I have a weakness and it is an inability to settle on one thing, its pros and cons and be still. Cons always get me looking for something new and different. If there is even a slight irritation or an envisioned possibility of something significantly better I have a desire to pursue that even if I'm not sure I'd be able or motivated enough to go all the way.
OK, to translate this into english and in a way that makes sense to these forums, I can't and just can't settle on one GNU/Linux distribution. The abundance of choice available in the world of Free Software tends to spoil as it is, and especially someone who doesn't need a lot to get all picky. I've been from Mandriva to Slackware to Arch to Ubuntu Hoary to Arch to Ubuntu Dapper and I am still not settled.
The idea in this thread is to discuss each others vision of a perfect operating system which is free. We can compliment each others ideas and further discuss them even, rather than just spell out the official description of what we find ideal. Maybe something tangible even comes out of the discussion, who knows.
At this point, I am stretching myself between two seemingly contradicting concepts, an easy to use mostly GUI operating system where everything that can be reasonably automated is automated (for example Ubuntu, OS X) and a simple system fully under users control where everything is set up the way the user wants to by modifying pristine configuration files directly (a prime example of this is Arch, possibly Slackware). On one hand, I very much appreciate an OS that anticipates and does routine tasks for me, like Ubuntu, but on the other side I would also appreciate if the underlying system was clean and simple to interface with if I wanted to directly. In a way I would want to merge the "Ubuntu" concept and the "Arch" concept into something new that would perfectly operate, but so far I am not sure this is possible.
I would like to think it is though. The closest to this that I can imagine at this point is Arch with a gentle layer of GUI configuration tools pulled over it. But instead of creating bloat and complexity as mostly GUI distros like Ubuntu tend to do, it would still preserve the pristine form of the configuration files these GUIs modify so that the user can choose sometimes, if he wishes, to modify it by hand without GUI tools starting to get cranky about it. Also, such a system could practically be as user friendly as OS X and Ubuntu with routine tasks automated and an awesome integrated desktop environment, but not at the expense of creating bloat and complexity on the system beneath that surface as is usually the case.
Anyway, I've ranted enough. In a way I'd like a perfect OS to be the one which unites the simple (simplicity of the system underneath) with easy and attractive (GUIs at work on the surface) without the two having to deny each other.