No, you can. ( At least the hardware can easily handle it. I would prefer having LXDE/XFCE over Gnome/KDE though, for the sake of free memory. So, you better try Lubuntu/Xubuntu. But even Gnome shouldn't be a real problem. PS3, which has even less available to linux RAM - 221 in my case, will run it at good enough speed. )
Nope. Repositories contain practically equal number of packages for each arch. Even an obsolete PowerPC has got an amount of debs which is very close to that of i386, amd64. The difference is like about 100 - 1000 packages for each 30000 or so packages for each arch. ( Went to Launchpad/Ubuntu ) And those few "exclusive" Intel/AMD packs are worthless anyway. For Ubuntu 11.04: powerpc - 32725, armel - 32310, amd64 - 33140, i386 - 33220. ( https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/natty ) The difference is negligible.Consider though that the repositories are biggest for x86, not ARM.
If Gentoo runs well on it I might use it, but it won't be because it has more than Ångström, I just like Gentoo.
But the main idea is correct. OpenGL is not as related to ARM core as it is related to PowerVR. We are talking about arches here.You did, however, forget that packages of stuff that doesn't run are not simply taken out of the repositories, especially since Ubuntu ARM is still in development phase. There's a lot of stuff that might be in the repos but still doesn't work, e.g. because of OpenGL requirements.
The only real advantage you'll get with Ubuntu is the repositories, by far Ubuntu has the largest selection of software of the Linux distros when you add in PPAs. Gentoo is second, maybe has as much as Ubuntu they don't have Handbrake, I always have to compile it by hand.
Okay, bad example... Still, the repository consists to a large part out of totally untested packages that simply succeeded in being built, which means they may as well don't work at all.But the main idea is correct. OpenGL is not as related to ARM core as it is related to PowerVR. We are talking about arches here.
Don't know about Ubuntu, but I use my Pandora as a regular Gentoo computer. I compile all packages right on Pandora. I can update/patch/modify everything as I do it on my Notebook. I truly don't sacrifice capabilities.
I have yet to try unity, I don't have a small enough device but am always meaning to try it on a PC just to see how it works. You don't need Ubuntu to have the Unity interface though, I'm pretty sure if it is cool enough someone will get it running on the Ångström so it can be run on the Pandora.Wish I could Run Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 with the unity interface. would be great to use with the touch screen with.
It's not a "total fantasy." The type of usage you describe is the reason most of us have ordered a Pandora-- the ability to play games with it but also the total customization of a Linux distro running underneath.
It's not Ubuntu, but the Pandora runs a heavily customized form of Ångström Linux, a full-featured operating system. Honestly, I found the Pandora while looking for a game system. Almost a year later however I am more looking forward to the ultra-portable mini-computing experience and the touch-screen than the gaming and emulation (hardly have time for games anymore).
The Pandora is not your average Acme smartphone, PDA, handheld, or netbook. As a matter of fact, the Pandora isn't your average anything. Indeed, the closest thing to a Pandora I've found on the market is something they quit making in the 1990s, and it didn't even have game controls.
tl;dr: Even though it's not exactly as you describe it, it sounds like the Pandora is for you. Just be prepared to wait.