Gentoo Linux is a high performance, source-based Linux distribution. It has an advanced *BSD-style package management system called Portage which is written in Python. Gentoo is often referred to as a meta-distribution because of its high level of configurability. This includes the optional use of "USE flags" (in the Portage system), which describe the hardware and software features the user would like to include while building packages. The originator and current head of the Gentoo project is Daniel Robbins.

One of the goals for Gentoo Linux 1.4 is the addition of the Gentoo Reference Platform (GRP) that allows users to install precompiled packages built to certain baseline specifications. This may be an attempt to appease some who believe that too much time is spent by Gentoo users compiling common packages.

It is also possible to create tarballs of packages for distribution to other machines. This is particularly useful in the case of a homogenous computing environment, where packages may be used on many machines despite having been prepared on a specific one.

Gentoo currently runs on the x86, PowerPC, SPARC, AMD64, IA64, and HPPA platforms.

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