Here’s a video of the Arch Linux, GNOME and Cairo Dock setup I’ve been working with for the past few months. Shown are a few of the customizations through the extensions repository that I think make this a very usable desktop environment, and one which can be extended easily and improve over time.
GNOME 3 introduces a 2-layer desktop concept including a navigational overview similar to OS X’s dashboard, though not focused on widgets. One extension maps numbers to each window, which I can then select using alt+N as an alternative to what could be several alt+tabs. I have chosen, through another extension, to hide the top bar and only show it in the overview, which is bound to a hotkey as well as a pressure sensitive “hot corner” near the top of the screen. Since some of my other extensions are related to the top bar, this makes the overview a sort of widget layer as well. You’ll note that hiding the top bar in OS X isn’t even an option, so we can get more screen real estate when everything is hidden. I fully maximize the Clementine window near the end of the video, which also hides the dock.
Some of the other extensions include a “put windows” plugin comparable to SizeUp/ShiftIt for the Mac, and integration with media players like the excellent Clementine. Cairo Dock, a standalone program that provides an OS X-like dock UI, is also very customizable; I could probably devote several videos to exploring its options, shown briefly. It is currently set to “smart auto hide” which will hide only when overlapping a window, and not under the mouse. The Arch logo icon leftmost on the dock is an applications menu that groups by categories (not shown), like GNOME 2 or Windows. I briefly show a different applications menu, on the top bar in the overview, through an extension.