Impressions are inevitably subjective and operating systems suffer from the same kind of subject impressions you or I do. If you’re ugly or you don’t seem to have the same “nifty stuff” that others have, you’re perceived to be less capable even if you are really more sophisticated than the competition. Linux is the perfect example of that. It’s a better operating system than Windows and on par with what’s under the covers of Mac OS X but it hasn’t been impressing anyone with how cool it looks any time recently.
That appears poised to change though. There were two different projects to give the Linux desktop a makeover but they have now merged to form Compiz Fusion. It is quite far along and should be showing up as a standard feature on Linux desktops (e.g. Ubuntu) in the near future. Here’s a video over on YouTube demonstrating the capabilities of the software which includes multiple virtual desktops, better window switching, and lots and lots of eye candy: