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...a script that finds your dependencies, does all the downloading from the Torrent, does extraction (tar -jxvf packagename.tar.bz2) and then installation (./configure && make && make install). The source, once extracted, would have a file listing dependencies (or, better yet, there should be a way for a script to probe the source files to determine dependencies).
This is almost an exact description of the OneBase OLM installation process. Installing KDE, *from source*, compiled exactly for *my* machine is done by this command:
olm -s kde
And that's it! Of course, it is taking a really long time, because the computer is fetching each needed package from source, compiling it, and then moving to the next one. I could have used the binary command, and been up and running immediately, but I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about running a source-based distro was about.
I found myself really taking to XFCE, and I would probably use it exclusively for a while if I could have icons on my desktop.
Actually, adding desktop icons to XFCE isn't difficult at all. VECTOR Linux does this by using two programs: the DFM package, which adds the desktop icons themselves, and a customized XFCE package called xfbackground instead of xfdesktop so that the DFM packages work correctly. Not difficult at all to set up. Check the VL forums at http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum for more information.