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I would post this in the distro forum but that is subsected and no central forum exists.
I have tried different distros of Linux, and they all do some things well, but not one really stands out as being something I can call home.
I prefer KDE to Gnome, I like being able to install the latest applications and libraries from source, but also would like convenience of a package manager for dependencies. I am essentially a Windows refugee because of lacking hardware support, ironically enough, and I dare not upgrade to Vista. Wine ran on some distros well, others had issues, and one just never got running to par, if at all. I know there are many different open source alternatives to Windows programs, but I am a gamer and wine or cedega are important to me.
So far, Slackware, as I remember, was able to run Wine pretty well. Kubuntu had issues with wine and my games of choice, and source just didn't seem to work. Fedora 8 has lots of support, but wine just wouldn't go.
At the moment I am bouncing between Slack and Kubuntu, where Slack can play my games almost effortlessly, Kubuntu has the package manager that I like very much. Is there a best of both in another distro?
Well you sond like me, althoug i do not game on my linux box yet. The nice thing is there is a distro for everyone. Since you are just discovering what is right for you just keep playing around.
I have used slack since the 7.x generation and also have played with many others. Have you tried openSuSE 10.3 yet, it comes in a live flavor and a complete install version, respectively; one is a cd image and the other is a dvd image. check out distro watch to see whats out there. Some others are Mandreva, DSL, Puppy, slax true debian the list goes on and on.
Of course, I would recommend Cross Linux from Scratch. Everything, including Wine, works fine for me on all of my CLFS boxes. Wine works like a champ on my Gentoo box and both my kids run Wine without a hitch on Ubuntu. There's no reason you can't install dpkg, apt, and any number of GUI front-ends on a base Slackware installation if you wanted to.
To compile from source on Kubuntu you need to install the build-essential package, as well as the -dev packages for the dependencies. If you're having issues with Wine on a distro, it could be the binary build acting up, so try installing from source. The best advice I can give to you, since you're a gamer, is pick a distribution that is widely used. If you do, chances are that most issues you come across have been found and solved by someone else.