I have used Linux for the last ten years. My house has a rule that states "Windows are for walls, not computers."
Right now I am using Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) but have used most of the distros in the past. (Suse, which became OpenSuse. Mandrake, which became Mandrivia. Red Hat, which became Fedora. Fedora, which is still fedora. SCO, which became nothing. Slackware, which became a pain. Knoppix, which also became a pain. OpenBSD, which isn't linux at all. Gentoo, which starts off as a pain but quickly becomes less of one. and now Ubuntu, which is only a pain if you're used to other linux distros.)
As far as the GUI, I am running Gnome, but prefer Enlightenment because it's so much quicker. There are some pretty annoying bugs right now with the latest version of E17 though, so if you try it out, stay with E16 which is the more stable release.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them for you.