There has been a great deal of comment, both negative and positive, about the use of Unity as the default Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal.
At first, I was underwhelmed and somewhat put out about this change, especially with the news from Mark Shuttleworth that from the 12.04 release, Unity would be the ONLY DE as default on Ubuntu. I felt that this was a move in the wrong direction on the part of Canonical. However, I resolved to at least try Unity and see what the fuss was about.
I installed Natty Narwhal on my laptop alongside my regular Windows OS (for work) and booted it up, only to find myself terribly confused. I couldn't find my settings, I found it difficult to get to my most used applications and I was generally very confused.
However, at the exact same time, I also installed Natty on a friend's laptop. His Windows 7 install had suffered a terminal virus infestation, and for a variety of reasons I couldn't re-install Windows, so I suggested he try Ubuntu. Now, this chap has grown up on Windows and as most young people today are, is very active online with his Facebook, MSN and other online social networking systems. He took to it like the proverbial duck to water. He found his way around very quickly, and when I had shown him the Ubuntu Software Centre, he loved it. He has been using it for a few weeks now and still loves it, and he hasn't found anything which he cannot do on Ubuntu yet.
I suppose it has illustrated to me that there is a positive side to the Unity move. It seems to make it easier to switch to Ubuntu when coming from a background of heavy phone interface use, and it seems to be easy to pick up and do basic customisations on.
I am going to persevere with it for a while longer, I've found all my settings and have customised it to approximately to the way I want it to look so I can access my most used functions easily. It may not be the reason to leave Ubuntu I originally thought it may be, and I'm more determined than ever to give it a fair trial. And I suppose that if I don't like it, I can also install Gnome3 later......