Martin MC Brown

Gentoo LiveCD and installer

By Martin MC Brown
August 10, 2005 6:18 AM EDT

Gentoo have released v0.1 (alpha) of the Gentoo Linux Installer which consists of a LiveCD running Gentoo that also includes the facilities for installing Gentoo onto your hard drive.

The LiveCD includes all the normal goodness we associated with a LiveCD, including a fully running Linux system combinted with a range of applications such as the X Windows system, GNOME, Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice. The installer is designed to create a fully working Gentoo-based OS on your hard drive, copying across everything you need.

I'll be quite happy to admit that Gentoo is my favorite distribution. That's for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is incredibly easy to update the system using the emerge tool to automatically download, build and then install the kit. It even handles the dependencies for you.

Better still, as a die-hard porter and avid compiler there's nothing I like more than watching software compile. To me it somehow feels like the system is doing something. Installing binaries is just so old.

Of course, the benefit of installing from from source each time is that the system, applications and other components are built on your system. That means the ultimate system should be faster because it's actually been compiled for your platform (without you having to worry about downloading architecture specific binaries) and you know everything is going to work because it's only going to compile if all the libraries are there - and Gentoo and emerge make sure they are.

I now run Gentoo almost exclusively here; the main mail gateway runs Gentoo with Amavis and other components to filter mail. My MythTV box is gentoo and my desktops run Gentoo too (!). Having a LiveCD that simplifies the whole process of installing Gentoo might be sacrilege; that's half the fun of using Gentoo.

I think the Gentoo installation procedure should be a must-have skill, because it ensures you are up to date on so many other aspects you need during administration, but still, I'm all for spreading the good work for the masses that don't want to go through the process by hand.