I'm one of the (not-so) loud complainers during the 1 -> 2 transition.
I'm using FVWM now.
At that time I went for GNOME mainly for two reasons: QT licensing issues and the promise of less bloat. Ironically, the GNOME of today is even more bloated than KDE, which is quite a feat.
(This isn't intended as offense: I do realize that one person's bloat are the other person's features, and I wouldn't dare to force anyone not to use GNOME, as much as I woldn't like to be forced to use GNOME -- or dbus or whatever).
The feature creep (why has the desktop environment to take over the "mounting" of devices? That' the job of the OS, I thought?) downright scares me.