Thank you, Dave, for this article. I happen to be the author of Chino, and I'd like to point out a few things.
* Connections are defined with the methods and applications, things should get automagically connected via jack_connect/aconnect after application startup; jack_snapshot is not required for running Chino.
The UI just offers the option to use that tool for storing/restoring additional (manually made, Jack only) connections on top of those that are part of the session. Manually establishing connections in QJackCtl should thus also not be required.
* The image viewer's startup command is part of the configuration file, just copy <sysconfdir>/chino.conf to ~.chinorc and replace that string with eog or whatever suits best.
* Regarding your amSynth/Yoshimi try, my rough guess is the following: Maybe you didn't start a mixer and expected the synths to connect to the sound card (the preset's synths depend on a mixer -- re-open that session, press 'd' in the runtime UI and follow the suggestions). If this was the case, then amSynth connecting to the soundcard's ports is actually a bug (autoconnect -- *sigh*), now fixed in v0.15 of the preset.
In no way I mean to complain, I read your "disclaimer" and readily admit that Chino comes with a bunch of weired documentation and quirks to work through. This more like gives me hints on where to improve the docs.
And yes, application-killing on session quit is indeed dodgy at times, I still need to figure out what goes on there. Nevertheless, all kittens here are still alive, it's not a severe showstopper.
I enjoyed your report, especially the "[...some arcane quotes...] In practice it's all simple enough"-part made me smile. Coverage of all the other session managers was also very educational, since I don't know them all too well.