I must admit I preferred Gnome 2. I find that a lot of open source developers including Gimp developers have ideals that are too high and mighty for most people and are alienating a lot of their users. Linux for example will never be the most popular OS because it's not created for normal people, it's created for intellectuals. Admittedly it's more user friendly than it used to be but it's about time open source developers listened to their users instead of being absorbed in their own ideals. If this doesn't start to happen, Linux and other open source products will die. Why else do you think the terms open source and geek are considered synonymous?
If you think that, I will be very hard to convince you to use GNU/Linux
Linux is far from dead. Linux and OpenSource are successful: Android, Servers, Super Computers ... Even GNU/Linux (OS for PC's) users has similar number to MacOS. Do MacOS unsuccessful? Is it dying?.
What happens in the world of desktop PCs is that Microsoft has managed to build a monopoly with captive users. Against that, nothing will be as successful.
You speak of who are uncomfortable with the new environments in yours desktop PC's. That's normal because the new environments are not designed for desktop PCs. You have to know to see the future, and the future are touch screen devices, smartphones, smart TV. Android, Unity, GNOME Shell even Windows 8 are designed for those devices.
Regarding the difficulty of GNU/Linux. I would agree with you 10 years ago. Now I think to install and use GNU/Linux is as easy as Windows. Now you tell me that there are many more programs for Windows, and it's true. Then I go back to what I said before, the Microsoft monopoly. Companies develop software for the environment where they can earn more money, where more users: Windows.
So the argument: "I do not use GNU/Linux because I have more programs in Windows" does not help anything to GNU/Linux. That's a wicked reasoning that only benefits Microsoft. So we need more users so that there is more software, but with the above argument we are always under Windows. Our developers can not make a Autocad, a Photoshop, etc. to satisfy users of Windows. It should be the other way, companies should be interested in GNU/Linux. Again, we need more users.
And please, when you talk of OpenSource, not be so hard about:
Closed software compatibility: Do you know how hard it is to do that when you have no access to the software code or specification sheets? Often our developers must use complicated techniques of reverse engineering to achieve it.
Drivers: Again, companies are only interested in the system with more users. Thanks to our smart developers can have drivers without help from the hardware manufacturers.
Developers: Hey! mostly they are doing their work for free or for little gain. Help more and criticize less.
Well, I have spread far and my English is not good. I hope you understand.