I haven't gotten a Linux Distro yet, since I haven't really looked into it that much. I heard its not amazing, especially if you want to virtualize or dual-boot. If I would get it it would Ubuntu, because of their large community, and the fact they were able to make a version released under a large computer company.
GNOME for Windows is possible, using the Cygwin that is used in de KDE port for Windows and works very well. There is some old version that are ported (1.4 oooold). The Cygnome project is working to port the 2.x version. If Dia, GIMP, Gvim works fine on Windows why Gnome dont?
My fav distro is Fedora, i switch to this after the Mandrake power off.
Fedora is a very stable distro, with only open source software, but you can use other software (mp3, nvidia, wma) with some extras repos.
Is totally created by the fedoraproject (not for a company (Novell, Canonical))
Has one of the best developer envirionment (ext4 was developed and tested in Fedora). The kernel is very small, and runs very well, because, compile and load essential modules, (Ubuntu: NO everybody needs the NinjaMP3 FileSystem Driver).
The configuration is easy like all the others distros (like Ubuntu) just has the problem that only includes open source software and some drivers aren't available. But sometimes users only need add modules.
I been playing with a few in VirtualBox for a couple years. People say they like Arch because it's always bleeding edge and not bloated, but i didn't like that it took hours upon hours to install gui plus apps. I like the idea of Slax and DSL, but i find real usability is low. For recovery, i certainly like Knoppix. For a standard usable OS on harddrive, i like Ubuntu/Xubuntu best. I even tried Debian, but having to add my username to the sudoers file, and edit a few config files turned me off. When and if i ever have some real time on my hands, i would like to try Arch and Debian again, but Ubuntu has truly won me over. I find it the easiest to install/config, but please note that you will still use the terminal a lot -- and google is your best friend for solving weird install/config issues when adding software.