I have chosen Gentoo for my Linux distribution. I installed it in VirtualBox for practice purposes only, so I just gave it 10GB of disk space. Yesterday when I tried to emerge the Chromium package, it printed the following:

"There is NOT at least 5GB disk space at /var/tmp/portage/www-client/chromium-42.0.2311.90/temp. Space constrains set in the ebuild were not met"

5GB? Why does it need so much space? If it is true, it means that it will be impossible to install Chromium on some machines which have little disk space. Or there is another way to install it which I don't know about?

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    While @sromero’s answer explains why it is, it might also be useful to mention that portage also supports binary packages through the use of binhosts, so that if you run multiple Gentoo systems you only have to compile eg Chromium once. – kyrias Apr 19 '15 at 19:53

Gentoo is a Linux distribution that compiles packages from sources. Compiling packages requires much more space that installing pre-compiled binaries (that is, binaries that are compiled on the machines of the distribution maintainers). When you install something from the sources, you also need the sources for all the compilation dependencies.

Almost all the other distributions, instead, download binaries already compiled for that distribution.

To give you an example, Chromium-browser in Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) takes only 44MB of space in disk, instead of 5GB that will take on the system of the Mint "developer" that maintains this package and compiles the updated binaries for the Mint "users".

If you have disk space restrictions, maybe you could test a different Linux distribution that provides precompiled binaries (CentOS, Ubuntu, Mint, etc) (also, with another distribution you will install and update packages faster and easier, as they don't have to be recompiled each time!).

  • That's really helpful.May be i just need a little more space... – John Apr 19 '15 at 16:07
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    Well... I personally find gentoo to be a distribution a bit difficult for a beginner. I would suggest you to test Ubuntu or Linux Mint instead, and move to gentoo (if required) in the future. – sromero Apr 19 '15 at 16:35
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    Please note that after any package is compiled the compilation directory, usually /var/tmp/portage/package-grp/package-name is deleted once the package installs successfully. If the package does notcompile correctly a log is left in the directory for bug reporting purposes. – eyoung100 Apr 19 '15 at 21:02
  • Arch is another popular cutting-edge distribution, but is based on pre-compiled packages. Here's a comparison to Gentoo on their wiki and here on U&L. – Anko Apr 19 '15 at 21:31
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    @sromero: IMO Gentoo is perfectly doable for a beginner provided he/she is willing to read the fine documentation (literally fine, in this case of Gentoo documentation project). OTOH experimenting with large DE's is going to take a while with all the compiling... – nperson325681 Apr 20 '15 at 7:25

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