My system: T43p running Debian unstable
Kernel: 22.214.171.124 Patches: SATA suspend, undervolt CPU: Pentium 4M undervolted (1196, 1052, 956, 860, 780, 700) -> no CPU errors so far...
Video: fglrx 8.22.5
Other custom tweaks:
Thinker et. al.'s custom fan control daemon Enabled special keys, etc.
Gnome or KDE? KDE. I know this is subjects of constant flame-waring, but Gnome's file picker bugs the heck out of me. KDE is extremely pretty, and the QT licensing issues of the past are now resolved.
Firefox or IE? Come on, really...
Java or C++? Uhh... C. I really must become more proficient in C++.
Gentoo or Debian? Debian for now, but keep in mind I ran slackware until 2002 (eventually got fed up with lack of releases and package management.) I am keeping a close eye on Gentoo though, as I do apprciate custom compilation. However, one can always do this with Debian too, with a bit of effort. Debian's release schedule (even for sid) is also a tad slow...