I have switched my laptop over to Fedora 13 LXDE to check things out properly in normal use; here are my findings so far. (Remember I have > 10 years of history as a Mandriva user!)
- recognises the Tata Photon+ CDMA data stick out of the box. The GUI is identical, except for color, to the one in Linux Mint; now why can't Mandriva also use that same software, whatever it is? In Mandriva, you have to use wvdial (which means you have to install it first!). The normal drakconf-spawned config screen asks you for a "PIN number" (huh?) and regardless of what you type or not, it responds saying "have you inserted your SIM card" or some such message I can't recall.
- the ability to create a custom live CD with everything I want on it. Thanks to my friend Raj, I now have a nice live CD (actually USB stick) that contains more than 200 packages of my choice. This means I truly don't have to take my laptop around to many places, while still getting a LOT of work done.
- having a sane set of package repos automatically configured even if you live in India! Mandriva would always select some mirror in China that, consistently across the last 2-3 releases of Mandriva, has been dead or unresponsive or overloaded any time I try it. I'd gotten to the point that I'd pretend to be in some US time zone, then change it to India after the install is all done. Or go to easyurpmi.zarb.org and do a manual mirror selection.
- missing or outdated packages. (For example, "recoll" -- if I ever have to switch my work desktop this would be a show stopper! And "atop" is unmaintained. And unison is apparently deprecated... in favour of what, I wonder?)
However, the saving grace is that the Fedora ecosystem is just too big for anyone to ignore, so either the upstream themselves will have an RPM available (as in the case of recoll and atop), or someone else (like Dag) might, or -- worst case -- my PFE (personal Fedora expert/evangelist, a person who shall remain nameless in his own interest, lest he be swamped by others' requests for help!) will find me a link from somewhere!
- keychain doesn't work. I had to add these 3 magic lines into my own .bash_profile because the one in /etc/profile.d didn't seem to work. I should probably dig deeper and report it if needed
- There is no way to have the screen lock before suspend/hibernate. This is not secure. I finally had to put "xscreensaver-command -lock; sleep 2" somewhere inside a file called "pm-action". There is just no other way as far as I know. From a non-techie user perspective this is horrible, horrible, horrible. (I realise this may be only the LXDE spin and perhaps the KDE or GNOME versions do it ok).
- The touchpad doesn't let you click. You have to run gnome-mouse-properties and change the settings, which would be fine, but they don't persist across a logout/login. Each time you login you have to run that command again. (Weirdly enough, you don't have to touch the settings; they're all there. But the GUI has to come up once...)