Thanks, Ginsu, I will download Mint 15 and take it for a whirl. The cube itself is not that critical; like you said, it's eye-candy, but being able to flip through using ctrl+alt+[right arrow] has become a instinctual for me, to the point where is really bugs me when I am in a differnet environment and that action doesn't provide me with a fresh desktop. Even worse, on my laptop, when forced to resort to Win 7, those key combinations cause my screen to change orientation, which can be disconcerting, to say the least.
Spearmint, KDE has changed so much over the past decade... when I first tried it, it was too... alien, I guess the word is. I was a Windows user, and a Command-Line jockey-- I used several mainframe OSes for work and such, and KDE was far from intuitive for me. While the fact that you could get the basic menu in several different ways, it felt awkward, and I couldn't find certain things without a fair time searching.
Now, it is immensely more complex. There are lots of powerful things one can do with KDE, I acknowledge that, but it still feels alien to me. I can't find a command-line interface. In the Gnome variants, it's easily accessible under Terminal.
You can have different desktops in KDE, which is something I really wish I could get in Unity, Gnome, or CInnamon. But you can also have different workspaces, which is also a nice feature, it seems, if only I could get a handle on how to properly implement them. But... why both multiple desktops and multiple workspaces? Should it not be one or the other?
Bottom line is, I am very used to Ubuntu's Unity environment right now, but it is changing in ways I don't appreciate. I miss the flexibility we had with Gnome 2, I want different workspaces like you can get in KDE, and I have neither the time nor programming chops to build something that does all that for myself. It is frustrating because by nature, I am a mechanic, and I've spent quite a bit of time hacking little changes into things to accomplish my own wants and needs, but this is more than changing the appearance of a few windows, making a more natural (God no, not the white!) color scheme, or implementing a local weblog. I am looking for a Frankenstein's monster of an OS that does everything good without sacrifices...