Oh, boy. Where do I start…
I postulate that there exists something called the "UI Singularity". Those who spend too much time considering the optimal way to interact with computing devices eventually pass through this singularity and can no longer effectively communicate with those of us on the other side.
At least that's one way to explain what seems to be happening to free-software desktop environments. From the outside, it would appear this happened to KDE with KDE 4, and now, unfortunately, it has happened to GNOME, with GNOME 3.
I've had GNOME 3.0 running on my Debian laptop for a few months, which I have used casually. At work, we installed Fedora 15 (GNOME 3.0) on our 69-seat Linux lab over the summer, which I have used on occasion to achieve specific things. I haven't dared upgrade my main work machine yet. So, it could be argued that I haven't spent enough time immersed in the GNOME 3 experience to really judge it fairly.
On the face of it, I wish 3 was an iterative development from 2, and didn't throw so many babies out with the bathwater. My casual use of it so far has not endeared it to me at all.
In the interests of being fair, rather than deliver my opinion of GNOME 3 as it currently stands, I've decided to try and use it in anger for a while to truly see whether I can "get it". Now that we're past the start of term, I am attempting to use a lab-configured Fedora 15 machine as my main work environment. I'll run with this for a while, and then try a Fedora 16 instance (I need to consider whether we should move to F16 for the second semester anyway) to see what improvements GNOME 3.2 brings.