Gentoo Linux is an open-source and independent Linux kernel-based operating system designed from the ground up as a DIY (Do It Yourself) distribution of Linux where each package must be manually configure and compiled prior to installation or update.
Supports a wide range of hardware platforms
The distro is available for download as bootable ISO images, which contain a very minimal, bootable base from where you start to customize the operating system and add as many packages as you want.
It supports a wide range of hardware platforms, including 32-bit (x86), 64-bit (amd64), ARM, SPARC, Alpha, Hewlett Packard Precision Architecture (HPPA), Itanium 64-bit (ia64), MIPS, PowerPC (PPC) and IBM ESA/390 (s390).
The boot prompt of the Gentoo Linux Installation Live CD
Despite the fact that it is a Live CD image, the Gentoo Linux media is called ”Gentoo Linux Installation Live CD” because it can be used to install the operating system on a local drive.
It features a minimal boot prompt where you can press the Enter key to boot the system and being the installation, the F1 key for accessing available kernels, or the F2 key for available boot options.
If the user does not press a key during the default 15-second timeout, the ISO image will try to boot an existing operating system that is currently installed on the first disk drive detected by the BIOS.
Installing Gentoo could take days
While the boot process of the Live CD is mostly automatic, you will be asked to choose a keyboard layout at some point, which is totally optional of course. Installing Gentoo could take days, as you will have to manually compile every package, including the kernel. Detailed installation instructions are provided on the project’s homepage.
Summing up, Gentoo remains an operating system for the hardcore Linux user who has enough time to configure and compile each package prior to installation. It is also one of the most stable and reliable distributions of Linux.