The Linux desktop has declined in quality, and usability... while the range of Linux drivers available has went up. There just isn't even any justification for the sheer bloat present in the current GUI toolkits and libraries.
Evidence of the decline in usability is the sheer excitement that KDE1 was met with upon it's recent rerelease... sure nearly any Linux desktop properly configured is better than windows 10's interface. But that still doesn't make the modern desktop environments good.
KDE1 + antialiased and hinted fonts would genuinely be good. Personally, for awhile I used e16 as a desktop it mostly was quite nice, lightweight on resources (several megabytes of ram and negligible CPU) and *unintrusive*. I don't think the same can be said for any modern desktop at all.