New to this forum and my first post
Just a little background info. I have been using computers since the 80's ( dumb terminal / mainframe ) and have used almost every version of Windows except for Vista. I have also worked with Solaris. As far as Linux goes I tried Redhat and Mandrake several years ago but never got into them seriously. About 3 years ago I installed Ubuntu and have never looked back at Windows.
I liked Gnome at first but when I tried KDE I knew it was what I wanted running on my computer. However I ran into several bugs with the versions of Kubuntu and the bugs would be fixed in new releases and new ones would pop up. The installation of nvidia drivers is a hit or miss thing with Kubuntu for me. The restricted drivers manager would install the proprietary driver but I could not get it to function properly unless I manaually edited major chunks of my xorg.conf file. The Envy installer worked better but still required me to do additional editing of my xorg.conf file. Not that editing it is something bad but when there is minimal editing involved it's a definite bonus.
Not wanting to give up on KDE I have also tried other distributions. SimplyMepis installed well and was very stable ( prob due to its underlying Debian stable base ) but there is a bug with Firefox that causes it to close unexpectantly. It was also a chore to get any other language than US English to be used by default in most programs. Mepis does have some great tools to fix your system in the event that you trash it. I need a stable distribution with a stable browser so I decided to give PCLinuxOS 2007 a try. It was stable enough and looked good but it still needs improvement with the amount of packages available.
I had heard of Linux Mint so I gave the Main Edition ( Gnome ) a try and was impressed with it right away. It was more stable than Gutsy Gibbon on my system and used far fewer resources. When going through the Mint website I saw that there was a KDE version of Mint coming out in March. Based on my positive experience with the Main Edition I downloaded and installed the final release of Mint 4.0 KDE CE. The install took about half the time that Kubuntu takes and it booted up to a nice clean desktop. The installation of updates went without any problem. With the current version of Kubuntu I have to restart X when it encounters the kde language pack for english canadian and you get a series of stack smash errors and then have to run the updates from the cli. The Envy installer detected the correct nvidia card on my system and upon reboot all I had to do was edit a few lines in my xorg.conf file to get my side mouse buttons working. I like the fact that Synaptic is included on the default install. I had very few additional programs to install as almost all my needs program wise are included on a default install.
Boo, the developer, definitely deserves praise for what he has done with this release. The major items like system updates and hardware work well but where I think it really shines is in the small details. Having used other distrubutions and DE's I would find myself wishing the distribution or DE had a certain feature or application. I have yet to find myself doing that with Mint ( both Gnome and KDE ). I have noticed some of the packages might be a bit older than on other distributions but from what I can tell it is that stability comes before having the latest and greatest. I will always go for stability rather than being bleeding edge. Besides the stability of both editions I have found that there is a focus on what the user needs / wants.
I hope my comments on other distributions is not taken as being negative. All distributions have their strengths and weaknesses. It's really satisfying when you find one that works well with your hardware and has a stable base and great applications. Mint 4.0 KDE CE has met all of those for me.