirting with Woody (stable branch) and then later Sarge (testing branch of Debian), running it since they day I bought by notebook, I decided to make the switch.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Debian. The change was motivated buy several reasons, among which...


  • I want to learn Gentoo a bit more extensively. I used it here and there, but now feel its time to goto bed with it.
  • My batteries on the notebook are dying (about 30-45min), so I don't mind the extra stress that a compilation puts on power management anymore.
  • Debian is fast (say compared to RH). Gentoo feels even faster.
    Gentoo has some cool non-free apps in portage (repository).
  • I'd still be using Debian both at home and office anyways


It all started last week as I struggled to download the two Gentoo CDs on our slow, highly congested office network, only to find the packages CD didn't have the proper MD5sums matching. This called for some drastic measures. So I ran up my buddy, Suchetha, who owns a shop down Liberty Plaza, to the rescue. We had a good time copying stuff :) and just chilling out.

Satuday, I just relaxed, cutting my Msc classes and sleeping mostly. I needed the break after a stressful week. In between naps, I got down with the painful task of backing up my stuff to DVDs.

Unfortunately my calm Saturday was not be enjoyed for long! Two of my uncles had problems with their machines and so they showed up eating away a couple of hours of my time. It wasn´t all that wasted though since, I did managed to install Mepis on one of the Uncle´s desktop before he left -- not that he really wanted it, but I insisted :)

I was finally ready to wipe my hard disk, also getting rid of the official winXP home edition that was installed. For those of you who may be wondering, I kept that around since it had the HP battery optimizing tool and the TV out (which worked but not with movies due to refresh rate problems I guess). Since the battery was pretty much dead, it was time to wipe it out completely.

As I reached for the Gentoo CDs my eyes switched over to the FreeBSD 5.3 CDs. Hmmm now that windows is no more, perhaps this would be an interesting complement, I thought. After a couple of unsuccessful installation attempts, caused due either my ignorance or the BSD boot loader's inability to boot the OS when its not installed in the first partition, prompted me to give up that idea. I did manage to install a default FreeBSD starting at the beginning of the hard disk with KDE, but then decided that was a separate beast I would deal with inside a virtual machine.

Finally today, in between my Linux classes, I managed to install a basic Gentoo system. As soon as I got home, late in the evening, I continued installing the majority of the desktop applications including KDE, OpenOffice, Gaim etc. The fact that I used the Gentoo GRP (binary packages), made things much easier (as opposed to compiling everything). But some packages required me to download them off the net.

Even as I write this blog, I am emerging (Gentoo lingo to mean download, compile, install) some packages off my slow dialup. Looks like I'll have continue emerging tomorrow as well :)

No comments: