Funny how after 10 years with Linux you can come full circle...well almost, sorta.
When I got started with Ubuntu Dapper Drake I was using GNOME 2 and as far as I was concerned that was the Linux desktop. It was different than Windows XP but not so different that I couldn't adapt.
The hardware I was running back then was one of the final Pentium III powered desktops with a maxed out 512 MB of RAM. Wireless was a manually configured luxury - you needed to have the right chipset and know about wext and madwifi and wpa-supplicant to get it going. it broke every time you reinstalled a new version of Ubuntu.
I just got everything figured out and was happy when along came GNOME Shell - I thought that was the worst DE anyone could dream up until I saw Windows 8 - but I digress.
I quickly switched to Xfce (still love that desktop) and on more powerful hardware I used Cinnamon.
But now - on one machine at least - I'm back Roamin' with the GNOMEies.
Maybe I've gotten smarter over the years (doubtful) or maybe the GNOME Shell developers have improved matters a lot - but I don't find GNOME 3 as big of a turn-off as I did back in 2011. Certainly learning about Shell extensions has been a big plus. I have a nice dock at the bottom of the screen which hides away when I don't need it, the old familiar Applications and Places menus are back on the Panel. It's like Xfce on steroids now - even got some 3D effects.
Xfce is still my choice for older hardware and I use Cinnamon for machines that Windows users may need, but for personal use on a fast laptop I am back with GNOME.