Gentoo Linux 2006.1 review

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Gentoo Linux, a special flavor of Linux that can be automatically optimized and cus

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 55476K
Developer: Gentoo Foundation, Inc.
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Gentoo Linux, a special flavor of Linux that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need. Extreme configurability, performance and a top-notch user and developer community are all hallmarks of the Gentoo experience.

Thanks to a technology called Portage, Gentoo Linux can become an ideal secure server, development workstation, professional desktop, gaming system, embedded solution or something else -- whatever you need it to be. Because of its near-unlimited adaptability, we call Gentoo Linux a metadistribution.

Portage is the heart of Gentoo Linux, and performs many key functions. For one, Portage is the software distribution system for Gentoo Linux. To get the latest software for Gentoo Linux, you type one command: emerge --sync.

This command tells Portage to update your local "Portage tree" over the Internet. Your local Portage tree contains a complete collection of scripts that can be used by Portage to create and install the latest Gentoo packages. Currently, we have more than 8000 packages in our Portage tree, with new ones being added all the time.

Portage is also a package building and installation system. When you want to install a package, you type emerge packagename, at which point Portage automatically builds a custom version of the package to your exact specifications, optimizing it for your hardware and ensuring that the optional features in the package that you want are enabled -- and those you don't want aren't.

Portage also keeps your system up-to-date. Typing emerge -u world -- one command -- will ensure that all the packages that you want on your system are updated automatically.

Portage will keep your Gentoo Linux system as "up-to-date" as you desire. And because of this, experienced Gentoo users don't pay too much attention to "new versions" of Gentoo Linux -- after all, the latest and greatest version of Gentoo Linux is always available by typing an emerge --sync command.

There's no need to wait several months for a "new version" of Gentoo Linux to be released because Gentoo Linux is continually updated and refined and these improvements are immediately made available to you.

Here are some key features of "Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux":
Support for x86, AMD64, PowerPC, UltraSparc, Alpha and MIPS processors
LiveCD-based installation for x86, AMD64, PowerPC, UltraSparc and Alpha
Latest stable KDE and GNOME
Various optimized Linux kernels
Very modern GNU development environment
Excellent filesystem support: ReiserFS, XFS, ext3, EVMS, LVM
Excellent hardware support: NVIDIA, Creative Labs Live! and Audigy
Modular OpenGL and compiler sub-system (supports multiple co-existing versions)
Clean, dependency-based system initialization scripts
New "hardened" Gentoo security initiative
more than 8000 packages of the latest and greatest software
Enhanced Portage capabilities

It all began with Extra Time. Time to explore, Time to discover, Time to experiment. That's how the creator of Gentoo, Daniel Robbins stepped into the world of Linux. He started with Debian Linux, setup a couple of applications, learnt the ins & outs of Linux and as most Linux users do, tried out a couple of distributions and settled to help out with a distro called Stampede Linux.

Soon he was into Stampede development and working on their package management system. After a period of time and due to certain issues, he moved on and decided that he would create his own distribution.

Thus, Enoch was born. Daniel wanted Enoch to be a blazingly fast distro with capabilities to completely automate the package creation and upgrading process. Soon there was a #enoch on and 10 developers helping with the distro. Over a period of time, as Enoch started improving, they felt that it needed a new name.

They called it Gentoo Linux. Around about the time Gentoo was moving to its 1.0 release, Daniel bought a new, fast machine. The motherboard model had a faulty chip that caused Linux to lock up when idle and because of that, Gentoo Linux development came to a complete halt.

Since there wasn't anything going on with Gentoo, Daniel switched to FreeBSD. He liked what he saw. Especially the "Ports" system. And he returned to the Linux world. Along with the help of other developers like Achim Gottinger, Gentoo was back on track & charging ahead.

The whole package management system was redesigned & called Portage. Gentoo has been in active development ever since, with tons of features being continually added over the years. Teams of volunteers help keep Gentoo on the bleeding edge and patched to ensure maximum security & stability.

The Gentoo development model was extended with a complete project-based approach where each project develops independently but cooperatively with other Gentoo projects. Regular meetings between the project leads (called "project managers") keep the development high-paced. The Gentoo Foundation has been created to provide financial caretaking, juridical protection and oversee general Gentoo development to keep it in line with the Social Contract.

In April 2004, Daniel decided to resign from his development responsibilities within Gentoo. We are all very grateful for all the work that Daniel has put in Gentoo and wish him the best.

Gentoo still continues to grow, evolve and improve itself - new projects are added, new developers are joining, new packages are added every day. The Gentoo developer and user community is undoubtedly Gentoo's strongest value.

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