GNOME 3 is a useless desktop environment designed for mobile phones with touchscreens. It's mostly black and white and it has very few features and almost no preferences. The developers story is that features and preferences are "too complicated".
 Design principles and philosophy
"Because we're not designing a desktop for people who like to choose their own terminal emulators."
 Different opinions about GNOME 3
GNOME 3 lovers say that you should install Linphone or Skype on your computer and pretend that it is a modern mobile phone. This will apparently make you think that your desktop or laptop computer is a mobile phone and you will suddenly start loving GNOME 3.
 Linus Torvalds
Linus Torvalds has this to say about this ridiculous attempt at making a desktop system:
it's not that I have rendering problems with gnome3 (although I do have those too), it's that the user experience of Gnome3 even without rendering problems is unacceptable.
Why can't I have shortcuts on my desktop? Why can't I have the expose functionality? Wobbly windows? Why does anybody sane think that it's a good idea to have that "go to the crazy 'activities'" menu mode?
I used to be upset when gnome developers decided it was "too complicated" for the user to remap some mouse buttons. In gnome3, the developers have apparently decided that it's "too complicated" to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do.
Here's an example of "the crazy": you want a new terminal window. So you go to "activities" and press the "terminal" thing that you've made part of your normal desktop thing (but why can't I just have it on the desktop, instead of in that insane "activities" mode?). What happens? Nothing. It brings your existing terminal to the forefront.
That's just crazy crap. Now I need to use Shift-Control-N in an old terminal to bring up a new one. Yeah, that's a real user experience improvement. Sure.
I'm sure there are other ways, but that's just an example of the kind of "head up the arse" behavior of gnome3. Seriously. I have been asking other developers about gnome3, they all think it's crazy.
I'm using Xfce. I think it's a step down from gnome2, but it's a huge step up from gnome3. Really.
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 Alternatives to GNOME 3
If you need to get real work done or just understand that your computer is not a small mobile phone with a touchscreen then you likely want to try XFCE if you want a cozy desktop or Fluxbox if you don't need a desktop but do want a really good window manager.
 Future GNOME 3 releases
GNOME 3.2 will probably have no preferences. It will probably be black and white and the window manager will probably also make your applications all black and white in order to make them "more user friendly".