Aptosid, the way to go
I have been happy with Aptosid for more then half a year. I think i been this happy only for a short time with the Ubuntu 10.10, until they went off the cliff.
Let me describe first what sort of use i have. It might be somewhat limited, but still.
The everyday laptop running two heads, a 23" monitor and the native 15.4" LCD.
Mail (claws-mail), browsing, synergy working fine, lots of Lilypond use, some video and such editing, no problems, no break-downs of X or anything of that sort. Running apt-get upgrade upgrades all the safe stuff, aptitude safe-upgrade shows if anything is in conflict, dist-upgrade upgrades the kernel and such.
The audio editing desktop, also running Aptosid
dedicated to recording and editing audio. Running Jack, Ardour2, 24 channel sound card and everything related. No glitches, no problems whatsoever.
I do run upgrades regularly, on the main box about every second day, on the audio box about once a week.
Any package in the debian unstable is available, so what can be better?
Aptosid comes in KDE4 and XFCE4, install is done from the live CD. There are some parts of install that i would prefer to be different, for example some automatic partitioning without a notice and such, but with a proper carefulness the pitfalls can be avoided.
As i do not care for having a desktop manager, i install fluxbox, load my favorite settings and never look at the XFCE4 again.
I have two modes of use - a working one and a lazy one. Either - keyboard only, terminal, sed, mkdir, cp, mv, or mouse only, may be with one finger or toe on a modifier key. I do not consider teen-like approach, - when to find a matching sock in the closet, one goes through everything else, in the process getting distracted and trying on some underwear and gloves, - to be lazy enough. This is actually what Unity and gnome3 and all, are trying to offer me. My lazy goes as far as using the Easystroke:
A cup of tea in one hand, mouse - in the other. Wiggle this way - the favorite web site, that way - delete, or anything else.
The Fluxbox's menu system is great for this, too. Who needs the icons? Tint2 just to see at a glance what is open.
I've tried every file manager there is, but XFE still takes me back, - the one key edit-view, copy, move, and memory use negligible, so when lilypond compiles, or rezound does it's thing, i do not have to wonder whether to close file manager.
I guess the "lazy" relates to the ease of changing anything in fluxbox, literally anything. Key shortcut opens "keys" file, modify, reconfigure, so easy, i sometimes change shortcuts for a few minutes, to make some task easier.
Or throw the keys where i need them, here in my "keys" file:
Mod1 90 :ExecCommand xmodmap -e "keycode 90 = BackSpace"
Mod1 135 :ExecCommand xmodmap -e "keycode 135 = BackSpace"
Mod1 108 :ExecCommand xmodmap -e "keycode 108 = Alt_R"
Mod1 87 :ExecCommand xmodmap -e "keycode 87 = Pointer_Button4"
Mod1 89 :ExecCommand xmodmap -e "keycode 89 = Prior"
Mod1 91 :ExecCommand xmodmap -e "keycode 91 = Next"
Anything to just poke and get results. And again, Fluxbox for me not only never presented any problems, but offers variety, that is easier to achieve then any desktop managers now available. Both keyboard and mouse control, hands down.
Aptosid, i tell ya, for an average lazy user who's got work to do.