So far my experience is pretty good. Yes, it's different, but no, it's not that different that I can't learn how to use it. It's a case of not thinking "why can't I do that the old way" but "I wonder what the new way is", and for the most part it's not that painful. Of course, there were a few things that I did want to make work the same as my previous GNOME setup and the main one was focus following the mouse pointer. After a bit of research on the net, I found the necessary command and will post it here for reference:
gconftool-2 -s /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode -t string mouse(I'll spare my readers my cunning arguments about why focus following the mouse is the obvious, natural and optimal system for interfaces with an explicit focus indicator such as a mouse pointer. Save to say, just use it.)
Another thing that's changed is that Alt-TAB now groups all windows by application - all Firefox windows are treated as one group for the purpose of tabbing around, for example. When one application has multiple windows open, a little down-arrow appears at the bottom of its icon and, by mousing over it, you can then select the sub-window you require. This, however, is inconvenient if, like me, you use the keyboard a fair bit - moving to use the mouse takes time and effort. I discovered, with a bit of experimentation, that you can use the arrow keys for this as well - press Alt-TAB and use either TAB and Shift-TAB or left and right to navigate; when an application with sub-windows is selected, use down to show a list of its sub-windows and left and right to select from there.
Maybe there are other ways of using this; that's what worked for me. But it shows that a bit of experimentation can take less time than grumbling about how everything's changed and it no longer matches what you see.
And I think it's going to be a surpreme bit of irony that there'll be all these Linux experts complaining about how GNOME has broken everything and they want their old GNOME look and feel back - the same people who keep on looking down on their friends for not wanting to move from Windows or OS X to GNOME because "it's a different look and feel". Take it on the chin, people.
All posts licensed under the CC-BY-NC license. Author Paul Wayper.