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Some of us have systems than randomly seize up without specially patched kernels. So why not keep rolling on forwards? That and using the Zen kernel means I'm constantly upgrading to the new release, 3.8.10-zen+ currently.
I've compiled a new kernel on a few occasions, really for no reason other than to find out how and learn a bit about the kernel. Really though Pat's kernels are more than fine for my fairly old machine (3 years+), but, that said, I may well switch to 3.9.x from 3.8.6 (on 14.0) when that comes out.
I've got a server running in my living room running 14.0 which will be keeping the default kernel until the hard drive gives out..
However on my day to day laptop I tend to get the itch now and then and compile a new kernel.. There are a bunch of bug fixes and such between 3.2.29 and 3.2.44, which I figured would be good to get.. However when I tried to run a later 3.2.x series kernel I was getting hard lock ups, so I've jumped to 3.4.37, which is running great.
I try to keep with the latest stable kernel, but don't upgrade every time there's an update because compiling the kernel is very time consuming on my hardware. I tend to just download the full kernel source - because patching has never gone well for me...
3.2.29-huge-smp has been working almost perfectly on my laptop thus far, so I haven't needed Kernel fiddling. Though I compiled 3.4.8 on my test install and it worked great but with udevd hiccups, may be my fault.
Stable-kernel for me any day.