I have been using mint 12 with gnome shell since the beginning of the year. Before that I was running ubuntu gnome shell remix. I have to say that I love it. I started with the idea that shell would be horrible. Yes, I read all the reviews about it. And had tried ubuntu with unity -- it was okay but missing the finesse -- before using the shell. So I figured same thing. But no. Gnome shell is pretty cool. I just don't understand the controversy. I use windows xp at work and find myself wishing for the shell all day, just about. Finding things on my comp at work is difficult. Changing anything is almost impossible.
Sure, there is room for improvement, room for growth. But that can be said for anything. ISO 9001 standard: continuous improvement.
And I like all the extensions available. I like the different themes. I like being able to modify how the shell looks and works on MY computer.
The prob is that people don't like change. They don't want anything different. Sure new features, but same familiar packaging. I'm sure Microsoft didn't consult with anyone concerning their "Metro" interface. But the difference between windows and linux distros using gnome shell is that we have options. We can change things. I don't have much programing experience but I have changed things to suite my tastes.
I've been a Linux user for only a couple years. But I have seen that Linux users have become complacent and lazy. "Why command line when there is a GUI?" "Why compile when we should be getting packages ready for install?" "Why isn't it out-of-box-ready?" "Why should I spend 30 mins configuring my wireless driver?" etc, etc, etc. What's up with that? I don't want to be preachy, but all those "Conveniences" are available with windows. As well as the little pecularities that come with the system. I set up friends on Linux systems and I love trying to figure out why something isn't working. Because then I can fix the problem -- albeit many times with the aid of the community.
I don't condemn Gnome for their move to the shell. They had a vision and went with it. Our job as Linux users is to take that vision and make it better. And I bet our Windows friends wished they had the freedom to do that.
When life gives you lemons, take a distro, modify it, change the UI, delete packages, change default programs, compile it, upload it, publicize why you think it's better than x, then see how the people like LemonLinuxOS.
And as for Gimp 2.8 save/export -- was different, but now it's a norm.
Be adaptable. Break into your shell.
I refuse to be confused, but am often confused at this refusal.