Installing Gentoo on a Notebook in 2011

Rob Williams

Staff member
The first time I installed Gentoo, back in late 2004, I used an at-the-time brand-new Dell Inspiron (5150 if I recall) notebook as the victim. At that time, Gentoo was a new world to me, and a confusing one. It took me about a half-week's worth of actual work to get it installed, but it happened, and it was one of the most satisfying experiences I've ever had with a PC.


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Tech Monkey
Well I just had my own little adventure with Gentoo myself, due in no small part because of Rob. Really why are you always getting me in trouble? I guess if your friends aren't they supposed to get you into trouble or whats the point right?

My first exp with Gentoo was with a Virtual Machine and honestly if you can do it on a regular PC, DO IT! I had nothing but troubles after I got the kernel configured, because of how generic crap was I couldn't get my head around the problems as to why I couldn't get the GUI to initialize. That seriously could have gone better but I did learn A TON of useful info on how to do the install, so if it's all you have to just try Gentoo to install it, it may not be a bad idea to do it just to learn the ropes. That install took me 10hours, but again I learned and read a lot during the install.

The next experience I had was with a AMD 3400 Athlon that's right a single core! With only 1.5gb of ram, a Nvidia 440mx and 20 GB HDD that's lasted longer then most of the drives I've purchased in the last 7 years! This install only took 3 hours, mainly cause the comp was so slow. The biggest problem was yet to come in the form of a of my graphics card being too old to run the GUI, seriously I thought Linux could handle old hardware no problem, obviously not that old. I had problems with Ubuntu's latest ver to run for a disc or flash drive. I had to go back to a ver released about 3 years ago for it to work. Well once I found out the Video Card was the problem, with some help from Rob I put in my 7800gs in there and that fixed almost all of my problems. The ones I ran into after that I had no problem working out on my own, needless to say Rob was shocked I got Xfce and KDE installed.

This ran just fine for until, all be it slow as hell sometimes but it worked none the less. I have no problems with slow hardware but the Xfce install took 10 hours and that got me inspired to get it on at least a dual core, so I made that happen with better HDD's, 4gb of ram, an AM2 5000+ CPU and with dual boot so I can run Win 7 on it as well.

There hasn't been much in the way of progress with it since then, but who know what this week will bring. I have to say I am having more fun it then I thought I would have. I honestly don't think it's as easy to install as Win but it's only one flavor there is more to other distros that could probably make it easier, but that's like comparing apple to oranges just isn't the same!

I like where Gentoo is at for now, just wish somethings were easier to understand but can't have everything.


I use Gentoo for years... its the only distro that I can stand... Mainly because I know what is going on under the hood, and I want to control it