Back to Aptosid Xfce4
I was a happy Sidux/Aptosid user until my laptop sound card stopped to be supported by kernels above 2.6.32. Then I moved back to Debian Squeeze (which has been running fine in my workstation for years). Provided that now I have an external USB card which is well supported by all kernels and I have found a reasonable method for switching between the built-in and the USB sound cards, I am back to Aptosid.
Of course, I have installed the Xfce 64-bit version. After a couple of hours tweaking here and there, I am pretty satisfied with the results. Aptosid is a great distro.
1. Debian-based: excellent package manager, thousands of packages, reliable, versatile.
2. Current (built from Sid): Most recent kernel and applications.
3. Rolling distro (always up-to-date).
4. The installer offers the possibility of installing non-free drivers, if required (in my case, both network cards). Yet, the distro is very respectful (for my standards) with free software policies.
5. Excellent documentation and good community support.
6. Quite minimalistic but well-balanced: not too much stuff pre-installed and not too many services running by default.
7. Xfce version feels really lightweight (unlike Xubuntu which is nearly as bloated as Ubuntu). Good balance between low resources consumption and functionality.
8. Correct me if I am wrong, but the kernel has been patched for real-time pre-emption (in principle, this makes the system feel more responsive and, in any case, you may certainly be interested in this feature if you are a multimedia artist or the like).
1. Artwork is better than before but still ugly for my particular taste (I had to removed everything).
2. The installer could offer more options such as user-defined mount points.
3. Unnecessary locales are kept after installation.
4. Based upon Debian unstable plus rolling distro: a little bit on the risky side of things (not more than Ubuntu, in any case).
5. Even if the contrib and non-free repos can in principle be enabled at installation time, you will need some tweaking for a full multimedia experience (keep in mind that offering full multimedia support out of the box is barely legal in some countries).
I find that all the PROS are excellent and they all suit my needs, whereas the CONS are not insurmountable drawbacks for me (they may be for other users). If it does not break I will stick to Aptosid for my laptop (and Sequeeze for my workstation), otherwise I will report the problems.