I’ve been obsessed with a small project lately. I’m trying to install Linux onto an old Via Epia that I’ve had for years, but have never really put to any good use. The problem is that the Epia’s CPU is just plain out of date, so any recent version of Ubuntu will just plain not work.

I’ve encountered this situation before, and solved it by installing FreeBSD instead. I considered doing so again this time around, but for my own convenience, I decided to try Gentoo Linux first. Gentoo is the distro that makes you build all your software from source, therefore ensuring you have the latest versions, and customizing all your software (at a certain level) to your particular machine. It’s an appealing concept to those who want to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of a new (or old) machine.

The installation has been rather difficult. And when I say “difficult,” I don’t mean “challenging in skills,” but rather “bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative.” It’s not so bad that the configuration is done entirely by commands entered at the shell. It is bad that I’ve memorized most of the commands because I’ve had to restart the process several times. Usually because something didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to on this weird old system.

The worst part is, it still doesn’t quite work yet. For some reason, it doesn’t want to mount my root partition. I think I’m just a boot option away from a working system, but if not, FreeBSD is looking more and more attractive.

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