What are the minimum system requirements to be able to run Gentoo Linux effectively?
closed as too broad by random♦ Feb 3 '15 at 13:52
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Gentoo compiles all the packages upon installing. That means fast processor and at least 512 megs of memory, to get reasonable compile times. Otherwise your installs will be very long and bring your system to a crawl.
It should however be noted that you can configure your installation to compile the packages on another computer that you set up for it, allowing you to use extremely old hardware if you have a server in your network. A similar approach is used to run Gentoo on Raspberry Pi...
I've run Gentoo (fairly recently) on a Pentium 233MHz with only 64MB of RAM. Nothing was fast, and it was vital that there was some swap space since nearly every compile would use up all of the system's memory, but it did work. I can't recommend it, but I would say Gentoo will run on just about any machine.
A much better way to do this would likely be to use a faster machine and distcc to help the compiling process.
Pretty much just having a computer will let you run Gentoo. Lol.
But seriously, it depends on what you want to do. You should ask yourself what WM/DE you are going to use, what programs you want to use, if you want to watch HD videos, etc. If you install Gentoo using the automated kernel configurer (can't remember what it's called), then install KDE, Firefox3 with 300 plugins, etc., it's gonna be slow unless you have a fast computer. However, if you install Gentoo, customize the kernel, use a WM like openbox or fluxbox, use very lightweight programs in general, then it will be fast.
Hope that helps. You may want to be a bit more specific on what exactly you want to use the computer for to get better specs.
The fewer and smaller software packages you have on the system, the less powerful does the hardware have to be in order to compile updated packages from time to time. An old pc 300MHz Pentium-II with 256MB RAM and 6GB disk is fine if you install and run just the bare OS + a non-graphic firewall software package + just the extra packages you need in order to administer the machine (like Gnu screen etc) but with NO X-windows or desktep environment. Of course, it is worth mentioning that it takes about a day to compile gcc on such hardware, but I don't know if that really is a problem.
If you were considering running Gnome + Firefox + OpenOffice, then you would need a better machine, probably with 512 to 1024 MB RAM (and of course a far better CPU).
Hope this helps.
Kind of a 'tongue in the cheek' answer is 486 and 160MB RAM.
Why 160MB RAM? Because I couldn't squeeze emerge into less one day playing with xen and zram.
Why 486? Because I got it to run on one (with 128MB RAM, and in 2008), Gentoo is probably the best distribution for really optimized but still easy to manage systems.
What that 486 did? Not much more but a DAQ and printer controller.
There is no cheap solution, though I remember old times with pentiumII laptops ;) and compiling first gcc for 12 or more hours and after it a basic system (we called it the bootstrap) for a week.
At least I would use i7 with 8 ht cores. You can compile with all cores and latest portage (emerge -u portage) after adding to /etc/portage/make.conf :
MAKEOPTS="-j8 -l16" EMERGE_DEFAULT_OPTS="--jobs 8 --load-average 16 --autounmask-write --keep-going --backtrack=0" PORTAGE_NICENESS="20"
Even simple make can be more quicker:
make -j8 -l16
or scons :
scons --sharedclient install -Q -j 8
MAKEOPTS="-j8 -l16" genkernel --lvm --luks --no-clean all
I would also buy 16GB RAM to have ramdisk for compiling even libreoffice (for i7-4970 about 2.5 hours). Clear buffers and make the ramdisk with commands:
echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches; sync mount tmpfs /var/tmp/portage/ -t tmpfs -o noatime,nodiratime,size=10G;
You should add this ramdisk to /etc/portage/make.conf:
Genlop can be utilised to know the time after emerge finishes to work:
genlop -t package-name