Looks like gnome 3 has looked for a few years now. KDE has all these alternate launch options as well, though most are not among typical default settings.
As for taskbar auto hide, how many times does your cursor stray down to the bottom, making the bar pop up and get in the way of what you were actually going for? Never liked the option myself. Same with screen edge "snap." (which BTW is a KDE default... but easy enough to kill)
BTW, anyone else not getting the "your alerts from tech republic" emails? (again)
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