Hey all, doing this again. Feel free to ask anything and i'll be happy to answer it. If any other Gentoo devs decide to join in, i'll update this post with their reddit nicks.

Also, I set up an IRC channel on Freenode for this AMA if anyone wants to chat in real-time, #gentoo-ama

Proof: https://dev.gentoo.org/~jdhore/reddit_proof.txt

Comments: 51 • Responses: 13  • Date: 

TheLameloid10 karma

Have you ever worked on Linux kernel?

jdhore116 karma

Nope. Working that "low-level" kind of scares me.

colbond10 karma

Gentoo was the first Linux distro I got into in college. Definitely prepared me better for the random sysadmin tasks I have to do these days than anything else in my career has. Thanks for the work you put in.

What parts of Gentoo do you develop/maintain? What would you say is the key that differentiates Gentoo from other Linux distros?

jdhore18 karma

What parts of Gentoo do you develop/maintain? What would you say is the key that differentiates Gentoo from other Linux distros?

I develop/maintain the mozilla *-bin packages (firefox-bin, seamonkey-bin, thunderbird-bin), audacious media player, pike, pkgconf, miro, the_silver_searcher (a GREAT ack or grep replacement) and other miscellaneous stuff. I'm also a member of the pr team and the x86 team.

The key difference of Gentoo compared to other distros is really the customizability you get from Gentoo being a source-based distro. You can choose your package versions, you can choose your package options and (this is sort of the annoying thing, being a Gentoo developer) no 2 Gentoo systems are identical (unless of course you specifically set systems up to be identical).

krosksz7 karma

How do people find the time to work of free software, especially if you're a software dev at work 40h/week?

jdhore111 karma

I personally find it something fun to do in my free time, I can't really speak for any other open-source developers, however I do know that some Gentoo developers spend so much time working on the project because it has large tie-ins to what they do at work.

akester3 karma

What tips/advice would you have for a somewhat longtime user looking to get into the development and maintenance side of things?

jdhore15 karma

There's tons of stuff to do, find something you enjoy and ask said team for help.

I assume you're wanting to help out in Gentoo...In that case, if you like writing/editing documentation, ask that team where they need help...If you like doing QA stuff, become an Archtester...If you like writing ebuilds and maintaining packages, look on the maintainer-needed package list and ask the proxy maintainers team if you can maintain a package that piques your interest.

All teams are really looking for help and you don't explicitly need to be a Gentoo developer to help out.

techlos2 karma

Not a question, i'd just like to thank you and all the gentoo team for such an awesome OS.

Actually here's a question - I ended up installing a Ubuntu partition, pretty much because of steam for linux. I don't think i'll switch distro's completely yet, but i have to say i'm spending a lot more time on ubuntu to satisfy my gaming craving. Now i know this won't affect servers very much, but how do you see this changing the desktop distro environment? i'm seeing a lot of my friends going over from archlinux and gentoo, and it feels like it might finally be a point to unify people past the distro wars.

jdhore12 karma

I don't see it changing much really. I feel the people going to Ubuntu from Gentoo and Arch for steam didn't really want to be on Gentoo or Arch for the right reasons since Steam is available in Arch's main repos and in a Gentoo overlay maintained by a few Gentoo developers.

ImTheMaddest1 karma

How to you feel about gentoo trolls?

jdhore14 karma

It sort of annoys me, but I live with it since most of them are trolling based on what Gentoo was and who used Gentoo nearly a decade ago.

jona2481 karma

Why Gentoo?

jdhore16 karma

It's more easily customizable and flexible than any other distro.

PubliusPontifex1 karma

Was on Gentoo for a long while, switched to debian and arch circa 2009 or so when things started getting wonky (whats his face left). Is that all fixed yet? Cause I miss some of gentoo's awesome.

Also, you guys need a custom webbrowser or something? Cause I'm also an old webkit dev. Kernel too if that's needed.

jdhore12 karma

Yep, all that drama and crappiness is totally fixed. I doubt we'd need a web browser or a kernel dev, but we're always happy to have new developers so feel free to come and give us a hand with stuff.

Deadhookersandblow1 karma

Hey, thanks for all the work.

My question is: what is your recommended update (world, new use) period?

jdhore11 karma

My recommended update command is:

emerge -uDvaN --with-bdeps=y @system world

bardomudo1 karma


jdhore13 karma

I have heard about it. I would consider it a distro for people who are intermediate to advanced with linux. I certainly wouldn't set it up for my dad or something though.

404ClueNotFound1 karma

In this day and age, are you ever tempted by (or pressured towards) "sexier" or at least more contemporary projects like Android, Webkit, Mozilla, etc.?

Of all the open-source projects needing developers, why did you choose to work on a niche Linux distro instead of something more mainstream?

And are users ever grateful for your work? Do they even understand what you do?

jdhore16 karma

I'm not tempted by "sexier" projects simply because I don't PARTICULARLY like any of them. Mozilla's stuff is not very good, Webkit is not very good, Android is not very good, but they're all simply the best we have at the moment. That doesn't give me good hope. In my personal opinion, Gentoo is the best distro out there for advanced linux users and i can't think of really anything anyone could do to drastically improve it, so I was happy to contribute.

Users are rarely grateful, but i'm OK with that. They do understand what i do when i spend 2 seconds explaining what I actually do in Gentoo.

vilkav0 karma

archlinux user here, is 14 a random number in gentoo as well?

jdhore13 karma


akspa4200 karma

I used Gentoo back during the switch over from 2.4.2x to 2.6.x, when udev was a brand-new feature - back when Gentoo was a staged install of eather bootstrapping or pre-built stage 1/2/3 packages. I miss those days - has portage become easier to use or has portage been dropped for apt-get?

I seem to recall ebuilds being a pain in the ass to add, which was why I went off and switched to ubuntu/debian in the first place.

Question: why did the gentoo devs drop stage 1/2/3 packages for an installer approach?

jdhore13 karma

You seem to be extremely misinformed.

Portage is still Gentoo's package manager and it has gotten MUCH easier to use.

Also, the stage 3 was NOT dropped in favour of an installer, stage3 is still the only official way to install gentoo. stage1 and stage2 were dropped simply because not many people used them in their later years and they were a maintenance burden.