It's been nearly 4 years since I ran you last back in my SuSE days. I loved how I could configure everything under the sun with you. I could make my windows, icons, fonts, styles, and everything look and feel the way I wanted. I never really tried Gnome or other window managers much except maybe for Fluxbox, and they didn't give me the flexibility that you did.
Then along came Ubuntu, and Gnome was the default window manager. Well, I was so caught up in the beautiful way that Ubuntu did things, I didn't even pay attention that I was using Gnome. Sure, I installed Fluxbox, Blackbox and other lightweight window managers as I really needed the system resources. However, the more I used Gnome, the more I realized how complex and bloated you were. Sometime around Breezy Badger, I think, I installed you again, and compared to Gnome, you felt very bloated and heavy. Maybe it was just the fact that you could do so much gave me that feeling. I don't know, but I am certainly singing a different tune now.
Lately, I've been growing tired of Gnome. After all, I just purchased some shiny new hardware to run my operating system on, so taking up system resources really isn't that big of a deal to me. More importantly, however, Gnome has been getting more and more buggy with crashes taking down X, and updates breaking other packages. Not to mention, I couldn't even suspend or hibernate properly without calling it from the terminal. Needless to say, Gnome was getting under my skin. So, last night, I decided to boot into KDE, and take another look.
Well, to say the least, I was pleasantly surprised. To start, you didn't feel bloated like you did a few years back. In fact, you felt leaner than Gnome. Whether or not that is the case, I don't know, but you certainly respond better than Gnome does. You pull up the desktop faster, you launch applications faster, and you look good. You have to admit that a few years ago, you were very.... "cartoonish". Now, you seem much more polished, even if you are tailoring your every look after Microsoft Windows. And can you believe it? You actually suspend when I close my laptop lid, where Gnome would fail every time.
Now, with that said, not all is peaches and cream. GTK apps look absolutely horrible in you. The first thing I did was pull up IceWeasel and IceDove, and well, let's just say that didn't last long. Luckily, Debian ships with IceApe (SeaMonkey (former Mozilla Suite)), and it looks gorgeous, even if it is GTK. Also, I have a 1680x1050 resolution, yet, by default, you give me the same real estate of 1440x900. I've brought down font size, and changed a few things to get that space back, but I think you need work there.
However, I have you configured just the way I like, including keyboard shortcuts, location of menus/panels, fonts and everything else that is important to me, and you look good. I'm happy. I'm glad I've rediscovered you after all these years. You've sold me, and I'm looking forward to your 4.0 release coming up shortly.
One Happy User