I'm back with Gentoo

January 2, 2022

I’m a Gentoo user who recently decided to try an alternative Linux (and binary based) operating system, something that would require no maintaining what so ever. I ended up choosing the most boring operating system that I could think of, which is Debian. And while it started out good, Debian would only last about two months on my computer.

The first annoyance I had with Debian was with Pulseaudio. When I changed the volume—using shortcuts on my keyboard in incremental steps of 5%—the sound would glitch for a second or two for each step. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but it was somewhat annoying. My second issue was far more annoying though; every time I woke up my computer, the Internet connection would be completely gone. The only way I was able to get it back, was to either reboot my router or my computer.

I also had some minor annoyance, like how the boot process would completely hang without any message about why when it tried to mount a missing storage disk at boot. It took me a while before I figured out that it would continue to boot into some systemd rescue mode if I just waited for a few minutes. After that I was able to debug the issue and finally add the noauto argument to the disk in my filesystem table. While minor annoyances like this, aren’t any kind of deal-breaker for me, it can be a bit frustrating to deal with, when they stack up on top of each other.

I eventually decided to try upgrading to Debian testing, to see if that would solve any of the issues for me. It didn’t. In fact, it made everything worse. My graphical stack was now completely kaput. I don’t know what happened and I couldn’t figure out how to solve it either. On top of that, I happened to stumble upon the article “the sad state of web browser support currently within Debian”. I then decided that Debian wasn’t worth it on the desktop for me, and I simply gave up. I wiped everything and installed Arch Linux. It wasn’t one of my top choices, but it was something that I was familiar with.

I actually used to run Arch Linux before switching to Gentoo. It used to be a simple (to use) binary operating system that I never really had any major issues with. I ended up leaving it mainly for three reasons; 1) I was bored and I wanted to try out something new. Gentoo seemed like the natural step for me. 2) The project and the community was (is?) toxic and hostile, especially to new users. 3) I had some annoyances with systemd. Before they switched to systemd, everything worked fine, but when they later switched to systemd, well.. It was ugly. Thankfully, it did mature and become more stable over time, just not as stable as it used to be. In the end it would work okay, but there was always some issues, like how the boot and shutdown process would always freeze as a result of how they just randomly start and stop processes. I wasn’t a fan of them changing things that didn’t need chance either. With systemd, they removed the ifconfig command and replaced it with another tool that requires multiple commands to show you the same information. The ifconfig tool has been around for 38 years and is commonly used in UNIX-, BSD- and Linux-based operating systems. Why break and replace things that works?

In Arch Linux, I had the same issues with the sound, as well as some other issues. One of them was some issue with the USB-memory sticks that would not appearing unless I rebooted the computer. Other than that, things seemed to work fine. I only used it for two weeks though. Their small software repository and the fact that I missed Gentoo, was the main reason that I decided to go back to Gentoo again.

I decided to start fresh with a new installation, even though I had a backup of my previous Gentoo installation. It just felt fun and fresh starting over with a brand new install. I just copied some of my previous configuration files, which resulted in a base installation in less than an hour anyway.


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