Don’t fault yourself as clueless just because you haven’t heard about Exherbo yet. The distro-to-be seems to have gotten some attention for making it clear that your help is not needed, thank you very much.
There are plenty of opinions on the viability and attractiveness of a not-yet-published distro manned by a staff that is outright uninterested in drawing users, and most of them can be summarized here and here. (I only point to those threads because I’m most familiar with those forums, and most of those users.)
But I feel the need to be honest. About six or eight months ago I was seriously considering doing the same thing with a rearranged version of Ubuntu, mostly for my own edification, but also because I got tired of pruning and tweaking the default system to my liking. The obvious solution was to cook up something of my own invention with the packages and tweaks I like, preset and preinstalled. That way I could save time on testing and probing, since the majority of the performance settings I like would be in place already.
To make a boring story short, I never did it. Things got rearranged, much like they always do in life, and that back-burner project got shelved, then tossed out. About the same time I got Crux to behave the way I liked it, I realized a customized version of Ubuntu wasn’t appealing any longer. No loss, in hindsight.
But what really dissuaded me from doing it was knowing full well that if I did cook up something personalized, I’d have to mention it obliquely, and mentioning it would oblige me to share it, and sharing it would make me somehow beholden to support it, and that would lead to any number of complications, enlargements, arrangements and transmogrifications. I could foresee the thing snowballing beyond what I really wanted to deal with, and it became less appealing for that reason.
I could see only two ways around that problem: First, skip it. That was ultimately what I decided on.
The other was to release it or offer it without any promise of support, without any desire to troubleshoot or take suggestions or notes of improvement, bug tracking, error trapping, wishlists, compatibility problems, usability issues, suggested package lists, translations, instructions or manuals. In other words, say, “Here’s a link. Download it if you want it. I offer no support, and I don’t want to hear suggestions or problems or complaints or offers to improve it. Don’t bother me. The end.”
I guess where I’m going with this little soliloquy is toward an acknowledgment that Exherbo’s initial nonchalance and seemingly aloof attitude (my favorite part is, “we have nothing to offer you, and you have nothing to offer us”) makes sense to me. Yes, it’s very un-ubuntu, and it doesn’t do much to attract users or developers. But to be honest, I was of the same mindset not but six months ago, and rather than take the time to follow that path, I decided to abandon it. I’m almost disappointed in myself now because it was a learning opportunity and I turned it down.
I believe the expression is, “It’s water under the bridge.” It’s in the past now. I take a middle-of-the-road stance on the Exherbo issue because I trust they know what they want, they know what they don’t want, and I can, in part, empathize. Aside from that, they have nothing to offer me, and I have nothing to offer them.