425 - Gentoo-to-Ubuntu

I removed Gentoo and installed Ubuntu. Quite a change, and so I thought I’d note down my reasons for doing it.

The reason I decided to change was that I don’t have as much time these days; time to configure things. With Gentoo, I’d generally be tempted to stay on the cutting edge; to have the newest packages before they were stable. These would generally take time to set up and get working correctly. Over the summer and autumn, I’ve had a job rather than being at university and so have had far less time to spend doing this work. Ubuntu chooses packages and options for you, and hopefully take time to ensure the options they choose work together.

(Note: I’m moving because of the time spent configuring things, not the time upgrading packages — this is why Ubuntu and not Debian, for example. With Debian I’d gain nothing to solve my problems; I’d still have to configure the system. My idea with moving to Ubuntu is that I shouldn’t have to spend so much time doing the configuration.)

People have said Gentoo is not worth the trouble because you spend a lot of time compiling things. Well, it’s not true. You don’t spend time compiling things: the computer spends the time compiling things while you do other things. From my point of view, Debian and Gentoo don’t really have any difference, and I prefer Gentoo’s style of doing things to Debian’s. The sole reason for the move was that the time spent making things work nicely wasn’t worth the time spent on it.

Gentoo worked flawlessly whilst I was at university; it offered just what I wanted with it’s ultimate flexibility. Now I use the PC for mainly web-browsing and watching DVDs, however, Ubuntu’s in-flexibility is a positive; it should just work.

For the most part, so far, it does just work. After installing totem-xine for DVDs and the restricted gstreamer plugins for mp3 — due to legal encumbrances on the formats Ubuntu is wary of distributing them — everything is set up and working. It will hopefully continue to work, and not become the configuration pain that Gentoo became (mostly due to the lack of time I could afford to spend on it rather than a problem with Gentoo itself, I hasten to add).

Is Ubuntu better than Gentoo? For what I want now, yes, for what I wanted before, no. It’s as simple as that.