I already had a dual boot of Windows and Elementary OS that I occasionally used. I was convinced it looked so polished compared to any other distro at the time.
I made the decision to move away from Windows more than a year ago because all my games ran fine under Linux and I used a Macbook Pro at work.
Manjaro Deepin Linux
The aesthetics of deepin was too good to resist. After reading some posts on reddit about how it didn't contain any spyware I gave it a go and it ran fine! The UX was really beautiful, prettier than macOS in fact. I didn't like the sidebar-only settings panel that much but it was ok.
Manjaro Linux GNOME
I started with the GNOME version and I absolutely hated it because I was running it on a gaming PC with dedicated GPU, i7 CPU, SSD and the menu took half a second to open. It felt sluggish. Unacceptable.
Manjaro Linux KDE
Immediately after that I went for a Manjaro KDE and I've been hooked ever since. Big fan of KDE, how responsive and light it felt. Endless customization possibilities and most important of all, it took care of essential stuff out of the box. Brightness Controls and Volume Mixer just worked. What I loved the most with Majaro was AUR <3
Then I switched to OpenSUSE tumbleweed because I wanted a rock solid distro that I could trust. I went for the KDE edition of course and I was pretty happy with it.
Although looking at YaST's UI makes me want to vomit, it was pretty easy to use and the way the software repos were managed was nice. zypper was ok. It worked fine but not everything was there. I missed AUR because it always found a way to get me what I want without much effort. I remember that time I had to install vlc 4 beta, and aur found it, compiled it, installed it for me. Trying to achieve the same on openSUSE was a nightmare.
I got tired of the daily updates after a while. Should probably have gone for Leap.
I redid my whole setup and I left my job so there was no macbook pro for work anymore. I was going to live on Linux only and picking the distro that KDE makes was the natural choice.
I will admit at first I thought it was based on Debian, I came to know later that it's in fact based on Ubuntu LTS. Anyway. After using it for a couple of months it felt fine. I also started using Snap to quickly install apps that were not available in the default repositories, such as Figma Linux or Telegram Desktop. Not everything looked great with snap though.
I was able to customize KDE as much as I needed. I loved the "Steam" theme on KDE.
I was interesed in tiling managers but didn't feel ready for i3, so I tried a couple of KWin scripts to have auto tiling inside KDE. Let's just say it was kind of a bumpy ride. Uninstalled the scripts after 15mins.
I found the announcement of Pop!_OS 20.04 by System 76 on twitter. It was always at the back of my head to try it, and since I came to know KDE was also based on Ubuntu, the shame I would have felt for using an Ubuntu based distro faded away.
Then I found this video.
I was sold. I had to decide if i would install it on my laptop or on my main PC, which already contains all my stuff about open source and work. I did some digging on reddit, and a lot of people were saying GNOME isn't as laggy as before. Ah yes. Pop!_OS uses GNOME, so this was goodbye KDE and everything that comes along. After thinking long and hard for 10minutes, i decided to scrap everything on my PC and install it. (I backed up my steam library before erasing the disk)
The install process was the best I've used in years. This time I finally decided to have a separate
home partition in case I want to change distros again.
The most noticeable difference was how freaking smooth GNOME felt. All the animations were top notch and it actually felt faster and lighter than KDE. I'm not sure if it's actually the case but it does feel this way.
Dota 2 would take around 10 seconds to launch in KDE Neon, here it launches in about 3 seconds with a smooth animation.
So far I've been on Pop!_OS for 2 days and I'm really satisfied with it. Apart from one minor inconvenience. I can't seem to find a way to adjust my monitor's brightness from the shell. I need to use the physical buttons for now.