What is happening in the recent times with Linux?
It seems that those days of solid rock stability in the Linux desktop are falling in the past. As I see this history, the decadence started more or less, at the time when kde4 was released; being kde3.5 a very powerful and stable desktop, the 4th release was no more than a technology preview that only recently have reached a quality point just between an alpha and a beta. Even now, only for example, we have not a printer administration panel like that one in 3.5. The next step in decay was
to attack the stability and performance, one of the best goals of Linux.
In the current times, it seems that overlay bars, effects, and many other visual improvements are by far more important than hardware support. But people seems to forget that the first you need to display the "pleasant" effects is a WORKING desktop and OS.
If you would have to buy a computer now, what would you buy to run Linux?
A NVIDIA laptop? Optimus not so much supported, Hybrid performance is bad, to the level that it don't works at all...
A ATI laptop? AMD and hybrid with Linux promises a full degree of experience in kernel panics, X crashes, heat, regressions, etc...
A Macbook? It seems the best or even the only one option for stability, but Sandy Bridge it's not so much supported yet...
Other options? I can only think in buy a 2nd hand minimum two years old laptop.
Then, the question again, what is happening? You want a Linux computer to work with it, not to show the superb desktop to your friends, while crossing your fingers willing that the X server don't crashes again this time, or the system doesn't hang.
I think that Desktop developer companies like ubuntu, fedora, kde or gnome and others are missing the point here, as user experience is very important, but stability and overall performance is the FIRST BIG part of it, and no the effects, shadows, or where to place the buttons.