so, for quite some time i've been on a bit of a quest to find my ideal linux distribution for my desktop (which, yes, i realize may or may not be the ideal linux desktop solution -- i tend to fall into the "power user" category). i'm a long time debian user and fan and don't envision using much else on servers (when i have the choice) for a long time to come. however, i've been fairly frustrated by some things with debian on the desktop for a while. specifically, even in unstable, packages tend to take a long time to get adopted (even if the software is deemed stable by the "vendor") and, while socially conscious, the licensing restrictions tend to leave out a fair bit of really useful applications.
one of my big reservations about trying gentoo had always been my fear of a 3 day lapse to get the system to a usable state. well, thanks to a stage3 live cd and the outstanding install instructions in the gentoo handbook, i was up and running in a single afternoon (and still worked on my powerbook for most of the afternoon).
it's been a couple weeks now, and i'm quite fond of gentoo on the desktop. apps are always current, so far emerge has "just worked" and there isn't an application that i use regularly that isn't available.
one thing that i really dig, is that there are "ebuilds" for a couple of the other distributions' artwork packages (notably redhat and ximian). one of the main reasons i kept trying fedora was because i really like the bluecurve theme. well, on gentoo it's a simple "
emerge redhat-artwork " away.
i also get a wide array of j2sdk options, and there's even a package for transgaming's winex.