Hello. Me being a new guy to the site also... and a HAPPY owner of the AWUS036H. And been using the KDE version... dont think theres any optimal version unless your looking for some special features? Its my first touch to the linux operating system so I cant speak with any experience. But I think its that way?
So you wish to crack wep keys? Theres good simple tutorial of it at aircrack-ng site. I managed to get the wep keys of 4 of my neighbours networks by the help of those tutorials in under an hour. It was rediculously easy even there was no wireless clients in those networks present and not very smart neighbours had wep keys like 54123 and 1234567890123.
Next course of action I think will be to try cracking some WPA protected networks.