October 29, 2015
By: gotwf

Flirting With Gentoo Linux

Uh, Say What?

I’m not a distro hopper by nature and been contentedly using Archlinux the past few years, so what’s the interest in Gentoo?

Well…​ I’ve got an itch. And Arch isn’t able to scratch it. At least not with more effort than I am willing to invest in an uncertain outcome. But it’s more than being lazy. I had a visceral gnawing in my gut. Some introspection led to enlightenment: A growing dissatisfaction with some of the directions Linux and FOSS in general, have been taking the past few years. A seemingly minor annoyance here, an irk there …​ and …​ like bam…​ you’ve got the grumblies …​ discover you’re mad as hell, and there’s just bunches o' stuff that you feel like ranting about. Feels like we’re devolving. Yep. It’s official. It’s free software baby! I’m free to disagree. No need to get all fascist about it.

Back to that itch. I have been waiting with bated breath for quite some time now for an advanced file system supporting features like copy on write, bit rot protection, compression, send and receive to finally land in linux. In short, after experiencing the joys of ZFS on OpenSolaris and it’s IllumOS based descendants, who wouldn’t be pining for ZFS on Linux. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. ZFS sucks on linux. And besides, btrfs will be the new defacto standard file system on linux. That may well be. Someday. In the meantime, I’ve grown weary of waiting on btrfs. For too long now have the prognosticators been singing its wonders…​ but…​ years later btrfs is still not ready for prime time deployment. At least in my assessment.

Back to that pining for ZFS on linux. Well, as it turns out, the gods have been kind to us - thanks to grants and support provided to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory we now have a big player, not to mention a host of other really smart people, contributing to development of ZFS on Linux in the kernel (for those with license concerns, I direct you to the licensing issue ). Hmm…​ worth a gander, says I…​ Community seems healthy and productive. Project looks to be progressing nicely. IRC channel is friendly and helpful towards new users. Hmmm…​ Hell Yeah!!

So I began scanning the horizon in search of redemption. Which of course turned my attention back to a short list of kick’n it ol' skool flames like Slackware and Linux From Scratch. Along with a quick revisit of a mistress from those devil may care days; FreeBSD. Sigh…​ nostalgic waxing for good ol' days when compiling source code was more the norm rather than freak endeavor. As was the inclination to liberally season configurations to taste. Before we got lazy, too busy, etc. and delegated that chore to others. Soooo…​…​…​

After wandering about in the wilds for some time: Gentoo gets the nod. But that’s the topic of another day.

Until that time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice ;)

Tags: flirting zfsonlinux gentoo archlinux