Are you set in stone on using Gnome? I ask this because I know that KDE doesn't quite work right on my system, but that's okay 'cause I don't use KDE. There are a lot of other Window Managers and Desktops that may fit your needs as well - KDE, XFCE are other Desktops and Fluxbox (my preferred), blackbox, wmaker, icewm, etc. are other Window Managers.
I can switch between them by changing where my xinitrc symbolic link points under /etc/X11/xinit although that may just be on Slackware.
Check to see what you have under /etc/X11/xinit/ if you want to give others a try.