the gentoo experience

Since people are always nagging that gentoo is so great, I thought I'd give it a try.

First things first. I went to the installation instructions and went for the quick install guide

Here they tell me I have 2 options: the minimal install CD or the live CD. The minimal CD fetches everything over network but is the recommended approach. The Live CD is my favorite however, since I won't have to waste much bandwidth then.

So I install the Live CD. After doing some laundry and taking 3 boxes of glass to the glass-container, the download is in.

I boot it in vmware (of course I won't allow gentoo to trash any real system). I'm given a simple bootmenu, in which I select "gentoo-nofb". I don't like framebuffer. It's slow and useless in my opinion. All I want is text while I install things. It boots up nicely. To my surprise, it starts configuring OpenGL and gives me a Gnome desktop. So far for the text-only install. There is an icon "Install" which I doubleclick. A nice graphical installation application pops up and starts asking questions (17!). One of the questions being "Stage 3 tarball URI". I consult the documentation icon on the desktop, which takes me to the gentoo installer FAQ.

Not to my surprise, I can't find any useful information on that page. I do find things like this:

Q: Where can I find more information about the installer?
A: On the project pages. Currently, there is no documentation.
You can either read the source or ask in #gentoo-installer. If
you ask any questions covered by this FAQ, you will most likely be ignored.

and my favorite:

Q: Gentoo is too hard to install and I feel like whining.
A: Please see /dev/null.

I can see it now: gentoo is probably written by the kind of linux-users I've come to hate.

After looking for "stage3" on the entire CD (and not finding anything), I resort to the minimal install CD.

This time (again booting with gentoo-nofb), it drops me into a shell. It appears I can skip most of the instructions in the guide since my private network uses DHCP.

The next installation step I need my attention for is... partitioning the disk.
What is this, did the 80's invade my vmware ?

Luckily, it appears the botched installer from the LiveCD already created some partitions for me (even when it couldn't continue the installation because I didn't have a stage3 tarball). Next! "create the filesystems and activate swap". I start hearing YMCA in the background.

The next step would be setting time and date, but I couldn't care less about that since it's vmware.

The stage3 tarball is 112 MB in size. Something tells me this shouldn't be a problem to put on the Live CD...
While I wait for the download to finish, I put some gas in my car and recharge the battery...

Now the portage tarball needs to be downloaded, which is 31MB in size.

Setting the timezone, hostname, etc...

Now for the first gentoo command ! "emerge gentoo-sources"

Which seems to download a kernel (another 40MB)...

[update: 4th october 2006]
I stopped the virtual machine gentoo was on. Basically I got tired of it. Maybe when I have more time, I'll continue