Along with KDE, the GNOME desktop once dominated the Linux community. However, the release of GNOME 3.0, and the project's failure to address complaints immediately caused many users to look for another desktop. To judge from various reader surveys, these events may have cost GNOME as much as twenty-three percent of the user market
In 2012, GNOME finally addressed the complaints by encouraging the development of extensions that could be combined to create a GNOME 2-like desktop. Just as important, the GNOME 3 release series began to mature and started to be based on usability and design expertise that are unrivalled by any other desktop's.
However, despite these changes, 2013 brought no change in popularity. On the recently released Linux Journal Readers' Choice Awards, GNOME scored 14%, approximately the same as last year, and not much above Xfce's 12%.
Perhaps, after settling on alternatives, former GNOME users see no reason to return. It may take a new major release with a few killer features for them to return, assuming that they can be persuaded at all.