I’ve recently been rather unhappy with Ubuntu’s Hardy Heron. To date, none of the alphas or betas has correctly identified my monitor/graphics, saddling my 22-inch widescreen with a max resolution of 800×600. It’s extra-annoying, because Gutsy detects it just fine. So this weekend I put Gutsy on my test partition and modified my apt sources.list to use all hardy repositories, and upgraded to Hardy that way. Seems to have worked just fine, but I’m unhappy with the new version of Wine, which won’t let me play Guild Wars. While I’m sure it’s possible (hope it’s possible) to “downgrade” to a working version, there’s no obvious solution to it, other than to just keep using Gutsy.
That’s when I started longing for the “good old days” of Gentoo, where if a particular package version broke my system, I could easily mask it and upgrade again to get an older version. I also loved Gentoo for the fact that it was “install once”. With Ubuntu, there’s a twice-a-year release cycle, and so we are forever testing the next big release in anticipation of installing it to get the new goodies. With Gentoo, we got the goodies right away, on a package-by-package basis (depending on the package’s dependencies, of course), and in the roughly 2 years I ran Gentoo, I never ever had to reinstall it (or go through an irreversible distribution-upgrade procedure) to be modern again.
Of course, I know that reminiscing about “good old days” often overlooks why they’re the old days and not the current days. I left Gentoo for a few good reasons, and I have to remember that before I spend a lot of time and energy on going back.
So then I think to myself… we need Genbuntoo. We need the flexibility and easy upgrade path of Gentoo, combined with the precompiled packages, fantastic user community, and Launchpad of Ubuntu. (Note: this is not to say Gentoo doesn’t have a great user community. I used to think it had the very best user community. Until I realized Ubuntu’s is even better… if only for the higher number of participants.)
I’m sure there’s problems with my idea. Possibly problems I haven’t even thought of yet. But I still like the idea, and if anybody would like to tackle it, I’m right there with you. I just don’t have the time (or the organizational skills, honestly) to spearhead the effort. Which I think really just boils down to porting Portage to Ubuntu.