I get the feeling I am bit late to the party. It looks like the Gentoo exodus probably began sometime after Daniel Robbins stepped down as chief architect and things slowly began to crumble. I stuck it out over the years hoping that things would get better and the distro would return to its glory days. My Gentoo boxes slowly started getting less and less attention due to fears that an upgrade might break something.
In its prime Gentoo’s portage system was awesome: it picked up sprawling webs of dependencies and cleaned up after itself like a champ. And the packages were optimized for my hardware; I know I squeezed every last drop of compute power out of those machines. I experienced XEyes as it was meant to be run. Need to upgrade KDE? just emerge it and take a
walk trip. Want to upgrade KDE and use your processor for something else? No problem, just configure distcc and distribute your build across your cluster. Ahh, those were the days.
Today when I use the portage system I am guaranteed to find packages that block my upgrade. Then I’m off to forums to find out what went wrong. Block. Block. Curse. Block. Now granted, I generally unmask many packages so I’ve strayed from the safe and stable path, but those are rarely the source of the blocks. I guess these days I just want to use my computer without having to tinker every step of the way.
Gentoo’s community is great. The forums are very helpful and the website is packed with tons of well-formatted, easy-to-follow HOWTOs and docs. I sometimes even refer to Gentoo’s HOWTOs when trying to get things to work in another distro. I have always walked away impressed by Gentoo’s ability to provide quality documentation, great consistency, and damn good branding.
Gentoo was the first distro I loved enough to buy supporting paraphernalia. One Gentoo t-shirt worn with
geek pride to let the world know they had another choice. These days I do really enjoy Ubuntu. I may even love using it, but I don’t think I’m ready to wear an Ubuntu-emblazoned t-shirt yet.
So after much backing up, at 1:27am EST I pulled the plug on my last Gentoo box. So long Gentoo…