VectorLinux made their 6.0 final release over the weekend. The first thing that is noteworthy about this release is that they have developed their own GUI installer, and it is quite nice.
VectorLinux comes in a "Standard" (free) version, and a Deluxe ($22.99 download, $27.99 boxed CD set) version. I have installed the standard version on my Lifebook S6510 and HP 2133 Mini-Note. On the 2133 it defaulted to the vesa display driver at 1024x768 resolution, but I was able to copy over the openchrome driver from Mandriva 2009.0, and got it working at 1280x768. It uses the Xfce desktop, with some rather nice custom graphics.
VectorLinux still uses the LILO bootloader. That is a small problem for me, because I have all of my laptops setup to multi-boot using Grub. Fortunately, the 6.0 release also has the /boot/grub directory installed, so I was able to simply tell it not to install LILO, then set up my own menu.lst file and boot it using my existing grub multi-boot configuration.
I was pleased to find essentially everything I needed already included with the VectorLinux Standard distribution - Firefox and Opera, Sun Java 6, Adobe Flash, and quite a lot more. That saved me a good bit of time that I usually have to spend downloading, installing and configuring additional packages. They also have their own repositores, and the Gslapt pacakge manager, where I was able to pick up things like thunderbird that were not in the base distribution.
The distinction between the Standard and Deluxe editions is the amount of additional software included, of course. The Deluxe Edition includes KDE 4.2 and OpenOffice, and a variety of other add-on packages, along with 14 days of installation and configuration support.
If you are looking for a fast Linux distribution with a lot of the most common and useful packages installed, VectorLinux could be a good choice.