Possible Gentoo Convert

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Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby phlux on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:53 am

I posted this in the Main Edition forum by accident. It will be better served here!

Greetings, everyone. I hope this message finds you well!

To save myself the trouble of explaining my life story again, I'll give you the quick version:

- *nix user for several years.
- Currently running Gentoo.
- Started out on FreeBSD in the early 2000s. First FreeBSD version I installed was 4.3.
- Wife bought herself a new laptop, I installed Linux Mint Debian Edition on it, immediately fell in love.

If you'd like to read the specifics, I posted my introduction here: viewtopic.php?f=180&p=692735#p692735

I really enjoyed the way everything "just worked," on her laptop, and I feel like that's something I'm missing on mine. While I think keeping Gentoo on our desktop will be fine, I think Linux Mint may really be the way to go for me as far as mobility. I've always been one to compile from source, but my laptop (2.5 GHz AMD64, 8GB DDRIII) can take a while when it comes to larger packages (LibreOffice, anyone?).

When it comes to my desktop, I can deal with the compile times because I can simply step away from the computer and let it do it's thing. My laptop, however, goes just about everywhere with me, and when I need something to work, I need it right then. I don't have time to compile everything a lot of the time, so I find myself doing the work a day before out of preparation. I guess I'm basically getting too old for the whole "but I'm compiling from source! I'm cool!" phase. I'm moving towards speed and efficiency these days. After all, the less time spent installing packages, the more time I have to actually use them, right?

Although it sounds like I've all but made up my mind, I've still got a few questions to lie on the table for you Linux Mint users. I don't really have any technical questions, as I know my mileage will likely vary from what I experienced with my wife's laptop, but moreso, I have concerns that I need addressed before I fully commit to swapping to a more managable distribution:

- On LMDE, how closely is upstream followed? I get that the package management is really provided by Debian Testing, but I'm really asking what the timeline is like vs Linux Mint proper. To use gdmap as an example: Let's assume a new version of gdmap is released (for the sake of laziness, let's just say gdmap-2.0). I get that Linux Mint proper will likely get gdmap-2.0 before LMDE, but would they receive the updates within the same week? Month? This is, of course, assuming a stable release.

- On Gentoo, I use a few overlays for developmental versions of software. They are, of course, built from source, but they follow a git repo. I prefer to use overlays to follow them so that my package manager will keep up with them. Most of these applications have PPAs for development Debian/dpkg sources. Would it be advised to use those on LMDE vs building from from the git repo manually?

- How would you rate the community? Obviously, I could do my own research on this (I'm here, aren't I?) but I'd like to hear from some of you regarding this aspect. The Gentoo community can be 50/50. There are some who are very helpful and want others to succeed, but there are others who have an elitist attitude, and they can really make asking for support a daunting task. The Gentoo community, in general, has really helped me as far as reading the manual and using Google goes, but when it comes to very specific issues, I find my heart skipping a beat before I'm given a response!

- I'm used to rolling releases, and I understand that LMDE is "semi-rolling." Can someone elaborate a little further on this? I've done some light reading on update packs, and I assume that's where the majority of kernel patches, security fixes, etc. come in, but I'm not exactly sure. If I upgrade, will I have to burn an ISO every-so-often and upgrade from it, or would I be able to do it all from the package manager? The package manager route would obviously be preferable to me since I'm coming from a rolling release distribution. I remember Debian giving me several headaches when upgrading from version to version, to the point that I eventually just gave up and moved on to Arch (and eventually, to Gentoo..)

Thank you everyone for your time. I know this was a long-winded post, but I really wanted to cover some bases here. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to post the questions!
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Re: Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby xenopeek on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:14 pm

Ah :D I had already moved your original topic here also. Next time you can use the exclamation icon in the top right of the post to report it, and ask for it to be moved. That way it shows up in the moderation queue and any of the moderators can pick it up. But no worries.

Others here will be able to answer this better, but I'll head of on answering a bit.

