Swapping Arch for Gentoo

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by LArchimonde, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. LArchimonde

    LArchimonde New Member

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    Hello all!

    I need some advice from someone who used Gentoo or is more familiar with Gentoo than I am. I want to give it a go with Gentoo and hopefully use it as main distro. I did installed it on VMware but before putting it as main I want some feedback about Gentoo. I used Arch for some time now (about 4 years) and it's a great distro, but I want something that's even more customizable. The main reason I ask for opinions is because Gentoo's installation can take a while (compiling a KDE is a very long process in VMware).

    Also, anyone knows is Enlightenment 17 work well on Gentoo?


    Tnx in advance!
  2. pane-free

    pane-free Active Member

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    FYI: arch-linux-sabayon-gentoo

    EDIT: I found Sabayon, even though it pre-compiles via Entropy, very CPU-intensive and a fast ISP of necessity.
  3. Kryyll

    Kryyll Active Member

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    I've been using Gentoo for about a year now (maybe 10 months or so) and I really enjoy it. If you are used to Arch you shouldn't have that big of an issue with Gentoo. The biggest issue you'll probably have is having to wait for things to compile. That was my biggest complaint. However, the wait is worth it. My Gentoo system creams all my other ones in just about everything. It will take some work to get running the way you want it but once you get it the way you like it'll rock.

    Abouy E17, I do not use it nor do I know anything about it really. I used it when I tested Bodhi Linux a year or 2 ago. I use XFCE and it runs amazingly. I would say, just go and try it. If you don't like it, uninstall it :)
    Yesyesloud likes this.
  4. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    I've never used Gentoo/based for that long... Arch is still my distro of choice.

    Is Gentoo considerably faster than Arch on your system?
  5. Kryyll

    Kryyll Active Member

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    I'm not sure about comparing it to Arch, but compared to Manjaro there is a huge difference. The biggest thing I noticed is boot time and opening programs.
  6. LArchimonde

    LArchimonde New Member

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    Hi, thank you for replies. +Yesyesloud I test Gentoo in VM and it's faster than Arch. But only if you configure it correctly (that can be a time consuming process). I prepared the installation and will install it over the weekend :D. Kryyll , maybe I will try XFCE tnx for a advice, I will try it out too. And yeah it is a little pain to wait for compiling but that's not a issue for me. And you can do other things... I heard that Chromium takes a long time to compile though (ofc. depends on hardware too).
  7. Kryyll

    Kryyll Active Member

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    Yes, web browsers take forever! So does the entire LibreOffice Suite. In the end, they run really great though! :)
  8. GermanyChris

    GermanyChris New Member

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    I've not noticed a speed increase with both installed on the same system
  9. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    Well, it seems compiling all your software from scratch with your own hardware makes everything faster, then. I should try Gentoo more comprehensively...
  10. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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  11. curtaintwitcher

    curtaintwitcher New Member

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    You will not see any notable "speed" difference between a manually compiled Gentoo or LFS system and a typical binary distribution. In effect the trade off in having to continually build everything from source to gain a debatable increase in performance is almost never worth the extra time and effort invested.

    Firstly you need to define "faster". What is faster, how was it proven to be faster, etc, etc, etc?

    If it can conclusively be proven to be faster then I would also assume that both distributions were using the same upstream software, the same versions of said software and that the test was carried out on the same system or one with identical hardware. I would also have to assume that both systems used the same kernel build (using the same config).

    If none of my above assumptions are true then the term "faster" or the phrase "distro X 'faster' than distro Y" is as meaningless as it typically tends to be in "distro vs distro chatter" which one can easily find on random forums and blogs.
  12. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    Does the speed really come from trying to steer the user to make a custom Kernel and optimizing boot speed?
  13. LArchimonde

    LArchimonde New Member

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    Well curtaintwitcher I didn't exactly measure it in seconds, or had exactly the same software installed. So no i don't know exactly, but I will try that out. And no it's not that faster, it's just feel faster than Arch. BTW Gentoo boots faster that Arch (and Arch is famous about booting time) and that I can actually confirm.
  14. curtaintwitcher

    curtaintwitcher New Member

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    Interestingly that's what Arch users always say about their distro... personally though I very rarely take seriously any post containing the phrase "it feels faster". Read it countless times and it always amounted to nothing.
    Boot time is irrelevant. A system can take ages to boot and still be faster and more responsive than a system which boots in a flash. Also with gentoo, it would depend on which init system is installed as I believe that with gentoo there is essentially a choice. Startup scripts/daemons also have a bearing on boot time.
    What would you do to the kernel to make it faster than a given distribution's generic kernel? You can build a preemptive kernel and increase the tick rate, but it's likely that your kernel is configured that way anyway by your distribution. It's easy enough to grep your kernel config and find out...

