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Gentoo Linux Part 4: Look, ma, it works!

After a weekend of compiling and recompiling, I finally have a usable Gentoo Linux box. One thing I will say about the process is: it’s not for the squeamish. This distribution is definately geared at the geeks. Nothing I can’t handle, but I wouldn’t subject someone like my father-in-law to this. I’ll just give him a copy of Knoppix like I did today.

The one thing this experience reminded me of is installing TIS Gauntlet way back in the mid 1990s. You loaded it from about 4 floppies onto a clean SunOS box. It compiled itself right before your eyes. Major flashbacks.

The one thing I already like about this distribution: it comes with as much or as little as you want. I don’t have to worry about software that I’ll never use causing me problems. If a tool doesn’t exist, I “emerge” it, it goes off and downloads everything it needs, compiles and installs it. Most of the time it preconfigures pretty easily or gives you fairly clear instructions about what you need to do to activate it.

Getting proper drivers for my NVidia card capable of doing GLX (for OpenGL stuff) required a small amount of work, but it was documented on the gentoo site.


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