Today was installation day – that is, get my Gentoo system up and running to begin its full-time use. I have several pictures of the installation process, but will try avoid cheating by posting them once I get my digital camera working natively. So far, I have encountered the following enraging or annoying glitches:
- Outdated official documentation – use the Gentoo Wiki instead. The setup guide for X.org mentions “keyboard mouse” as an acceptable string for INPUT_DEVICES. For anyone with a USB keyboard and mouse – which should be the majority of users at this point – this string should be “evdev” to allow HAL to manage these peripherals.
- Where’s my mouse? I spent three hours trying to get any semblance of life out of my MX1100 under X.org, which shouldn’t require anything special other than the default USB human interface device drivers. Turns out, the suggested /dev/input/mice and /dev/mouse settings are both not functional for this scenario. Running:
gave a better understanding of where to map these peripherals – my keyboard’s Option “Device” is set to /dev/input/event3, and my mouse is /dev/input/event5. Drivers for both sections should be “evdev”.
- Get your USE flags flying. For multiple monitor support, you’ll want to make sure to have support for xinerama in /etc/make.conf. Other notable flags I’ve used are:
- branding, which enables official Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird product branding (logos and product names mostly.) You can’t legally redistribute your compiled binaries to anyone else if you use this option.
- svg, which is required to display scalable vector graphics in most applications.
- dbus and hal, which enforce Desktop Bus and Hardware Abstraction Layer support. These are very good things.
The Gentoo project seems like it could definitely use some additional documentation maintainers – some of the desktop files mention 2006 releases of the distribution. The KDE installation guide mentions nothing about versions beyond 3.4 (I believe there’s a working draft for version 4, but it involves ‘unmasking’ some packages; I’m not quite ready to do that yet.) The tutorials are well-written and fairly easy to follow, but this is not a distribution I’d recommend to someone unfamiliar with Linux.
If I continue using Gentoo as my main operating system, I’ll certainly try to update the wiki with my best efforts. For now, I seem to be doing better than Tyler – I’m sure he’ll tell you all about his graphics driver fiasco with Fedora shortly.