Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gentoo two cents

So after about a minute I replied to this post and suggested Daniel to return back to Gentoo I read his second post where he explains in details why he does not want to (or can't).

However I still have a feeling there is a lack of leadership in the Gentoo community. Community needs individuals with ideas, and because the way communities work at the moment I mean individuals who have ideas and make them reality. This is how I think of Gentoo, vision of technically advanced Linux distribution with features not seen anywhere else that became true.

Whether lack of leadership is the source of small innovation in gentoo recently I do not know. But as long as I know Gentoo it did not changed very much (that is not necessarily anything wrong). There is excellent idea of ports (borrowed from other OS), super package manager "emerge", technically one of the best distros out there. One would say THE distro.

But others have their point as well, Fedora being sandbox for RedHat (in good way of course), Ubuntu focusing on end users and laptops, Novell playing corporate games and many others.

As a user I feel there is no clear vision of where is Gentoo going to. "Meta" does not tell me much.

My two cents here would be:
Make servers the prime arena for Gentoo and get in touch with some big company. Aim for Google for example. This would bring commercial support. Many times I see enthusiastic admins running gentoo on a spare desktop box, leaving the big and interesting hardware for RedHat, Novell, and other players with "support" sticker included. I'm not aware of any commercial company providing large scale support for Gentoo linuxes. I wish LSB was more widely supported by every player in the field. Now we have every other Linux company tinkering with MS instead of pulling one string!

To do that several things need to be done
  1. create package format specification (yet keep emerge as a reference implementation), this will lead to faster development of other packaging systems (faster, with better features) that can eventually replace emerge in some time
  2. finish support for handling binary packages and different USE flags. as far as I know currently broken
  3. create tools for managing vast amount of servers (different profiles compiled on one box,...), as Jonathan Shwartz says "The Network is the Computer"
  4. support virtualization
  5. perhaps run emerge as a daemon, machineXX will ask builder machine (emerge daemon running there) : "hey I'm using this profile and I would like to install Apache with those USE flags" and get the binary packages from the builder. But I think there is a long way to get there.
Just my two cents.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

random life ranting

...only for interested. Everything is ok, lot of things happening all the time. We moved again. This time to our new flat at MaleŇ°ice. We changed the view of Prague 4 for a view of football playground and surrounding green area, yet still close to Prague city center. I started to like to going to OBI for all kinds of nifty things we need at the house at the moment. Learned something about house works. One of the things I failed to manage was Internet connection so far. I was blaming provider for not being able to deliver on time just to find out few days later that my name is not on the mailbox, stupid me. My side money for a decent digital camera has slowly but for sure dissolved into things like mattress, furniture,jalousie and many other small things. Anyway anyone coming to Prague for a sofa surfing, just let me know.
Our dvd player is down for repair so we can't watch Heroes at the moment. But that is fine as I finally managed to read a couple of books (IT related to be precise). I'm getting really interested in python+django at the moment so let's wait and see if something good comes out of it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ubuntu lovely, Gentoo cool

Since last month I'm using Ubuntu on my laptop. Beautiful distro. Fast boot, working sleep mode and a solid desktop experience. Reasonable amount of packages, yet installing some newer applications might get bit tricky as only security and update patches are back ported. Support is on very good level and it has good momentum. Compared to Vista and Xp is offers simple but very intuitive user experience across the whole desktop. Personally all I had to do to was to enable activation of windows by moving mouse button over them. You just then hover your mouse over you music player and scroll the middle mouse button to raise/lower the volume. Use same technique for seeking movies and it works in many other areas as well. I do not know if there is any real reason why this is not default. Put it in one sentece I would say Ubuntu is just great for end users.
But I miss Gentoo. Gentoo offers unmatchable flexibility in configuration and system maintenance (at least as far as I know). Powerful tools and a large catalog of applications ready just to be plugged into the system. Yet, still very clean design and philosophy. Ideal distribution for developers, advanced system administrators and those willing to try. Unfortunately Daniel Robbins has left Gentoo a while ago and it seems, although there are many great people involved in the project, not many new great features came out of it then. Still it is one of the best advanced Linux distros out there.