My Gentoo Experience...
I have done a Gentoo Linux stage 1 installation on my system.
+ Extreme Performance
+ Total Control
+ Learning Internals
- Takes Long Time
- Needs Internet Connection
I Started off with the LFS Live CD. Set up the network, made partitions [reiserfs ~15 GB] and a swap [~800 MB]. Then after editing the configuration files started off with "emerge --sync". It took almost an hour on my 256 Kbps connection. Portage is the software distribution system for Gentoo Linux. And yes, Portage is probably Gentoo's most notable innovation in software management.
Bootstrapping and emerge'ing the system took a very long time. [~8hrs]. Downloaded the kernel 2.6.16. patched with Beyond Sources [From the makers of -archck, and -nitro.] , Configured, Compiled and Installed the kernel image, Setted Up Hostnames and Domain Names. Configured the fstab and grub and booted my new Gentoo.