I found this thread in the Gentoo Forums :)
I am a WindowsXP user who has long been interested in linux. Every year I’ll wipe my system and try a few linux distros. I always end up going back to Windows, because my video games never play quite right in linux, even with winex. The first distro that stayed on my system for more then a month was RedHat 7.2, I became frustrated with RPM’s and the inability to change my resolution / refresh without restarting X. After that was Suse 8.0 which was nice, but I found it hard to find help and too much documentation was shipped in German, of which I read very little.
I’ve tried Debian several times and at first, never made it through the installer, later, got it installed but had trouble with apt-get, easier then rpms, but for a native windows user, no easier to solve. Even later (in college now) I had given away my original Debian CD’s and had to download new ISO’s, I found jigdo to be irritating and paid my roommate $5 to download them for me over a three day period. Using a download manager to just download the iso’s from an http or ftp would have been more convenient for me. I see that now there is a link to do just that, I honestly don’t remember whether it wasn’t there two years ago, or whether I just missed it then. At that point I really knew about nothing about anything that was not point and click, despite the number of forums, help pages, and textbooks I’d struggled through.
Then my roommate challenged me to see who could get a Gentoo (1.2) installation up and running first. A light went on. There documentation was thorough and written in simple steps which a monkey could follow (apparently what I needed). I learned more on that weekend about linux and the computer in general then all the messing around I’d done before. In subsequent months by doing everything command line style, and most importantly editing configuration files I became passably fluent in linux in general. I stayed with Gentoo right up until kernel 2.6 was released when I moved back to XP to play FinalFantasy X, and Anarchy Online, neither of which I was smart enough to get running in Gentoo.
By far my favorite feature of the Gentoo system is that their installer can run without putting my other desktop out of commission, either from Knoppix or from another distro with which I was comfortable. I don’t know if any other distros can be installed from within a running system, but I’d love to hear about it if they can be.
Now I’m getting bored with my games and soon to be heading back to playing with linux, and perhaps I’ll give Debian another run, reading this thread has given me some incentive to try it again. But I’ll always like Gentoo because of what I learned using it, even if I choose another distro for my desktop.
As an actual response to the thread, however…
I would like to see some data backing up this move of Debian users to Gentoo. I agree with the general sentiment of the responses so far, Gentoo is simply the newest and coolest and whether it stays around or fades, it’s not really a threat to the Debian userbase. I rarely hear of people using Gentoo for a mission critical system, I often hear of people using Debian for mission critical machines, however.
Sorry if this post annoyed anyone, I know Windows users views aren’t often appreciated in the linux world, but thanks for the time anyway.