I posted this in a sticky, which may be the wrong place if I expected an answer, so here it is again:
When I see some of the "added" features in custom ROMS (such as those listed in Bugless Beast) appear to be features currently in the stock ROM, I wonder what features are not in the custom ROMs? And what stock features have bugs introduced because of the customization? For example, I read a post from someone who was happy with the custom ROM because the animated background hadn't caused their phone to crash "in over a day". I've not had any issues with crashing at all. What sacrifices will I have to make when flashing a custom ROM or kernel?
I guess I've decided I want root access so I can overclock and potentially do backups and maybe some theme changes, but I like the functionality of the stock ROM and all of its features and don't want to sacrifice any of them. So, my questions are this:
1) Does changing the kernel introduce the potential for bugs in the ROM or any installable applications that wouldn't exist with the stock kernel?
2) Would installing the O/C kernel cause any incompatibilities in the ROM or installed applications?
3) Would the kernel potentially be replaced by OTA updates?
4) Is there a custom ROM with all the features of the stock ROM + root access + other cool features?
While I am a software developer (I even developed one very small app for personal use for the Moto Droid), I don't have a lot of experience with Linux.
Finally, what is your personal favorite custom ROM?
Thanks for any input!