Laying down the glove to the ricers

Steve Dibb steve at
Mon Sep 11 10:39:09 MDT 2006

Hans Fugal wrote:
> de gustibus non disputatum est
> Disk is cheap compared to time. The last thing I want is to have to
> manually enable everything that is almost always going to be enabled
> anyway. I like Debian's approach. Things are enabled by default if
> they're installed, but not everything is installed unless you ask for
> it. It strikes a decent balance, although there are things that I
> personally wish Debian would install by default that it doesn't. 

To each his own, of course.  However with Debian I assume it doesnt ask 
you which system logger you want to choose I could be completely wrong, 
and I'm not trying to flame Debian in the least, I'm just pointing out 
that Gentoo gives you a choice between a few system loggers during 

Plus, Debian's goals and Gentoo's are completely different anyway, so 
it's really not going to make sense comparing them anyway.  Debian gives 
you "a decent balance" as you said.  Gentoo gives you extreme 
customization from the kernel to the compilation flags for every package 

> But more importantly, it makes absolutely no sense to me to disable
> stuff with USE flags. I can see the merit of using USE flags to _enable_
> certain things that might not be enabled by default, and in some very
> speicific (embedded) situations I can see the use of disabling things,
> but for the most part the extra disk space required for that one library
> is worth it for the time saved on the day that I do decide I want Qt
> enabled in application foo after all. Constant recompiling for upgrades
> is silly. Recompilation because I was a nazi and disabled Qt across the
> board with USE flags is lunacy.

Upgrading really has never been an issue for me.  It just runs in the 
background.  Besides, once you get over the large libraries (gtk, qt, 
xorg-x11, etc) most *everything* takes between 5 to 15 minutes to 
compile on a decent system.  I'm using Gentoo on an Athlon XP 1800, and 
I've never been pressed for time waiting for something to upgrade.

If you're upgrading Qt, you just emerge it.  You're already running one 
version so nothing's going to stop and suddenly stop working while it's 

Basically -- I don't see the whole compilation thing as a big 
deterrent.  It doesn't bother me.  It's not a show stopper. I don't 
think its really as big a deal as you might think it is though.

> Nobody likes library bloat, but gentoo users are particularly opposed to
> it. For good reason! The amount of time it takes to compile those big
> toolkits is phenomenal. If I were a gentoo user I would steer clear of
> them too.

Changing USE flags on big toolkits is going to have minimal impact.  Do 
I want to install Qt with gif or jpeg support?  Taking those out is not 
going to magically make it take 15 minutes less.  There are some 
packages you just accept that they are going to take a long time to 
build.  You knew that when you were installing Gentoo in the first 
place, so why would it suddenly be a big deal halfway during using it?

> Gentoo is a thief. It robs that which is most valuable: your time. You
> may say that gentoo teaches you a lot about how linux works, and you'd
> be right I reckon, but it's not very efficient. You spend far more time
> and energy in compilation than you do learning.  But hey, we're all free
> to spend/waste our time however we wish. Some have disagreed with me,
> but I say better to waste your time with gentoo than many other 
> time-wasters out there.

Installation is really the only big time-waster, imo.  However, since 
the whole point of Gentoo is *customizing* your system to tailor it to 
your needs, it is by default, going to take time.  It's not killing us, 
it's just a tradeoff for what we really want.


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