This weekend, my project is installing Gentoo Linux on my laptop. A reader mentioned that Gentoo was one of the distributions that was more KDE-friendly than Red Hat (which we use for just about everything at work), and I decided to go great guns and just install it. Gentoo is not for the faint of heart — the installation process involves booting off of the CDROM and then doing a bunch of stuff at a root prompt. Strangely, I prefer this to the Debian installer, which never fails to leave me with a broken system and poor attitude. Anyway, I installed Gentoo, but I screwed it up. I then managed to successfully recompile the kernel and hack on configs repeatedly until I got everything working as I like.
Gentoo’s Portage system seems better than RPM for sure and perhaps even than Debian’s package system. It’s kind of like FreeBSD’s ports system, but I think it’s even cooler than that. Also, Gentoo makes it easy to stay on the absolute bleeding edge of what’s going on, and I’m really into that. The main advantage from my perspective is that it doesn’t have the upgrading problems that plague RPM-based distributions (and just about every other OS). Of course if things take a turn for the worse, I’ll have Red Hat 7.3 back on the system by the end of the day on Tuesday. So far, though, I’m loving Gentoo.