I had mentioned this before, but I don't believe I said anything in this thread about it; If I has, sorry for reposting the same bullocks about why I switched to Ubuntu MATE here. I also had decided to shrink my post up and not have it take so much space.
Discovering Ubuntu, and my distro-hopping adventures
Much like @Eggnog I was a user of Linux Mint before GTK3; I began my time on Ubuntu after a friend of mine who previously recommended to me Firefox also told me about Ubuntu, back when you could put the system on a 4GB USB drive. (what modern general-purpose system can you do that with these days?) From 2009 to 2011 it was great. then Unity became "The standard" and for the next year or so I found myself wandering about between GTK-based panel environments.
My relationship with Mint and why I broke up
I was about to settle firmly in Xfce since it seemed close enough to GNOME 2, until I heard about MATE being picked up by the Linux Mint devs. Having previously installed mintMenu in Ubuntu for use with GNOME 2, I figured it would be a good idea to switch and use Mint. I began using Linux Mint around version 15. Mint felt like a breath of fresh air, with the MATE DE allowing me to feel "Comfortable" again with the desktop, and it was about to be something I would recommend, except around version 17 I wwas having significant trouble installing some things without resorting to hackish workarounds with software libraries I needed having to be installed by hand. I found that incredibly stupid, considering I never had to learn that previously.
Praise be Ubuntu MATE (and screw tablet-like interfaces)
I am thankful for @Wimpy's efforts to being Ubuntu MATE into the fore as an official "Flavour" of Ubuntu. I believe I would still be at my wit's end trying different Linux distros out. Who knows, maybe I could had figured out Compiz + AWN on a different operating system and be a completely different user today. But life's short, and things can only go on for so long until I am left wondering; Why am I doing this when I can just use Windows?
Speaking of, my disdain for Windows really began with RT, because I saw what Microsoft was trying to do. They solidified some design decisions in Windows 8 I was not fond of, but I found Windows 10 being an alright compromise between the features Microsoft wanted, and the features I wanted as a Windows 98-era user. I still don't like that I am using Windows Phone on a PC (essentially), but I guess that's the price of interface convergence. And I can see both Modern Windows and GNOME-Shell appealing to older people who need larger targets to click on. Problem is, Microsoft's Modern UI, GNOME-Shell and Unity all try to act like tablets on desktop, which... isn't what I wanted.
There were a lot of things I did not like; Microsoft's unwillingness to learn from Canonical's hubris, GNOME team's unwillingness to dedicate time for GNOME 2 as a supported "Legacy" interface, Mint team's incessant desire to continue using outdated packages and software that causes Apt to take a dump in my Cheerios. But without any of that, I wouldn't have any reason to say that Ubuntu MATE is by far the best operating system for any "Windows Classic" user who both are tired of Microsoft's Modern UI and wants a legacy-looking desktop that's current with the times.