Rich Freeman on 23 Aug 2012 13:13:19 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Tried of Windows...

On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 3:59 PM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
> Gentoo and the other source-based distros side-step both of these problems
> (major upgrades and out-of-date packages) nicely, at a cost of a bit more
> complexity, a bit more updating and care during updates, and a lot of CPU
> time.

The source-based distros give you more flexibility (you can run
bleeding edge for one library and have it all work - well aside from
true compatibility issues).

However, there are now more and more non-source-based distros that are
moving towards rolling releases.  Sabayon is a prime example - it is
just Gentoo with a reference configuration.  If you stick with that
configuration you get prebuilt binary packages like any other distro,
and if you want to deviate you can use all the Gentoo features to
build those packages differently.

The issue is that anytime you change a core library you have to update
everything that links to it.  That is why the big binary distros all
tend to stick with a few updates per year - you can roll out a new
firefox/etc anytime you want but if you want to change glibc you have
to coordinate that with just about every other package in the distro.

With a source-based distro you can link anything against anything
within reason, so while you might have to do a lot of recompiling the
distro doesn't have to maintain official binary copies of particular

I imagine the rolling release binary distros do something in-between.

It should also be noted that many library upgrades are
binary-compatible, and you can often have multiple versions installed
side-by-side.  Both of these mitigate the need to do an all-at-once
upgrade.  However, it is still always a warm day in the office
containing my computer when there is a new KDE release.

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