Gentoo Linux is a special flavor of Linux that can be
automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or
need. Gentoo Linux is a source based distribution, with a powerful package
management system. Extreme performance, configurability and a top-notch user
and developer community are all hallmarks of the Gentoo experience.
Thanks to a technology called Portage, Gentoo Linux can become an ideal secure
server, development workstation, professional desktop, gaming system,
embedded solution or something else -- whatever you need it to be. Because of
its near-unlimited adaptability, we call Gentoo Linux a metadistribution.
Portage is the heart of Gentoo Linux, and performs many key functions. For
one, Portage is the software distribution system for Gentoo Linux. To get the
latest software for Gentoo Linux, you type one command: emerge sync. This
command tells Portage to update your local "Portage tree" over the Internet.
Your local Portage tree contains a complete collection of scripts that can be
used by Portage to create and install the latest Gentoo packages. Currently,
we have nearly 7000 packages in our Portage tree, with new ones being added
all the time. Portage is also a package building and installation system.
When you want to install a package, you type emerge packagename, at which
point Portage automatically builds a custom version of the package to your
exact specifications, optimizing it for your hardware and ensuring that the
optional features in the package that you want are enabled -- and those you
don't want aren't. Portage also keeps your system up-to-date. Typing emerge
-u world -- one command -- will ensure that all the packages that you want on
your system are updated automatically.
Portage will keep your Gentoo Linux system as "up-to-date" as you desire. And
because of this, experienced Gentoo users don't pay too much attention to
"new versions" of Gentoo Linux -- after all, the latest and greatest version
of Gentoo Linux is always available by typing an emerge sync command. There's
no need to wait several months for a "new version" of Gentoo Linux to be
released because Gentoo Linux is continually updated and refined and these
improvements are immediately made available to you.