I reinstalled KDE last night, after having (essentially) the same KDE system up and running since KDE 4.3 ... fully updated along the way, of course. This is on a Lenovo G530 laptop, Intel DuoCore, 2.1 GHz, 3 GB RAM, Intel graphics.
Just a report on how my installation went ...
1) Created Live USB (using Just17's excellent PCLinuxOS Live USB Creator) with 2012.12.
2) First boot from Live USB displayed crash window report from plasma-desktop immediately when arriving to the KDE desktop. Everything seemed to be working ok, so I closed out the window and proceeded.
3) Set up wireless.
4) Install 2012.12. Except that my screen went black about 2/3 of the way into the installation, except for the DrakLive Installer window, which now was frozen. I waited about 20 minutes, and with no further progress, did a hard reboot via the power switch (no other way out).
5) Reboot from Live USB. Immediately upon arrival to KDE desktop, the same crash report window from plasma-desktop was displayed. Closed out the window and proceeded.
6) Set up wireless.
7) Install 2012.12 again. This time, the installer progressed all the way through without any mishaps.
8 ) Reboot from the newly installed system, via laptop's hard drive. (Phew! No crash report window! Yay!)
9) Run Synaptic. With the KDE 4.9.5 recently added to the repos, I had 227 updates to apply.
10) About 1/2 way through running Synaptic, plasma-desktop crashed again. This time, it took out my panel. Synaptic was still functioning, so I let it complete. Once it was done, I logged out of KDE and restarted the computer.
11) KDE now comes back up, but my panel is AWOL. Right click on the desktop > Unlock Widgets > Right click on the desktop > New Panel > Default. Woohoo! I have my panel back.
12) After tweaking my "default" panel back to the PCLinuxOS defaults, I notice that my NetApplet icon is not displaying in my System Tray. However, that is another chapter in the saga, and you can read about it here
Overall, my computer did seem more responsive after the update to KDE 4.9.5 ... once I finally got there. But I wonder would a new user have known what to do in the face of the obstacles that I had to detour around? Or, would they just continue on to the next distro on their list to try?
I'm not trying to create a firestorm here. But if this is what some new users are facing -- even if it's only 20% of new users -- that represents quite a number of new users who aren't sticking around and giving PCLinuxOS a fair shake.