Over the last few weeks I've plunged head first in to using Linux as my primary desktop OS. Since then, my desktop has evolved from the standard Debian Gnome configuration to my configuration. With this new desktop, things are approached a little differently when compared with my old Windows setup. The avant-window-manager (dock) replaces the Windows taskbar. The Windows Start Menu and Quick Launch toolbar are replaced by the main Gnome panel, which sits at the top of the screen. I have added a bunch of applets to this panel, such as Terminal Services Client launcher, force quit a troublesome X process, user switcher, workspace switcher, some erm, eyes, local weather, show desktop and a volume control. I have a whole bunch of screenlets running too, they provide the opaque desktop widgets that you see in the screenshot.
Having used this configuration for the last few weeks, things have now evolved a little further. The folder layout on *nix machine "feels right" compared with Windows. All of "your stuff" is stored in your home directory -- which means that there's less emphasis on "the desktop", giving me the opportunity to easily keep it organised. Grouping all current desktop icons into logical groups (directories), I arranged them around my screenlets. I figured this is the best approach since all the useful bits (screenlets and icons) are all in one place. I disabled the nautilus (using gconf -> apps > nautilus > desktop preferences) desktop trash icon since I have a screenlet taking its place instead.
My only regret now is that when I built this machine I went with an ATI graphics card. ATI's Linux support sucks, the official proprietary drivers (the dreaded ``fglrx'') suck and the opensource radeon/radeonhd drivers aren't much better. Video performance is now the only major bottleneck on this machine and to "solve it" I decided I'd live with some high quality albeit closed-source drivers from nVidia -- an nVidia GTS 250 is on its way to me as I type.