My dearly loved Thinkpad T40 finally bit the dust recently, not because anything went wrong with it, but because a cheap laptop backpack broke it's straps while it was on my back, causing the laptop to hit the ground quite hard, and shearing off the left screen hinge (still works!).
I had been having trouble with the upgrade from 10.04 -> 12.04, which I was using in fallback mode (it suited my way of working with workspaces better than unity, and was a smidgen faster), but found it very slow. It felt like working in treacle. So I thought I'd switch over to Mate - using Linux Mint Mate 13. This was a huge improvement, but it was still a bit slower than 10.04, and there was the odd bug or two (the desktop background frequently completely blacked out) - but nothing show stopping.
Anyway, I have a nice shiny old Thinkpad T60p 14", which I have just finished installing 10.04 on. I figured that there wasn't anything that 12.04 or Mint Maya could do that 10.04 couldn't. I had also considered other possibilities - mainly crunchbang and xubuntu - but the former I thought might have been a bit too fiddly (editing config files for the application menu put me off) and the latter I just couldn't grow to love (really missed the 'places' menu). So I went with 10.04.4. I had to do a lot of repository stuff, but firefox is at least reasonably up to date, and a lot of the other stuff I don't mind being a bit old. I've got PPAs for libreoffice, kupfer and rhythmbox.
I have to say - it is incredible! Very fast, very useable, and I'm very happy. I think next year I will simply continue to use it without updates, and hopefully not run into too many problems. If anyone else is struggling to find something that fills the void for gnome 2, then I would wholeheartedly recommend sticking with 10.04 a bit longer.
PS I know this laptop is substantially faster than my previous laptop (Banias 1.3Ghz versus duocore 2Ghz), and probably 12.04 fallback/unity/gnome3/cinnamon/mate would all run very quick on it, but the thought of those wasted CPU cycles for no gain upsets me!