With my new laptop, I've installed Debian Testing on it, and so I finally had a chance to experience GNOME 3.4 personally.  Wow, it really is as unusable as everyone has said; painfully so.   So, next stop: xfce, as I had planned.  Which means I ran into more problems.

1) wicd, the wireless manager which xfce recommends, doesn't deal well with environments with many, many access points with the same network name.    So I tried installing network-manager, and discovered that on with GNOME, it doesn't ask for passwords before switching wireless networks.  With XFCE, it does.  Apparently XFCE isn't doing whatever magic dance required so that PolicyKit knows I'm sitting in front of the keyboard.  (This is the problem that +Linus Torvalds ran into.)   I did eventually figure out that the fix was to use a larger harmer, and install in /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/tytso.conf

[Configuration]
AdminIdentities=unix-user:tytso

Maybe the magic dance to tell polkit who is logged in the console is documented somewhere, but I couldn't find it, and I found the big hammer approach first.

2)  Finding a decent terminal window emulator which is easily configurable, supports tabs, and which handles the vt100 graphics characters used by mutt to show mail threading, is apparently not easy.  The xfce default terminal doesn't do it.  Neither does mrxvt, although it gets almost everything else right.   I tried using gnome-terminal (and bloated my installation by a factor of 2 with all of the useless gnome crap it dragged in), and discovered that with GNOME 3.4, the active tab is nearly impossible to discern.   Worse, there doesn't seem to be any way to tell that you want some different theme that default horribleness with a two pixel indicator which is using a grey which is perhaps 10% different from the surrounding grey.   If you use a GNOME 3.4 login session, it looks very different, and it's in fact usable.  But even with the GNOME 3.4 session crap installed, if you then try to login using XFCE, it switches back to its horrible defaults.   Apparently it's sending some magic DBUS, or it's exchanging some mysterious undocumented XML crap, to some other GNOME 3.4 process which is absolutely necessary if you want gnome-terminal to have usable tabs.   Which is a shame, because otherwise gnome-terminal has pretty much the features I want.  Anybody want to suggest a different terminal emulator for me to try?  My needs are simple (tabs and vt100 graphics characters), but alas, I'm not the simpleton user that Gnome wants to serve.

EDIT: To all those who say give GNOME 3 a chance:  Having a 3x3 workspace with the ability to easily move between them, and a easy way to move windows between them, is an absolute requirement for me.  My understanding is GNOME 3 makes this impossible.  (Note: jumping through flaming hoops using badly documented config files or hard to find extensions which magically blow up between version upgrades is also not acceptable.)
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