Here's a few relevant laptop specs: this machine is old - I bought it shortly before installing PCLOS in summer 2006. I was not only new to linux but new to computers (!), and I purchased this specifically because one of the testers (Sal, remember him?) was using it as his testing machine so I had no doubts that PCLOS would work on it. The details:
ACER Aspire 3004WLCi, Mobile AMD Sempron processor 3100+, 512 MB DDR, 60 GB HDD.
My installs up to now have always been the standard KDE versions, which worked well for several years but have been taxing my system resources of late. Doing a fresh install last summer brought some troubles with the display (1200x800) which were never fully resolved as I had to use the VESA driver and was forced to choose a resolution close to but not the same as mine. Overall system response was also getting slower and slower. When the 2011 .isos became available I downloaded KDE but the live CD would take forever to finally bring up a desktop - but then promply conk out to a black screen. So I decided to investigate a more lightweight DE and Phoenix seemed to fit the bill. To my delight the live CD brought up a desktop pronto, with the correct screen resolution, so I backed everything up and installed Phoenix. I'm not one that uses tons of apps so my experience so far wouldn't be considered extensive by most of you, but here are the highlights:
> I love the speed! Everything is so much faster than on KDE. Boot times are fast, and shutdown is lightning quick.
> My 1200x800 screen resolution was correctly detected and set up automatically. Not sure why Phoenix would recognize this and KDE would not since the underlying PCLOS system is the same, but I'm happy it did.
> Clean design with minimal apps preloaded. It's really easy to add more from Synaptic if desired.
A few quibbles:
> Clicking on "Shutdown" sometimes would make the system reboot. The first time this happened I thought I must have clicked mistakenly on "reboot" but subsequent times it was clear that shutdown would somehow map to reboot. This does not happen much, but enough to notice.
> 2 mirrors were by default checked in Synaptic. I didn't notice this until my first update stalled out (so I cancelled) and then made sure only one was checked. The update went fine from there. Not sure why the default is for 2 mirrors.
> Firefox will sometimes freeze when having several windows open and watching videos. Only 1 video plays at any one time of course, but this has happened more using Phoenix than it did in KDE. And yes, I know this is a Firefox issue and not a Phoenix one, but I find it curious that it happens more than it used to with the other DE. Perhaps it is just situational. At any rate it's not a big problem.
All in all a great release. Kudos to Neal and those who helped!