I liked Gnome 3 since it launched. Yet it didn't provide a lot of customizability. Plus it was buggy and extensions lost support fast due to the changing API.

A week back my "new" used laptop ThinkPad T470 started crashing with Xfce. It just freezes. Mouse still moves, but all else is useless. Going into TTY2 and killing Xorg worked, but doing this every hour wasn't exactly making my work more productive.

Of course I Google'd it and tried a lot of stuff like

  1. Changing grub settings
iommu=off intel_iommu=off acpi_osi=Linux pci=nocrs pcie_aspm=off

2. Installing LTS kernel
3. Disabling everything special in the BIOS
4. Disable all compositing and display managers
5. Moving to Gnome 3

The last one proved fatal to the problem since it uses Wayland instead of X11. That's great. But I had been putting off the switch for a long time since Gnome didn't do what I needed it to.

My special requirements

You can read where I'm coming from and that it's not a normal persons setup. But I'll go over the main points here.

1) Grid workspace

I must be able to have a 3x3 workspace grid. Previously I found only Xfce to work like I needed. Gnome had extensions for this, but they kept failing due to the changing Gnome API in the early days. Now there's an extension that works really well and is properly supported (apparently).

2) Minimalistic desktop

Ideally I would not have anything on the desktop but the absolute necessities like wifi and battery icon. Yet I've relaxed in this aspect and now I allow a clock somewhere and fine - why not a big black bar across the top. At least it autohides in full-screen. That's enough for now.

3) Lightweight and fast

Gnome isn't exactly lightweight. Yet it's definitely not KDE either! And I do get this extra perks that I really appreciate like animations when switching workspaces and no screen tearing in videos. It's a good trade-off. Besides, I chose Xfce originally on a X201 which.. well was slow. Currently my T470 with 16gb ram is handling Gnome in 4k fairly well. I think it's a fair trade-off.

So yeah. I really like Gnome. I can get it pretty close to what I like and I get extras like tear free videos. Sticking with it! Maybe one day I'll figure out how to make the top bar transparent and out of the way!