tried all the biggies :fedora , suse ,ubuntu , mint 13. no other distro or mint editions run on gnome3 shell as good as mint 12 out-of-the-box in terms of customization , hard work involved and end-result including visual candies , i really wish 12 was their LTS instead
Installing gnome-shell over a recent Cinnamon edition should be doable. The problem is with extensions breaking at point releases (i.e. gnome 3.2 to 3.4, or 3.6)
You should be well able to run Gnome 3 with a panel and a shutdown option in the power menu etc., but that would be a bet on say Gnome 3.6 and praying it doesn't break to hell in 3.8
This is probably one good reason for a full fork to Cinnamon, the Mint team would have to redo their customization work all over again everytime (I believe there's that issue with gtk3 theme already).
I cannot believe Cinnamon gets more votes than Mate. hmmm. I guess us old folks are outnumbered by the younger gnome3 crowd.
I for one like to customize everything and be able to create custom launchers quickly. Gnome3 and to a lesser degree Cinnamon are not helpful with this.
I like this, too.
Creating launchers is a bit difficult? Dunno, I've never used Cinnamon more than a few minutes at a time. Creating launchers is the weak point of LXDE too, in that desktop the plan is to handle it with the file manager (pcmanfm).
On my mint 13 mate desktop, I've installed it but it just drops me into gnome fallback with no error pop up. Even though I have a nvidia card and very smooth opengl (before and after upgrading from a 8400GS with 295.40 to a 7600GT with 304.64 driver)
On other computers I've seen it very smooth (laptop with radeon 5430m, supposedly the open source driver!), or a bit slow (low end geforce variant with open source driver) in which case the interest in funny animations goes away IMO.
Also on the Mint 12 laptop I used the other week (socket 754 sempron), flash videos seemed very slow, maybe a compositing desktop puts yet another layer of complexity between the video data and your eyes. The laptop was also cooking my penis but I don't know if the GPU was contributing a lot to the heat. So, for all these reasons, mainly the extreme variability (from non working to slow to fast) a 2D desktop is needed and Cinnamon and Mate as both main editions, released simultaneously is pretty perfect.
I gave Mint 13 Mate to a friend for him to install on his girlfriend's laptop, that was perfect, I thought we needed something that is guaranteed to not fail. Then he set up Mint 13 Cinnamon for himself.