Remember when Desktop Computing was fun?
The early days of Ubuntu were a time when GNOME really had things going for it. Then, one Mark Shuttleworth took the product in another direction. Unity.
Unity was initially interesting but didn't fit usability and that began the period of when I didn't like what I saw happening to Ubuntu.
During that period, The GNOME Foundation was undergoing its own change. GNOME 2.x was determined at end of life and GNOME Shell, a concept GUI was established.
As with any GUI paradigm change comes a period of 'growing pains'. I was really resistant to what GNOME was doing. And so, I spent a long period in search of a good alternative GUI. Ultimately, I found myself liking LXDE, and dwelled in Lubuntu.
Then, I tried Fedora 18 LXDE spin. I concluded it was from a technical standpoint as good as Lubuntu.
Philosophically, I didn't like what Debian and Ubuntu were doing.
When it became apparent that Mark Shuttleworth was running his own railroad and broke ties with The GNOME Project, I thought he was trying to control delays in upstream decision making. That made good business sense.
But in the process, he flip-flopped on putting full support behind Wayland turning to creating his 'own' Display driver, Mir.
To make it short and to the point, there is no other Distro which uses Unity. NONE.
Today, Unity is on an island all by itself.
During the period of 'transition' The GNOME Project came out with initial revisions with GNOME Classic 'fall-back' to keep the malcontents happy. In each iteration, GNOME made feature enhancements in an effort to continually refine the 3.x shell.
Each major revision, I gave it a try and turned away giving it a 'thumbs down' on usability.
Until 3.12, I didn't like Shell. It was at that level it became truly usable and ready for prime time. That was a year ago.
Today, GNOME Shell has reached 3.14 and I have been using it for several months on Fedora 21 Alpha/Beta/RC Workstation.
Even with Alpha, I found myself smiling and laughing at just how well the interface meshed. It is polished, professional and just fun to use.
Yes, it is fun to use. I really haven't felt that way in a very long time and I look forward to turning on my PC every day because Fedora 21 Workstation with GNOME Shell 3.14 is just that good. I would add, Red Hat is the largest supporter of The GNOME Foundation and has worked closely in the design of GNOME Shell. Red Hat also provides web infrastructure for The GNOME Project. The relationship is close knit. The end result is what you see and use.
December 9, 2014, has been promised by the Fedora Team as a 'Go' for Fedora 21 Workstation. The day will be remembered as when Desktop Computing got fun again. -- Dietrich