Stoichyu: Thanks for the script to fix HAL to allow communications. Yep, that works.
I have no doubt that either HAL or VL-Hot can be disabled easily. The point I'm making, which seems to be getting lost, is that one or the other should be disabled by default when VL is booted up. Having both running is truly awful. Pick one for the default config.
Having both on the iso or installed is fine. Create a script run from VASM to toggle between HAL and VL-Hot and you'd have the best of both worlds.
Re: performance. VL SOHO 5.8.6rc2 with HAL is really fast on my five year old Toshiba laptop (1GB Celeron, 512MB RAM) but RAM usage is definitely up. I notice this when I'm running KDE, which is a resource hog to begin with, and then add one or more resource (especially RAM) intensive apps like Firefox and OpenOffice. Then the system begins to drag a bit. It's still usable, but it's noticeable.
I really think the ideal would be a user choice with HAL as the default.