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Benefits of Gentoo

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This page attempts to summarise the benefits of Gentoo as viewed by its users, with regards to other Linux distributions.

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Community

  • Due to the structure of the Gentoo system, Gentoo's user community tends to be relatively knowledgeable about lower level aspects of Linux (build processes, kernel configuration, hardware support) than some other Linux distributions' communities (such as those of most binary-based distributions).
  • Gentoo has fostered one of the most helpful communities of any Linux distribution: there's almost a thousand users in the #gentoo IRC channel on Freenode at any one time. Almost anyone can help you with virtually any issue a user may have.

Efficiency

  • Gentoo has a well deserved reputation for its community's tendency to build optimized code with demonstrable increases in efficiency over binary-based distributions' "one size fits all" model.
  • Gentoo's "USE flag" system allows the user to create an extremely "bare-bones" installation, removing unneeded functions from packages (e.g: removing iPod/iOS support, resulting in smaller binaries that load faster and use less memory). It is straightforward to change these compile flags at a later date, for instance when installing new hardware.

Flexibility

  • Gentoo allows users to configure which features of software they wish to install, instead of the "one size fits all" approach of many binary-based distributions.
  • Gentoo can run in a wide range of environments, from embedded systems and virtual containers (LXC, OpenVZ, etc.) through to large cluster machines.
  • Gentoo favours incremental updates (instead of 6-monthly major upgrades)

Scalability

  • Due in a large part to Gentoo's portage tool's configurability and its source-based approach to software management, Gentoo is relatively well suited to deployment from tiny embedded systems right up to large cluster machines.

Security

  • Due to the flexibility inherent in Gentoo's portage tool and USE flags, Gentoo encourages users to build software with only the features they need. This decreases code size and complexity, which tends to increase security.
  • The Hardened Gentoo project focuses on increasing the security of Gentoo Linux through a variety of means.

Tools

  • Gentoo ships a good tool set to manage the system right from the beginning. These tools are contained in the app-portage/gentoolkit package, e.g. eclean, equery, euse.