When I used Linux for the first time, the desktop environment was Gnome2. I liked it as soon as I saw it, and the more I used it the more impressed I became with it's simple default menu, how it can be easy customized and the wealth of applets and themes.
As I advanced in my Linux knowledge, I started trying other desktop environments and window managers, but I kept coming back to Gnome because none of the others allowed me to work half as efficiently.
When I became a command line guru, I began to favor smaller environments that were lighter on resources and more reliant on a terminal. Now I am firmly settled on TWM.
Nevertheless, I was still very sorry to see Gnome2 replaced by Gnome3 and Unity.
Fortunately, Gnome2 has been forked. The new DE is called Mate. The homepage can be found here.