Well, I've now played with/tried a number of different Linux distributions for a full-time desktop machine for use at home. At first blush, they were all beautiful, perfect machines--seemingly perfect replacements for the Windows 2000 that had been on the machine!
Setup under Red Hat and Mandrake were a breeze, setup under Gentoo was, well, an experience, but an intellectually gratifying one. The former two's setup applications were brain-dead easy for someone somewhat familiar with computers, and even easier for a software developer. Gentoo does everything from the command line, forcing the user to learn more about Linux than they might want (meaning, of course, it's not for folk who just want to setup and start using their computers).
My NVidia card was a problem, as it is for a lot of fine folk based on google searches. Of course, if you can do without hardware acceleration, there's no problem, as XFree86 provides a perfectly acceptable NVidia driver. But I ended up setting it up without TOO much trouble
My Sound Card was recognized properly by both Mandrake and Red Hat. On Gentoo, I had to peruse the ALSA documentation to figure out what driver was needed, but all-in-all not a big deal. Sound worked.
I chose KDE as my DE, as I'm in complete disagreement with Gnome's philosophy of simpler is better. I LIKE MDI interfaces, damnit, and to heck with folk who think it's worthless (probably tells you what I think of the Gimp's interface, but that's another topic for another day). My choice, and yours may vary. Anyway, KDE was installed without a problem (for Gentoo, the only problem was the time it took to compile every damn thing, but even that's a non-issue if you kick off the process before you go to bed--it's done by the time you come home from work the next day).
For day-to-day usage, Linux systems seem to be ok. However, all of the WM, DE, and X folk need to get together and agree on a SINGLE mechanism for copying/cutting/pasting. For those of you who say choice is good, I fart in your general direction. Choise is good in theming, basic operations need to be the same (possibly user alterable, but the default after install needs to be the same across the board).
Installing Java wasn't TOOOO nasty. Getting plugins for Mozilla was a pain. I like the nice simply way it works in the Windows world, though it obviously can be done in the Linux world, too.
Now, sound under KDE worked, or seemed to. Then I visited SesameStreet.org for my daughter to see. Wow, sound doesn't work in Flash for me. Go figure. After spending time googling I figured out you have to start Mozilla with artsd Mozilla. Silly me, I should have guessed! So, with sound now working in flash, I went back to the previously mentioned site. Sound, glorious sound... but, wait! The sound was choppy and completely out of Sync with what was displaying. I felt like I was watching a horribly voice-overed Japanese/Chinese movie. Not good.
Well, apparently others have this flash/sound problem as well. In the Linux world it's NICE to hear of other's misery instead of what you usually get--either "RTFM" or "works fine here." If others have had the problem, then there's a chance you can google and find the solution. Well, no joy for me here. Sound and flash simply don't play nice on MY particular setup.
At this point, after spending hours trying to get things just right, I've given up. In the end, I suppose I want my system to JUST WORK. I don't WANT to futz with settings, google for fixes, fight with drivers, etc. I just want my computer to work. So, back to Windows 2000 and computing bliss. I'll check back in a year or so. Perhaps by then the XFree licensing fiasco will be over, and installers will set things up right the first time.
And while I'm back in the Windows world, I'm sure I'll have saved up enough money to buy an Apple before MS Longhorn comes out.