No offense meant, but Suse, Mandrake and the likes are not for programmers, but for users who like Linux but not the hassle.
Sorry, but all the serious coders I know (and I mean the ones that write tricky emulation code for Wine, parts of the GNOME/KDE desktops, even kernel work) use either Fedora, SuSE or Debian. None of them use Gentoo.
I myself am a Linux programmer who works on Wine commercially, as well as writing a new install system and code for GNOME in my spare time. Guess what. I use Fedora Core 2, because I have better things to do than dick about with manually setting things that could be done for me automatically. Somehow I still understand Linux though .... hmmm