Jordi Mallach details in a post I found via Google Plus why GNOME should remain the default desktop environment in Debian Jessie despite the usual switch to Xfce prompted by a desire to keep the ISO image at CD size.
There's more. And it's not just image size: Most use Debian's netinstall image, which is always much smaller than a traditional data CD, and I think many if not most have access to a DVD drive or bypass optical media entirely for USB flash drives, so size doesn't matter as much as it might.
The dust-up over GNOME 3's controversial desktop is nothing new. Many will never like it. Cue irony: Windows 8, UI-wise, is as crazy as GNOME 3. They make the current Mac OS X desktop look positively old-school. That's probably drawing more to OS X than it is the other direction (to GNOME and Windows 8).
This is a screenshot of the xfdashboard, which is billed as a GNOME Shell-like interface for Xfce
I saw on the Fedora Xfce mailing list today that it looks like
xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin are coming to the Fedora Xfce spin's ISO, if not as default choices at least as things you can add to your desktop after the fact.
I'm a fan of the Whisker Menu, which I already have installed, but I've never heard of xfdashboard, which brings a GNOME Shell-like desktop experience to the world of Xfce. I don't particularly want that, but it's an interesting idea.
I support bringing both of these packages, which are already in the Fedora repositories, to the Fedora Xfce Spin ISO (and therefore the default install), and I encourage you to try them out.
I was looking through the Fedora packages for Xfce applications I hadn't yet installed, and the Xfce Theme Manager came up.
I installed it. Then I ran it.
It screwed up my desktop. Not all the themes in my system were in the Theme Manager, and I was switched over to one of the few themes that were in there. My icons all grew larger in size. (Thank you very much. I'll be here all week. Please be sure to tip your waitress.)
So I had to re-select the Adiwata theme and manually shrink my icons.
But something good came out of it. For some reason Xfce themes have been "losing" the borders on the left and right sides of windows, and I have no idea now to restore them.
The Xfce Theme Manager has managed to do this for me, and I wouldn't want to reverse this change even if I knew how.
But otherwise the Xfce Theme Manager is trouble. I already removed it.
However, it did get me borders on the left and right sides of windows. And for that it was worth it.
It kept nagging at me. Why was the "hot corner" in Debian's version of GNOME 3 so "sensitive," compared to the GNOME 3 desktop's hot corner in Fedora 19?
In Fedora, I'd mouse into the upper left "hot corner," and half the time wouldn't get the app panel or search box to open. I'd have to "aggressively" mouse to get it working.
So I've been using GNOME 3 less and less. Was it just too slow?
Today I did a bit of searching and found out that "hot corner" sensitivity was something that the user can set, not in stock GNOME 3 but with the Activities Configurator extension.
I installed the extension and cranked the sensitivity number way down, from 100 to 43, making it more sensitive. Now my "hot corner" is much more responsive to mouse movement, and GNOME 3 is easier to use.
Once you have the extension installed, you can access its settings via the GNOME Tweak Tool, or by right-clicking on the "Activities" menu or the little smiley face that now appears to its left.
I already had the standard Xfce Application Finder bound to my alt-F2, alt-F3 and Super (aka "Windows") keys, though I didn't use it that much. What I was going for with the Application Finder being bound to the Super key was Unity/GNOME 3-like functionality in terms of finding and launching applications while retaining the speed and stability of Xfce.
I haven't even used the Whisker Menu for a full day, yet I just used the Xfce Keyboard settings' Application Shortcuts to bind the Whisker Menu to the Super key.
Aside from the Whisker Menu actually working, since it saves me a keystroke/mouse click over the standard Application Finder when searching for and launching an application, I'm pretty much sold on the Whisker Menu.
I'm sold enough that if I find it really working out, I'll remove my application-icon-filled panel on the left side of my screen.
The point: I like the Whisker Menu.