Your review in the latest issue was quite negative, so I upgraded from 10.1 with a little trepidation. The upgrade went fine, took about 40 minutes after threatening to take 3 hours. Everything works just as it did before, which is what I really want. Whether one is on Gnome 2.8 or 2.10, or KDE 3.4 or 3.3.x, really, who cares? The nice thing about Mandrake has never been this, its been how easy it is to manage it. Compare it with Ubuntu, and you see at once the level of detailed work that's gone into the control centre stuff.
I have people on Suse, and I think its about comparable. I had problems with Mandrake 10.1 on some, apparently quite ordinary, hardware, and so moved them to Suse. But I have remained on Mandrake, and see little difference. I don't think there's any speed difference. Suse has some easier things and some harder ones - if you want an example, look at the way Suse obliges you to set up passwords for CUPS. Absolutely horrendous for a non-terminal happy user. But in the main, Suse seems stable and perfectly fine, as does Mandrake once you get it in.
I also don't think either that twice yearly updates are going to be the problem you suggest. In practice, for people who are just using their machines, there was at least a six month, more often longer, gap between upgrades. Because that was the gap between 'official' releases.
It is true that there doesn't seem to be anything very special in this release. But that's how it is now. There isn't anything very special in the latest Suse stuff, or the latest Knoppix stuff. Its called....maturity!