"I kind of wish there were two paths to get Linux on the desktop. A cutting edge path, tailored to the distro, and a Standard Desktop for Linux (SDL) that was included with most distros (voluntarily) that was designed for minimal change over the years (bug fixes and minor improvements, but otherwise stay the same). During the install, you could just select the desktop environment you wanted. "
It's called Debian and you can make it as big or as small as you like.
Use the Force, Luke.