Gnome 3 has a panel I cannot use. Whatever happens in that panel happens outside my control. It is little more than a narrow band of black paint across the top of my screen.
At the bottom of the screen is a large "Notification Area". That is a misnomer because its primary use is to house icons representing the kind of things Gnome 2 called applets. In fact, the Notification Area remains unseen when Notifications pop up. On the other hand, the presence of the mouse cursor will un-hide the entire Notification Area, even if contains only a single icon. The effect is remarkably like a Gnome 2 panel set to autohide.
The thing that passes for a dock in Gnome 3 is merely an over-large stack of unalterable icons. It is as if the Gnome 2 code that handled favorites in a panel was edited into a vertical stack fixed to the left edge of the screen. with the size of the icons increased to a size comfortable for finger stabbing. I do not stab at my monitor, so their unalterable size is very much a negative.
Some have derided Gnome for allegedly copying portions of OS X's interface. That is not justified because the OS X interface is much more usable than the Gnome 3 interface. For example, the Launch Pad in OS X can be entirely ignored by a user with no decrease in capabilities. The Gnome 3 version of that Apple mistake, called the Application Overview, provides the *sole* access to applications offered by Gnome. It cannot be ignored.
Gnome 3 has, in fact, been subject to much criticism that amounts to little more than Gnome 2 nostalgia. However, it has also received a very large amount of justifiable criticism from people who, like me, find it a disappointingly annoying interface in actual daily use that provides no positive counterweights to the increased amount of work a user must do to accomplish basic desktop tasks.
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