An adventure in Krynn
History of Q
The System Closet
You didn't want to see...
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If you clicked this link for finding out more reasons why to choose
Gentoo Linux over any other form, you'll
be sadly disappointed. Sure, Gentoo has all these great optimizations and
fast doodads but it all boiled down to this chain of events.
A bit of history first (to show how old I am.)
In 1993, I was first introduced to Linux as a replacement for Unix by a friend. He hadn't tried it out himself at that point but since I've already had a few years of Unix admin experience from an old TRS-80 Model 16b HD machine (68000 at 6MHz, 15MB HDD, 512KB RAM, and Microsoft/Tandy TRS-Xenix 1.03.05, which later became SCO Xenix). He mentioned SLS. I went to look around and found Softlanding Systems 1.03 Release with Linux kernel 0.99pl12. No, I'm not the earliest adopters, but this was the first time I had net connectivity fast enough to download it and a machine capable (386DX40, 4MB RAM, 40MB HDD). As with any linux newbie, I had tons of trouble with it, especially with disk corruption. Turns out an ext2fs bug was introduced into 0.99pl12. Ouch, call that a bad time to start Linux. I also had my box rooted too. Good experience that was. No really, it was when I first realized how important security was, and how difficult it is to maintain.
After using SLS for a while (I never recompiled a new kernel to fix the ext2fs bug, never had enough disk space, plus no "safe" place to compile), I heard of this neat distribution called "Slackware." I downloaded 1.1 as the SLS binaries were getting long in the tooth and there was no upgrade to SLS. Here I finally got a larger disk, with its newer kernel I began compiling new kernels as new patches came out. This install lasted for a good few months.
By the time I felt necessary to upgrade again, Slackware 3.0 was available. Also at that time, SLS finally also had a new distribution, but I decided to use 3.0 anyway instead of using their supposedly new and improved SLS 1.05 or something. The package improvements in SLS looked minuscule compared to two major release updates in Slackware. So Slackware 3.0 it was, and thus also began the name of "Multiplex" for my PC.
However, around that time a new problem occurred. I noticed I started to get a lot of technical support questions about specific issues on particular distribution I never tried before. That distribution eventually became probably the most popular Linux distribution ever - thus I switched over to RedHat Linux 4.0 to see these new "redhat-isms." Also began my annoyance with my 9-character hostname and thus the name "Q" was taken. Getting back on topic, even though the upgrade process was a mess from version to version, I continued on with 4.2, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 6.2, 7.0, 7.2, 7.3, and 9 as I become all too familiar with the placement of all the config/startup files. (By the way, RH8 is missing. I never felt it was enough of an improvement over the 7-series.)
Anyway, through the years I've also touched on
Mandrake 8.0 and
Debian 2.2, but never really
used them that much. The packages of
Mandrake was too much like Redhat's anyway, and
I tried the BSDs a bit but by then I've already gotten too used to Linux. I still use NetBSD on my DECstation 3100, though. It's not an ia32 machine, rather, it's a MIPSel-based machine. Unfortunately, it was a forced choice as none of Ultrix, VMS, and OpenBSD are being updated for this machine...
But then I digress. Anyway, now Redhat ended its free for enthusiasts support and Fedora came to light. At this point in mid 2004, I downloaded Fedora Core 2 getting ready to install it as the logical follow-on to RedHat. But before I started installing, two friends of mine suggested I should try Gentoo. At first I complained to them, all this compiling is wasteful. They claimed customization is impeccable. Anyway, just like Debian and Mandrake, I tried it. Did a stage3 install because I didn't want to waste my life compiling something I wasn't sure I would keep. It worked on the first try. No DUH. I've gone through more than 10 years of Linux and of course it will work. Yes, any distribution would've worked, I've gone through so many and I could likely fix anything to work.
Why'd I end up stick to Gentoo? (Same reason why I stuck with Redhat for 5 major releases...)
The answer is easy. Why, I'm just too **MNED lazy to reinstall something else! Currently all my machines run Gentoo Linux and sometimes I curse myself for using this because all my machines are different architectures and different dependencies. Alas it does save some disk space to have each customized to the particular use of the machine (like I really need mysql or v4l libraries on my laptop and server; or microcontroller development tools on my p4 pvr) so I end up compiling a LOT, maybe too much. Not to mention my machines are all different microarchitectures - P4, Athlon, P3, and P2. Although I could generate a P2 binary for all, the dependency lists are horrendous and I would need to end up distcc'ing it all again anyway.
At least I don't have to do it often and having fast machines up on distcc it's not way too bad.
The good thing is that Gentoo seems to be pretty automated anyway,
most of the times I can emerge
and leave it to finish.
Well, That's it. Just my sobering experience why I use Gentoo Linux. I am NOT going to claim Gentoo is the best distribution around. You be the judge of that. All I have to say is it worked for me, despite its compilation annoyance.
By the way. funroll-loops
calls Gentoo 'rice'.
(btw, funroll-loops is actually a gcc option,
Core i7 2700K 3.9GHz @ 4.1GHz
Non-x86 Linux machines
Ubuntu Linux, though another Debian-sourced Linux, may be the next episode of the Linux saga. Gosh darn, it's the only Linux I was able to boot with ACPI support so far with the new Core2Duo 'out of the box'. Fortunately I think the ACPI issue was fixed in firmware as a BIOS update and haven't had trouble booting ever since.
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