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I should say that I really really regret the lack of support for XRenderAccel from the ATI fglrx driver.
As an ATI user, I am however not stuck with it. There is a alternative, the radeon driver that *should* work with XRender. I must say I never tested it, because I need performance .... for games. I just cry I choosed a laptop with ATI .
BUT I DO NOT LIKE YOUR DEBATE ON GNOME. Come on... GNOME. It managed a lot of stuff concerning interactions between aps, and that's what a "desktop" needs. It might be slower than KDE, I might be more beautifull, it might be less.
Do you need a Desktop? I am not alone in this room to NOT use gnome desktop, but to use a lot of the gnome-related apps: Evince, Eog, Gimp, the gonme-toolbar, various gnome-utils.... etc.... etc Everything under FVWM
Yes I like Gnome and Gnome developer and I thanks them a lot for the nice app and the extreme modularity of it all ! By comparison most of KDE tools are too integrated to be used without KDE, other philosophy.
To me and many other Gnome let you the choice, above all. Speed issue with Metacity? Try Fvwm, Enlightenment, Sawfish... so many Gnome2 compatibles WM. You do not like nautilus, I recommand you RoxFiler ... etc.. I have many exemples. I am a guy that like to have the choice, like my distro gives me much liberty (debian ).
You can't blame people for the thinks that they should do to be nice to you while it take a lot of their time and none of yours, that's why you often see fed up developers posting "do it your self" of course. On the other hand, developers are very enthousiasts people (I am one too) and like to convience people that their apps can fullfil your dreams, which is never the case.
Open source gives you tools, you are free to use them in any configuration you want. Thanks to the gnome team for the work done so far.