If you have enough motivation to stalk me, you would eventually find out I worked for Canonical (Ubuntu) for 10 years. I was very terminal-centric. After leaving, I went (back) to Debian. A few years ago I disto-hopped a bit. As a past Gentoo user (I was an openoffice L10n dev back in the day and I used Gentoo) I wasn't sure I had the patience to install Arch without an installer. I heard of this new distro called EndevourOS and I used it for a bit after a brief interlude of trying Manjaro (and finding various aspects I objected to). Endevour was good but the build (arch updates) would break rather often and would require more effort than I had patience with. Nice people though and a pleasing design.
Fast forward a bit and distrowatch told me about a distro called Garuda Linux. It was on Arch. I thought to myself that was interesting because there was a Garuda Linux based upon Ubuntu that I knew about. It was the brainchild of someone from India and we conversed a bit. Anyway, I gave Garuda a try. I thought this was around 2019 but DistroWatch says it had to have been 2020. It was interesting but at that time there wasn't anything that was compelling to me and the eye-candy, coming from terminal-centric, was too much. (Sorry @dr460nf1r3)
Fast forward again and I found that Fedora really had things together. fwupated worked flawless, something I could get to work reliably on debian-based distros. I explored a bit with atomic systems like Fedora Silverblue (and a detour to QubesOS). Around this time I finally declared defeat with gnome-shell and gave KDE Plasma a try. It wasn't annoying like it used to be (many, many years ago) and I came to really like it. I gave Kionite a spin but being a "power user" I just couldn't adjust to the rpm-ostree and podman usage. Things I wanted to do in toolbox I couldn't make work. I really got tired of the 35->36->37->38 etc upgrade process, just like having to debian upgrades. It's getting old. Who has time for that?
So I had another look at Arch-based items. EndevourOS's latest wouldn't even boot on my various machines. Manjaro was out naturally...no need for that drama. I tried Xero... nice looking but I didn't quite like the sway-ish task bar. It was very clean though. CachyOS was super fast but ugly and it's not really true arch like Endevour. I gave RebornOS (nice but it didn't load on all machines), arco, Salient (wouldn't boot), BlendOS (wouldn't boot), and a few others. Always something not quite right.
Eventually, I downloaded Gardua and gave it another spin. Niko's designs have been refined. The update script is exactly what I was looking for. The helper apps are also what I liked from Endevour...except Garuda's are better. Snapper is amazing. I found the layout decent but what really struck me was the thoughtfully opinionated choices. And, miraculously, it booted on the first try on everything I owned, including the ancient macbook pro I'm using to type this post. Everything worked on all the systems, NVIDIA or not. The animated screens are a nice touch too. And then I found the "services" tab and all the extras that team has put together for privacy. THAT... the focus on Privacy that nobody cares about (oh the stories I could tell you about commercial linux companies)... is what sealed the deal and won me over. ...And then I discovered that there is a nice community here too.
So here I am. I've replaced all of my linux installs on laptops and desktops with Garuda and I'm waiting on a new M2 SSD for another install. I won't have to spend hours upgrading like poor Windows...er...Fedora and Debian users have to. Yeah ok, overall I might spend more time doing upgrades (or more specifically waiting waiting for rate-mirrors) but that's fine. It takes only a few seconds really.
So to the team, thanks for doing all this work and giving me a new OS to call home. Thanks Niko for improving the eye-candy. To the community that's already here, thanks for being here.