I have been using Opensuse 11.0 for only a shot while, but I am curious
to the purpose/function of the plasma desktop. The widgets are
interesting, but I have been unable to find another legitimate function
of the PD. Am I missing something obvious, or is the PD merely fluff?

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A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet and in email?

..snork