I decided to switch from KDE to Gnome Shell for a change and started considering the options I had.
The conclusion that was made was a bit of surprise for me - the best Gnome Shell distro is currently Sabayon.
I wanted a recent Gnome Shell release (not 2 versions behind the latest release), an easy to use distro and preferably polished enough. So I opened distrowatch, took a look at the top distros listed and here is how my logic worked as I went through most popular options:
- openSuSe 13.1 - latest Gnome Shell (3.10), reputable and robust distro; great, that must do. So I installed it... and was bitterly disappointed: no nVidia proprietary graphics drivers in the repos for the latest release!! Unbelievable! 32 bit KDE apps (well, at least skype) would use a different cursor theme (and too much to bother to find out a solution; libcursor 32 was installed); the login screen uses it's own cursor theme while the Shell when in session uses another theme set from Gnome settings; gnome terminal loses it's window borders and shows white text on white background from time to time. Damn, too bad for a distro which is considered polished. Won't do. (But still, the distro feels quick, really quick, I like it).
- Ubuntu Gnome - Gnome Shell 3.8, nah. Don't want to bother with PPAs and not sure what's with Nemo under Ubuntu.
- Debian - too old.
- Mageia - constantly delayed betas, not sure whether it has large repos and I don't feel excited about using repos like rpmbone and such. Last time I tried it, it also used different cursor themes for the login screen and in session, which is a minor thing but reflects the attitude and makes the distro fall into my eyes (well, this is very subjective, but it does determine my decision to ditch such a distro).
- Fedora - hmm, still in beta. I might have tried it if Fedora 20 stable was out. I remember it's as quick as Suse, but somehow gives a feeling of being buggy (I also remember some issues with gif images which wouldn't display animated, and somewhat too frequent alerts to file a bug report, but that was a couple of years ago, so things might have changed by now). Alas, no stable version, yet, and I never installed betas.
- PCLOS - they're periodically late to update stuff in the repos, even Chromium gets obsolete in their repos; but generally PCLOS is easy and pleasant to use. But they stick to Mate and there's no Gnome Shell version. Sad. I'd give PCLOS a go, nice distro overall as I remember from my previous experience.
- Arch - oh no, too much hassle to install. I just want the system to work and that's it.
- Mint - no Gnome Shell version + Ubuntu repos with Gnome Shell 3.8 probably.
So what's left? Basically, noting else. Except Sabayon.
- Sabayon - with Sabayon you get: latest Gnome; multimedia and proprietary drivers out of the box; relative stability; really easy installation. What's better than it for Gnome Shell right now? Well, in my opinion, nothing.