Linux Mint rose to popularity when Gnome and Ubuntu forked their paths, leaving users in limbo between the dream state of Gnome 3 and the reality of Gnome 2.
Linux Mint paid close attention to users' complaints and created a project called Cinnamon to give users what they needed. Unlike the other distros mentioned here, Linux Mint Cinnamon is a fork of Gnome.
Linux Mint teams didn't create Cinnamon as a response to Gnome 3 Shell, they started off with extensions for Gnome 3 Shell. But since the core concept of Gnome 3 was different from what Linux Mint teams were trying to offer it was becoming hard to offer what they wanted to deliver. As a result they ended up forking the Gnome Shell and called it Cinnamon.
Cinnamon offered the time-tested WIMP interface on top of the latest Gnome technologies. What started as a fork of the shell has become a much more appealing and user-friendly project. Cinnamon forked many components of Gnome to offer a better integration with the rest of the desktop.
If you love Gnome but can’t work effectively with Gnome Shell, Linux Mint Cinnamon is the answers to all of your prayers.
These are my picks for the top 5 distros that offer Gnome as the default DE. There are many other distros that offer Gnome desktop, among those are Arch Linux, Manjaro and Mageia.
Which Gnome distro do you use?