Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux is a “rolling release” distro with a design concept wherein there is no requirement to install a completely new release, say, annually, as you might do with Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Gentoo requires a deeper understanding of how a Linux OS works than other distros and assumes a degree of familiarity with working at the BASH command prompt. The Gentoo community is active and robust with good support that includes the Gentoo Wiki and a members forum for asking questions.
Gentoo is made for “tweakers” who want to build an OS that meets very specific requirements, and which can be built on the smallest embedded and SBC devices right up to the largest multi-core PC servers.

Contribution by Peter Andrijeczko 

List of all Gentoo IRC channels

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Gentoo’s package manager is called “Portage” and provides the capability to download, compile and install the source code of the applications that the end user wants to install – this does mean that packages can take longer to install than on those distros that provide pre-built binary packages. (Some larger applications like the Chrome or Firefox browsers, or the LibreOffice office package can be dowloaded as pre-built binaries if required.)

Portage also provides a feature known as “USE flags” which allow most packages to be built with additional levels of support that may be required by the user – or, alternatively, that the user may wish to omit as an unnecessary feature to keep the size of an application as small as possible.
For example, a user may decide to turn off support for the FLAC audio format in a music player application if all he or she ever plays are MP3 files – a USE flag for that music player application will allow FLAC support to be turned on or off as necessary.
Gentoo also supports a wide range of CPU hardware – as well as Intel/AMD 64-bit architecures, it can also be built on Intel/AMD 32-bit architectures as well as ARM, Sparc, Itanium and several others.

For deploying Gentoo on (usually ARM-based) Single Board Computers like the Raspberry Pi, a pre-built distro can be installed on such computers. In addition, because such SBCs have less powerful CPUs and restricted memory that might make compilation of some programs difficult, Gentoo allows the installation of “tool-chains” for other architectures to be installed on a more powerful desktop PC – the user can then “cross-compile” programs for other architectures on that PC and then install them as compiled binaries to those other platforms.

Contribution by Peter Andrijeczko