If I were in their shoes, I'd simply change course, post a public apology, announce Gnome 4 and bring back everything that users are missing. That should give them enough support to stay alive. I'm sure there is still time for them. But as I said before, I don't think they even care so let them die.
Or, hell, just add back most of the configuration options they removed from the system. I know a blank screen is trendy nowadays but sometimes I just want to look at a screensaver, y'know?
XFCE, last I used it, was good but just slightly too different in its behavior to be a good first step into Linux for traditional Windows XP users.
In Windows 8.1, the godawful Calculator app takes up the entire screen, so good luck copying numbers back and forth. I tried to help him schedule a backup like before, but the only solution I found was a 3-freaking-lines-long powershell command. To top it off, Windows 8 is unable to read the backup files made by Windows XP (what the hell, Microsoft?!). And Freecell and Solitaire are nowhere to be found!
Vast improvement to home users my ass. It's harder to do things that used to be easy, and downright impossible to do things that used to be merely complicated.
Give it time, not everything can change extremely fast, especially on PC where things have pretty much been the same for almost 20 years now.
Cough sputter- What?! Are you seriously saying that the PC as a gaming platform is roughly the same as in 1994?
Here's a quick example of the sort of change that's happened:
In 1994, most PC gaming was still done in DOS, on computers without a dedicated graphics card. Games drew to a framebuffer. There was only a single processor, and there was only a single application running (ignoring Win3.1's cooperative multitasking, but most games required that Windows be shut off first anyway). The application had unfettered access to memory, and when it crashed it usually took the entire system along with it. CD drives were a novelty, and 14.4k modems were all there was in the way of "networked multiplayer", but they tied up the phone line so you couldn't stay on too long.
The NSA is a spy agency by charter. Spies can and do go beyond the letter of the law in order to fulfill their mission of protecting their country from its enemies... it would be shocking if they didn't.
This is America. Nobody is supposed to be above the law, especially the government.
Congress may not be concerned with the NSA's actions, but they've already proven themselves willing to trade away our freedoms wholesale so that they can claim to be "tough on terror" during the next election cycle. We need to hold their feet to the fire and make them reign in the NSA.