Let's see what's the state of the Linux desktop in the current year of the Linux desktop. For this purpose I setup a virtual machine with qemu. You'll find more details on the arch wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/QEMU
- I create some dedicated space to install the distro and download or torrent legally the NET install ISO from the distro's homepage.
qemu-img create -f qcow2 fedora27.cow 20G
I run qemu with sudo, so I can use kvm. kvm allows you to use your whole CPU. You can use kvm as non-privileged user, by creating a new group in your udev rules. But I'm too lazy for that.
sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -m 4G -cdrom /path-to-your-folder/fedora27_x86_64.iso -boot order=d -drive file=fedora27.cow
First Distro I'm trying is Fedora 27. Installation is quick, you need to click on some options, but that's it, the rest is done in the background. If you want more control, you need to find the options first though. It uses wayland as standard. No more screen tearing, but without GPU passthrough to the virtual machine, it uses the CPU to render the graphics. 3D graphics and wayland slow down the whole thing and CPU is constantly over 50%. To test wayland better another test from a live image would be necessary. The bars on top are not as big as they used to be. The software looks uniform. Accessing software with the activities tab and then searching through very big icons is not practical. There is not so much software, but the installation size is still big. Firefox and LibreOffice take a lot of space. You can't rice or adapt much of the desktop, but you can download different styles.
My impression is that Gnome looks clean and can be used out of the box as is. It hides as much as possible from the user. It has the best touch screen and wayland support so far. I don't like the usability concept with the hidden software, it's too much optimized for touch devices in the mind. It might be interesting for someone who has a 2-in-1 device or likes the look and feel of Gnome to really use this as desktop. Fedora is a bit strange as distribution, as they ship classic releases with stable software from a due date, but also ship the latest kernel. The perfect distribution for Linus Torvalds, but not for the imageboard neckbeard.