I am mainly using Linux for programming. I basically started with Archlinux and Manjaro and I kinda like it.

What I really like is the package management. It has a huge collection of new software and the updates are coming out really fast.

For example when GCC 4.8 was released I instantly had it 2 days after the release which was pretty neat.

Even small libraries such as "OpenAssetImporter" are in the repos.

It is so convenient because if you have a huge collection of libraries that are coming out frequently, all you have to do is a system update.

What bugs me is that my system breaks really often, and I don't want to spend so much time to fix stuff.

Basically all I want is up to date libraries such as gcc etc. I don't really care if I have up to date Gnome etc.

Any recommendations that you can give me?

  • 2
    Gentoo is a very good distro for developer.
    – Eddy_Em
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


I'd recommand you Gentoo for programming. I use it myself and it's very convenient:

  • latest updates with a powerful system to prevent you break all the dependencies
  • rolling release, so there is no jumping from a version to another
  • it's a compiled distribution, so they are particularly concerned with the packaging of the toolchains, and the fact you compile all your packets yourself give you a great control over the options of compilation and may optimize a little your software
  • tools for cross-development are very handy
  • you can install several versions of the same library at the same time in different "slots", that can be useful sometimes, when there are huge changes between two versions and you want to be able to use both. For example, I've got three versions of python and two versions af gcc.

It's a matter of choice, of course, but I used Fedora before and I can tell you that it's a lot easier to start developping on a Gentoo.

  • 1
    Thanks, I was already looking at gentoo. Do you have any experience with sabayon.org ? Or would you recommend me to use gentoo directly instead of a gentoo based distro?
    – Maik Klein
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 12:50
  • I've heard of sabayon but never tried so I won't give you useful advice. I guess it can be handy if their packages are as up to date as gentoo packages are. I recommand you not to use the Entropy packager for example and stay with Portage to keep more control. Portage surely has more packages, and especially libraries, than Entropy as it's a much more mature project.
    – lgeorget
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 12:58
  • Sabayon was intended to make Gentoo more user-friendly for average desktop user so it's not particularly intended to be used by developers but if it keeps all the advantages of Gentoo, I guess you can go with it.
    – lgeorget
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 13:00

Any up-to-date distribution would do (they are all built on more or less the same software, so not that much of a difference there). If frequent breakage is a problem, select one of the "large" ones, keep away from "here you feel the bleeding edge" distributions (yes, that means you won't run the latest GCC two days after release). Asking for very latest GCC but being OK with not-so-late desktop environment doesn't make much sense, but perhaps one of the simpler/lighter ones (LXDE, XFCE) is a better match than Gnome for you.

For my similar needs Fedora has been a very good match: Latest software, wide package selection in official repositories, more than stable enough, well integrated (professionally done), responsive to bug reports, bugs (mostly) get ironed out fast.

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