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Enough. I've had enough with Gentoo breaking itself on each emerge. The snapping point was an upgrade of Bind which took down my master DNS.

I'll keep Gentoo for specialist purposes - e.g. I believe it makes an excellent hosting platform which has only Apache/PHP/Python/MySQL installed [1]. However for my personal do-everything, install-the-lot server it has to go. The attraction was the ability to stay fairly bleeding edge with portage and to tune compilation, but it hasn't worked out. FreeBSD provides the same sort of functionality in 'ports' which I've never had a significant problem with, so it is shame that same robustness hasn't continued in Gentoo. But the BSD and Linux worlds are quite different.

I'm building a new server and it will run Ubuntu server. I've been quite impressed with its install process so far.

I was going to go with CentOS, however RHEL 6 is out and so I'd want to run CentOS 6, but that is not in sight yet. In business, we run CentOS for development and RHEL for production hence I was keen to stick with it.

I'll have to learn how to use apt-get though, after all these years of urpmi, rpm, emerge and yum. Oh, and good old 'make install'.

The hardware I run is somewhat overdue a good upgrade, and a recent disk failure through bad sectors underlined that. I'm taking the opportunity to slowly migrate to a faster machine and to take advantage of 2x2TB disks rather than 4x320GB disks. Disk technology itself is much better too - I'm getting 100MB/s rather than 50MB/s on the 320GBs.

[1] I would however much prefer FreeBSD, which is lightweight, flexible, secure and very robust. But Slicehost didn't support it when I signed up - which is expected due to the way they provide virtualised servers (with Xen, I believe).


Bloody Gentoo

A week or two ago I was presented with this on two of my older Gentoo servers:

[blocks B ] sys-libs/ss (is blocking sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2)
[blocks B ] <sys-fs/e2fsprogs-1.41 (is blocking sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2)
[blocks B ] sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs (is blocking sys-libs/ss-1.40.9, sys-libs/com_err-1.40.9)
[blocks B ] sys-libs/com_err (is blocking sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs-1.41.2)

This should strike fear into any Gentoo user out there. Usually when this happens, there will be a good result in Google which states exactly what to do. Not this time.
Importantly, you should wait for someone else to do this first and post in the Gentoo forums about it. Because Gentoo is not a professional distribution - far from it - as much as I love working with sources and portage (as a long time FreeBSD admin).
In this case, doing the obvious of unmerging the old blocking packages will render emerge useless as you will break wget. Yes, this is ridiculous.

Well, lucky you - I've done this now on both machines successfully and present to you the winning formula:

emerge -fv sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs sys-fs/e2fsprogs
emerge --unmerge sys-fs/e2fsprogs sys-libs/ss sys-libs/com_err ; emerge sys-libs/e2fsprogs-libs sys-fs/e2fsprogs

We fetch the new packages before breaking the system. Then we break the system, then we fix the system with the parts of it that are still working. e2fsprogs is very much needed, unlike what I previously said here - it is what provides such gems as fsck...

Now I can continue emerging the weeks of updates that have built up. Including an OpenSSH 4->5 update that needs careful merging of configurations.

I really like Gentoo, but it can drive me crazy. It also has a problem with the people behind it - the culture is much like that behind Rails, in that I have a real problem trusting it. See the next post for an example from Rails...

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