in reply to
What *nix do you recommend for a laptop?
One of my main requirements is the ability to manage and maintain all my Perl stuff via CPAN independent of the package manager of the OS or distro. Too many distributions try to package up and maintain the popular CPAN modules but in the end fall behind, run over stuff you've installed yourself via CPAN, or a combination of both.
That being said, a distribution that I can have absolute control over is required. OpenBSD if you want to go the *BSD route (more familiar to you if you use Solaris), Gentoo Linux for complete control of the distribution and it's components, or Arch Linux if you want the same amount of control as Gentoo but without having to deal with compiling *everything*.
My personal choice is Arch Linux on laptops, OpenBSD on servers. Of course, if you don't want anything other than a *very* basic package manager, go with the tried and true Slackware Linux.