If Linux is the question, is NetBSD the answer? Trying to escape the Linux distribution hell to get fixes for amazingly buggy, yet released, software, and getting a ton slow and complicated shell scripts in turn, I looked at NetBSD.
Right now there is a Sun Ultra1 and a Digital PWS500au designated for NetBSD, a modern, light weight and portable Unix system. The Sun works, the Alpha doesn't. This is the current list of NetBSD problems that showed up while trying to learn more about it: