The Focus (also on the list of stuff I'm looking at) started out pretty good, then got boring and bland for a while
I guess that depends on how you decide boring and bland. To me, the shape was always both of those, but the special editions are actually very interesting cars. The Focus ST was pretty impressive, and the Focus RS is honestly out of this world. I'm personally unconvinced about putting that much power in a front wheel drive car, but they've spent an awful lot of time and money on developing it to make it work. A friend of mine has one, and they really have got it right. And it's still not a gas guzzler by US standards.
That's a joke, right? No laptop keyboard comes close to a proper desktop keyboard in feel, even if some of the larger laptops are getting closer in size. Lots of room on a 17" keyboard? Or were you talking about screen size? If it's the latter, you're seriously deluded. I have nearly 7 million pixels of screen real estate here. Trust me, that doesn't come close to fitting on a 17" screen.
I do. I don't need portable computing. I do, however, need a proper keyboard, a proper mouse, and a screen with a proper size and resolution. A laptop doesn't fill any of those needs.
Similarly, sendmail Just Works(TM). Other mail systems have a reputation for being easier to use, but sendmail's problems are long gone. You haven't needed to touch sendmail.cf for over a decade, for example, and I can't recall when there was last a sendmail security vulnerability.
So my recommendation would be RHEL/CentOS and sendmail.
A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.