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Thanks Gilboa. Actually in Precise Pangolin with 4.9, I am not seeing the delay, but wait, there is a tiny tiny delay now just before the login sound. Last time I saw the delay it was present in Arch Linux + KDE 4.8.x and Fedora 17 + KDE 4.8.x.
KDE is not bad. However I see some things wrong with it: KDM is not that attractive, lack of more appealing themes, Oxygen UI button too small for 22" panels, the Kickoff Menu is one of the worst menus ever made, the Classic is also difficult to deal with (kudos for Mageia's own tweaking for that Menu though).
I think KDE should learn some things from GNOME 2 and from Unity. From GNOME 2, to have more simplicity instead of overkill options. From Unity/Canonical the importance of getting out of the box impecable typeface, theme and icons. Every time I do a KDE installation, the fonts suck really bad. It shouldn't be doing its own thing and trying to mimic windows in every way (I know it doesn't but come on...).
I still think MATE or Unity are the best in terms of usability.