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Gentoo Linux?


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#1 Koba

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 11:49 PM

Hello everyone

Its been a while since I've been on this forum but now I'm back. smile

Thanks to help from people here I have been using Red Hat 9 happily for a few months. Well maybe not so happily...

I'm never going back to Windows now but I really hope I can get a better distro. I've found RedHat great when you want to maintain status quo but installing software can be a nightmare. I'm getting a new laptop soon so I am planning to get a new distro.

I've found that the configure, make, make install cycle time-consuming, tedious and unreliable (especially if there are dependencies involved). All to often I just give up. And rpms aren't that great either. Sometimes I think back to the Windows "setup.exe" files with longing...

I know that with so many distros the make, install cycle is sometimes the only way (there is no way to cater to everyone's needs when there are so many linux choices out there) but surely there is there an easier way? I've become scared of installing software of RedHat because it takes so so long...

I want a freely downloadable distro. Of course, I still want make, gcc and the usual tools. I'm looking into Gentoo as Portage seems to help a lot. Does anyone have any experiance of Gentoo? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your help

Koba



#2 jimf43

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:07 AM

Have you thought about Mepis? Your laptop would be a good candadate for the new SimplyMepis2004.01. I also think that you would be a lot happier with the debian apt method of installing and upgrading apps. To my mind a superior way of doing things and certainly a lot less time consuming than Gentoo's. If you downloaded the iso, you could check hardware compatibility before you install.

#3 Vermyn

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:17 AM

Gentoo is an awesome distro and well worth the effort to set up, but that's the problem - it requires effort. Lots and lots and lots of effort.

Portage is a fantastic system for installing software, but it compiles *everything* from source. This will not solve the problems you stated.

I highly recommend you seek out some sort of Debian distro. MEPIS is an awesome pick, even though 2004.1 has a little bug or two in the kernel (which happens to prevent me from using it at the moment), but it is an excellent system. Any Debian distro will treat you right with apt-get. Apt-get will solve most of your packaging nightmares.

#4 jimf43

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:50 AM

Originally posted by Vermyn:
Quote:
MEPIS is an awesome pick, even though 2004.1 has a little bug or two in the kernel (which happens to prevent me from using it at the moment),


Specificly what 'bugs'? Have you mentioned this on the mepis.org forum?

Quote:
but it is an excellent system. Any Debian distro will treat you right with apt-get. Apt-get will solve most of your packaging nightmares.


Honestly, I'm still running SimplyMepis2004 RC4... This might be missing some eyecandy, but otherwise it's the same as the final. The kernel is a touch leaner, and, I've found it to be a real sweetheart. Also the latest versions of SimplyMepis do not have the option for a boot floppy RC4 still does.

There will be a (final.final?) release about the middle of this month, but I probally won't change unless it's for something like the 2.6.8 kernel (unlikely).


#5 taeuler

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 02:00 AM

I agree with Vermyn that Gentoo is a great system once you get it setup, which does take some effort. Portage does an excellent job of managing dependancies if you do choose Gentoo I would suggest using the install handbook and the quik install guides in a side by side fashion. You could also look at this thread which I wrote before finding the quick install guide, you might find it useful. Good luck.

#6 Koba

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 11:01 AM

Thanks!

Just a few thoughts before I decide.

-I have synaptic for RH9. Is the MEPIS/Debian apt-get have a more comprehensive repository than what I have seen with RedHat?

-Portage compiles from the source which will be available for 99% of the software I use. This sounds good as long as the compiling procedure is almost completely automated (I don't mind waiting if I am confident it will work).

-Gentoos list of 7000 + seems pretty comprehensive (even amazing). I search for "pixie", "blender", "bluefish", "anjuta" (the software I have learnt to use) and there are matches for all of them! I'm dumbfounded. If this list means "automated downloading and compiling" then I'm all for it!

-Most of the worry with RedHat9 is that you a) haven't fully read the documentation (which takes time) and B) it won't work on your system c) Having to be tied to your computer to give instructions and look out for errors. The compile time isn't a problem as long as I can think of something else while it is happening.

-MEPIS installs divX, realplayer, java etc automatically which is great.

-MEPIS has great hardware support which is very helpful.

I'm kinda torn between MEPIS and Gentoo now. Could someone point me out to the repository that MEPIS uses so I can check out how extensive it is?

Thanks for your replies!

Koba



#7 jimf43

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 05:16 PM

Since you are used to synaptic, as soon as you have Mepis installed, open a terminal,
type: apt-get update
type: apt-get install synaptic
You're back in familiar territory.

Mepis has the whole of the Debian repository available soo...
It's a heck of a lot of apps ;-) It's set to pull from testing, but you can change that depending on how adventurous you are.

#8 Vermyn

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 11:05 PM

Originally posted by jimf43:
Quote:
Specificly what 'bugs'? Have you mentioned this on the mepis.org forum?


As a matter of fact, yes I did post about it - almost 6 days ago:

http://www.mepis.org/node/view/3423


#9 jimf43

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 04:30 AM

Ahh... You don't mean the bug in Mepis, you mean the bug in the promise pdc20276 controller... What a piece of crap. I gave up on mine after 10 bios changes and a lot of work. Never did work right in Window$ or Linux.

