Gentoo is a computer operating system named after a penguin species, and built on top of the Linux kernel. It contains both as free and open source software, but includes some proprietary software packages.
Gentoo describes itself as a metadistribution, "because of its near-unlimited adaptability". Gentoo is a version of Linux named after a species of penguin.
Gentoo Linux was initially created by Daniel Robbins as the Enoch Linux distribution. The goal was to create a distribution without precompiled binaries that was tuned to the hardware and only included required programs. At least one version of Enoch was distributed: version 0.75, in December 1999.
Compilation issues revealed problems with the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), used to build from source code. Daniel Robbins and the other contributors experimented with a fork of GCC known as EGCS developed by Cygnus Solutions. At this point, Enoch changed name to Gentoo Linux (the Gentoo species is the fastest swimming penguin). The modifications to EGCS eventually became part of the official GCC (version 2.95), and other Linux distributions experienced similar speed increases.
After problems with a bug on his own system, Robbins halted Gentoo Linux development and switched to FreeBSD for several months, later saying "I decided to add several FreeBSD features to make our autobuild system (now called Portage) a true next-generation ports system."
Gentoo Linux 1.0 was released March 31, 2002. In 2004, Robbins set up the non-profit Gentoo Foundation, transferred all copyrights and trademarks to it, and stepped down as Chief Architect of the project.
The current Board of Trustees is composed of five members who were announced (following an election) on March 2, 2008. There is also a seven-member Gentoo Council that oversees the technical issues and policies of Gentoo. The Gentoo Council members are elected for a period of one year, each year by the active Gentoo developers. When a member of the Council retires, the next in line person is voted into place by the existing Council members.
The Gentoo Foundation is a 501(c)(6) non-profit foundation, registered in the State of New Mexico.