Gentoo is the most complicated version of Linux, but also the most
customizable. It enables the user to squeeze the greatest
performance out of their machines.
Like the authors of the two posts, I recently switched. I had
been using Sabayon,
a version of Gentoo. It is a little easier to use than plain
Gentoo, but retains the customizability.
Sabayon also was one of the first versions of Linux to get Compiz
The two authors I mentioned above gave up on Gentoo because of
persistent problems with the package management system, Portage.
That I could live with. Besides, Sabayon is
own package management system, Entropy,
which looks highly promising.
What got me go make the switch?
A new computer. One incentive for using Sabayon is that I
the flashy desktop effects, but had an older machine that wouldn’t give
the level of performance I wanted without a lot of tweaking.
It never was important to me to be able to get the absolute greatest
performance, but it was important to be able to get decent performance
without spending a lot of money. This is a matter of personal
compromises. Different people might have approved the problem
differently, coming up with different solutions. That is
but the reason I mention it, is that I am not saying the way I went
about it would be the best for anyone else.
The new machine is not a speed demon. In fact, the main design factor
was that I wanted it to be quiet. The necessitated a balance
between the desire to not spend a lot, with the desire have a quiet
machine that is reasonably fast, and reasonably upgradable.
Specs, for those who care, are: Intel E8400 processor, Asus P5KSE
motherboard, Giagbyte GV-NX86T512H (8600GT with 512MB, and a
large heatsink with no fan), Zerotherm BTF90, 2GB Kingston KHX8500D2K2
RAM, Samsung SH-S203B optical drive, and a Seagate 160GB hard drive
(from the old machine). This all goes in an Antec Sonata-3
The power supply is an Antec Earthwatts 500, with 80+
For what it’s worth, I also got a Corsair Padlock 4GB flash
drive, the kind with a hardware combination lock.
The video card is kind of on the low end these days, but I have no
reason to burn a lot of electricity for graphics power, and the thing
is completely silent. Similarly, the E8400 is a very
power-efficient part. The Zerotherm cooler is almost silent.
usually runs at ~950 RPM, and keeps the CPU running at ~35 degrees
Celsius in typical use. The Samsung DVD burner is the
quietest optical drive I’ve ever had.
Back to the software. Kubuntu initially had problems with
management. Now it uses Kpowersave effectively.
Both of my
cores are usually running at just under 2GHz. The suspend
works, too. KDE4 is available. It works OK, but is
little feature-poor. My only little gripes are that NVu is
not in the *buntu repositories; Iceweasel
isn’t either. But after dinking around with Gentoo for a
of years, I’m not going to gripe too much about installing software the
The other things like MP3 support, Acrobat Reader, etc, are installed
easily with Automatix.
Kubuntu is very simple to use and maintain. The kernel is not
latest, but frankly the Linux kernel has gotten to be so mature, that I
don’t feel any need to use the latest one all the time.
Another reason I liked Sabayon is that the
Sabayon folks are really good about updating the kernel.
Earlier on, various bits of hardware were hard to use unless
you had the latest kernel. That isn’t much of an issue
anymore, which makes some of the more simpler varieties of Linux
feasible for everyday use.
I know it’s still an uphill battle, trying to get more people to use
Linux. What I’ve tried to illustrate, though, is that Linux is getting
to be much easier to use, but it still is incredibly versatile.