If computer is your hobby, you will, sooner or later, run into Linux. Cos only Linux (not Mac, Windows or any other OS) gives you that power to tweak/tinker, virtually every bit and piece of the OS. That's why there are so many distributions, so many forks, spins, respins, and multitude of application software for a single task. No surprise, many hobbyists come, wander in the linux world, but a few really stick to it, rest go. Cos? Not all the distributions are polished, stable, easy and powerful. Most often sticking to linux depends on hitting a good no-nonsense distribution (like PCLinuxOS, Mint or Mepis) at the first chance. IMO, PCLinuxOS tops the list of distros that care for new-converts.
PCLinuxOS is one that compelled me to stick to Linux. Of course, I'd been exposed to linux from RedHat 5, but that was a compulsion from the then employer. Putting Linux on my home desktop started with PCLinuxOS, way back in 2005. A lot has been changed ever since: numerous desktop wannabe distributions have come up, kernel/userland has gone through a sea change, GNU applications have seen many increments. Similarly, PCLinuxOS development and participation have undergone much changes. First mis-considered as a Mandriva fork, PCLinuxOS has developed a personality of its own. Some devs/projects (granular, pclosbe, intux, sam, unity) have forked away. Some alleged the way PCLinuxOS develops, saying it dictatorship managed, orthodox.. bla...bla... But seems all that have happened for good. It's become unique; taken the best pieces from the linux world and put them together like no one has done before.
My Linux love started with PCLinuxOS though these days I dabble more with Debian, CentOS and SuSe. It's official compulsion. But when it comes to recommending a distro to someone interested in Linux I utter "PCLinuxOS", it comes to my tongue as a reflex. I am so used to it!
Well, enough prophesy. Now onto something current with it. I have started liking PCLinuxOS ever more for a few reasons. They are:
#1 Multiple Flavors: KDE is the flagship and default desktop environment for PCLinuxOS. And I am happy to see that though it lags (for good) a few numbers back in kernel and userland, it keeps abreast with the KDE4 increments. The latest quarterly update was a joyride. Previously skeptic on KDE4 moves, I fell for it on its 4.5.1 iteration. What tremendous amount of efforts gone into making it! In addition to KDE, there are half a dozen of variants including gnome and lxde. Seems they are also getting enough polishing. If you like PCLinuxOS, desktop environment is not a matter of concern. Download a variant you like or pull in the meta package of that DE from pclinuxos repo. Either way you will have success. Rest assured, you won't face any glitches that you generally expect from a so called bleeding edge desktop.
#2 PCLinuxOS magazine: These days PCLinuxOS has bringing out its monthly magazine regularly religiously. I am sure it won't win a FOSS award for the literature. But it has a lot to make us mortals happy and engaged in Linux. The mag has a systematic approach to teach newbies essential commandline magic, use/management of popular desktop environments and developments specific to PCLinuxOS. It has those fun stuff elements also that you expect from a community or school magazine.
#3 Development Decisions and Friendly Forum: PCLinuxOS's sheer care for consumer desktop becomes evident from its development and discussions. Keeping close to kde4 development, choosing bfs over cfs, and listening to members' (at times packaging for them) queries are a few of the activities that prove it. It may not be the best FOSS distro.. It may not punch opensource nouvau... It may not jump to the nascent kernel, but it makes sure that your piece of graphics, sound, printer or wireless device work as painlessly as possible. It might never have shown off the reflected-glory of banning non-free bytes, but it makes sure that you won't waste your precious time fighting with your hardware.