This'll be my first Linux install, so I've never had to choose between a desktop environment (I come from OS X) -- forgive me if I'm not fully literate on where exactly the OS ends and the desktop manager begins.
My needs are:
Customizability (I like my work environment to look and function a particular way) -- especially being able to move and organise windows using keyboard commands and shortcuts.
Simplicity: I like as little real estate to be taken up by graphical widgets and toolbars as possible (as I said, I tend to avoid the mouse). If it were up to me, windows would just show content, not even a scrollbar.
Performance: I hear Gnome can be slow and bloated. Is this the case?
I will be using the environment as an IDE. I was going to go with Arch at first, but being a Linux newb with not that much time on my hands, it looked pretty daunting. Fedora looks like a good choice too.
- Side question: just how much does one's choice of windows manager affect which applications one can run?