Gentoo and KDE 4.6, Nice Companions
I recently made a big jump from Debian to Gentoo on my EeePC netbook. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a Debian fan; I just feel like that I need to try new things. Since I’ve started using Arch Linux two months ago on my other laptop I’ve always felt like that there is something wrong with the way I learn GNU/Linux. Sooner or later, at some point, you just start to realize that you need to go deeper. Gentoo gives you a very good start to get into the guts of the whole GNU/Linux business.
Gentoo was my first source-based distro. I was also thinking of Crux but it slipped away when I realized that Gentoo is much better documented and has a larger community. I was originally just planning to settle for a X-free environment but I suddenly had this desire that I wanted to try KDE. KDE is not the first thing that comes to mind when you have a netbook. Instead, XFCE is lightweight and is doing very well on my Arch Linux laptop. However, It’s time to experiment with KDE and see whether it fits my need or not. Well, it seems it does:
So far, KDE speed and performace seems to be acceptable on such a low-profile netbook unless I start to open fifteen apps everything goes very well and that is fine for me. I have enabled all the eye-candies (can you believe I’m talking about eye-candies?) ,compositing, effects, etc and everything works great. Just for the record, if you are planning to install KDE on Gentoo please be aware that you have to compile it and compiling a desktop environment of size 400+ is going to take something like 20 hours (on a normal computer) so bear up or try out KDE on a binary distro like Arch or Debian.
Installing Gentoo itself is fairly easy and fast. There is really nothing to it. You just boot into a minimal CD installation that you’ve downloaded from Gentoo website, you partition using fdisk, then you install a base system which you’ll chroot into it. Then you compile and install core packages,Linux kernel, boot loader and configure them if it is necessary. Just a word of caution, be careful with the linux kernel configuration, I messed up some of my hardware at first time but fortunately I could add their support after installation. Gentoo Handbook contains all the sort of information you need to get a fully functional installation.
To conclude, I shall add that personally I don’t think that Gentoo is for everybody; only people with a deep passion for flexibility would tolerate hours of software compilation. However, Gentoo automates many repetitive tasks and Portage (the package manager) is just great. Another great discovery for me…