If you've moved away from GNOME because of the third release series, you might want to celebrate the upcoming 3.10 release by having another look.
The default setup is still the same as it was in 3.0 with a main screen and an overview. But in the last thirty months, GNOME has regained many of the customization options the third release series initially lacked.
Similarly, while GNOME still inclines towards minimalism, extensive design efforts and usability testing are starting to make that minimalism efficient rather than lacking. Now, anyone with an open mind and a willingness to tweak has a better chance of being satisfied with GNOME than in any previous time in the last two and a half years.
The quickest way to see for yourself is to install Ubuntu GNOME, then:
rest here