Last week, I tried to upgrade my Debian desktop to the latest Debian stable. Due to my own ineptitude at setting up my desktop in the first place, and my foolishness in telling aptitude to "ignore recommends" when dist-upgrading, I wrecked my system.
I have backups, and keep my data on a separate partition, so this is not the backups are important post. Backups are important, by the way.
I decided to try Elementary OS (Freya, version 0.3) while I had a system ripe for reconfiguration. As a Crunchbang/Debian user for most of my Linux (now with more GNU!) life, I wasn't expecting to like it much. I was wrong. In my humble opinion, Elementary is doing everything right.
I never felt restricted by their lack of configurability, which was my experience with Gnome 3 and 2. I didn't feel like I was building my own desktop from scratch, which is where Openbox and i3 excel. I felt like I was given a system with sensible defaults, with sensible configuration options that are simple to change and control.
All is not perfect; Elementary is in its early days, and there are rough edges and major problems around every corner. Still, even with their growing pains, the value of what they're going for shines through. Their applications are pleasant to use, and look wonderful. They take a lot of inspiration from Apple, but they only keep the good parts.
This is the first time that I've been using Linux that my partner has shown interest. She is a art teacher and graphic designer, has been a lifelong Mac user, and would like to try to use Elementary on her old Macbook that has been "antiqued" by Apple. The arrogance of that term alone would drive me to a felony, but I digress.
If Elementary can get these kind of impressions at version 0.3, imagine what the next iteration will bring. I can't use it on my primary desktop just yet, but I have a feeling I'll be back.