I've finally gotten around to reinstalling my laptop with Mint 13. After a few months of various flavors of XFCE (which I liked and I commend that project for their fine work), I finally decided to check out MATE 1.4 (the GNOME 2 fork).
It was like seeing an old friend.
Everything just made sense again.
Everything just worked.
Everything looked great.
Everything was where I wanted it to be and I could customize it quickly in a logical way (without having to download 15 extensions from a website, unlike in GNOME Shell).
And if I want great keyboard navigation...without the need for overlay...all I need to do is install GNOME Do (which still beats GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity by a wide margin in terms of response and ease of use).
So to all the haters who claim "MATE should just die, GNOME 3 is the way to go"...all I can say, is that we users like to vote with our feet.
And my feet are firmly back in MATE.
Thank you to the MATE team for all their hard work and to Linux Mint for supporting them so early on so that this project had a chance to get off the ground.
And the Linux desktop is sane again :-)
P.S. I am running MATE on Fedora 17 as well, my main work desktop. Not quite as polished as the Mint version, but all the good comments still apply:
And here is the Fedora screenshot: