New Gentoo overlay with a different philosophy

I have been pondering for a long while to, eventually, Real Life obligations permitting, create a new Linux distribution. For many reasons, I was not satisfied with any of the main distros I knew of.

In 2015, trying to find a systemd-free refuge, I started using Gentoo. I am still a newbie. I have still much to learn. But I am impressed. Gentoo developers have many reasons to feel proud.

However, even Gentoo is not the Linux distribution I dream of having. But I decided earlier last year that my potential distribution would be based on, and compatible with, Gentoo.

A few days ago, as I was learning how to contribute to Gentoo ebuilds, working for the first time with overlays, and discussing things on the Gentoo bug tracker, I figured out that it would be a good idea to start with a Gentoo overlay and build things from there.

Therefore, I dare to announce, the Gentoo newbie that I am, that I am going to slowly start building a new overlay for Gentoo.

What will this new Overlay bring to the Gentoo user? Good question. Currently, the only possible answer is: Nothing! There is no code, yet! No repository.

What about eventually? How would this new overlay distinguish itself from mainline Gentoo? First of all, it will not be a specific selection of package. It will not be an overlay catering for some special need.

The main difference would be a certain philosophy, which I can try to summarize in the following few points:

  1. Linux software and open source software should be stable, bug-free, well documented, and, as importantly, intuitive to use.
  2. As a result of the first point, any request for assistance in a forum or a mailing list should be considered as a bug: either the software is downright buggy, or if not, it's not intuitive enough, or, at the very least, the software's official documentation is lacking in some way.
  3. As a result of the second point, our project will NOT have any forum nor mailing list. It can only have: a wiki, a bug tracker through which all support request will be handled, and a blog section for general conversation and long term development planning.
  4. As a not so obvious result of the above, the community will not somehow be divided between those more experienced users who provide support, and the newbies, who request supports. Newbies will be in an ideal situation to identify places where the use of a Linux software is not intuitive enough to be used without requesting any assistance. As such, newbies will be able to contribute as much as more experienced users, feeding back the help they received into the wiki, improving the documentation along the way, and opening bug reports focussed on an improved user interface.

Thus, and only thus, I believe we can approach (although never quite achieve) the ideal of having stable, bug-free and intuitive software.

I'm starting with a simple overlay, which, as I gain more experience, I shall develop progressively. Eventually, this Gentoo overlay might grow into a full-blown (Gentoo-compatible) Linux distribution, with binary packages alongside source-only ebuilds, to allow a greater community of Linux users, those who currently would never dream of ever using Gentoo nor any current Gentoo derivatives, to collaborate with the more experienced Gentoo users.

The actual name of the overlay and future distribution will be announced at a much later date.

Until I find a better place for it, the new overlay project will be hosted here:


Gentoo forum