This is what the Gnome Shell desktop looks like on Linux Mint 12. They have re-designed the standard Gnome Shell interface to better fit the expectations of the users of the previous Linux Mint release that stayed with Gnome 2.32.1. They have done an awesome job. it has a Menu on the bottom to get access to all of your applications and a top panel housing the system tray and the standard Gnome Shell open applications indicator. The only annoying thing I have found with the live DVD is that HDMI audio support seems to be missing, I could only use the alsa output. Fedora 15 and Ubuntu support HDMI audio output, and the fact that I could not get this to work on Linux Mint 12 is annoying. Maybe you can get this working once you have installed the distribution to your hard disk, but I have no where to install the Linux Mint distro.
There is a nice taskbar on the bottom panel, so the top window icons are rather redundant, but this whole desktop is very fast running off a live DVD, very sleek and usable. You should download Linux Mint if you have not done so already and check out this incredible distribution. http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php. The ISO is 1GiB, but worth the download, the larger ISO has all the required codecs for multimedia playback, removing the need to install them after you install the distribution to your hard disk. The Gnome Shell interface is better than the Unity interface that Ubuntu 11.04 first showcased and it is now the default desktop for every Ubuntu release. At least Linux Mint ship with a real alternative to that horrible mess. The version of Firefox Linux Mint ships with is 7.0.1 and duckduckgo is the default search engine, I have never used that one before, but it works very well. Office tasks are taken care of with Libreoffice 3.4.3, and unlike Ubuntu 12.04, the Gimp image editor is included. To sum up, this is a worthy contender to take on Ubuntu and it looks like it has what it takes to deliver on the desktop front.
The VLC media player application is also included, and of course the Totem media player. Linux Mint has always been a very reliable distribution on the desktop and it has overtaken Ubuntu on Distrowatch. The Unity desktop that Ubuntu famously adopted has something to do with that. Gnome Shell is the lesser of two evils if you must run a modern desktop. I installed the xubuntu-desktop on my Ubuntu 12.04 machine and the Xfce desktop although quite old, is still a perfect alternative to the Unity and Gnome Shell desktops and and is a very fast and simple choice for fans of a retro Gnome 2 styled desktop.