I received an email yesterday from a member at LQ forum. I won’t reveal his name/email ofcourse, but he asked me which one to choose, Arch or Gentoo?

Here’s the email:

> I can see that you use both.
> I’ve been reading the Gentoo docs for some time now. I’m just garnering the
>  pluck to install it. I’m sure it will be a blast. On the other hand, I’ve
>  started reading about Arch. It looks so cool.
> I’m not posting an open question on the forums to avoid flame wars.
> I’ll probably try both. I just would like to know what your feelings are
>  when comparing these two distros head to head.
> Cheers

This was my reply:


It’s probably better to ask your question in the forum for more exposure. Just
word it in a better way, like “Which one should I use “Arch or Gentoo?” instead
of “Arch vs Gentoo”.
However, I will give you my opinion.
I use gentoo for my server. I used it for my desktop for a while but compiling
things gets a bit annoying and time-consuming after sometime.
I use Arch with windows XP and openSUSE 11.2 for my desktop and openSUSE in my laptop. [for the eye-candy ;P ]
Arch is simple. Binary installation. Although you can compile from source
stuffs that you need using ABS, but it’s not compulsory/necessary.
Advantages of gentoo over Arch? None at all. Optimization of packages by
compiling them locally in your machine for performance boost isn’t that noticeable, I have observed it myself. But obviously, gentoo users will disagree.
Even if you get the slightest benefit by comping from source, ask yourself
this question: Is it worth compiling the whole system, which can break anytime if you’re careless, to gain that slight optimization? And if it breaks, another 2-3days of compiling and customizing? Not to mention on
updates you have to recompile installed packages to newer versions. Then there are gcc upgrades which will require you to recompile the entire system
toolchain and then all the packages. My opinion: So not worth it.
Go with Arch if you want a distro which is simple, fast and easy to


If you disagree with my opinion, feel free to comment. Maybe there’s some advantages of a source-based distro I am unaware of.