This is an amazing article on the difference between WSS (Windows SharePoint Services ) and (SPS) SharePoint Portal Server and how it all works.

I've always been a huge fan of SharePoint but I have had a love hate relationship of sorts. I love the fact that there is so much in SharePoint that can be customized. the SharePoint UI alone has so many levels at which it can be customized. You could probably completely rewrite the SharePoint UI in ASP.NET and still derive value from the ability to leverage the existing SharePoint Content Databases and the List forms provided by CAML1. the hate part of the relationship comes from the fact that customizing the existing UI is so simple to start out and then “bam!”  you hit a brick wall as the learning curve gains an infinite gradient. And I'm not talking about it becoming harder as you go I'm talking full on second derivatives equals infinity at some point. This is further compounded by the lack of a really good Developer oriented SharePoint editor. FrontPage works great for people who want to customize the Site in a WYSIWYG manor

1: do not read this as an endorsement of CAML

P.S. I haven't posted in a long while because my life has been relatively uninteresting for the past few weeks.