At last, innovation on the desktop: the death of the icons
Since 1981, when Xerox introduced the Star workstation, the GUI desktop has pretty much remained the same for major desktop environments (with experiments that have not caught on that much such as SymphonyOS's Mezzo). Finally, 27 years later, KDE4.1 has gotten rid of desktop icons.
They have been replaced with a much more configurable Plasma applet that displays the contents of a directory similar to a file browser. This can be any folder: ~/Desktop/, ~/my-latest-project/, /etc/etc/etc/. Display filters can be set up, such as only displaying pictures.