#10 Vermyn

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 06:05 AM

The PDC20276 works fine for me in Windows and other Linux distros. That CONFIG_PDC20XXX_FORCE value in the 2.6 kernel has to be set to overcome the BIOS bug. Since it's not set, the PDC20276 won't work in the MEPIS version of the 2.6.7 kernel.

Unfortunately, due to an apt-get dependency problem in 2004.1, I cannot recompile the kernel either, so I cannot use MEPIS until that simple value gets set correctly.

#11 taeuler

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 11:14 AM

Originally Posted by koba
Quote:
This sounds good as long as the compiling procedure is almost completely automated (I don't mind waiting if I am confident it will work).

Portage is about as automated as compiling from source can be. It does ./configure make make install for you. Just as an example, say you wanted to install kde. All you have to do is open an xterm, and type "emerge kde". it finds all the dependancies and compiles all of it, for something like kde it takes a while, since it is pretty big. I've had very few problems with portage, in fact only when I used packages marked as unstable, ie. the really new ones,did they break during the install. Hope this helps.

#12 Koba

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:17 PM

Thats settled then.

I just HAVE to try Portage. When I understood the concept and saw the software database I was completely sold out on the idea. Thanks guys for pointing out MEPHIS to me though...I will also try it out some time (very soon if I have problems with Gentoo)

Thanks!

Koba


#13 taeuler

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 11:05 PM

Cool, and good luck. If you run into issues with the install, since it is different than most, don't forget to go the forums, (this one, and the gentoo forums). I hope you enjoy Gentoo as much as I have.

#14 Koba

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 10:52 AM

Quote:
If you run into issues with the install, since it is different than most


Indeed.

I've read the installation documentation MANY times and now I think I have some idea of what I am doing. I've made loads of notes on what to do and shall have a go today.

I think if anything will go wrong it is getting the boot loader configured. Everything else I have met in some way or another before.

Seeing I'm doing a stage 3 install, I would hope that I don't have to worry too much about setting up KDE/GNOME. We'll see

Koba

#15 Koba

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 05:33 PM

Hi

So I had a bloody go at installing Gentoo. Incredibly I almost go to the end of the installation without a hitch.

I deleted the boot partition I had from before and made a new one (which was an act of faith seeing I don't have an XP boot disk). Incredibly, I managed to set the GRUB to boot XP ok.

If I try to load gentoo from GRUB i get the following:

Quote:
Mounting root...

mount: Mounting /dev/hda3 on /newroot failed: Invalid argument
>>Could not mount the specified ROOT, try again
>>The root block device is unspecified or not detected
>>Please specify a device to boot, or "shell" for a shell...
boot()::


Here is how I tried to set up the partitions with fdisk:

hda1 = Windows XP partition
hda2 = Boot partition
hda3 = Swap partition
hda4 = Root partition

Can anyone please help me?

Koba



#16 taeuler

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 07:16 PM

Could you post your /boot/grub/grub.conf

It sound like you may be trying to mount the wrong partion as root. Also did you use genkernel or did you compile the kernel yourself?

#17 Koba

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 08:25 PM

Hi

I'm afraid I can't seem to access the actual /boot/grub/grub.conf file anymore. The shell mentioned in the error message above doesn't seem to do much. Do you have any ideas how I should find grub.conf again? Anyway, I do know what I was trying to set grub.conf to:

Quote:
default 0
timeout 30
splashimage=(hd0,1)/grub/splash.xpm.gz

title = Gentoo
root (hd0,1)
kernel /kernel-2.4.26-gentoo-r6 root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc ramdisk=8192 real_root=/dev/hda4 vga792
initrd /initrd-2.4.26-gentoo-r6

title = Windows XP
root (hd0,0)
makeactive
chainloader +1


Whether this was the right idea or not, I do not know. I'll play around with the GRUB once it is loaded to try to find out what is going wrong.

I used genkernel to compile. Only once I am confident with the easiest install method will I try anything fancy smile

Thanks

Koba

#18 taeuler

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 10:39 PM

I think you can't get to /boot/grub/grub.conf because you don't have your boot partion mounted.I am assuming that you are doing this from the install cd since you only have xp installed.What you need to do is open an xterm, and get root access and then do
Quote:
mount /dev/hda2 /boot

This folder might not exist so you might have to do remount your root on /mnt/gentoo and you boot on /mnt/gentoo/boot, if you chroot into /mnt/gentoo make sure you also do mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc . This should give you access to grub.conf. Everthing looks good with what you have here execpt, don't forget to add an "=" to the vga option(which is not required on most systems). Hope this helps.


#19 Koba

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 10:54 AM

Hi

Thanks for your help.

I've been using my computer a little too much recently so I've got funny little registers floating in my head when I sleep at night and I sometimes mumble things like "The preprocessor directives are ALL wrong!!" while dreaming wink (only kidding - I'm not that bad yet).

Anyway, I woke up this morning remembering what might have gone wrong. In fstab, there wasn't enough space to seperate the fields: i had something like /gentoo/bootext3 with no space between boot and ext3. I was trying to keep everything in the columns given.

Do you think this may have been the problem? Do I have to keep everything in those columns? Anyway, in the meantime, I'll try doing what you said in your post above.

Thanks

Koba

#20 taeuler

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 08:36 PM

Here are the two things I would check.
Is you real_root option set correctly? This is what you posted for what you intended.

and does your fstab entry for hda4 look something like this:
Quote:
/dev/hda4 / reiserfs noatime 0 0


Also do you a a series of messages before what you have posted?




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