Goodbye GNOME 2, Hello GNOME 2?
Many Linux users who have been GNOME fans for years find themselves in a sudden quandary. GNOME 3.0 has completely abandoned the desktop experience we've come to love during the years. That's not to say change is bad, it's just that many folks (even Linus Torvalds) don't really want to change.
As an Ubuntu user for several years, I'm accustomed to how well Canonical makes Linux on the desktop "just work". Unfortunately, Ubuntu's alternative to the GNOME 3 switch is Unity. I want to like Unity. I've forced myself to use it to see if it might grow on me after a while. It hasn't. And, to make matters worse, version 11.10 won't have a classic GNOME option, which means I either need to bite the bullet and get used to Unity or go with an alternative.
Thankfully, XFCE has all the features I love about GNOME. No, XFCE isn't exactly like GNOME, but it feels more like GNOME 2 than GNOME 3 does! If you are like me and desperately want to have the old GNOME interface you know and love, I recommend checking out Xubuntu (the version of Ubuntu that uses XFCE). With minimal tweaking, it can look and feel like GNOME 2. Plus, XFCE has the ability to start GNOME (or KDE) services on login, which means GNOME-native apps usually "just work".
The time may come when we're forced to adopt a new desktop model. For the time being, however, alternatives like XFCE or even LDXE offer familiar and highly functional desktop experiences. If you fear GNOME 3 and Unity, try XFCE. Download Xubuntu and check it out: http://www.xubuntu.org.