Gnome 3 and LXDE
When Debian Squeeze became stable, I reinstalled it from scratch in my laptop without any desktop environment (64-bit version). Then I installed OpenBox and played a little bit with it. I ended up installing LXDE. The main serious problem I found with this light desktop environment was that LXTerminal was giving problems when minimised to the panel. It is a known bug. I uninstalled it to install xfce4-terminal. Next I upgraded to Wheezy. There was not a lot to upgrade. Then I noticed that PCManFM refused to start. This is also a known bug. So I removed it to install Thunar.
Next I was curious to know how this LXDE environment (with OpenBox and some GTK and XFCE stuff) would compare with the brand-new Gnome 3 (or Gnome Shell). Gnome3 is still in beta testing phase, but it is expected to become stable early in April. So I added the Experimental and Sid repositories and configured pinning to prevent any unwanted update. I then installed Gnome3, rebooted and logged into it. The first thing I noticed is that now it looks like one of those netbook environments. Maybe the Gnome guys are targeting the embedded devices market. However, I do not think this setup is really optimal (meaning functional) for a normal desktop computer and I would not like to see it as the new default. I guess/hope one should be able to configure Gnome3 to a more classic look, but I have not tried it. Why? Because this new version of Gnome still requires an awful lot of resources to run and therefore I decided to go back to the much slimmer LXDE.
So, with Gnome and KDE getting heavier and heavier, I will have to stick to their lighter counterparts XFCE and LXDE. I have a 3-years-old laptop with a 2.53 GHz Core Duo, 4GB of RAM and a GeForce 8800 GTX and I plan to stick to it until it refuses to work. I find ridiculous having an operating system that needs more than 512MB of RAM to operate (leave alone the 1 GB of Windows 7). Well, I could accept it if I saw a good reason or any advantage coming from it, but I cannot see any.