It’s been about two years since I last tried GNOME. My first experience was with Debian on an old laptop. I was very dissatisfied with the performance and design of the desktop. I didn’t like the lack of modularity of the applications, and my opinion of the desktop further declined with the introduction of client side decorations becoming the standard for most, if not all, GNOME apps.
I stumbled upon GNOME again when my horrific heavily customized version of LXDE stopped working. I remembered reading about a “GNOME Tweak Tool” somewhere. I figured I could do something to make GNOME work better for me. The GNOME Tweak Tool was exactly what I needed. It made it simple to change options that I would expect to be in the desktop’s control center by default.
The extensions made my experience a whole lot better as well. The addition of an application menu and the “Dash to Panel” extension made GNOME feel more familiar.
The difference of running on Wayland rather than Xorg has also been positive. The differences have been subtle, but window movement feels smoother, which I like. However, I’ve noticed if the desktop freezes, the cursor freezes as well, unlike my experiences Xorg. I particularly like the “Night Light” feature and am impressed that it works on Wayland.
That being said, the desktop does not avoid my criticism. The GNOME control center does not show as many settings as I would like (Although it’s fairly complete), particularly those offered by the GNOME Tweak Tool. The desktop also seems to be geared towards those who aren’t as familiar with computers, and by default takes on a kind of interface better suited for mobile devices and touchscreens.
All in all, GNOME has come a long way. It’ll be my default desktop for a while, and hopefully it continues to improve. I would recommend it to those who want “easy” GNU/Linux experience.