I found today this very good article, that tries to explain the differences of development and design between BSD and Linux, via Slashdot. It is very well written, by someone who has a lot of experience with FreeBSD and some experience with other BSD variants as well as Linux. This article has taught me a lot about both systems, and possibly why I repeatedly found it difficult to install and maintain Linux in the past. I reckon my philosophy of software development is closer to the BSD one than the Linux one.
Having said that, I certainly will have another look at BSD and the machine on which I tried to install Gentoo Linux a few months ago looks like the ideal test bench for this purpose. Even better, I've already found out that others have done it before me so I'll have no excuse to fail. Of course I will make sure that I take notes and post them to this site.