The Linux distribution that I most remember using in the olden days of my Linux experimentation is the old Mandrake Linux distribution. This was a Linux distribution geared towards beginner Linux users and had some awesome themes. I loved using it due to the solid way it was put together. Nowadays, we have the Ubuntu and Linux Mint distributions dominant in the Linux world. But there are other Linux distributions such as Mageia and Chrunchbang that do not get as much attention. The new Fedora 19 MATE distribution bundles the popular MATE desktop interface with the Fedora distribution. It also has the Emerald window manager if you want some awesome themes to try out. The Emerald WM, being 3D acellerated is very pleasing to the eye indeed. This coupled with Compiz, makes the Linux desktop capable of some impressive eye candy. That is easier with Linux than Windows, Windows 8 has an extremely ugly theme and the addition of Window blinds is the only way to make it prettier. But the MATE desktop has the ability out of the box to install some incredible Metacity themes as well as GTK styles. That is the advantage of using a Linux installation over a Windows box. Windows is good for gaming and office work, but you can do that in Linux Mint or Gentoo as well. Red Hat Linux Enterprise is the one Linux distribution that still uses the old Gnome 2.28 desktop.
Gnome has been around for a long time. I remember compiling the Gnome 2.10 build from source a long while ago on a Zenwalk distribution with the Xfce desktop. It took quite a while but it was worth all of the effort to finally get a Gnome desktop up and running. That is why a Linux distribution is such a good desktop environment. You have a massive library of software on tap with the Synaptic package manager and this means that you can perform just about any task without too much fuss. That is why I prefer Linux over Windows. I use Windows sometimes for gaming, but the need to have an activation key as well as the other necessities that come with using Windows, such as virus protection make it a frustrating operating system to use. There is a small thumb drive sized Linux device that you can plug into any HDMI monitor and convert it into a “zero client” virtual desktop. Read about this new device here: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2039453/-99-linux-stick-turns-any-hdmi-display-into-a-virtual-desktop.html. This device has integrated Bluetooth and WIFI capabilities that allow users to simply connect to the device wirelessly and then enter a username and password to access a remote display. This means that you could use a large 80″ screen as a remote Linux display without wires. This is a very cool invention. This is essentially a thin terminal that does not store any data. But would still be very useful for anyone who wants a virtual desktop system that is cheap.
The xrdp application for Linux allows you to remote desktop into a Linux computer from Windows. That is pretty cool. I have tried that out and it is very usable in fact. The Fedora 19 MATE desktop with Compiz is one good thing to come out of the Fedora camp. The ability to use either the Metacity or the Emerald window manager is the best thing ever. There are some awesome themes for MATE and also the Emerald WM. Here is a listing of the highest rated Beryl Emerald themes on the Gnome Look website: http://gnome-look.org/index.php?xsortmode=high&page=0&xcontentmode=103.
Some lovely Bery Emerald themes.
Divergence Emerald theme: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Divergence+Inspired?content=136379. This one is the most beautiful theme.
Gallygan Emerald theme: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Gallygan?content=134580.
Kore suite Emerald theme: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Kore+Suite?content=54701.