A New Kind of Penguin

Several years ago, someone told me about this Unix you could put on an ordinary PC (I was working with IBM RS/6000s at the time). Intrigued by the idea, I made my first forays into the world of Linux. From those early days, my Linux experience has been dominated by the SuSE distribution, now owned by Novell.

For the last couple of years, every time I have upgraded SuSE Linux to a newer version, I have said "never again!". A recent attempt to put OpenSuSE on my old, sick, laptop convinced me that SuSE and I had finally reached the parting of the ways.

I have dallied briefly with other distributions – the dinosaur of a ThinkPad in our kitchen, used to access our recipes wiki, the weather forecast and rain radar runs Debian, my main web server runs Fedora, and a couple of old test machines were – until yesterday – running Slackware.

Move aside all! I have finally found a Linux distribution that I truly like and that works the way that I want it to. Not for the beginner, nor the faint of heart, but perfect for a developer and former sysadmin – welcome to Gentoo.

Installation has given me a few woes but the online documentation, especially the wiki have smoothed the way and made my life much easier. What really draws me to Gentoo is Portage, the package management system. May I never see another rpm build as long as I live! Portage has, so far, obviated the need for the huge tarball and horrendous Bash script that I used to use to install all the essential software that the rpm builders had – as far as I was concerned – got wrong.

Conclusion: Gentoo rocks.