Skip to Main Content
The first item of business when installing a Linux system is to pick a distribution, or distro. The plethora of options includes Red Hat, Lindows, Debian, SuSe, Mandrake, Gen-too, and even the emerging Chinese standard, Red Flag. Gentoo Linux is a significant distro for several reasons. First, the entire OS is maintained from source code. Even when binary packages are directly installed, metadata shows precisely how the package was configured and built. Second, we need install the OS only once. We can get upgrades of the latest packages from one of the myriad Gentoo mirrors. Finally, it's completely free, regardless of intended use and configuration. Unlike Red Hat Linux, Gentoo Linux doesn't have a commercial edition, meaning users don't have to worry that something might be missing in the free version. This paper looks at some of Gentoo's salient features.