In Tails and Whonix you wait a bit for the connection - waiting for the onion to turn green (I understand the onion has changed to something else, but that is besides the point). Why when running Tor from a regular desktop system is there no onion nor no wait? I must have missed something. Thank you.
The onion icon is just an icon, and - you have to wait too, actually : it's just "behind the curtains", you can see it if you will enable Tor logging and run it interactively. The wait period is in heavy dependence with your connection speed, parameters and censorship applied to it(if any). Also if you're using bridges it can take a bit longer, usually. The tor used in Tails/Whonix/TorBrowser and the tor in "expert bundle" as a single app - it's all the same application, and it works just the same way. Usually if there's no problem Tor will be up in 10-20 seconds, but an application that drawing you a colored onion icon may query tor with a greater intervals, let's say 30 seconds or more. That can also give you an illusion of long waiting: maybe the actual tor is ready to serve you, but the graphical user interfase app does not know about it yet because it haven't queried Tor process for it's status yet, and it's drawing you a "please wait"... That's it!