Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Normally, at the end of the year, I tend to run my best annual distro roundups, choosing the finest among five operating systems or flavors thereof that showed the greatest promise in terms of stability, usability, elegance, support, and other curious items in the outgoing twelve-month period. But I have never dedicated much thought to selecting the best implementation of any one particular desktop environment, regardless of the system underneath.
But when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Oftentimes, distributions rise and fall based on their desktop session, because that is what users see and interact with, and if there are problems in the presentation layer, they will come to bear. While the kernel might be identical for various editions of any one distro, the application stack and the ease of use make all the difference. Take Ubuntu and Kubuntu, for example. Which brings us to this showdown. True, the year has still some three and a half months left to run, which means we will miss the autumn fever with this compilation, but still, let us vote the best KDE distro around.
Candidate 1: openSUSE
The stardom of openSUSE seems to be behind us. In my un-humble opinion, the greatness of SUSE was in the 11.X series, with phenomenal releases, one after another. The first two versions of the 12th series were somewhat lukewarm, but then, openSUSE did a rather interesting comeback with the 12.3 edition.