Gentoo Linux is a Linux distribution that frowns on binary software - everything is compiled as it is installed. This can take a while. It has a legion of vocal fans who are now making even Debian and FreeBSD users seem un-smug by comparison.
I’ve been getting less enthusiastic about Gentoo ever since I first read about it. It’s a neat idea, but I haven’t actually tried it yet, I admit. I haven’t got round to installing Mandrake 10 yet either, for the same reason - I don’t have the time. I don’t have the need.
If I need a particular application optimised for my particular use for it, I’ll compile it. Things like SleepyCat’s database, or OpenLDAP. When I need to, I’ll compile my own kernels. I just don’t think I’m going to be on this planet long enough to spare 10 hours watching KDE compile if I can get a set of peer tested packages installed in a few minutes.
Gentoo can be educational, it’s a good demonstration of what open source can do. But I think a lot of its users might grow out of it, when they realise that running someone’s make script isn’t quite so exciting any more.
(Sam has almost persuaded me to switch to a BSD…)