This was posted on r/linux too. While I completely understand that you can't make a UI to please everybody, it's not an excuse to ignore user feedback and sacrifice everything to branding.
I had wanted to check out Gnome 3, actually, just out of curiosity, but being one of these people who actually like to select their terminal emulator, I realized I'm not part of the target demographic.
> And for the rest, I spend most of my time either in my browser or the terminal, so there's not really much I expect from a desktop environment than being fast and stable. I don't really care anymore.
This is a really important point.
The average computer user doesn't do a great deal outside their web browser these days. All they really need a desktop environment to do is point them to the web browser then get out of their way.
Xmonad/awesome (haven't tried i3) are absolutely fantastic, however, in my experience, you need to spend some days tweaking configuration files in order to achieve a satisfying experience (especially if you want dual-screen support to work in a less... interesting way in Xmonad). From what parent was writing, this is exactly what s/he does not want to do.
Coming from Metacity, Xmonad's handling of dual screen is definitely different but I prefer it now.
Instead of treating both screens as an extended single desktop, each screen is on it's own desktop. This allows me to mix and match desktops at will (most common with documentation), or I love swapping the two screens with each other with this line in my xmonad.hs (https://gist.github.com/2657206):
In my experience i3 doesn't require any tweaking. It has really sane defaults about pretty much everything. If you do want to configure something, the configuration file is extremely simple and the documentation is really excellent.
The default behavior when using a dual screen setup is each screen having some of the workspaces.
Yeah, the only thing I have ever customized with Awesome is changing the default terminal to xterm. After that it just does exactly what I expect, and doesn't get in my way; I don't know what more I could ask for.