Well, Compiz has finally accomplished what it's been threatening to do ever since I realized my computer could run the silly thing: made me switch to Gnome -- meaning Ubuntu. Overall, the experience hasn't been bad, and in fact Gnome's come a long way from when last I used it. In many ways, it's better than KDE, but in a few others it's sorely lacking.
How is it better than KDE, you ask? Well, for starters, the level of polish. I don't know if this is a Gnome vs. KDE thing or an Ubuntu vs. Just-About-Anyone-Else thing, but I've had much less problems on Gnome. As I mentioned, I use Compiz -- the desktop cube is one of my favorite features on Linux. The problem is, KDE kept quasi-crashing on login whenever I used it, and I wouldn't be able to use my keyboard except to press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace and try logging in again.
By comparison, in Ubuntu I just hit a button and voila: Compiz was activated and so far it's been as slick as oil and stable as a rock (knock on wood).
The applications are a bit worse, however. Nautilus is fine, except for the fact that it can't do the split view Dolphin and Konqueror can, which is a shame 'cause it makes moving files around a pain. There also doesn't seem to be an option to restore from the trash can. Pidgin is alright, in the sense it gets the job done, but it's not nearly as attractive as either Kopete or Kmess were (specifically I miss themes that would show a user's picture next to their message, which made it easier to keep track of who said what in large conversations). Finally, no Gnome audio program can hold a candle to Amarok.
I'm aware I can install either of those inside of Gnome, of course, but I figure I'll give a pure GTK environment a shot before returning to my favorite apps.