I just got a new company laptop (the previous one was stolen from my house) and I wanted to install Linux (along with Windows 2000). I figured I wanted to try something new, so I chose Gentoo. This is the story of my (partial) installation.
I downloaded the ISO image (which was at version 1.2 at that moment) and put it on a CD. I reserved 2 partitions for Linux.
Then, one evening I booted the CD. I was greeted with the familiar LILO prompt and a request to press ENTER. The kernel loaded and I was asked to select my keyboard layout. The system also said it was probing for modules to be loaded (but it didn't find any).
Finally, I was dropped into a root shell with no indication of what to do next.
I surfed to the web site for the rest of the installation instructions (with my other computer). First, set up the network. Loading modules... OK, but no network. Then I remembered to start the cardmgr program, and I was able to get an IP from my DHCP server.
Next, partitioning and unpacking the base system. I choose the precompiled base system (stage 3).
Next step: configuring and compiling the kernel. That takes a while, and don't forget to copy the resulting kernel afterwards (as indicated by the installation guide).
Then: emerge pcmcia. Found out it didn't compile the kernel modules. Documentation says it only creates those when pcmcia is not compiled into the kernel. Recompile kernel, and redo emerge pcmcia. Seems OK now.
Carry on with instructions, install syslog-ng, fcron and grub (always remembering to do rc-update add ... default. Configure grub, edit a few configuration files. Finally, the system is set up. Ready to reboot.
Grub had some problems scanning the IDE devices, causing the CD-ROM to lock up. I couldn't release the CD until I power-cycled the machine.
For some reason, ssmtp was installed as mailer. I wanted to replace it with exim, but couldn't find the right command to do that. Something to try later. First, install something useful.
emerge gnome gave dependency problems, so I did emerge kde3 instead. That one worked OK, so I left my laptop compiling and went to bed.
Next morning, I found it with an empty battery. The power supply was plugged in, but I probably had twisted the cable a bit too much when I put it away.
From what I saw in the logfiles, it had stopped somewhere during the XFree86 compile.
After that, I just gave up. Back to Debian, I guess.