I’ll admit it right here: Gentoo is my primary operating system and remains my favorite distribution of Linux. That’s not to say I haven’t experimented with others. Arch, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu have all been installed on my machines at one point or another. I’ve used Exherbo, and I think it has a lot of promise. Even so, I’ve always ended up back using Gentoo. What keeps drawing me back?
To some extent, I’m sure it’s just inertia. When I finally made the switch to Linux in 2004, Gentoo was the distribution that brought me there. (I’d dabbled with other distributions prior to that, and even made a one-week switch to Debian in 2002, but needed to return to Windows to use some software for university, unfortunately.) That said, I usually enjoy change, and if something came along that was genuinely superior to Gentoo for my purposes, I have little doubt that I’d switch with little hesitation.
It seems, therefore, that there must be other reasons that I’ve chosen to stick with Gentoo. Before I list some of those, it’s worth listing some of the commonly cited reasons to use Gentoo that I don’t personally find compelling:
- USE flags
- Learning about Linux
Each of these has some value in some situations, and I’ll expound on them in future posts, but for the moment, it’s sufficient to know that they don’t influence my decision to use Gentoo. Instead, I look to these four reasons to guide my decision:
- Rolling release cycle
- Simple package management
- Unused dependency removal
- Configuration file management
- Development environment
None of these reasons is entirely exclusive to Gentoo. Rather, it’s the combination that makes Gentoo shine in my eyes. I will eventually get around to discussing these in more detail, but for now, the next post in this series will talk about some of those reasons that aren’t a factor in my choice of Gentoo as my primary operating system.