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I have chosen Fedora for its installer's ease of use. In my case lvm2 + dm–crypt. In the mean time I got to learn a few things about them and could do all my drive setup and encryption from a Live distro that has the right tools. Now, Fedora is updating way too much and too often. It's a cutting edge and the purpose is clear. I want something that changes less often.
Do you know any other Linux distribution that comes with the ability to work with encrypted virtual drives out of the box? One that has the security updates and the packs signed?
Tried Ubuntu. Its integration of the online is a pain for a system that stays offline most of the time. Its association with commercial services makes it even less interesting.
I tried Trisquel, as advised by FSF. It wouldn't boot. Dunno if it's because of the dubious Acer module needed for some of the laptop functions or because of the lvm/LUKS.
Parted Magic works like a charm. Only it's not made for daily use.
Tails. A Linux distribution around Tor. Wonderful for the privacy. Not so practical for daily use on the main machine.
Gentoo? I was always put off by the ability to build your own distribution. It's a good idea in order to squeeze the last 5% in performance lost to overhead, but doing a full system on a netbook could mean days only for the basic stuff.
If you like Fedora but not the changes, you might like CentOS. Alternatively, you can avoid the worst of Fedora by
(1) using alternate versions, so that you only update once a year
(2) installing yum-security. Then you can get only the essential updates with "yum --security update"