Heh – I, too, have a long and tortured history with multiple generations of desktop packages.
I helped create the original Mac look-and-feel back in the middle 1980s, and I’ve suffered through all the GUI wars since then. It’s fair to say that I’m at least unhappy with everything since the original Mac L-and-F of the late 1980s.
I therefore feel your pain about Gnome.
I also hate wasting time arguing with my systems to make them boot and run. I support four physical computers here in our home, two of them still running Windows 10 on the iron, one of them running Windows 10 as a guest VM running on RockyLinux using VirtualBox. I am embarked on a multi-year migration away from any Microsoft desktop offering.
In addition to my home systems, I maintain multiple AWS EC2 instances that all run Linux. They were on CentOS 7 until earlier this year. Since then, I’ve migrated all of them to Rocky Linux.
I had been using CentOS distributions for as long as they existed, and was caught by surprise (like so many others) with the abrupt cancellation of CentOS 8 – that’s how I came to Rocky Linux (again, like so many others).
I only have time and headspace to keep up with a single Linux distribution, and that is Rocky Linux. Fortunately I don’t need desktops on any of the AWS EC2 instances I maintain.
I installed RockyLinux v8.5 with KDE Plasma on the physical system I use every day – likely for the same motivations as you.
Sadly, for better or worse, KDE Plasma is not in the “mainstream” RockyLinux offering. When I attempted to upgrade from v8.5 to v8.6 earlier this year, I ended up with a black screen. I have enough other things on my plate that I don’t have the inclination or time to keep KDE Plasma running. While I don’t love Gnome, I don’t love KDE Plasma either. The black screen that resulted from the attempted v8.6 upgrade is way beyond my threshold of pain.
I already spend too much of my day fighting with npm repositories, Python repositories, configuration files, insane dependency graphs, and all that stuff. I’m just not willing to find, install, and maintain all the complexity that I see on this thread (and others).
The point of my comment above is that the convenience of being able to run “dnf update” whenever updates are released far outweighs the differences between KDE Plasma and Gnome for me.
More than anything else, I want to be free from the vagaries of Microsoft. I want to maintain familiarity, competence, and “muscle-memory” with just one Linux distribution.
Gnome is good enough for me, and I value the reliable support from the Rocky Linux team far more than any differences in specific desktop software.