For the panel junkies,
(I am using LMDE)
Needless to say that Cinnamon is a big improvement over Gnome Shell, especially
with regard to having panel-applets again. But it is based on the Gnome Shell
panel-technology and under development. So things like adding a third panel or
something like a drawer-widget are not present (yet).
If you are a "panel-junky" like me, you might appreciate using XFCE4 panels
in the mean time. They can be used by both MATE and Cinnamon, don't store their
configuration in gconf but use xml-files in ~/.config/xfce4.
If you add the XFCE4 application-menu applet to one of your xfce4 panels,
you can easily drag-n-drop starters to any other xfce4 panel you created.
(Drag-n-Drop from a MATE panel also works)
They can be positioned anywhere with or without autohide. And because they
don't use animation, they 'popup' almost instantaneously when autohide is set.
Also, the xfce4 drawer-applet is superior (imho) to the Gnome2/MATE drawer
applet in that it allows for a "main starter" with an arrow below exposing
alternative starters when clicked. (OS/2-eComStation ToolBar-like
apt-get install xfce4-panel
I gave all my xfce4 panels a different background color and made them
auto-hide and left or right oriented. This way they do not occupy desktop-space
but appear as little vertical bars (2+px or so) on the Desktop.
Navigating to such a bar instantly pops-up the panel.
Here are two lines to start and stop XFCE4-panels once you have installed them.
"XFCE4 Panels ON": xfce4-panel &
"XFCE4 Panels OFF": pkill xfce4-panel
You can make starters for that so you can easily enable and disable the
XFCE4 panels. In both MATE and Cinnamon.
Alas, xfce4-panels do no popup when auto-hidden when using Compiz under MATE.
At least, not on my system.
But that may be some compiz setting.
To figure out...