Of all the metaphors to the computer world I like "Tron" and "the Matrix" the best. In them there's the basic constructs and program loaders and then the immersion of the user into a virtual reality. To be totally immersed in a virtual environment yet still have awareness and control is akin to a sci-fi utopia. Escaping the bounds of physical limitations while still having physical sense as if it were reality. I hardly think that the present day GUI does that for anyone but we still strive to have more intuitive interfaces. You have at your disposal the six major functions, point, click, drag, drop, cut and paste, plus you can tweak and adjust the look and feel of the desktop through the various desktop settings menus. Then you have the hardware to interface your physical body to the computer: the mouse, keyboard, pen tablet, video screen, etc. What makes Linux so different than MS or Mac is the range of desktop choices. Fundamentally, they all do the same things but the subtle detail in the look and feel on the desktop is overlaid on top of what is underneath, the kernel, libraries and utilities involved. I'm not making a pitch to programmers, what do typical computer users care about internals? They just want the thing to work and look snazzy. So, it is the right and privilege of every Linux user to try out the various desktops to find ones they are comfortable with. Usually the desktop you start out with will become the most impressive in your experience. If you are prone to bragging rights and subject to new car smells, you might have problems moving on and if you are stuck on MS Windows like looks and feels you might struggle a bit. My advice is to stick with the tried and true desktop GUI's until you are a bit more knowledgeable, but don't let me limit your exploration. What are the tried and true? In Ubuntu Linux, if you decide to go that route, Gnome desktop is the basic desktop. Gnome is also the default desktop on other major distributions like Red Hat. Gnome is well put together and has a particular look and feel as opposed to KDE (in Kubuntu) which is also very popular. KDE in it's basic look resembles MS Windows but is much more tweakable. My personal opinion is that KDE is more complex, has more power and is adjustable to a wider swath of users than Gnome. Gnome is no slouch on looks and feel but the focus is on stability and simplicity. These two desktops are the big guns of the Linux desktop and will usually be what a new user will encounter first.