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grrrrrr-rr4

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Gentoo
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In my continuing search to find a binary gentoo installer, one that will install a complete working system in much the same manner as SuSE, Mdv, or PCLOS from a graphical environment that I can then rebuild for my arch/system/requirements at my leisure, I tried RR4-2.65.1 this morning. RR4 is a livedvd "designed to transform a computer into a powerful Gentoo Linux system in less than 5 minutes," according to description provided to DistroWatch.

I've been a loyal gentoo user for little over two years now and have installed per stage 1 about 4 or 5 times. My server on which this site is run is one example. But I've been looking for a graphical environment from which to install gentoo, a way to encourage others to install gentoo without having to read pages and pages of documentation. I've tried several distros/methods lately, and none have yet to equal the functionality I found in Litrix.

The system starts out really impressive. I booted the livedvd and was given the option of just hitting enter or perusing several booting options. Then the silent boot features a lovely splash that utilizes a kde-like progress of highlighting icons rather than a progress bar and all accented by the lovely gentoo purple color scheme. The verbose boot looks just like my everyday gentoo system booting - a variation on the regular linux boot you've all probably seen many many times. A beautiful desktop greets you and lulls you into a sense of confidence. The desktop appears so polished and refined. The menus are chocked full of useful applications and tools. The fonts are great looking and performance is amazing (considering it appears built for i386). It features a 2.6.14-r2 kernel and uses a 6.99 of Xorg. The crowning jewel is the installer. It's the whole point.

        


Yes, it's a mighty fine livedvd and if that's your desire, then they have you covered. I don't recall when I've seen such full menus. But at 2.4 gigs, the iso should be complete. It contains not only KDE 3.4, but also gnome and some other lighter window environments.

However, ...you knew there was going to be a "however" didn't you, however, the installer bombs out here. It's a beautiful piece of software. It features a lovely windec and exquisite widgets. The fonts are gorgeous. Options seem insightful and complete. I was quite impressed. Too bad it don't work.

The installer begins with a graphical configuration which walks one through all the options. Partitioning if needed, naming / partition, networking, type of install, use flags and chost options, root passwd and useradd are just some of the steps. Among the choices for type of system are the standard stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and install the livedvd. If you chose any of the stages you can choose your USE flags, arch and chost. It defaults to stage 3, but I chose install the livedvd my first attempt, figuring this would be the fastest and easiest. After configuration and clicking "install," the installer outputs root password is setup, then stops. I waited quite a while before checking with top to make sure it wasn't doing anything. I waited some more to make sure even though the hard drive light was still not blinking. Eventually I decided "welp, I guess that didn't work."

        


My second attempt was to use its default of stage 3. I restarted the installer and chose that and proceded to spend about an hour choosing my USE flags, chost and arch. When I clicked on athlon-xp the X server crashed and sent me back to the login. That's when I said, "pffffttt, I ain't trying no more!"

I visited the forum before my first attempt for help in deciding which type of install to use. No real information was found on that topic, but I did see some reports of successful installs, mostly using the "almost gentoo method," and even some posts about destroyed partition tables. No damage was inflicted here, but no system resulted either.

Second thought, I wasn't quite ready to give up yet as it turned out. Upon typing the text for this article, I became aware that I really hate having to state that a distro doesn't work, but I must obey my journalist integrity. So, I decided to give RR4 one more chance. I went through the whole shebang again, spending not quite the same amount of time considering the USE flags. It still just stopped at setting the passwords. I was bummed.

        


So, in the end I'm left to state that the RR4 gentoo-installer is still non-functional. It states clearly on their homepage that rr4 is still alpha so one can't really complain too much. It is impressive at this point and one to keep an eye on. If anyone has a "it works for me" story, I encourage you to please share your comments or, even better, your own blogged review.

So, my quest continues...

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