If I had a sticker to put on my computer for everything I wanted to remember................ This is why I don't like icons on my desktop. It's sort of gets like refrigerator magnets gone wild. Does all that magnetic radiation effect your food? I learned to use a file manager to circumvent the icon fetish proliferation.
The Linux desktop is a wonderful place. It can be simple which I like or you can dress it up so finely arrayed, Mr. Klein would look for a label. I have tried a number of Linux desktops, XFCE, KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment, and others. Folks get vocal about their favorites because the desktop GUI is after all the face of the operating system. This is why people loved XP and hated Vista. In Linuxville there are camps that hold true to their beloved GUI of choice also. And this is one unique feature of Linux is that there are many GUIs to choose from.
YOU CAN'T WIN, or STOP THE NOISE!!!!!! Either you buy the OS with the one desktop GUI and put up with all the squeaks and grunts. Or you get hold of the free OS with multiple desktop GUIs and put up with rants and raves about those. I can't decide which Linux desktop is good for you, but I can recommend. Some of the choice is made for you when you choose a Linux distribution. But the main camps are KDE or Gnome, they are the full featured GUIs and if you need lighter there is XFCE. If you are more technically inclined you might venture into other desktop GUIs. In my travels, I started with XFCE on a distro called Xubuntu.
Now Xubuntu is Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop. My problem was this, as I added memory to my PC I also wanted to explore other desktop GUIs. Linux doesn't usually have problems with different libraries for running programs, but running multiple window managers can create conflicts if the integration is too tight. I installed Gnome along side XFCE in my Xubuntu and it never ran right. Now I changed my distro over to Ubuntu with the Gnome desktop, installed XFCE on the side and it runs just fine, I can choose either. This is what is meant by "mileage may vary". I think some development groups don't think in terms of flexibility, extendability, and changeability to the fullest extent. They compromise to a point, make decisions and that is the distro you get. In any case regular Ubuntu is fine for me and Gnome desktop is cool enough. I can start simple or escalate the desktop furniture to rival the refrigerator door.
Here is a shot of my present desktop:
It is simple, handy and workable for me. The bar across the top has my fast click stuff and the bar on the bottom you don't see hides when not needed. The picture display (right corner) changes and can search my folders or Flicker and I can make them wallpaper with a click. The time and date things are handy but I'd rather have them in the bar, unaffected by desktop changes. This stuff is called Screenlets, there are a lot of them to choose from, you can go crazy.
I have other things to do besides play with my desktop, you know. And once you get over the look what I can do on my desktop phase of life, practical considerations come forward. Having the "baddest" or "coolest" desktop becomes less an obsession, though I have given in to a steady state of change. So adding together the practical with "I think I'll try this", I get closer to nerdvana.
What's next for the Linuxville guide guy? Why rippling psychedelic Aurora Borealis and naked penguins in a row doing the can can across the screen............