What exactly is a "classic" desktop anyway? Are we talking classic Windows? Classic Mac OS? There's a constellation of UI paradigms which work. Some of them are mutually incompatible, you can't use them simultaneously. If you want to come up with something new, it has to actually work better than what we had before. If it merely works "as good" as what it's replacing then users won't be happy. You're changing things for the sake of change. So from those choices you pick the ones you think work best together and create a DE out of them. So we get Gnome Shell, KDE, XFCE, et al. Then there are the numerous eccentrics, throwbacks, and masochists running things like Awesome, DWM, Trinty, or any of the others which don't even add up to 1% all together.
I don't think Linux users are getting more pragmatic. The different camps have mostly just solidified around their own "classic" vision. There's 3-4 different main camps now depending how you choose to slice it, and numerous sub groups and forks if you drill down deeper. It'll always be more fragmented, contentious, and fluid than Windows or OS X. That's a good thing, as long as you have the wherewithal to navigate your way between all the various spin-offs and cousin projects spawned when the devs make a boneheaded change for change's sake. Gnome 2 users need to know enough that MATE is their upgrade path, etc.
I've actually been using Unity these days. It's level of polish and completeness is better than anything else I've found and it replicates the features I most enjoy from OS X. I had to install a less offensive theme and icon pack, change the system font to Lucida Grande, but after that it's a very nice desktop. I only have a few criticisms: you can't move the dock to the bottom; the search features aren't as simple and elegant as Spotlight, lenses are over-engineered and pointlessly complicated for what the achieve even if it's a more powerful tool overall; and there are a couple minor GUI glitches which I've come to find unacceptable after spending so much time in the pixel-perfect world Apple has created.