I have been using GNOME 3 since Fedora 15 Alpha but also used to play with earlier versions of GNOME Shell on previous Fedora releases. I realize that most people get upset when their usual way of doing things change and I have to say that I might not fit here, fortunately.
I really enjoy using GNOME Shell, the overall experience is a lot better than GNOME 2 and the fonts seem more clear to me. Although I prefer the original workspace switch concept, the changes made by developers right before the release turned the multiple workspace feature into an interesting automatic workspace creator.
The greatest feature so far is the integration between the notification area and Empathy. This little nice feature is part of the concept of focusing on the current task, what is good for me since a tend to multitask a lot. I don’t miss minimize and maximize buttons at all. Minimize doesn’t make any sense on GNOME Shell anyway, and a double click into the window title bar does the maximize trick.
I enjoy the GNOME 3 experience most part of the time, but some things are not nice. GNOME Shell lacks a clear way of shutting down the computer. The “Alt” trick isn’t intuitive and suspension has never worked on my laptop. Also related to energy, GNOME 3 doesn’t show an option to configure what to do when I close the laptop lid. Once again: suspension has never worked. I understand this is not really GNOME developers’ fault but since this issue is common on many devices should be an easier way to change this behavior. In addition, I like to keep the lid closed when I’m doing long downloads. GNOME 3 doesn’t cover this use case.
Despite the usual criticism that takes place when big changes happen, I believe that GNOME 3 is a leap in the right direction: less interruptions, a cleaner interface, and easier window management. I look forward for what’s next: deep integration with GNOME Activity Journal would be awesome as well as an easy way to keep my downloads active when the lid is closed.