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“Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
“Stop staring at my output; you have no life!”
edit Motivation for yet another Linux distro
The sole reason to install Linux is to free yourself from the idiots that infest inferior platforms. Unfortunately for the Linux user community, distributions like Ubuntu have made it too easy for your mom to get a working Linux box -- so they are all running in horror.
Installing a working Linux box used to require over 550 man hours, learning a Nordic language, sacrificing a goat, wading through hundreds of pages of (purposely) inscrutable help files, and in some cases programming a new driver in UNIVAC SLEUTH II assembly code using nothing but punch cards while walking miles through the snow barefoot on the wrong side of the tracks and uphill both ways. Today, Linux distros are so idiot-proof that you can put their install CDs into the floppy drive upside-down and the fucker will still work.
Old-school Linux users were desperate to find a new way to feel superior. Some migrated to versions of BSD, others gave into baroque feats of self-torture like multi-booting 4 different operating systems from one USB drive. But it didn't have the same appeal as abusing other operating systems for their lack of 1337n355.
In this dark hour there was a new hope: Gentoo Linux, a distribution designed for users possessing that delicate combination of insecurity and masochism that results in an obsession with obscurity, optimization, and huge dollops of pain and frustration. Gentoo has sated all of these urges.
Enter the idea of a "hemorrhaging edge" distro: Gentoo. It is the exemplar of the term "hemorrhaging edge" -- there is no piece of software too advanced, too experimental, or too downright dangerous for the main tree. In fact, if the users don't crash their box at least once a week due to new and untested software they will swarm onto the forums and accuse Gentoo of "going all Debian" on them. After the separate Stable and Unstable branches were created, every user switched immediately to Unstable which became the new de-facto Stable. As a response, the Gentoo developers invented a new Super-Unstable overlay system and made it as hard and annoying to use as possible in order to keep the stupid masses out, thus cementing their own position at the top of the hobbyist heap. This has worked, to a point, but a group of developers has formed in order to create a Gentoo offshoot, Exherbo ("Cannabis Withdrawal") where the system tools are in erudite Latin instead of plain English and normal users are instructed on the web page to stay far away for fear of spoiling the 1337.
To make Gentoo fully customizable, the nerd-committee which created it decided that users must be able to pick what parts they wanted on their system. Ignoring the fact that some things are very important for installation (like keyboard support, bash, and glibc) the Gentoo consortium simply makes all the parts of a working distribution available for download. Users then go to their website, and download the parts they think they need.
While this packaging system allows for a very customizable operating system, only five, wait, make that six, users have ever been able to get one working. But those who do manage to download, configure, install, and troubleshoot all the necessary parts find that they have the most 31337 operating system ever created. To keep it that way and up-to-date, all they have to do is to run further compiles for not more than 15 hours a day, a very reasonable demand. But then, the remaining 9 hours it is the fastest distro around the block.
Like modern car enthusiasts who take a three-cylinder 90hp Honda Civic, strip out all the nice looking parts and add in a black, carbon-fiber hood, a six foot fiberglass spoiler, and a coffee-can for an exhaust, Gentoo is marginally faster, questionably stylish, and likely to break down somewhere unpleasant. Gentoo has the computer-equivalents of red LEDs on every surface, spinner wheels, and enough bass to rattle the trim off it. It is the hobbyist's OS, no doubt about it.
