With fingers crossed, I'm trying out (possibly partially modified) Ubuntu. Not because I think that's any great shakes, and I'm not interested in either Unity or Gnome 3, but just as an attempt to get back towards a fairly mainstream version of Debian, which I think is winning my conceptual race.
My problems with Ubuntu in the past stemmed from bad problems breaking my test box, but I just happened to notice that "P" 12.04 is the "Long Term Support" version, so I'm hoping they put a bit more care into it for once. I'm not demanding on my OS requirements, I really am not - I don't use Wifi and I don't print at home, (two of the more notorious funny spots in Linux), so if I were speaking to an anthromorphized OS, "Please just give me a stable picture and sound and play Flash videos and mp3's and radio channels, K? ThxBye."
Then I have to remember NOT to upgrade - (Ubuntu's October editions are a bit more skewed to have silliness). I'll just hunker down and wait for the next LTS. And maybe it will just sit there if the hardware finally proves too old. (Though I don't think I'm being unreasonable, a 2007 era Best Buy Pentium-4 Compaq box with an nvidia card isn't exactly third world obscurity, which is why I became grumpy last time when whatever edition it was of Ubuntu broke it and it quit booting.)
I'll save for another day whether I prefer LXDE or XFCE for the front end window, vs software available, but the overall point is that my Boot problems occurred really early on in my prior bad experiences, so once the comp boots, solving point #1, then it's just down to any of 2-3 window environments that are Non-Unity. Then once I get it working I'll just leave it alone, because it seems to be a shade brittle on the specs side, and endless tinkering will likely break it again. (4 distros this weekend failed to boot.)
I really only do like 10 things in the OS level, so a simple window manager should be fine. I went with Debian-based though because I like innovative apps, and I'm curious at all the nook and cranny stuff out there once I get the OS side solved.
So I'm almost done with my survey.
Edit: My mouse pointer died during the upgrade from a sub-distro to 12.04. So I am down to a couple of steps left. 1a. Fresh CD of Lubuntu 1b. Fresh CD of Xubuntu, to test out those two desk environs. 2. Stick with the Zorin sub-distro that did load, and then bide my time for them to patch up a Pagolin edition to fix what Canonical can't seem to do on my lead linux machine.
Edit2: Mashed keys and fiddled with Tab, got past that particular dialog box.