- On LMDE, how closely is upstream followed?
Packages on Debian go through different stages, from experimental to unstable to testing, before they are picked up by LMDE. LMDE uses "Update Packs", or UPs, and all the updates available from Debian testing are held back until the release of the next UP (so they can be tested together by the LMDE developers, testers and users using the "incoming" repository--zerozero's LMDE FAQ answers a bit more). Those are released every few months, though while we are awaiting the release of Debian 7 the Debian testing repository has been in feature freeze and hence we have had less frequent UPs. Debian 7 is set for release in the next few month it looks like, so that is temporary.

Understanding more about Debian may be helpful; the Debian Administrator's Handbook is an excellent free (online or download, or purchase as book) resource for that: http://debian-handbook.info/. Especially chapter 1.5, describing the lifecycle of a release: http://debian-handbook.info/browse/stab ... cycle.html. (Not everything there applies to LMDE, but most information can be used.)

As to your example, you can track what is in Debian testing with Debian's PTS. Here is the entry for gdmap: http://packages.qa.debian.org/g/gdmap.html. So gdmap 0.8.1-2 is what you can currently expect to find. To referring back to the LMDE FAQ, you can add other repositories and for example install a specific package you need of a newer version from Debian unstable.

- On Gentoo, I use a few overlays for developmental versions of software.
Don't know, sorry. But generally PPAs are for Ubuntu based distros.

- How would you rate the community?
I think you will find the regulars here friendly and helpful, and generally knowledgeable or at least passionate about LMDE :wink: The development team is approachable as well, with input being taken from the community. You can come say hi to the Linux Mint and Cinnamon developers on #linuxmint-dev on spotchar.org (just open XChat from your LMDE menu, and type /join #linuxmint-dev).

- I'm used to rolling releases, and I understand that LMDE is "semi-rolling."
Oops, answered that already a bit above. The ISO refresh is just as a convenience to new users; LMDE is a semi-rolling release which does mean you only need to install it once and the package manager will take you to each new UP without need for a reinstall. As I already said, UPs are tested before being released to all users--so generally problems with upgrades have been found and dealt with, or you can find solutions and workarounds in the respective forum section for UPs problems.

Thanks for considering LMDE, I hope you find it will agree with you!
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Re: Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby phlux on Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:03 pm

Thank you for the quick replies! I suppose I should touch on something a little more in-depth here to make my question clearer:

xenopeek wrote:- On Gentoo, I use a few overlays for developmental versions of software.
Don't know, sorry. But generally PPAs are for Ubuntu based distros.


How do you go about installing software that is either A) outdated in the LMDE repositories, or B) not found at all in the LMDE repositories? Do you just manage the packages locally, or do you have some automated way of upgrading local packages as they need it? One that comes to mind is TrueCrypt, although I understand it's just a binary that's pulled from their website, it isn't found in the repositories. Let's assume TrueCrypt had a repository for you to use to manage the updates seamlessly. Would that fit along with LMDE's philosophy, or should that be left alone?

Thanks again!
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Re: Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby xenopeek on Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:15 pm

Well, for some programs you will also be able to find an additional repository for Debian. Here is one list of that: http://wiki.debian.org/UnofficialRepositories. Many programs for Linux also provide a precompiled binary in Debian package format for download. And if you need to resort to compiling from source, you can instead of doing a "make install" to install the program, do "checkinstall" which does the same but also registers all the files with the package manager so you can uninstall them easily (and if in one of your repositories the program turns up with a newer version, get it upgraded).
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Re: Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby phlux on Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:19 pm

xenopeek wrote:Well, for some programs you will also be able to find an additional repository for Debian. Here is one list of that: http://wiki.debian.org/UnofficialRepositories. Many programs for Linux also provide a precompiled binary in Debian package format for download. And if you need to resort to compiling from source, you can instead of doing a "make install" to install the program, do "checkinstall" which does the same but also registers all the files with the package manager so you can uninstall them easily (and if in one of your repositories the program turns up with a newer version, get it upgraded).


Excellent! That is awesome! Thank you very much!
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Re: Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby phlux on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:53 pm

Because I felt like updating:

I decided to install Linux Mint Debian Edition today. I'm really enjoying it so far, and everything did in fact work out of the box!

I'm pretty excited, and having a lot of fun! Everything has worked out so far (fingers crossed)
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Re: Possible Gentoo Convert

Postby zerozero on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:57 pm

phlux wrote:I'm pretty excited, and having a lot of fun!
8) welcome to lmde and keep the fun rollin'
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