[Review] Gentoo 12

One can’t be faulted for failing to see the purpose behind a live DVD offered by a distribution which evokes fear for being a source-based distro that requires you to compile your own kernel. On the one hand is a distribution that lets you control exactly what goes into the system, and on the other is a live DVD, chock-full of applications, window managers, desktop environments and more. Gentoo 12 – a product of the Gentoo community with the Gentoo developers pitching in – is, however, unlike any other live distribution.

What it is-and isn’t

Although it’s based on Gentoo, you have to realise Gentoo 12 is a live DVD – not a distribution, and it certainly isn’t a milder version of Gentoo. It isn’t designed to tempt more people into adopting Gentoo, or make their Gentoo installation any easier. Unlike most other live distributions, Gentoo 12 doesn’t offer any graphical tools to help you install it to disk.
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At 3.6GB, the live DVD contains more software than you probably need as a regular desktop user The DVD, though, is designed to showcase the power of Linux. It includes just about all the popular tools you might need, irrespective of the kind of machine you run. Whether it’s a fancy desktop environment with delightful graphic effects, or lightweight desktops that’ll run on 128MB RAM, the DVD has it all. Keeping Linux Kernel 3.1.5 company are Gnome 3.2.1, KDE 4.7.4, XFCE 48, Fluxbox 1.3.2 and more. Gentoo 12 boots into KDE by default, but you can choose a different environment. Unlike distributions that become known by their primary supported desktop environment, Gentoo 12, despite offering so many environments and applications, doesn’t give the sense that any one was treated like the unwanted step-child. The default username is ‘gentoo’ and, oddly enough, there is no password.

Spoilt for clioice

The list of included applications is too vast for us to mention here. Suffice to say that the DVD includes all the popular tools for every category of software. So, you’ve got the choice of VLC. Xine, MPIayerand Totemto play any type of media, and you’ve got almost as many text editors -everything from Vim, GVim, Emacs, Joe and Nano to Gedit and KWrite. Email clients? Choose between KMail, Evolution, Thunderbird, Sylpheed. and Claws Mail. And don’t get us started on the games. Let’s just say it’s a well populated, categorised list covering arcade, puzzle and board games. You’ll also find an assortment of system recovery benchmarking and backup tools. The mammoth ISO includes drivers for just about all kinds of devices. But should you find your wireless card not supported, you can install the drivers yourself. Refer to http://bit.ly/wCC6nT for more.

You can dd the image to a USB flash drive. If the drive is 8GB or larger, there’s documentation that tells you how to enable persistent storage to save your work across reboots. When you boot the DVD, the last entry on the bootloader is Extra Boot Images. From here, you can access various tools that allow you to use the DVD as a rescue or benchmarking tool. These tools let you use the DVD as a partition manager or to edit/reset Windows passwords. There’s a hard disk diagnostic tool, and a tool to securely wipe the data on the hard disk. As far as live distros are concerned, Gentoo 12 is unrivalled.


Using Gentoo Linux in K-12 School’s Computer Lab

Gentoo 12

Developer Gentoo community and developers
WEB www.gentoo.org
Features 10/10
Performance 10/10
Ease of use 10/10
Documentation 10/10
For a tool designed to flaunt the marvels of Linux, Gentoo 12 delivers just that The best live DVD out there.


Source: LXF156

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