Windows 8 = Windows 7, and then some, without Aero. Let me explain.
You can download a Start Button (there are multiple available). The one i use replicates the Windows 7 start button. This start button has a menu, accessible by right clicking it, which allows you to make a few adjustments, including disabling the Charm and Multitask menus when you move your mouse to a corner.
There is a third party program that applies Transparency to the Taskbar. This allows your Taskbar to look similar to Window 7's. Although i havnt found a transparency solution for actual windows yet.
You can enable Quick Launch icons to the Taskbar by adding a Toolbar, and selecting the Quick Launch folder.
You can make Windows 8 launch to Desktop
by placing the "Show Desktop" icon into the Startup folder, which is here:
C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
Replacing <user name> with your user name, of course. There is one downfall with W8, and thats the password screen. I dont know how to bypass it. You will have to enter your password prior to entering Metro UI or Desktop.
Just about all Windows 7 programs work on Windows 8.
You still get to use Metro UI if you choose to. And you also get to use the Windows Store, allowing you to download Apps you probably dont already have on your Windows 7 system. You can also open a metro app side-by-side with the desktop.
My Windows 8 desktop looks almost the same as my Windows 7 does.
My Windows 7 desktop:
And my Windows 8 desktop:
Note that some desktop icons and quick launch icons are missing from my Windows 8 desktop. I have not yet installed them. Im sure they work fine.
In my opinion, anyone who is saying Windows 8 sucks hasnt tried it, hasnt put any effort into making it work for them, heard bad things through hear-say, or simply hates Microsoft.