Ok, after a day with GNOME 3, I'm finding that I am really not the person that the GNOME developers are trying to satisfy, and that's fine, I don't blame them, I know my needs are different from "normal" users.
On my laptop, GNOME 3 works great, I have no problems, but my workstation, that's a different story.
So, here's my needs for my workstation, time to find an environment that I can live with:
- like +Tejun Heo
stated, one of most important things is the ability to have keybinds to switch between windows on the active workspace, and then, keybindings to switch between workspaces. Ideally ones that can be changed to the ones that my fingers already know. GNOME 3 is horrible for this, I really can't live without this, sorry.
- good multi-monitor support (GNOME 3 falls down hard here, even after digging and fixing some default config options, it really wants to put everything on the main monitor, which I don't like. And yes, monitors of different sizes should not be a problem (why does openbox not like this?)
- good multi-workspace support. GNOME 3 doesn't like this all that much (i.e. I want to log in after rebooting and have windows be automatically created on different workspaces properly without me having to restart them all again, or at the worse case, have to recreate the workspaces themselves again.) Note, I reboot a lot (2-3 times a day), sorry, that's my job, and not one that "normal" Linux users have, I know.
- actively being developed, without relying on libraries that upstream doesn't support anymore (yes, awesome, this rules you out, sorry.)
- work with almost out-of-the-box options, minor tweaks acceptable (kind of rules out openbox, although I found an old config file and that almost worked just fine, but volume control and lack of a built-in tray turned me off.) I used to like to spend hours tweaking my window environment, but these days I'm a grumpy old man and have better things to do with my time (like handle the huge backlog of kernel patches in my inboxes...)
- sane new window placement rules, xfce can't seem to do this properly, I really don't want to adjust every new terminal window I create to not overlap others if I have a ton of free monitor space sitting there doing nothing.
- pretty looking. Yes, I like the way that GNOME 3 looks, and GTK-3, using xfce isn't as nice, it reminds me of GNOME 2 and earlier, and that's not good.
Oh crap, in re-reading all of this, I think I need to go try KDE4, I didn't really want that...