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I agree with you, due to working requirement I am using mostly Windows XP, but I have also Debian/Gnome installed, and using it somewhat.
While newbie at Linux, I love Debian's minimalistic approach about installed applications. And to be frank, I don't think Gnome has either the resources nor the financial backing to produce 100+ killer applications.
Let it focus on the core:
1. A user friendly working desktop/notebook environment.
2. A software developer friendly environment.
I don't even WANT a default web browser installed by default, what I want is a simple way to find,install, uninstall and administrate my software, regardless if I get it from the offical distrubution's repository(apt), or downloaded it from the manufacturers homepage.