UPDATE: If you look for a fast and stable window manager, try XFCE4.2. I have been using it for over a year without a single glitch.
Gnome (www.gnome.org) has certainly been the nicest looking interface across all distros and generations I have used. However, all the way from the Infomagic CD pack (remember?) to the latest RedHat 9 I have never seen a stable version of Gnome yet. Instead it just gets worst with every new version. What do I mean by "stable" ? Well, basically an interface that you can use in a production environment. And I do not care about all the bells and whistles, I just want to be able to launch and switch between applications and documents without having to care about the station crashing or locking up while I am doing my work.
What kind of problems do I have ? Well, I guess the same problems everyone else is having. Or am I the only one here ?. If you are a Gnome user, I doubt any of this will be news to you.
Gnome has never been compatible with its previous versions.
Gnome has always been slower than KDE.
Gnome panel has always crashed.
Nautilus has always been, and continues to be unstable (GMC was ugly, but never seen it crashing).
The whole session locks up every once in a while and the worst part is that sooner or later, you will not be able to log in anymore. That is right. Gnome creates (and depends!) on so much garbage in the /tmp and user home directory that at a certain point (probably due to corruption of such data) it will totally lock up when you try to log in.
The only way out to this last problem is to wipe out the /tmp directory and/or the user directory if you ever want to be able to log in again. However, I have seen so far two workstations where nothing worked and launching KDE was the only way to get those users online.
I don't even want to get into any details about Evolution. But have you been able to use it for a long period of time without having to issue a "killev" or "killall -9 oafd" or even log out and kill all your user processes as root ?.
Just log into Gnome, launch evolution and do a "ps -ax". What is all that stuff and how do I turn it off ? bonobo ? bonobo-activation-server ? oafd ? gconfd-1 ? gconfd-2 ? pieces of evolution all over the place ? All of this multiplied by the number of users sharing that workstation. As most of the stuff will continue to run even after you log out. I do not even want to think about all the security issues you may face with so much stuff running for no reason...
KDE (www.kde.org) is not perfect either. In fact, during version 2.x (I am so glad it is gone) I ended up using enlightenment (www.enlightenment.org) as it was the only way out: A dark and hostile, but extremely stable interface. After all, I just need the thing to work.
The zillion dollar questions is. Am I the only one having these problems ?
I will be looking forward to your comments.
PS: I am currently running RH9/KDE/Mozilla Firebird/Mozilla Thunderbird and I have been a happy user for the last few weeks.