Thank you for providing a well exposed rationale for the current state of the Gnome desktop, and let me say that I'm glad that you and other users find it useful. On the other hand, your post reminded me of that crucial point in Kung Pow where the badass bad guy comes up saying "From this day forward you will all refer to me by the name... Betty" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz1rjq5emKY), meaning that I understand the literal meaning of your words, but they still don't make any sense to me.
So the Gnome designers wanted to explore new directions? Sounds great, but:
- where are the usability studies proving that their approach is sound? where's the theory? f.i. from what little UI theory I know, hiding stuff from the user is bad, so why so many things (from overlay mode to the infamous press-alt-to-show shutdown dialogue) aren't immediately visible in Gnome Shell? where are the real users' tests showing that the initial design was actually sensible?
- why did they have to effectively kill Gnome 2, making the transition so much harder for users? (and please no technicalities about how the Gnome 2 libraries can still be installed aside the Gnome 3 ones...)
- why did they start a war on existing features, depriving former users of functionality they were well accustomed to and relied upon? why the vandalism? (oh, and a nice touch f.i. when they wrote that split panel in Nautilus was removed because "not very discoverable" ... after hiding all sort of stuff)
- why did they ignore their current user base feedback? I'd better say the outrage, and believe me, it wasn't (always) fear of change: I know many people who sticked to Gnome during the 1 > 2 transition (heck, I'm one of them), and this is *not* the same thing; but anyway, why the arrogant attitude? even the most harsh and rude criticism, provided it's not just trolling, is an indication that you're doing something wrong ... and that transpired in the "official version" as well, see B. Otte's post
- isn't Betty a woman's name?
Admittedly, the last question is more Kung Pow than Gnome Shell related ;) but that's just to highlight how sometimes all of this looks a bit "unreal" to me. No offense meant, but I don't see any "big design" here, just a bunch of different ideas, some good some very less so, mixed together, prettified on the visual level and then unloaded on the unsuspecting masses. Not the way to bring "a free and open computing environment to everyone" IMHO.