For about a year or so I have been using gentoo on most of my computers. At the time, I had just received an old dell dimension 4600 with a pentium 4 and 4 gigabytes of ram. I received it from my soon-to-be friend Jose and it came with windows xp on it. I am familiar with pupply linux, tiny core linux, and even DSL, but I did not want to use one of those distributions. I wanted to use arch linux. One big problem, Arch is about to end support for it’s 32bit systems. That really bothered me. I have been using Arch for a very long time and I really enjoy it’s simplicity and minimalistic qualities. But for my usecase, I simply could not use it. I had been meaning to try gentoo for a very long time but it seemed very daunting. I use this little machine as a simple server for testing and developing simple applications. So I just jumped in to gentoo. And oddly enough, it wasn’t very hard at all. Maybe I was just lucky, but I completed my first install without any hiccups. Although, it did take me a couple of days. I setup all of my USE flags and studied the handbook and found what packages I wanted during the day and then after work, right before bed, I would emerge –update –newuse –deep @world and it would be done by morning. Fast-forward to today, and I am running gentoo on all of my computers.
I really enjoy linux and unix like operating systems. But with most modern distributions, there are so many unnecessary layers and many of these distributions are no longer very unix-like. I am not a big fan of systemd, or of network manager, or pulse audio. And I have been unhappy with Arch linux for quite awhile. Any time that I stray from the base system, I find myself in quite a mess. I am sure that if I were to just be a simple consumer, and just use a live cd and leave things be, perhaps it would be a great experience. But I am not one to leave things alone. I enjoy tinkering and tweaking and building packages. I feel that linux is becoming less and less developer friendly. If you have problems, submit a bug report and wait patiently for someone else to fix it. This troubles me. If I wanted an out of the box, consumer experience, I would have just left windows or mac os on my devices.
This has led me to question why I use linux. Linux is not Unix. It was based on Unix, and shares many of the same concepts, but they are not the same.
I am a minimalist. I prefer, simple rather than complicated. Complex software is hard to understand, and can be hard to maintain. Therefore, to me
the Unix Philosophy is very appealing. The more I think about these issues, the more I am drawn away from modern linux distributions. So I have begun
researching Unix operating systems. FreeBSD is first on the list. So Today, I installed it on my macbook pro to replace Arch linux. I am also going
to start experimenting with illumos and some of it’s variants for my servers. But I will not abandon
Linux. With Gentoo, I can still build my own system. In fact, I am attempting to put together my own little distribution called
which I am basing off of Gentoo. But until I figure out what I am doing, for now I will be using FreeBSD for my work computer.