Disclaimer: My first GNU/Linux experience was Linux Mint 12, and then shortly thereafter Linux Mint 13, then Linux Mint 14, and then, after buying a Royal Penguin, a Linux-computer (without paying the M$-tax) from Thinkpenguin, I switched over to Debian Wheezy (Debian 7/Testing) with Gnome 3.4 (or 3.6 or … one of those).
My point in all that was I “grew up” on Gnome-based desktop environments. I really took to the super-key thing with Linux Mint 12. It was fast and convenient, and I loved the customizable keyboard shortcuts. I also appreciated the uncluttered feel of Gnome. I appreciate a minimalist desktop look. Anyway, I was bored today and decided to try KDE 4 for the first time ever.
After playing around with it, I can see why people who love Desktop widgets and customizability would really like it. But I cut my teeth on Gnome, and I just love how I can set up keyboard shortcuts and I can essentially open any application quickly by pressing Super-key and then typing the name of said application (or document). I don’t need customizability; just convenience and speed via keyboard shortcuts and a universal menu button (the Super-key). I also really like the Gnome-shell, so much so that my previous deeply-ingrained habit of Alt+Tab for switching tabs from my M$ Windows past is no longer the automatic reaction to switch windows. It may just as easily be Super-key and click.
So, all in all, I got used to Gnome, and I think it is very fast and convenient, in that I want a minimal look and quick access to programs via keyboard shortcuts. I respect the work of the KDE community, and I love how they focus on customizability. But I think Gnome just works well, and there is no need to go out of my way to choose and learn another Desktop Environment.
I know the whole deal about distrust with Gnome 3, and with Mate and Cinnamon from Linux Mint. Just from reading the comments on Gnome 3 before I switched to Debian Wheezy Testing made my blood boil, until I actually installed Debian Wheezy and used Gnome 3, and then realized that I had used Gnome 3 before on Linux Mint 12 (for only a few weeks before moving to Mate with LM13), and I remembered loving the ease of opening applications. I guess I am one of those “rare” people who are quite pleased with Gnome 3 and the Super-powerful Super-key shortcut.
Disclaimer: I wrote this article primarily to test how much traffic and controversy I could stir up just by “comparing” Gnome with KDE. I don’t mind more traffic. 🙂 But seriously, I do like Gnome 3 a lot. Weird, huh?