Hmmm. I wonder what you mean... It's pretty easy to install fonts on linux these days. I run many a desktop, and my personal ones have about a thousand fonts. And as for UI, I like the fact that you have a lot of choices and configurablility in linux with regards to how the UI looks. While I bet there's a fair amount of Mac themes to choose from if you want to change the look of your UI, linux has a dizzying amount of choices available -dave.
An old colleague of mine who moved on to work on interfaces for Nokia used to talk about "the last ten percent". What he meant that it was easy to define a good interface but it was the last ten percent (which, of course, took half the time) that defined a great one.
I think you're right. Linux has done the work to become a good desktop interface, certainly the equal (if not better than) anything from Microsoft but it still has to achieve (and may not be able to unless more OS projects embrace usability and similarity) that last ten percent.
OS X, with its Apple interface and BSD back end, killed any chance for me to embrace a Linux desktop though, like you, I use it for servers.
Oh, and Dave, that Linux has a "dizzying amount of choices" for themes isn't a real benefit for the look and usability of a UI. It's an interesting comment on interface look that while a lot of Windows and Linux hackers have a well chosen theme, often personalised, very few Mac hackers ever bother to touch the interface look. Over the years I've sat down at hundreds of Macs and they all look and feel standard, I wish it was easy when I sat down at a mate's Windows or Linux box.
People who compare Linux desktops to Windows generally miss the boat by a few hundred nautical miles. There is no comparison. Linux offers:
-multiple desktops and window managers: KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment, IceWM. TWM, Blackbox, Afterstep, etc etc many more. Some are fat things with zillions of functions. Some are small and lean for older systems, or users who like small and lean.
-All of these are very customizable for appearance, menu organization, window switching, app switching, and keymaps
-The default configuration for most of them is four virtual desktops. You can have up to 20
-You can easily switch between a graphical desktop and the console
-Linux is a true multi-user system, which means you don't have to log in as root to perform administrative chores like you do on Windows. In fact you can switch to any user in the console or an X terminal if you know their password, without logging out and logging back in. You can have as many different users all logged in at the same time as you want
-You can even run multiple X sessions a number of different ways: independent multiple X sessions on the same box, remote X, or nested X sessions all inside each other like a hall of mirrors
-Remote Linux administration gives you complete and total functionality and security, unlike remote Windows administration which is pitifully limited and unreliable, and far from secure
-Software management is as easy as falling asleep. Most Linux distributions these days use central package repositories. Software is installed or removed with a single command, like 'yum install foo' or 'apt-get install foo'. Security updates are equally easy, and can be easily automated. None of this crap you have to do with Windows where you don't dare roll out any patches or updates without extensive testing first.
-You also have the option of building applications from sources, or using third-party package repositories, or even building your own packages
So let's not hear any more garbage about how Linux is almost equal to Windows, or that Windows represents a standard to aim for. Get real- only if you're aiming low. The Windows desktop is light-years behind Linux, just like Windows is light-years behind Linux (and all other Unixes and Apple) in stability, security, and feature set. The only advantage Windows has is superior strongarming of hardware and software vendors, and the retail supply chain.