I don't get all the hate for the Gnome menu. It's one of the major things I like about Gnome and just makes sense. What's simpler than applications, places and system? All the other "slab" type menus just seem like a hassle and make it harder to get to what you want. I didn't like Kickoff or the classic KDE menu in KDE4 that much either. I haven't looked much into Gnome 3.0 but hopefully they'll have a similar menu.