Lots of possibilities
Using Kppp would be the easiest, but is rather clunky and best avoided if you want a lean, mean machine. It does have options similar to those found in windows however, such as show log, minimise on connect, show icon in tray (if you're running Kde), etc.
Otherwise, you could install GKrellm and use the ppp section to start and stop the connection - this is what I use. You can set a command, such as <pon> to dial your default ISP when it is first clicked (red initially, then turns green on connect), which then runs <poff> to disconnect when clicked a second time (button turns red once again). You can then also have a transparent Eterm running in a corner somewhere, showing a tail of /var/log/messages - this will show pretty much what is happening as you connect and disconnect.
The <pon> command simply initiates a ppp connection to an ISP, if given without arguments this is that in /etc/ppp/peers/provider. (Otherwise, you can simply give <pon paradise>, if you've set the options under that name).
Best of luck anyway, and let us know how you get on.