Perhaps you don’t already follow Nat Friedman’s blog at nat.org. If not, you may be missing some of the more exciting stuff going on in the desktop Linux space.
In particular, Nat has recently published some very cool flash-based demos of Beagle and Mono. These future features will likely become part of Novell Linux Desktop, as well as other Linux distributions.
The cool thing about Nat is that he really gets that ease of use must be a primary consideration of any company producing a desktop operating system. That focus of Nat’s is being applied to open source and so translates into some of the rapid ramp-up that we are seeing in desktop usability.