I have traditionally been a gnome user, however I recently decided to give xfce a shot. I have always heard it is supposed to be a more minimal, less resource-intensive DE than gnome and kde. I am not sure whether I have experienced any performance gains, as I never really found gnome to be particularly sluggish. However, what I did notice is that there is really no reduction in functionality when compared to gnome. Also, the user interface is almost identical, and I would even say it looks a bit more "polished" in xfce. At this point it looks like I'll be making a switch. Of course, it's not like I absolutely have to commit to "switching" to one of them like one does with an operating system.
Can anyone else here relate to what I'm talking about? It seems to me that if gnome doesn't necessarily have anything to offer over xfce, and xfce is lighter on system resources, xfce would simply be a superior DE and therefor should be equally as popular (note this is not intended to be flame bait... read on!). I would like to hear from those of you who have had a similar experience to me, and also some of you who could inform me of what gnome has to offer over xfce that is worth the supposedly heavier resource usage. (it sounds as if gnome is foreign to me, but like i said, I've been a solid gnome user up until now. And yes, Linux is my only OS).
Either way, this is sparking a curiosity about desktop environments and I think I am going to play around a bit with what's out there. There's so many combinations of window managers, desktop environments, etc. that the right combination for me is out there somewhere and I'll probably never actually find it!