I think it might be because CL has also optimized system calls, not just packages. I never used Gentoo and I’m not a CL developer, so I cannot say for sure… But having an optimized OS, and not just packages, really should help IMO.
Complicated? Nah, If you ever used apt, and I’m pretty sure you did, THAT is complicated. On CL you basically have 4 commands:
swupd update -> because of the stateless architecture, this command searches for both system and package updates and automatically installs all of them! Yay, no more
apt update && upgrade (and even dist-upgrade)!
swupd bundle-add -> Install a bundle. You dont have to install a dozillion packages if you want to run a web-server or even build the entire OS: just do
swupd bundle-add something-dev and you have all you need to build "something (be it GNOME, the OS itself, or something else…) (Note: I didn’t try to do this, but I’m pretty confident it should work as intended)
swupd bundle-remove -> remove a bundle
swupd-repair -> can actually repair a lot of user-error done on system partitions. Obviously not everything. This is a bit harder to use, but fixing errors is by definition an hard task, isn’t it?
Memory usage on my PC is usually 4GB out of 8GB of RAM. Disk usage is actually quite high, because for some reason CL comes with 500MB of fonts (including ancient Sanskrit, biblic Hebrew and probably Aztec) and other 500MB of themes and icons. Basically, summing all things up, you have almost 2GB of custom/optional stuff… But fear not, they said they removed most of this clutter in the latest GNOME 3.36 update (should be coming any moment this week).