I use Gentoo for multiple things--stable on my home server, and lots of unmasked development
versions on my desktop. People often think that the selling point of Gentoo is some sort of
optimization ("it's compiled just for your processor!!@!!!") but that's missing the
point--it's about choice and flexibility.
I run Gentoo on my server because it supported an installation to EVMS fairly easily. I run
it on my desktop because it easily lets me choose some bleeding-edge packages which, since it
compiles from source, tends to let the bleeding-edge packages play well with the stable ones.
I've tried other distributions; every (and I do mean EVERY) debian-based distribution where I
tried mixing bleeding-edge packages/repositories with the stable repositories wound up getting
apt wedged horribly to the point where I couldn't easily recover. I've NEVER had that problem
with Gentoo; I think it excels as a distribution--if you're willing to pay the cost of
compilation (it's certainly made me leery of heavyweight desktop environments--I now run wmii
And speaking of configuration file management--etc-update is good, but dispatch-conf (with
some tweaking to use colordiff to show differences, emacs-diff to easily merge, and CVS to
track changes) is a fantastic way to manage your configuration files.
It's not for everyone, but Gentoo really is a fantastic distribution if you value flexibility