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Tips for new Gentoo users

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Gentoo is one of the most difficult distributions to learn, though veteran Gentoo users might point out that its friendly community and extensive documentation can help new users. Here are some tips that might make Gentoo easier for anyone who wants to give it a try.

First, be prepared to read a lot of documentation, especially in the early stages of using the distribution. You won't even be able to install Gentoo without carefully examining the Gentoo Handbook.

Gentoo has a graphical installer, but I do not recommend it for inexperienced users. Installing Gentoo in the "traditional" way will force you to read the Handbook, and therefore you will not miss important points. Also Gentoo's installer is sometimes not as good at setting up needed drivers as other distributions'. Expecting Gentoo's graphical installer to work in ways similar to that of any other distribution's may lead to misunderstanding and frustration.

The Handbook contains basic information about Gentoo. Further topics (such as configuration of X and ALSA) are described on the Gentoo Documentation Resources page. Another important source of information is the Gentoo wiki.
If you have questions that aren't covered in those places, you can find answers on the Gentoo Forums or in the distro's IRC channels.

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I wish I had this back in the day, but sometimes learning the hard way is the best way.

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