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Right now I am using Ubuntu 64bit 10.04LTS and I love it. Very pleased with the way it runs. But my plan with linux all along has been to install a razor thin version and run it bleeding edge fast. My user history is not important, but I have gone though Kubuntu, slackware, gentoo, and fedora and finally figured out what I really need in a distro, and I am ready to give the razor thin install design another go.
Anyway, what I want is:
Wicked quick boot time
lots of customizable options
an excellent package manager
great documentation and support
I have already tried gentoo and I really like that everything is custom compiled on the host machine. Configuring grub and a custom linux kernel is a breeze, and there is a lot of power in the compile tags that it gives you. The online documentation is also some of the best I have seen for any distro.
However using portage, then at least, was a nightmare. The package manager flat out sucked, it was not good and routing around cicular or missing dependencies and the compile tags just added a layer of complexity I had no hope of sifting through. Maybe that has changed in newer releases?
I know a lot of power users prefer arch, and I have heard lots of good things about pacman. I tried arch very briefly (the first linux distro I installed actually) but that was some two or three years ago and the whole design philosophy of the distro has changed in that time. Could any experience users of either distro weight in and help me make a decision?