I know there are several thread addressing different avenues of Gnome3
But, the future is here now in LMDE -Gnome, if you are tracking the SID (unstable) repository.
I am currently running a partition with LMDE 64bit tracking SID.
Gnome 3 with Shell and Fallback mode are the current DE there.
I did not do this by going out of my way, adding repos (for example - experimental) or adding any specific packages.
The change from Gnome 2.3 to Gnome 3.0 just came about through normal full distribution updates. This happened about 10 days ago in SID, so that means that in about a month or so, it will come about with those tracking LMDE 'Testing'.
So far, for me and many others. viewtopic.php?f=201&t=65745
It has not been the end of the world that many seem to be forecasting.
Main desktop (I added AWN dock, Rainlendar calendar, and a few 'extensions').
I modified what was 'Activities' text in upper left of panel to read LMDE with icon.
(Click on Thumbnails to make larger)
Thumbnails Uploaded with ImageShack.us
Poke your mouse in upper left corner to trigger 'hot spot' and you see this (the overlay)
You get open windows neatly tiled. A 'dock' on left, and 'workplaces' partially auto-hid on right
Click 'Applications' tab
or 'Themes' (this is an added extension)
(Thanks to our 'Sam Riggs' for his Star Trek Theme)
Want Shell to look more like Mint/UBUNTU?
Just add a few extensions
Bottom Panel with 'window-list', 'workplace switcher'.
Top Panel with 'favorites', 'places', 'app-menu' (not Mint-menu -YET!)
To add things to the panel you need 'extensions'. These are custom add-ons there are currently about a dozen available for download for Gnome 3.0, and more for Gnome 3.2. 3.2 will be coming to SID soon.
Some of the extensions can do things, like add shutdown to the shutdown menu (not there by default ), add a bottom panel, move clock location, add weather, add 'favorites' to panel, add 'menu' to panel, et. Not as many things you can add to the panel as with Gnome 2.3 'applets', but more and more coming weekly. I understand they are pretty easy to constuct, using java code. So not to worry if your favorite panel add-on is not there. It may soon be.
Shell does not use Compiz for composting. Matter of fact, it wont run with it. It uses its own composting. Mutter+Clutter.
There is not much that I really miss from Gnome 2.3 and Compiz. 'Open window in center' is one that I could set with compiz, not so (yet) with the Shell.
Its been very stable (I AM running SID). No so much as a hickup in the ten days running it.
I have to say that i do not have the problems with Nvidia and xorg, that lots of folks have. My card support the 'trapezoidal "thingy". I am using the latest xorg from SID and Nvidia 285.05.09 from SID.
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System: Host zordon Kernel 3.0.0-6.dmz.1-liquorix-amd64 x86_64 (64 bit) Distro Linux Mint Debian Edition
CPU: Quad core AMD Phenom II X4 955 (-MCP-) cache 2048 KB flags (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4a svm) bmips 25711.3
Clock Speeds: (1) 800.00 MHz (2) 800.00 MHz (3) 800.00 MHz (4) 3200.00 MHz
Graphics: Card nVidia GF104 [GeForce GTX 460] X.Org 126.96.36.1991 Res: firstname.lastname@example.org
GLX Renderer GeForce GTX 460/PCI/SSE2 GLX Version 4.2.0 NVIDIA 285.05.09 Direct Rendering Yes
Granted some may not like it, but I think given a chance most will be happy with Gnome 3.
To ease the transition
The 'fallback mode' is quite limited, and it looks like its lifespan will be quite short.
Gnome 3 with UNITY is just nasty to me. Quite unlike the Shell, but then it may be real nice on a small notebook screen.
Unity does NOT come with LMDE's version of Gnome 3,and its not in the repo (Good for them!)
I used it with Oneiric.
To me these are good times with Gnome. The Gnome developers did a good job with 2.3, no reason to believe they didn't with 3.0 and beyond.
Just give Gnome 3 a chance before you condemn it. Its really pretty nice.