Xfree 4.0.1 fixes the VC-switching problem. Excellent.
I've decided I like Sawmill. Easy to configure. Will let me fit three terminal windows in 1024 vertical pixels with minimal tweaking. Pretty, but that one's not part of the acceptance test.
Mandrake as a whole - it's OK, but I'll try Red Hat next time.
Thanks to jbowman, chromatic and strlen for the certification props.