I came across an interesting article on “Playing with Wire” where Alexander Ljungberg sums up his bad experiences with Gentoo as a server operating system. Usually, these kind of posts start a flame war. Surprisingly, it was very lightweight. First, the author took great lengths to explain all his perceptions and to give an objective summary and second the comments were on the subject, too. But except of the style of the flame war, there is more to the story. I found very notable that there is a lack of understanding what “server operating system” really means. It has very little to do with the general ability of the operating system to run production code (especially if it is very generic, like a web server or your own) but with all the extra features which ensure that the production code really can run (unattended) for any length of time. Downtime for operating system maintenance should be as short as possible, the replication of the production environment as reliable as possible and excessive monitoring capacities should be available at short hand. As the author states and I can second, Gentoo fails on all of these criteria. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. An operating system isn’t worth less just because it isn’t good as a server operating system. Gentoo has simply an other target group. It is a very comfortable desktop operating system (like Ubuntu) and a perfect fit as a development environment. I don’t understand why this seems to be such an embarrassment for some Gentoo enthusiasts.