Today marks my second day of setup on my new Gentoo desktop. Before any one begins to laugh at the time it has taken so far - I’ve only been spending free time on it, and during much of that I’ve been working on it through an ssh connection while watching TV. Today marked my successful setup of the Xorg server, including the configuration of my graphics card to work with it. Nor did I forget the other half of my promise before writing again, as I am currently listening to the album sundance kids through the speakers connected to my desktop. I will admit that it has a bit left to be configured, as I have yet to configure and test the system to ensure that my surround sound is working. It’s nice to see mplayer working once more (on the old Ubuntu system, it no longer played audio), especially because I based my alarm clock script on it.

My only major struggle (that I have yet to resolve that is) is my attempt to change the keymap to Programmer’s Dvorak. I have yet to attempt to change the keymap in Xorg to even regular Dvorak, but in the console I am currently limping along with regular Dvorak (by the way, for those who don’t know, read about Programmer’s Dvorak on the creator’s site). I understand the procedure for changing the keymap in console, but the system informs me that there is a “syntax error in map file” when I run it with Programmer’s Dvorak.

So far my overall impression of Gentoo has been quite favorable despite the difficulties I have encountered. To be sure, it doesn’t even come close to the ease of installation that Ubuntu has, but it has many features that I do prefer. Perhaps the best direct comparison I could make currently is between the two package managers. In Ubuntu, indeed Debian in general, you use either aptitude or apt-get to install software. Most of my experience has been with apt-get, which certainly fails to hold up to Gentoo’s portage. I quite like the format portage returns results from searches in, very clearly informing you of the licenses, whether the program is already installed, and giving you the description all into the standard output (rather than aptitudes ncurses display or apt-get’s starkness of information). I’m also rather happy with being able to compile the applications in accordance with the flags I set, enabling them to be smaller and faster than the precompiled versions on Ubuntu and many other distros.

By the next time I write about Gentoo, I should have Gnome up and running (I may end up using a different window manager later on, but for the time being, I’ll stick the what I know.), and should be posting from my desktop rather than my laptop. And I’ll have my fingers crossed for a resolution to my keymap woes.