The general concept of a portage 'profile' in Gentoo is essentially equivalent to the concept of having separate Server, Desktop, and IoT installation images in other distributions, though it's not quite as obvious in Pentoo because they have a really limited set of profiles they provide and support.
In short, your selected profile at minimum dictates:
- What the default USE flags for some packages are.
- What packages are masked by default (and thus can't be installed without special configuration).
Depending on the specifics, it may also control:
- What packages are part of the
@system package set (and therefore are included as implicit dependencies of everything on the system).
- Certain other aspects of portage configuration.
With Pentoo, the profile selection is pretty simple:
- The regular profile for your hardware (in your case
pentoo/default/linux/amd64) will use what the developers consider stable versions of software, and build all updates locally. If you can't decide, this is probably what you want.
bleeding_edge profile will instead use the newest versions of software available that are not know to actually break the system. This most likely sets the appropriate
~* keyword for your hardware in the global portage configuration.
The third option, labelled
binary is the odd one here, because the name is actually kind of ambiguous. I've not found any conclusive documentation myself on it, but I've also not searched exhaustively for it either. My guess would be that your assessment is correct and it fetches pre-built packages from some central server instead of building them locally.