[Klug-general] Debian 4.0 released

Karl Latimer karl at qdh.org.uk
Tue Apr 10 13:26:37 BST 2007

> I had used a handful of distros before gentoo. I didn't really learn
> much about the inner-workings of the system at all.

I don't know much about the inner workings of windows, mainly because
stack traces from VC are so bloody long you just can't be bothered and
classify it under "F*cking microsoft" and move on to find what you need

Put simply, gentoo is the worst possible place for learning linux, not
that you really have to learn much Linux these days, 90% of it is
familiar to most desktop users moving from mac/win. 

> I guess my comment is aimed at new linux users who want to understand
> linux (and have had a dabble at somethingike ubuntu),

Hmm, I'd rephrase that to linux users who want to understand the inner
workings of a distribution which is essentially BSD in structure... Why
don't they do the honorable thing and use BSD? 

Excluding obviously the 'new' as it is completely inappropriate for a
user to begin with gentoo, ubuntu/fedora desktops are aimed at making
transition easy. Gentoo is like hitting your nuts with a ball hammer
because you want to figure out the inner workings of your testicles. 

> I've always believed that throwing yourself into the deep end is the
> best policy. 

Thats how I generally work, I say, "Today I'm going to write a in b"
where 'a' is a concept I know nothing about, and 'b' is a language I'm
not familiar with... Over a year on I'm still writing wine-doors ;) But
at least you can install winamp/firefox/internet explorer with it...

> It's a little intimidating at first but there's something
> exciting and challenging about it which really aids my learning.

My grandmother god rest her soul, wasn't particularly advanced when it
came to using a computer, she played solitaire a lot, but that was about
it. Should I have given here a Gentoo install CD for her to do this? Or

Unfortunately my grandmother passed on before she became a Linux user,
however I'm sure she's hacking the kernel in heaven... 

> I guess what we've both missed here is that everyone is different and
> therefore learns in their own way(s).

My views on gentoo go something like this;

If I wanted a highly optimised one time OS built for doing a specific
job, as fast as the hardware would allow, a completely trimmed down OS
which doesn't require all and sundry deps for doing x and y which don't
interest me, and I need to hack hard on it to fit it into a tight little
box, small storage, little hardware but the need to get the max out of
what I've got... I'd choose gentoo. Gentoo isn't even good for learning
linux internals, AFAIK gentoo excludes some of the Linuxy features in
favor of older tried and tested methods, eg udev, maybe they do use it
now, and also sysfs, maybe they use that too. Sure you learn about
optimised builds, but not necessarily Linux...

If I wanted to learn the inner workings of Linux I'd Linux from scratch
using the documentation available on tldp. At least by doing that I'd
have some reasonably good support for the processes I'm going through,
and a reasonably documented explanation of what needs to be done so I
can see the bigger picture. I have done a LFS install, that was about 3
days I'll never get back... 

If I was a newbe, in this day and age, not the grand old days of rh4.2
and slackware 3.2 (ah the starting point for me was the slack)... I
would say, ubuntu, you can use it from the CD, there are migration tools
for windows users, non-destructive partition tools and a wealth of
applications available so anyone, and everyone can find something of

Gentoo is for hackers, ubuntu is for human beings!


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