Re: Linux for me now - Don't confuse or prejudice new users...
Oh, I know the history. I understand even, that many felt betrayed at the time, to suddenly have a distro they were comfortable with and cared about suddenly change the ui to something 'weird' and quite buggy at the time. The criticisms then were perhaps justified (a little), but Gnome2 was being replaced by the Gnome team anyway (and who were just as intent on doing things they way they thought they should be done).
However Linux distros often run Desktops that are still 'works in progress' it happened KDE1-2,KDE2-3,KDE3-4 and now KDE4-5, Gnome-Shell and quite probably LXDE-LXQT, and if Gnome2-Gnome3/Unity was the first time new users coming in during 2010/2011 (whenever) experienced this they've had plenty of time since to realise this is common practice and give over already.
Mate is a really good Desktop, built as it was on 18 years of refinement on the Gnome desktop, but it, and other 'classic' desktops are Desktops, and not really suitable for use on Phones/Tablets which we all know an increasing number of the population are using in preference to desktop machines or laptops. If linux needs a ui that works on these form factors to remain relevant for user use and grow, better still if the ui can cross device boundaries just as Unix could originally cross machine forms from Mainframe to Mini to pc and Linux today runs on virtually everything (and many things virtually).
I find Gnome Shell quite beautiful but a little shallow, there's only small niggles in it's ui which annoy me, unfortunately there's enough of them to be death by a thousand cuts.