strangest systems I've sent email from

Liam Proven lproven at
Fri Apr 29 08:43:36 CDT 2016

On 29 April 2016 at 14:50, Todd Goodman <tsg at> wrote:
> * Liam Proven <lproven at> [160428 18:41]:
> [..SNIP..]
>> > Gentoo Linux is my
>> > distro of choice simply because i can pick, choose, and compile everything i
>> > want for just about any arch.
>> I tried it years ago. I found it a very unpleasant experience, and
>> went to some communities, both online and real-world, to ask for
>> guidance. One of my questions was "how can I choose a simpler init? I
>> don't like SysV init, I prefer the BSD one. How do I switch?"
>> At first they didn't understand the question at all. When I got it
>> across, the reaction was incredulity: "why on Earth would you want to
>> do that?!"
>> I could tweak the compile flags and optimisation of KDE, but not
>> change the init. That's not customisation in my book: that's
>> yak-shaving, painting the bike shed a new colour. Basically pointless;
>> I wanted more profound change, and Gentoo didn't offer it and the
>> Gentoo community couldn't grasp /why/ I'd want to change something so
>> profound that it was a given, an axiom, a fundamental.
>> So I gave up on it before I even had a fully-working system.
> And of course I have a completely opposite experience with Gentoo and
> the Gentoo communities I visit.
> Gentoo is very much of the mind that if you want to do something that
> isn't currently possible then you either put some code where your mouth
> is or pay someone else to do so.
> People who walk in and act like all the volunteers owe them something
> tend to not get along well.

Well, it was the early days, well over a decade ago now.

And TBH I never saw the point of building from source. The delays
caused by slow disks, not enough cache, lack of perfect graphics
drivers, inefficiencies in the Linux kernel and so on are a *far*
bigger influence on system performance than compiler optimisations.
TBH I always thought it was a bit of a waste of time.

But the real issue is that, when you look at _really_ fundamental
stuff, such as init systems or filesystem layout, then Gentoo is no
more customisable than any other distro.

There are distros which make _real_, important changes to the
structure and function of Linux. Examples include GoboLinux:

It completely dispenses with the traditional Unix filesystem
hierarchy. No /etc or /usr or /bin/. *That* is a real change, not
tweaking the compiler flags.

Or NixOS, which has a functional-programming approach to package management:

Those are /really/ different. Gentoo is just putting low-profile tyres
and plastic spoilers on a boring little family car.

Liam Proven • Profile:
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