There is long debate about the best server OS that you can use. Studies have shown that most of today’s servers use Linux-based OS. But there are at least 300 notable distributions and flavors of Linux, so… which one should we use?
Gentoo is a computer operating system build on top of Linux kernel and based on Portage package management system. It is a free and open source distribution. Why use it?
- Using the sourceWhat Gentoo brings to the table is the user’s possibility of compiling the source code of the packages locally, on their machines, with their own configurations, unlike other distributions that comes with pre-compiled binaries.
- OptimizationsBecause the packages are compiles on the local machine, you are able to set your own configuration options. One of the most powerful Gentoo features are the USE flags and the compile optimization flags. This results in packages with only the wanted feature(for example, you will not get printer support unless you say that explicitly) and binaries, optimized for your type of processor and hardware.
- FlexibilityAnother side-effect of compiling your packages is that you can twick the softwares to works exactly how you want them to. You can add for example a feature to some packages that are missing, according to your need. This result in an extremely flexible OS.
- Compiled KernelA kernel is he central component of most computer OS; it is a bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level. In Gentoo you can compile you own kernel with only the features you need. Why do you need to have joystick support on your server OS?
- Command lineEven though at first it looks harder to administrate a system through command line, you don’t really need a desktop environment for a server. This will just waste resources. Another note is that more code leads to more bugs and more security leaks. KISS principle always works.
- SecurityDuring the installation of Gentoo, you are able to set the profile of the system. You can choose from Server, Desktop Enviroment, Hardended and Developer. The Hardended option will bring extra-security features to you system by compiling the packages with more security patches.
So, Gentoo is an OS made to squeeze that extra bit of performance from your server. But all this comes with a price: you will need an administrator with experience and time to configure and install the system.