Knoppix/Gentoo Ports/Deb Pros vs Cons?

Is it me or there seems to be a fad going for Knoppix? So what’s new?
From Distrowatch I found it uses the debian dep and it runs directly from CD without hard disk installation. How is that done?! How is that different from just a simple bootdisk?

Debian are known for being outdated. Is Knoppix any better?

Pros and Cons with ports vs deb anybody? (I’ve used neither so I don’t really know what’s going on.)

I am thinking about my next server system. I’m currently using RedHat 8.0 with an old version of Postfix as mail server. It isn’t too difficult to set up I guess because more documents on the web are tailered to RH more than anything else. But I’m thinking of updating a new version of mail server and I’m afraid to run into RPM hell. Gentoo seems to have a good package management but building from source is beyond my ability I’m afraid. I’ve heard that it offers pre-compiled binary, but is that easier to manage than RPM? And how does Knoppix and deb come to play?

Here’s a recent article about Gentoo:

I haven’t used Knoppix so no clue. Coming from the hobby webserver/mailserver standpoint, I’d go with RedHat or Debian. The Debian package management is cleaner than RH RPM and has worked well for me, despite my limited Linux admin experience. Sure, there was a long lag between the latest stable releases, but that doesn’t mean that it was “outdated”.

Knoppix is thought to let people try out Linux without applying any changes to their computer. The system will excellently run from CD, though there should be a small file with a few settings, as these can be stored. A while ago, the german Federal Office for IT Security even sent Knoppix disks to you for free (inside Germany) to help to introduce Linux on a wider basis.
A german computer magazine had recently modified Knoppix to work as a virus scanner - getting the latest signatures directly from the net. I heard there should be a way to install Knoppix on your harddisk, but that’s not what it originally was meant for…

There is some discussion about Knoppix in the “Linux Learner … eager but ignorant!” thread. In fact, might I suggest that this thread be appended to that one?