>Without 3rd party patches, sensible defaults or masked packages.
>Without ..., sensible defaults ....
That explains things. I guess.
TL;DR: Source Mage GNU/Linux? It's an adventure.
I gave it a go with a two year old spare desktop. First off, the installer is aggressively optimistic in its choices while using the automatic partitioning scheme. It sliced up HDA like so:
1. One /boot/ partition using 8.9% of drive space.
2. Three hundred swap partitions using 90.2% of remaining drive space.
3. I'm not sure what it did with all the rest.
The installer did appear to successfully complete. It rebooted the system. I was not entirely sure how things stood at this point as I've not received any console messages after the BIOS checks passed. Oh, the monitor did flash one last message: "REFRESH OUT OF RANGE", while making the strangest buzzing sound. A moment later and all that was left of my monitor was a smoking ruin.
I paused further investigation I was now experiencing network connectivity issues. After chasing things down a bit, I discovered the installer appears to set the network card to use DHCP, but not for configuration. Instead, it identifies the network gateway and sets its own MAC address to whatever the gateway uses. Then it inserts the Ethernet card into the network with an IPv4 address of 127.0.0.1 ... which is ... breathtaking.
After busting out a spare laptop rigged for Debian hacking, I preformed a bit of desperate source code diving and recompiling. I finished up with a kernel sporting a (very) customized network stack to boot my laptop with, in the hopes of communicating with the nightmare now in possession of the desktop. Rather helpfully I discovered it does start an SSH server, albeit one that does not listen on port 22. It does listen on every other port, all sixty-five thousand, plus. Whatever.
The installer never asked me to set a root password. I tried everything I could think of. No go. The user I created is able to login; however, the command shell appears to be set to "/sbin/shutdown -h now".
>Advanced users of GNU/Linux (and I mean advanced)
Well ... I suppose I am. And I suppose I could, given sufficient time, beat this whore and a half of an OS into submission. You know what though? I'm gonna go beat off to anthropomorphic furry porn instead.
Thanks. It was real, etc.