Gentoo, Arch, Kali, whats the big deal? (I have come from "Linux funny")


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Jan 18, 2023
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Hey I was just looking through the jokes at (Linux funny) and I noticed a trend of joking about Arch Gentoo and Kali being very "chad"- is this because they are harder to use? because they require more work to get working? Fill me in on the joke please lol

I don't think "Chad" is the right word.

Kali is a distribution specifically designed for penetration testing and meant to be run from a USB. Apparently it's on a show called Mr. Robot, so now everyone who thinks they're a hacker goes and installs Kali on their system.

Arch is a distribution that comes pretty minimal out of the box. There is no default Window Manager or DE. If you want one, you need to install it manually. Some people think that in order to install it, you really need to know what you're doing. In reality, the documentation is really good and fairly straightforward and it really isn't that bad. However, you can learn a lot just by going through the process. I like that there isn't a bunch of crap you don't need installed by default. It doesn't even come with a text editor by default.

Gentoo is a little more difficult to install than Arch. Arch comes with SystemD as it's init manager by default, gentoo does not have a default, so you need to pick one. There is a default kernel configuration you can use, but I think they steer you toward configuring it yourself without tons of drivers you don't need. This is why people say Gentoo is less of a distro and more of a philosophy, and that philosophy is about choice.
very informative, thank you @MattWinter !
I personally am quite happy with Linux mint,
I must surrender my pride lol. I do not yet have the time, patience or skill to use a more needy distro.
When someone posts a topic with a Kali problem I just get annoyed because the people who Kali is meant for should actually be able to figure out most of what they run into themselves and if they need help with a specific tool the Official Kali forums is a better place for asking your questions Also a lot of of the posts here are by newcomers to Linux who heard about Kali from a tv series Mr. Robot as @MattWinter mentioned, so they just want to be cool and run a "hacker os".

Arch is overrated as in how hard it is, you just have to put in the time to read the documentation so you understand the different parts of what is need to have a fully functioning desktop and the other things you want that other mainstream Linux distributions install for you. Also you have to maintain your Arch system on a regular basis meaning you have to update your configuration files since Arch is rolling configurations can get updated, it won't replace yours but create a new file for system configurations with *.pacnew and *pacsave, you have to keep your mirrors update but that can be automated.

You have to remove unused files and orphaned packages yourself. Lastly there is a higher chance of something breaking because of it being rolling release, I ran Arch for about three years before I switched to Fedora and I only had something break twice so you have to have the patience to recover/fix your system if that happens. They say you learn how Linux works under the hood which I don't think is true because all you learn is the different components that you have to install and configure. I don't find that the definition of under the hood, under the hood when mean understanding how to compile a kernel and how the other software actually works so more than just being able to install and configure something is under the hood. Yes you learn something from installing Arch but not how Linux works under the hood and most of the people don't care about that part either.

I have never used Gentoo and I don't need to because if you can setup Arch you can setup Gentoo with a bit more effort because with Gentoo you actually have to get a bit more under the hood understanding how software compiling works and how compile flags work and other things like that which I find more under the hood than Arch. Although I think the package manager portage does most of the compiling you for you and you just have to select the compile flags and maybe configure your kernel as in what drivers you want in there as well as choosing an init system. I just would find it annoying to run on my daily driver with the compile times of a system update, even though I know you can install some binaries in Gentoo as well. @MattWinter will probably correct me if I am wrong but in short I just find Gentoo like Arch but with a different philosophy and way of doing things but still similar as in the do it yourself way philosophy of Arch.

Lastly you don't have to ever run Arch or Gentoo to be a real Linux user or a power user if some posts here on Reddit would make you think that. Since a lot of the Linux users are just normal desktop users and there people that go beyond and that's the target audience of Arch and Gentoo. There is also Linux from Scratch which is actually a book of you learn how to setup your own distribution, now that is what I actually call under the hood of learning how Linux works. I still want to have a look at it some time as a learning project and do that in a vm.
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Apparently it's on a show called Mr. Robot, so now everyone who thinks they're a hacker goes and installs Kali on their system.
This was enlightening. The Wikipedia article about the show had a helpful description, especially the paragraph about the technical advisory aspects, the people who provided it, and the mention of Kali Linux.

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