<arnold>Gentoo iss fo getting you pumped uuuup!<arnold>
Well, that an for agonizing over which CFLAGS to use to make programs that already complete in milliseconds do so 3% faster.
My experiment with Gentoo is complete. As it so happens, a coworker got the same hardware that I did, at the same time. He installed Ubuntu 7.04. It turns out that the compile times, and some other benchmarks really were around 0.1% (if that at times) between the two different installs.
I know a learned a huge amount of information about how a Linux install works under the hood. Much props to any Linux distro that moves you through it painlessly. There was also some strange fascination that I derived in watching source get downloaded and compiled so effortlessly. Perhaps its that same feeling you got when you used to see a kernel compile; you're really not that smart- you didn't write the code after all, but compiling it sure feels cool- especially when the screen is dumping debug like there's no tomorrow.
But, back to the point- why is it that there's no real performance difference between an Ubuntu and a Gentoo- one compiled for my machine, and another based off pre-compiled binaries? Maybe that's the beauty of the operating system. Maybe I'm just an ass. I don't know.
I do know this- I like my Debain based distros, and I've switched back to one.
apt-get install happiness