i've been running linux as my OS of choice for my server for a while now. but as windows pushed me over the edge recently i decided to go full blown linux , and havn't looked back once. i love the whole community that entails what is open source. that being said this is the desktop i ended up with after tinkering around with it for a few days.
Liquid Weather ++
TDE - T Desktop Enhancements
GlasNews 'UniversalRDF'(slighty tweaked)
Sparkling [alpha release]
(thanx for the link cagwait)
Although there are a lot of really great kicker replacements out there right now i still was not able to find one that provided the functionality i need with the look i was going for, so kicker stays for now.