To all the "gnome-is-great" 'tards in here:
Those of us who despise gnome-shell are basing their perception of it on the fact that it is BLOODY SELF-CENTERED USELESSNESS.
The DE should NOT be "in your face". It should make it EASY to accomplish what you are trying to do, and then GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY. What they've done is made it exactly the opposite of what it should be. They've made a bloated big thick ugly slow pain in the ass -- they're trying to make use of a computer ALL ABOUT THEM, when their purpose is to FACILITATE, not conquer.
That is what was beautiful about gnome-panel. It was small, it was functional. It categorized things logically and made it easy to get where you want to go.
Gnome-shell is the product of some whiny attention whores with an inferiority complex. They want it to be about THEM. I'm sorry gnome-devs, but I don't use a computer to see pretty gnome, I use it to actually accomplish tasks. If you're going to get in my way, you are going to be eliminated in favor of something that does what it is supposed to do.
The big problems with gnome-shell are the result of a bunch of VERY poor design decisions.
1) It doesn't do anything special that it requires compositing. It may be "pretty", but it just makes it SLOW and UNRELIABLE.
2) It most DEFINITELY should NOT take up the entire display area. The bigger the area it takes, the further the user has to chase across the screen to get what they're after.
3) It should NOT require flipping across the screen 17 times and 273 mouse clicks to launch firefox.
4) It would be nice to have an easy way to see what programs are running and switch between them rather than opening that insane big ugly bloated mess (one click), and switching into (whatever they call the stupid mode where every open window is shown in microscopic overview so you can't tell the difference between them), you know, something like a WINDOW LIST PANEL!!!!
5) How about a PARENT DIRECTORY BUTTON IN NAUTILUS???!?!?!!?! Instead, you open, say "Desktop" and you're TRAPPED there....
6) The "Every bloody .desktop thrown into a single category" category is a completely useless MESS. GET RID OF IT!!!!! -- but no, instead, they're getting rid of EVERY OTHER category, and will ONLY be showing the "holy shit" category. Now, rather than logically finding the application I'm after by its category, I have to scan the hard way through 10 THOUSAND ICONS IN ONE BLOODY MESS. WTF ARE THEY THINKING???!?!?!
So, the process of fixing gnome-shell;
1) get rid of compositing, or at least make it OPTIONAL.
2) Less screen space taken up by uselessness.
3) One click to open the menu, one click to select the category, one click to open the program.
*** here's a decent idea.... how about a FREQUENTLY USED category?
4) lower panel showing running applications.
5) add a ".." button to nautilus.
6) remove the "holy shit" category, keep the rest of the categories.