cwwgateway wrote:People say that, for example, when you install Gentoo, you compile everything, which "optimizes it" for your hardware. Honestly, I don't know what that means. I do understand that with Gentoo and Arch you get to customize everything, but at what point does that actually significantly differ from a distro like Sabayon with a graphical installer? There obviously is a good reason to use them (or people wouldn't go to the trouble of installing them), so I want to know what that reason is.
There are basically three reasons:
. You get what you want with Gentoo or Arch. Of course it takes more time to install but you end up with exactly what you want. You get the desktop environment/manager you want and can update as soon as new packages are available (or you can wait, again it's up to you).
. I installed both Gentoo and Arch during the holidays and I learned a lot
about Linux. If you need a working system now
, Arch or Gentoo are not the way to go, and if you do not have the patience to play around and read documentation: go with Mint/Ubuntu. Not everyone is going to be interested in how the operating system works, and that's fine, but if you don't care about that, Arch/Gentoo will likely make you feel miserable. The fact that we have both Gentoo and Mint is what makes Linux so interesting
. Binaries provided by Mint/Arch/Fedora are compiled to run on all computers for a given architecture (x86_64, ARM, ...), but they are not optimized for your
computer. When compiling with Gentoo, you can ask gcc (or another compiler) to compile optimized binaries for your computer. For example if you run
- Code: Select all
$ echo | gcc -dM -E - > generic.txt
$ echo | gcc -dM -E - -march=native > opti.txt
$ diff generic.txt opti.txt
...you'll see the flags gcc can use when compiled with -march=native. In practice it will often make little difference, but sometimes it does make a good difference, and when every single program is optimized for your computer it generates an appreciable boost in performance.