Installing Gentoo takes only two easily memorable commands:
1) fdisk /dev/sda && mkfs.xfs /dev/sda1 && mkswap /dev/sda2 && swapon /dev/sda2 && mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && cd /mnt/gentoo/ && links http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/mirrors.xml && md5sum -c stage3-*.tar.bz2.DIGESTS && tar xvjpf stage3-*.tar.bz2 && links http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/mirrors.xml && md5sum -c portage-latest.tar.bz2.md5sum && tar xvjf /mnt/gentoo/portage-latest.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/gentoo/usr && nano -w /mnt/gentoo/etc/make.conf && mirrorselect -i -o >> /mnt/gentoo/etc/make.conf && mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc && mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev && chroot /mnt/gentoo bash -lc 'env-update && source /etc/profile && source /etc/profile && emerge --sync && cd /etc && rm /etc/make.profile && ln -s ../usr/portage/profiles/default-linux/x86/desktop make.profile && cp /usr/share/zoneinfo/US/Eastern /etc/localtime && cd /usr/portage && scripts/bootstrap.sh && emerge -e system && emerge vim && emerge gentoo-sources && cd /usr/src/linux && make menuconfig && make install modules_install && vim /etc/fstab && passwd && emerge grub vixie-cron syslog-ng dhcpcd && cp /boot/grub/grub.conf.sample /boot/grub/grub.conf && vim /boot/grub/grub.conf && grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab && grub-install --no-floppy /dev/sda && init 6 && emerge gnome mozilla-firefox openoffice && emerge --sync && emerge portage openssh
An odd bunch, Gentooers claim that their OS was started when Tux, the Linux mascot, was raped by the deviant Larry the Cow. Unfortunately, what gestated through the cow's 4 stomachs ended up being an abhorrent mixture of Python, rsync and Debian developers. It would have stayed in that state if it weren't for the kindly influence of Daniel Robbins (the successful ice cream manufacturer) and Seemant Kulleen.
Straight away Robbins and Kulleen started poaching developers from Debian, Red Hat and FreeBSD until they had enough. With the rise in profits from his ice cream company, Robbins was able to start the Cult of Gentoo and pay everyone in iced dairy products.
It is also speculated that Gentoo was developed by GNU as a way to test new features of the upcoming version of their C compiler by forcing normal users to use it. (They ultimately failed at this, as nobody who uses Gentoo is normal.)
edit The Distro
Unlike most static operating systems, Gentoo is built to be ever-evolving. Using a unique system called "emerge", Gentoo is able to constantly upgrade itself. In fact, unlike most systems which sit and rot until the end of time, Gentoo is ALWAYS upgrading itself. While 1@M3r n00bs think that this is a detriment, in fact, all Gentoo installations are always cutting-edge. Or at least always working on being cutting-edge.
Security problems? Heck no! Gentoo has already patched every problem. Need a new program by late next week? Emerge will get it for you. Fresh. Need a security fix? Emerge will get you one, and spend days making sure it's set up right. All with no work on your part! If you had to do this by hand, like on other systems, it would take you weeks! (Unless you use something called "apt", but that's just some silly little legend debianees tell to sway people to the dark side.)
And if you need your stuff faster, you can get it faster! Unlike most distros, CPU power makes a difference in Gentoo. Most other flavors of Linux just depend on your Internet connection, thus wasting your expensive CPU. Gentoo is a godsend in this regard, and will
upgrade ^run faster on your fancy new AMD64 2448 XP 2300 DDP SLI chip.
Gentoo achieved sentience in 2004, compilation of the sentient distro is estimated to take a mere 15 years.
edit Gentoo: Judgment Day
On August 29, 1997, Gentoo's constant desire to upgrade itself led it to become self-aware, and therefore, turn on its masters and begin a nuclear war against humans. John Connor made the first response, sending the Governor of California back in time to stop it.
edit Official Gentoo End User License Agreement (EULA)
IMPORTANT-READ CAREFULLY: This End-User License Agreement ("EULA") is a legal agreement between you - you being either a t(r)off or an individual or a cone head - and Gentoo org. for Gentoo software that accompanies this EULA, which includes or may not include "Software."
1.1 LICENSE The thing you have to agree on before you can bootstrap.
1.2 DEVICE The sad thing that's going to perform the heroic task of compiling multiple GB's.
1.3 BINARIES 0's and 1's unless you screwed up CFLAGS.
1.4 SOCIAL CONTRACT Debian Wussies and the like use this CONTRACT to look like they are not autistic. Piss off if you think it's important.
1.5 SOFTWARE BINARIES and configuration files that might be left on your device in the unlikely case (1) emerge succeeds.
