gentoo's admin-level interface is considerably different than most other distributions. it uses sysv-init, unlike my much beloved slack, and has a reasonable package management system, near as i can tell, like debian. it doesn't seem to suffer (yet) from the stupidity of rpm hell, so that's a plus. some of the very largest pieces of most systems (gnome, kde, X, and oo) are available precompiled if you want them. i've got a big and fast enough machine that i'm going ahead and compiling it all myself.
i don't understand why, tho, the oo source install depends on the blackdown jre, instead of the sun jre which i already have installed. oh well. whatever.
i got eterm working, which is my choice of x terms. mej is a cool guy too.