Desktop Linux is a dancing bear -- remarkable that it works, but you don't expect it to be graceful (and it isn't). When you start it up (I'm using Red Hat 9, pre-installed) it looks remarkably like a real desktop computer system -- icons, task bars, the works.
Underneath of course is Unix.
I've been saying this a lot lately and I may as well say it here: Unix went from being the worst operating system available to being the best without really undergoing any improvement.
I want to use Linux because I want and need the openness, plus I'm cheap. BUT, I'm a real adult person with not much time, so I want the openness and programmability to be SIMPLE, ELEGANT, and ACCESSIBLE. Am I in a vanishingly small demographic or something? [Answer: yes]