I work with a desktop and a touchscreen hybrid. On the desktop I stay on the desktop most of the time. On the hybrid I stay on the start screen most of the time.I don't think there is anything special enough in Win 8.x that would compell me to install Win 8.x on a machine that is already running Win 7 but it isn't nearly bad enough that I would consider downgrading a machine to Win 7 that came with Win 8 pre-installed.
I recently purchased a new laptop that came with Win 8 (no gimmicky touchscreen) and it works very well and I have no issues with it. I am not a fan of the Start screen and truly dislike "Modern" apps so I am content to spend 99% of my time working from the Win 8 desktop. All of the software I use on my Win 7 machine installs and runs without issue in Win 8. I don't need the crutch of the Start button so I don't miss it at all (rarely use it in Win 7). There are too many other ways to access my installed programs (shortcuts on desktop, toolbars, Quicklaunch, pin to Taskbar) to bother with a Start button.
I personally don't understand the hatred for Win 8. For those that like using the Start screen and modern apps they can do that, for those that don't, there is the desktop. Now if MS had completely removed the ability to reach the desktop and prevented me from running legacy Windows software then I would reject Win 8 completely but since we have the choice of using one or the other or a mix of both, where is the issue?