I have played around with Linux for a long time. I bought (yes, bought) a copy of Red Hat 5 at a flea market when I was 12. Over a decade later, I have been keeping up with it on and off. Until I got my Macbook, linux has been my programming environment of choice (when I had a choice). Having grown up with my childhood disaster that was Red Hat 5, graduating to Red Hat 9 (another purchase), and later Fedora Core 2-4 (I liked FC3 but 4 was a complete disaster IMO), switching to a bunch of different distros (including Scientific Linux, and the late great PHLAK Linux) and settling on this new little distro called Ubuntu, I have watched Linux grow and mature from a hobby *NIX clone to the OS we know and love. I have also been going back and forth between Desktop Managers / Desktop environments for as long as I have been using Linux. I started with nothing (I couldn’t for the life of me get RH5 to run X on my old 486 Packard Bell), tried Red Hat’s Gnome (GNOME 2.x), Caldera‘s KDE (KDE 2.x), WindowMaker, AfterStep, XFCE, watched GNOME evolve from a cool GUI to a dumbed-down bloated experience, and watched KDE go from a Fisher-Price overly-complex mess to the debacle known as KDE 4.0.
My three biggest issues with Linux has always been Stability, Usability, and Hardware Detection. Steady improvements have been made throughout the years. I haven’t had much of a problem with system stability and usability for a few years (aside from the first couple releases of KDE 4). Ubuntu has made serious progress in this area. Wireless adapters and graphics cards have always been the bane of Linux (just like audio cards, network cards, and Modems before that). For years, I had the NDISwrapper manpages memorized and I still will not buy an ATI graphics card. However, this is the first release which has detected and configured ALL of my hardware. No messing with config files, no drivers to install, nothing.
As for KDE 4.6, it is the best version of KDE yet. It is beautiful. It is wonderfully usable and intuitive (for me at least). Though, I haven’t been using it that long, it seems stable in that I haven’t managed to break it yet. Having used KDE 2.x, the plastic mess that was KDE 3.x, and the broken and incomplete KDE 4.0, I am glad to see that KDE 4 has finally came into it’s own.
I would like to congratulate the KDE and Kubuntu teams on a great release and wish them many more to come. Linux finally doesn’t suck!