This morning, in between doing bits of real work, I ditched the greatly-misnamed Foresight Linux. I considered three alternatives:

What I use at work. Large user base. Bland. GNOME-oriented, which I consider a minus especially since GNOME/avahi entanglement started screwing up my laptop with Ubuntu Hardy.
A little noob-ish, but pretty well regarded especially with regards to hardware detection and usability.
The unknown of the group. KDE-oriented, which I favor. Innovative in some ways, such as their own package manager and configuration utilities, but reviewers seem to think they’ve pulled it off pretty well.

After all the negative things I’ve said about prior Linux installs, here’s what I have to say to the Pardus developers: well done. The install went smoothly. All of my hardware was detected, and it got the right resolution for my monitor. Kaptan, the post-install configuration tool, very nicely walked me through getting my mouse and network set up. I’m not left-handed but I configure my trackball that way, and this is the first install where I haven’t had to remember that myself, so it’s a nice touch. I see that Flash is already installed and working, which is a nice contrast with some of the “we’ll leave stuff non-functional in the name of Free Software Purity” attitude of many distros. I’ve already set up my email accounts in Thunderbird and my essential Firefox plugins (AdBlock Plus, FoxyProxy, Foxmarks).

My only quibble is that the software suite is a bit incomplete out of the box. There was no rsync, though there seemed to be things in my .bashrc that refer to it. I prefer a lighter alternative to konsole, which is built in, but I couldn’t even find xterm and there only seemed to be one rxvt relative readily available. Good enough. I happened to notice while I was in the package manager that gcc and so on were not installed, which I still consider wrong, but at least this time (unlike with Foreskin) the workaround was obvious and consistent with the generally recommended package-management methods.

Overall, though, working with Pardus has been a very pleasant surprise so far. A very auspicious start indeed.