Gentoo Linux has its problems. Gentoo once heralded the source-based distribution revolution. You could setup your system at a very low level, compile everything, tweak everything, optimize everything. It was great for a time.
I used gentoo for about eight years on my home desktops and production servers. My work computer is still gentoo, in fact. But in the second half of my time with gentoo, things went from bad to worse. Gentoo had its own internal struggles and, to their credit, things went mostly smoothly for end-users. Except for the breakage.
Breakage is a fact of life on gentoo. You can either save yourself the headache now by holding off updates, but once you do you’re in for a world of hurt, or you can do regular updates, say weekly, and you’ll find on average one snag per update. You’ll be lucky to get through an update without an issue. Gentoo used to be quite a bit better than this but this is what it’s devolved into.
I’ve been frustrated with gentoo for a long time. Initially the inertia to move distros took some time to overcome but about a year ago I did. I tried a whole swath of distributions looking for a nice one. I settled on CentOS. It’s alright for a desktop but it’s not going to do you many favours. Still, I stuck with it. I used it for a few months and I started to miss gentoo.
So I went back to gentoo. My thought was that maybe my legacy install was the cause of all my problems and perhaps a clean install would make things go smooth. No.
Soon after the clean install, a few months ago now, updates would break. On all of my gentoo systems it got to the point that overcoming the breakages eventually proved too much work or apparently impossible.
So, this past week I installed Ubuntu and then wiped that soon after for kubuntu. Who knows if it’ll last but at least things just work. My usb wireless device, which worked at 10-20% packet loss on gentoo works flawlessly and out-of-the-box on ubuntu.
There is a thread on the gentoo forums titled “I’M DONE – 4 YEARS of Gentoo is ENOUGH.” It was started in 2006, is still going strong, and has 26 pages of posts. It is the clear testament to the deep rooted problems that exist in gentoo.
Save your sanity.