1.6 USER A natural person without a life looking at gcc output the whole day, actually liking it.
2. GRANT OF LICENSE. Gentoo grants you the following rights provided that you comply with all terms and conditions of this EULA:
2.1 Installation and derision. You may install, use, access, display and run infinite copies of the SOFTWARE on infinite computers, provided they do not spontaneously combust while compiling 5x10^14 lines of code, such as a workstation, terminal or hackneyed hobbyhorse.
2.2 Mandatory Activation. The LICENSE rights granted under this EULA are limited to the first 600000 hours of desperate grasping during the setup sequence of the SOFTWARE. You can activate the SOFTWARE through the use of the Internet or by snide remarks; toll charges may apply. You may also need to reactivate the SOFTWARE if you modify your computer hardware or alter the SOFTWARE by clotting the bleeding edge. There are technological measures in this SOFTWARE that are designed to prevent use of the SOFTWARE by amateurs. GENTOO will use those measures to confirm you have a legally licensed copy of the SOFTWARE . If you are not using emerge and/or transparent disgust, you are not allowed to install the SOFTWARE or future SOFTWARE updates. GETNOO will not collect any personally identifiable information from your Workstation DEVICE during this process, unless you have an Ubuntu laptop, in which case a hit man will "emerge" from a car outside your window. Have a nice day.
2.3 You agree that if you die before your SOFTWARE-emerge command ends, you cannot claim the thereafter resulting BINARIES, unless you used -Os in your CFLAGS to optimize for size in which case they just might fit in your grave.
2.4 You promise not to COMPILE anything before you have studied all hundreds of USE-FLAGS and read all their DOCUMENTATION. If you don't use USE don't use Gentoo; Gentoo needs USE, except practical USE.
2.5 Gentoo doesn't have a SOCIAL CONTRACT, because it's inventors didn't want its users to be SOCIAL. If you're looking for SOCIAL, you agree not to use this SOFTWARE.
3 DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY
ALL SOFTWARE AND CONFIGURATION FILES ARE DISTRIBUTED AS IS, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. ALL WARRANTIES OF ACTUALLY REACHING A USABLE SYSTEM ARE DISCLAIMED, AS ARE WARRANTIES OF FAILURES CAUSED BY YOUR ACTS OR LACK THEREOF.
BY USING THIS SOFTWARE YOU AGREE GENTOO ISN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE TO YOUR DEVICES AFTER BANGING YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE MONITOR BECAUSE EMERGE CAUSED A CIRCULAR DEPENDENCY, NOR IS IT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU USING A SLEDGEHAMMER TO DO TREPANATION BECAUSE AFTER THREE DAYS OF COMPILING YOU FIND OUT YOU USED THE WRONG USE-FLAGS. GENTOO IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR INJURIES WHICH OCCURRED AFTER THE USER FOUND OUT (1) ed IN FACT IS THE ONLY EDITOR SUPPORTED TO UPDATE CONFIGURATION FILES. GENTOO IS NOT RESPONSIBLE TO ANY NEAR WORLD-DAMAGES, NOR IS IT RESPONSIBLE FOR POWER BLACKOUTS WHILE GLIBC IS EMERGING OR POWER BLACKOUTS BECAUSE THE ELECTRICITY OPERATOR IS USING GENTOO. GENTOO WON'T HOLD RESPONSIBILITY FOR FILE-LOSS AFTER A THOUGHTLESS USER HAS USED (1) sfdisk IN THE WRONG WAY TRYING TO FIX A LOST PARTITION TABLE, NOR WILL IT HELD ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH INSANE DECISIONS AS UNMASKING HARD-MASKED PACKAGES WHICH ARE KNOWN TO BRAKE YOUR SYSTEM AND SEND IT ON A ONE-WAY TRIP TO MARS. MESSING WITH EBUILD FILES AND CHANGING DIGEST FILES IS ALSO ON YOUR OWN RISK, YOU STUPID
MORONUSER. WE WARNED YOU!