The Long Road to Gentoo

I started looking around at distrowatch.com to figure out what I should try on my CF-72 next. While comparing the different packages available I noticed that Ubuntu 9.04 uses a version of hal that is listed as unstable. Could this be the root of the X instability problem? I also noticed that they where using a newer version of xorg then 8.10; 1.6.0 rather than 1.5.2. The other thought that I had was that the noted peppiness of Jaunty may have come at the cost of stability due to compile flags when the binaries where made. I just don’t know. I briefly looked into compiling my all my own ubuntu binaries, but whats the point in that? I may as well just use a distro that does that by default.

I have been itching to try out a bsd variant, but a little bit of research warned me against it for a notebook. I read that they can be a pain  to change, and are best for servers that have a set purpose at install as new packages can cause problems. The other compile from source distro is of course gentoo. It has been a year or so since I even thought about gentoo. Just as I did last time (last year following a hdd failure), I came at it from sabayon. I used to run gentoo on this notebooks older sibling (a p3m cf-72), but switched to ubuntu when the live cd ‘just worked’ with a wireless device I had at the time.

I first installed sabayon and it booted up just fine. The first thing I did was un-install the World of Goo demo, I own a copy of the full game but I don’t want it on my notebook. This took at least 15 minutes with spritz, the gui package manager. And that was the process time after I wasted some time figuring out the interface and updating the database. Then I tried to install VLC, after about 10 minutes I noticed that the process seemed to have stopped, there was no hard disk activity and the cpu was staying at around 0% activity. I checked and the installer was sleeping. I looked into it and found that a lot of people had problems with spritz, they just had to use the underlying portage structure that is included with Sabayon. Sabayon is built on top of gentoo, it installs a bunch of binary packages and includes a gui package manager. If one wanted to they could pretty much change a sabayon install into a gentoo install. But if I have to do all that mucking about on the command line I may as well just install gentoo.

So for the next couple of hours I did a fresh gentoo install from a stage 3 tar ball. I compiled my kernel fine first try, it still boots a little slow, and I didn’t create a initrd, but I can work on that later. I set up the use flags and I am currently compiling a fresh gnome desktop (package 79 of 202) as I type this.

About 10 minutes ago I wondered if I shouldn’t have just reinstalled ubuntu 8.10 instead. Oh well.

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