Gentoo Linux 12.0 reviewed: Linux For The Toughies

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Gentoo Linux 12.0 LiveDVD was released recently. We were the first ones to announce the release of Gentoo. Although not as popular as Ubuntu , this Linux distro is good enough for those who want to learn more about their system's functionality and GNU/Linux.  It uses Portage package manager which is also used by Chrome OS and Chromium OS.


Stage One:

Another version of Gentoo linux is released,  the Put a cow in your Boxen edition. It is no easier than its previous version as there is no installer included in the DVD. That makes it very tough when you want to actually install the DVD. But it is advisable to avoid installing Gentoo from a DVD. You can test the distro with the DVD and if you do not have a Internet connection then you can use this as offline repositories. Gentoo Linux 12.0 DVD comes with loads of applications.

I downloaded the Gentoo 12.0 hybrid DVD. The hybrid DVD includes two images, one for systems with x86 architecture and another for systems with x86-64 architecture. You can select the image you want to boot from the GRUB menu. Gentoo 12.0 uses legacy GRUB. At first I selected Gentoo x86 amd64. After loading the kernel, the booting did not proceed to the next stage. But the Gentoo x86 amd64 nofb(frame buffer) option loaded the desktop successfully.

Gentoo Linux

Boot Menu

After selecting the image to boot, the kernel is loaded and a lot of scanning is done, and you are presented the KDM login screen. Here you can choose the desktop environment to be loaded,. KDE is default,. Gentoo Linux 12.0 also includes Gnome 3.2, Xfce, Lxde and other window managers. I wanted to test KDE 4.7 first, so I just pressed the play button. The Gentoo live DVD 12.0 actually loads faster than its predecessors.

Stage Two:

Gentoo Linux 12.0 comes with KDE 4.7. KDE 4.7 is a well polished, easy to use desktop(KDE 4.8, to be released soon). Transparency of the windows and the panels makes it more pleasing. On the desktop you can see shortcuts for bug tracking, installing adobe flash and an user handbook. The user handbook is fairly helpful when you are using a live DVD. Gentoo Linux includes a credits text file in the home directory, this is to honour the community behind the release. Gentoo Linux does not come with firefox but contains another browser called Arora. Arora is a lightweight cross-platform web browser. It's free as in free speech and free beer. Arora opens up real quick and is fast. Not much deviation from the standard KDE desktop, although there were some issues. Porthole is the frontend for portage which did not work even after several trials. Instead of porthole you can use emerge in the terminal which is the command line interface of portage. The user handbook is just an online link, which is not usable in places with no network connection. Wireless networking works fine and Gentoo includes VLC media player so not to worry about your mp3 files. However, I couldn't test the sound in KDE because Kmix did not show the right driver for my sound card. When you need to mount your partitions, you have to do it using the mount command as the root password is not defined, hence, it will not allow you to mount from the GUI. When you need the root environment , type the following command

sudo su -

Last but not the least, do check out the different activities and ways to create new activities in KDE. Lots of games included in the DVD plus lots of tools for developers.


KDE in Gentoo Linux

Linux OS

Lots of Applications

Stage Three:

To begin with Gnome in Gentoo, there is no gnome shell interface. Gentoo uses the fallback mode, however you can install gnome shell using the following command

emerge gnome-shell

When I tried playing a mp3 file in gnome, Yay! Sound worked. So it is a problem with KDE and not with the OS. There is one bug I noticed, when I tried to open any directory from the places menu in the top panel, it opens Qmmp player instead of nautilus.

Gentoo OS

Gnome in Gentoo Linux

Want something lighter than Gnome and KDE, you can always go for other window managers included in the DVD. Gentoo linux include xfce, lxde, awesome, openbox window managers. If you just want to listen to songs or watch a movie or view photos then you can always choose XBMC from the login screen.


Xfce in Gentoo Linux

Final Stage.

To install the DVD, check out the link below

However it is strongly advised that  you wait for the release of Gentoo linux 12.0 CD.

If you are in India you can order a CD/DVD (or whatever is applicable for the distro) via the Request CD Program

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Sam_Benny's picture

Lets just say,I love programming and like my Linux box.Trying out new stuff everyday in Linux gave me great insight into computers.Computer researcher and a humble boy.You can follow me in twitter @msambenny