I've had a bunch of problems with my new computer — it uses ACPI, but if I load the ACPI modules, it won't boot; if I don't load them, I have to go through contortions to get the ethernet working, and it won't power down; and a bunch of other little stuff.
So, a few weeks ago, I thought, what the heck? Why not try Gentoo? I've been reading about it since it first came out, and I remember talking with Duane about it once, and it has a reputation for both being cutting edge and stable. Heck, even Wil Wheaton's endorsing it… it can't be all bad, right?
I had a few misstarts — bad CDs, not quite getting how the chroot thing worked, problems with DNS (which I still don't understand; and Rob has them as well, so it's not just me). But once I got it installed… well, I'm impressed.
The thing about Gentoo is, it compiles everything from source. It's like Debian, in that it fetches all dependencies and installs those… but it's all source. So it's not exactly fast. But because everything is compiled, and because you setup C flags specific to your machine, what you get is incredibly optimized for your own machine. This 1.6GHz machine simply flies. And the memory usage just stays low.
I'd like to use it for my server… but I can't really take the server down at this point when it's making both my mom and myself money. But what a great system… I only wish I'd used it for the mail server at work.