Getting back to GNOME extensions, I've found that installing and using GNOME extensions is amazingly simple to make happen. Simply browse over to extensions.gnome.org and look for the extension that appeals to you. Click the switch from Off to On, and immediately you're prompted to install it. This process couldn't be any simpler.
Finding the right extensions for your desktop can absolutely make using the GNOME desktop even better than it is out of the box. For me, I prefer extensions that enhance my desktop usage by either speeding things up or making less work to get to things I need. Below you'll see some of my must have extensions.
Advanced Volume Mixer – Without question, the Advanced Volume Mixer is an extension I find invaluable for the GNOME desktop. Using this extension allows me to easily control the output of any application's volume. You can also adjust the volume of all available sound devices with a single pull-down menu.
Dash to Dock – Rather than installing another dock, I found that the Dash to Dock extension provided me with a fantastic dock alternative to the stand-alone docks found in the software repositories. One really nice feature I've found invaluable with this dock launcher is that it automatically provides me with my applications list at the bottom.
Drop Down Terminal – Instead of opening up a separate terminal window, I enjoy pressing my set hotkey and having my Drop Down Terminal appear from the top of the screen. The biggest reason this rocks is that I can run package updates in the background, then free my focus onto other tasks in the same general work space.
Impatience – As great as the GNOME desktop happens to be, making the animation speed faster simply makes using it even better, thanks to the Impatience extension. This increased GNOME desktop animation speed allows me to enjoy the cool compositing effects, without the usual slowdown that comes from the experience.
Netspeed – How fast is my Internet today? Am I seeing a bottleneck with ample upload speed yet a failing download speed? The Netspeedextension can be of help here by displaying how fast your up/down speeds are.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all desktop. For some of you, this may mean going with something with greater control within the GUI, such as KDE. Perhaps instead, using a more minimalist desktop like XFCE is what you're better off with. And yet others still, might find themselves feeling at home with the old GNOME 2 standby known as MATE. Whichever desktop you choose, I highly suggest trying all of them to see which one wins you over.
Speaking for myself, I think GNOME 3 is fantastic. Sure, it took some work to get used to a "new" way of doing things, yet at the end of the day I couldn't be happier with its feature set and performance. In the interest of full disclosure, I do run XFCE on my nephew's old laptop, since it's the desktop he's more satisfied with. But speaking for myself, I think GNOME is going to be my goto desktop environment for the foreseeable future. That is, of course, unless KDE woos me back somehow. And, considering I used to be a KDE user years ago, it could happen.