I've been singing the praises of MEPIS for a long time, but I felt the need to say again how much I love this little distro. Having started with SM 6.0, I found each version was better than the previous one (although I skipped over SM 7.0 only because I liked SM 6.5 so much).
SM 8.5 has been my production OS for several months. The installation was completely uneventful, with sound, graphics, on-board sensors, printing and scanning working perfectly straight out of the box.
Setting up and customizing KDE 4.3 was amazingly simple. Warren really made the transition from KDE 3.5 painless. Applications that had been a bit dodgy in the past, such as k3b, now work as smooth as silk. Inserting double-layer DVDs into the DVD drive no longer cause kernel freezes like they did in the past (thanks to the new kernel I suppose), and the few Windows applications I still use work better than ever in Wine. As usual, graphics was a non-issue with the NVidia drivers.
I've fallen in love with Dolphin; it's even easier to use than Konqueror and also more powerful. I love begin able to mounting a partition with the click of the mouse in the file manager -- What a nice little app!
The System Settings are so easy and intuitive, especially the Task Scheduler. Setting up tasks to run as root when booting up is now a breeze.
The Panel was a big improvement over kicker. I had a much easier time getting it to look "just right" than with the old kicker. I also love it when that little Device Notifier pops up when devices are plugged in and when CDs and DVDs are loaded.
And then there's KDE 4.3. (Yes, I know it's officially "dead", but who cares so long as it plays nice with the Community and Lenny repositories?) I find my self being much more productive using this DE than I ever was with KDE 3.5, especially since I tend to have a lot of apps open at the same time. The developers included enough compositing features to make the DE both fun and productive, and left out all the useless over-the-top eye candy that makes Compiz flaky and unstable.
... and the list goes on and on and on. In short, SM 8.5 has a very familiar look 'n feel with the rock-solid stability we've come to expect from MEPIS, but it has so many new features under the surface that make it really exciting.
The one word that best describes SimplyMEPIS is ... Perfect. The words to this song express what I want to say.