    You could build a smaller kernel, which won't make a jot of difference on most modern systems, or you can only build the needed LKMs for the target system - which will reduce compile times drastically but also won't do much for performance.

    In reality if there are performance issues, then you're better off finding out the root cause and understanding the problem, rather than switching distro and then proclaiming "distro X faster than distro Y".
  15. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    I, too, have written a tl;dr post that won't add much to the discussion :D

    Well, I ask people about their personal experiences with specific distros because there are seldom "full-featured" synthetic benchmarks/comparisons in this sense (considering the ever growing number distributions lying around)...

    And because I simply want to know what people have to say. This is a forum, we're exchanging experience.

    Anyway, Arch is obviously faster than Ubuntu on my system, for instance. Doubtlessly. Perhaps in general (who knows for sure? :eek:). Booting is faster, applications start really faster, multita****g is snappier. And my hardware is state-of-the-art. I used Ubuntu for months, not the bloated, mainstream version though. I installed the Minimal CD, picking no DE or extra software, just then I set up whatever would go on my system, manually, via CLI. Still slower than Arch, using the same drivers, window managers and DEs. So... Arch is certainly faster than Ubuntu for me.

    Are you familiar with kernel modding? Well, I am not an expert, I know how to apply patches and all, but I am still somewhat far from modifying a whole kernel release on my own. I read from experienced people this practice improves performance considerably, too. This is a very particular subject we won't find accurate information about on the web, thus talking to people who actually get things going is quite valuable.

    If you compile software from source with your own hardware, chances are it may run smoother, actually. There's not that much room for variation than there is in video transcoding from one codec to another (always having different results, even on the same hardware), but, indeed, there are sometimes little variations, hardware-dependent, on locally compiled binaries.

    I don't see why else people would want to compile all their software from source, unless they changed the code, mostly not the case when running an entirely source-based distribution.

    Nobody had mentioned performance issues on this thread hitherto. I am always looking for performance boosts, that's why I asked.
  16. LArchimonde

    LArchimonde New Member

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    Well I know what you think curtaintwitcher and you are right boot time is irrelevant if when it boot in system it still takes five more minutes to start all services. And ofc you are right that you need to know how to set up Flags, march, -O, etc.. If what "regulate" compile and usability speed.

    Yesyesloud I am totally agree with you. No matter how many manuals reviews, I like to ask ppl about their exp about that specific subject. I am not smartest guy on Earth so maybe I will learn something new from somebody or vice versa. Well that's it folks tnx for everything. As I said I leave this for weekend so wish me luck :D
    Yesyesloud likes this.
  17. curtaintwitcher

    curtaintwitcher New Member

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    That you have.

    There are numerous reasons for building from source, not just because you've modified it. With some operating systems it's actually because there are no binaries available, or no binary updates. Some Linux distributions, e.g. Debian are frozen at release time and receive no version updates, that means building "backports" from source if you need a newer version of some program.

    All Linux distributions, for example, are source based, but someone else does the building and packaging for you - the source is needed in order for the distribution to exist. If you download the source for the packages instead and build and generate packages and install those - you will create and install exactly the same software, unless of course you installed different versions of certain dependencies and it linked against those. Either way it's the same.

    If the system is a 32 bit Pentium 4 and you decide that an i386 distro is 'not fast enough' and opt to build an i686 'optimised' system from scratch, the difference in performance would be negligible. It would be a worthwhile learning experience, but that's about it.

    In fact Slackware's Patrick Volkerding faced calls to move from i486 builds to i686 and rejected it for much the same reasons (not worth it and would break older pre i686 systems).

    The only reason why you'd really want to build from source, if up to date binaries are available, would be to fiddle with the build flags, i.e. build something with/without cairo support, etc. Or for example openbox window manager can be built with or without gnome or kde support.

    So yes, there are good reasons for building from source, but building an entire system to exactly match a certain sub architecture to gain a few imaginary milliseconds seems very anal. Throwing some more memory in there would probably yield a much more significant performance gain.
  18. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    tl;dr again?
    I stopped reading at this point, since I most definitely didn't state anyone would only build from source solely when it's modified.

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