I have no idea how I never noticed ArOS.. I wonder what would be a good hardware configuration to test it on..
AROS is old enough that it runs well on older hardware, which is why I've had it on an old p4 laptop. Throw 2gb of cheap ram and an IDE hard drive at it and it'll be extremely happy. The big lure is the built-in seamless AmigaOS compatibility, based off of UAE, so virtually all amiga apps work on it and over the years the user community has ported a lot of unix-based programs among other things. The problem is that it's very much a clean-room open source OS project, so it suffers from a lot of fragmentation over the years and things that worked in one version won't work in later versions and have long been abandoned, and despite virtually all of the available software contributions being open source, there's not really anyone who wants to pick up someone else's project to keep it up to date. Back in the day there were also a lot of missing drivers due to various issues, many of which due to that weird period in the 00's when tech companies were wary of sharing hardware information with open source projects (for what reason I still do not know) and AROS has always adapted it's drivers from the various linux/bsd projects. I don't think that's a problem anymore, but putting AROS on modern hardware is a bit of a waste since it not only doesn't need it but mostly can't take advantage of it. Single core only, doesn't need much ram, integrated graphics. 2gb ram is massive overkill.
It's a very interesting operating system and if you've got some spare hardware sitting around, absolutely worth poking and playing with, but unless you're like me and consider figuring out how to make arcane operating systems work the way you want to be an interesting puzzle, it's probably just an afternoon's worth of fun. It plays happily with a VM, so no reason not to give it a shot that way if it sounds interesting.
Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110