In summary, I really like Manaro Linux, and I strongly recommend it. It is well developed and maintained, and it is consistently one of the first distributions to include new/updated kernel, driver and packages. The next stable release (15.09) is likely to be released within the next week or so. That would be a great chance to give it a try, even if it is just running from the Live USB media so that you could check out what Jamie has been raving about.
The Serval ships with Ubuntu right out of the box. I also loaded up openSUSE. Both Linux distributions ran fantastically well. (Would it run Windows well? I have no idea. I couldn't think of any good reason to check.) When I spoke to an engineer at System76 he regaled me with the story of making sure the firmware on the Serval supported Linux as perfectly as possible right out of the gate. That earned significant brownie points with me.
Last week I updated an article at about.com which lists the top 25 Linux distributions on Distrowatch and gives a short description of who they are for as well as any pros and cons.
There are a few distributions on that list that I haven't tried and so I just gave a description as provided by Distrowatch. I made a note to myself though that I really should give them a go.
The first one I tried was Q4OS because it was the smallest download (under 400 megabytes) and my internet is playing up again. (The misty hills of Scotland does that from time to time).
One thing that particularly interested me was the screen size - at 13.3" it is larger than my usual netbooks (10"-11"), but still smaller than the 15" screen on my Asus which doesn't fit very well in my backpack. I'm hoping this will be a good replacement for the Aspire E11 that I got nearly a year ago, with a bit more comfortable screen and a wi-fi adapter that isn't as much of a pain as the E11's Broadcom.
openSUSE announced the second milestone for the Leap 42.1 developmental cycle so I decided to give her a test run. I wasn't the only one putting openSUSE through its paces this weekend though. Jamie Watson tested a recent Tumbleweed snapshot on yet another new Acer netbook and Neil Rickert tested both.
As my search for a Mint replacement continues, openSUSE Leap 42.1 reached Milestone 2 and thought I'd give it a whirl. I downloaded the install DVD and designated a pre-used partition for the install and formatted with ext4. I didn't test any of the higher functions like encryption or LVM, and left the default KDE desktop as my choice. I didn't bother selecting packages and just installed the default selections. That was 4 gigs. I had it put the boot files on both the MBR and the install partition and it didn't balk. This is the first time in a long time I have a pretty Bootloader screen. It identified and listed all my Linux installs, even those I wish it wouldn't.
I think that phone companies will be struggling to maintain sales of high end phones in the future. When I chose the Xperia X10 I knew I was making a compromise, the screen resolution was an obvious limitation on the use of the device (even though it was one of the best devices available). The storage in the Xperia was also a limitation. Now FullHD is the minimum resolution for any sort of high-end device and 32G of storage is small. I think that most people would struggle to observe any improvement over a Nexus 5 or Note 3 at this time. I think that this explains the massive advertising campaign for the Galaxy S6 that is going on at the moment. Samsung can’t sell the S6 based on it being better than previous phones because there’s not much that they can do to make it obviously better. So they try and sell it for the image.