why gentoo? why blog?


who I am:

           I am a Pre-Medicine student of the University of Kansas completely obsessed with Linux and Open Source movement in general. I am originally from Russian Federation where I grew up as a usual Windows user and, as everybody else, due to financial situation could hardly imagine a WinXP being sold for more than ~1$ and without activation key included. Cracks, CD-Keys, Serial numbers and the ways to work around different types of CD copy-protection is the kind of information our community of average teenage computer users was usually exchanging. I didnt know the alternative; I couldn’t imagine any other way of life. It all changed a year ago when a friend of mine (whom I knew for long time as a person always way ahead of me in computer knowledge) in response to some whining about how slow XP works on my free Pentium III asked: “what? You still don’t use linux??? O_o” That’s where it all started for me…

why gentoo:

           The first distribution I tried was popular Ubuntu Hardy. I was freaking out about actual installation because I had no idea about how it is going to work on my old free computer, what programs I couldn’t run on it, and, most importantly, the drivers, especially printer (because as a college student u have to print almost everyday and the installation of HP drivers even on Windows at that point seemed to me as a whole other impressive and glorious hour long process). I followed everybody’s advice and loaded the OS from CD. Surprisingly, just from that freaken liveCD, without installation of any “drivers” (you know … I was using windows for long time!!!) I was able to go on-line, download a pdf lecture for, as I remember right now, Ecology class (good to know 🙂 and print it out on my HP printer! Next thing I remember I was erasing windows and installing Ubuntu on my HD.

            Not long after that, in again one of the conversations with THE friend we started talking about the different distributions. I remember him saying: “ah… all of those gnomed guied to hell windows-like distros! Look man, if you wanna try a real Linux, get something serious…like Gentoo” At that point I had (as I mentioned earlier) a very old PENIII with 256mbRAM Dell computer and the only thing that really mattered for me was speed! Guided by my friend (see above) and seduced by the word “performance” in the description on the gentoo’s website I decided to give it a try. Long after many different experiences with this OS (which I am going to tell later in the blog) I can finally say it works, works like I want, and does it really fast.

why blog:

            Blogging about experiences with gentoo is interesting because of two reasons. First, it is sometimes helpful to have a little personal reference of all the issues you have with it and what kinds of solutions you could find. Furthermore, people might read it (“surprise-surprise”), see how stupid you are and point to the source of the problems or even tell you their ways of solution (this is how in reality this all “sharing information inside of the community blablabla” is usually represented 🙂 . Second, it was many times mentioned to me how hilarious it is sometimes for gurus to read about computer problems of noobs. Gentoo is I think the BEST example of an operating system which a person without much experience with at least Unix shouldn’t touch. At the moment when I decided to start using gentoo I had NO knowledge of bash, unix, computer programming, Linux as an operating system; kernel for me was a very pretty word, and terminal was that thing that always somehow knew my name, had @, ~, and a $ for some reason and whatever I typed in there gave me “command not found”. Nevertheless, I thought I was ready … 🙂

Next Entry: First Installation