I came across Gentoo few years ago and in a way, it's actually "one of a kind" GNU/Linux distribution. One of the main reasons for its popularity is its ability to let you compile (creating executable out of the original programming codes) the whole OS, almost all the packages, from scratch thus giving you an optimized operating system for the hardware installed on your system which means enhanced performance and stability in general. Although most of the time you're better off with the pre-compiled packages because...
... To be honest I'm not sure how easy it is these days but while I was using it, yep it wasn't that hard but if you're a newbie, then it may not be that easy to perform. But that's a bit of a long time ago + if you don't like to use the command-line a lot to setup and optimize the OS then even back then and nowadays, you can still use this amazing GNU/Linux distribution by using the "usual methods" of installing it using a LiveCD/DVD or using the pre-compiled packages as with almost all other GNU/Linux distributions.
|A recent version of Gentoo Linux (not the latest 11.2 version of course...)|
*. Comes with the Kernel 3.0 (including patches from Gentoo developers).
*. GLIBC 2.13-r2, GCC 4.5.2 (the GNU C/C++ compiler).
*. Gnome 3.0.
*. KDE 4.7.0.
*. Proprietary ATI driver 11.6 version.
*. Xfce 4.8 (another excellent alternative for those of you who has lower-end PC hardware).
*. Openbox 3.5.0 (a "lightweight" window manager and a desktop environment).
*. LibreOffice 3.3.3 (interesting that they haven't picked the 3.4 version, which makes sense in a way since it's more likely a "test" version rather than the 3.3 long-term version).
*. AbiWord 2.8.6 (another fast word processor that uses the GTK toolkit).
*. GIMP 2.6.11.
*. Inkscape 0.48.2 (an advanced vector graphics editor/creator).
*. XEmacs 21.5.31 (a derivative of the original, super powerful source code and text editor GNU/Emacs).
*. Amarok 2.4.3 (this version in fact was actually introduced very recently and Gentoo was also one of the first distributions to provide precompiled packages within hours of its release!).
*. Mozilla Firefox 5.0, Chromium 13 and Opera 11.50.1074, Epiphany, Seamonkey and few others are included as web browsers (man that's a huge list!).
These are just a fraction of the new packages included in this latest Gentoo Linux DVD release and other applications such as MPLayer (Gentoo is know to included all the proprietary codecs installed by default!), ffmpeg 0.6.9 (a collection multi-media playing libraries), Gnome-Mplayer 1.0.4, SMPlayer 0.6.9, etc again just a few to mention.
It's available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions and if you want to give Gentoo Linux a try, then please consult this download page (look at the end of the page and you should find your links below a sub-heading called "3. Other Media"). Usually these newly released Linux ISO files on the servers could give you slow downloading speeds, in that case it's advised that you try out the Torrent section. Good luck and enjoy the Gentoo 11.2 "ride!" :).