I've been a Mandrake user so long now, that I feel like I've become jaded. Mandrake's "user friendliness" has become cumbersome, and I realized that I was no longer interested in working around the RPM system when I found myself almost exclusively using source and compiling things myself. I found myself less and less often booting into Mandrake, and my writing of howto's came to a complete halt.
I've been a linux user/abuser since '99 and in that time, I've used; Caldera, SuSe, Mandrake (6.x - 10.1), Debian, Slackware, RH, Fedora (2&3), Peanut, Knoppix, and Turbo. With the exception of Debian, I really didn't have my interest piqued enough to switch to anything else for any amount of time > 3 months.
So, cut to the present day....
I got myself a new HD (SATA/150, 200GB), some more memory (2x 512MB for my dual-channel setup), and a new PSU.
I sitting there staring at the new drive and I start thinking about ghosting over my Mandrake 10.1 partition to the new drive, but when I do, all of the possible limitations just pop into my head (SATA drivers, re-installing WinXP, MBR, partitioning, nForce2 chipset, sound, NIC, accelerated nvidia drivers, blah blah blah blah) and all the troubles I had with 2.6 and Mandrake 10.x begin bothering me. Thinking that the SATA "hurdle" is the biggest one to overcome, I start looking around at the capabilities of the different distros. At first, I land at Slackware's door because of the ability to load up the sata.i boot disk right from the get-go. But then, while looking over Linuxiso.org, I find myself going to Gentoo's website.....
I take a gander at their documentation about installing Gentoo, and I find that it is the most complete and well written guide that I think I've ever read concerning Linux. As soon as I get home (ssshhh, I'm at work), I'm downloading the minimum install CD and daydreaming about when the wife and kids go to sleep how I'm going to be in Linux "heaven".....
OK, so I need some advice here;
Is Gentoo really all its cracked up to be? I mean, I don't have too much trouble doing config files, but dependencies have always been a PitA for me. And, if Gentoo is not a mature distro, I don't want to be sitting at my desktop combing through website after website searching for solutions to my problems......
Will I notice a difference? Like I said, I'm jaded.
Is it fun? I think I like tooling around with an OS as much as I like doing actual work/play on a system.
Here are the system specs:
Abit NF7-S v.2 (dual-channel, 400MHz, 10x200 clocking)
AMD Athlon 2500+ XP (Barton core) @ 2000MHz
2x 512MB Crucial PC-3200 DDR
XfX GeForce FX 5700 256MB
Maxtor 10, SATA/150 200GB HD
Maxtor 9, U-ATA/133 120GB HD
Plextor PX-712A DVD-/+RW
AOpen 16x DVD-ROM
On-board sound (Realtek ALC65)
On-board NIC (Realtek 8201BL <-- I think)
MS USB Optical mouse
Logitech USB Headphones w/mic (Although, I also have some Zalman 5.1 surround headphones w/mic)
USB keys (a couple, 128MB each)
-- I'm going to use the SATA drive as the boot drive and put the WinXP and Linux install on that. I plan on using the 120GB drive as the Secondary Master and using it strictly for storage (all installed programs go on the 200GB drive). The DVD-/+RW will sit alone as Primary Master, and the DVD-ROM will be the Secondary Slave.
Uses of Linux:
Games - using ports or WineX/Cedega (need 3D acceleration)
Networking - Web browsing, IRC, IM, e-mail, snooping around, setting up servers, etc.
Multimedia - Watching DVDs, listening to MP3/Ogg/CDs, etc.
Creation - Transferring/editing photos from digital camera, HTML creation, C++ coding, etc.
Archiving - DVD-/+RW burning, CD-RW burning
Office - document creation, printing
Toys - Celestia, K-stars, whatever.
I also am thinking of moving my server over to Gentoo. Its duties include, but are not limited to; NAT, DHCP, DNS, Apache, IP Tables firewall, postfix/mail, sniffing, logging, occasional gameserver, routing, and a few other daemons.
If anyone can give me some advice, I'd appreciate it.